St. Francis High School kicked off its $100 million “Light the Way” fund-raising campaign Sept. 15 with an on-campus, outdoor event recognizing early donors and previewing a set of projects the money will support.
School president Jason Curtis offered a sneak peek of the campaign for nearly 300 attendees.
“This campaign will provide essential resources to students and educators at St. Francis, while ensuring our campus facilities continue to support innovation, creativity and collaboration,” Curtis said in a press release.
The theme “Light the Way” refers to the legacy of the Brothers of Holy Cross and the school community they established at St. Francis, while “pointing to a bright future for many generations of Lancer families,” Curtis added.
The event showcased renderings depicting an innovation center and dining commons complex, representing a $60 million construction project that forms the majority of the campaign’s fundraising goal. Demolition of the former Dujarié Hall and Malcolm Center will make room for the new innovation center.
Jamie Perkins, director of strategic marketing and communications, said via email that the new innovation center will give St. Francis the opportunity to think creatively about how it uses campus space and is designed to invite student collaboration.
The main highlights include:
• A lobby designed to mimic collegiate and corporate collaborative spaces.
• Glass cube seating for small-group collaboration.
• A fully integrated rooftop garden area with a view for visual engagement with the larger community.
• An accordion door in an innovation lab that opens for presentations.
• A total of 29 classrooms and labs with flexible seating to accommodate varied learning styles and purposes.
• A black-box theater for performances and events with 150-200 seats, depending on configuration.
• A makerspace with areas for woodworking, welding, painting and finishing.
Once the innovation center and dining commons complex project is finished, construction on the next phase will expand the scope of the project to include a welcome center. Additional goals target enhanced support for students and investments in educator excellence, including innovative teaching practices, recruitment and retention, and the latest teaching aids and classroom equipment.
The highlight of the evening, according to the press release, was the announcement of a surprise $5 million pledge from Anthony Schiller and Moira Lion.
Lion is a 2007 graduate of St. Francis, one of three siblings to have graduated from the school. She is an intellectual property attorney with Fenwick & West LLP in Mountain View. Schiller is co-founder and co-managing director of Green Bay Ventures, a venture capital firm based in San Francisco.
Their gift will support prospective students and teachers at St. Francis by establishing a permanent endowment to fund educational and professional development programs.
“One of the great pleasures of the work we do is getting to know people who care deeply about St. Francis and about people, and who want to make a difference,” said Paul Lanning, the school’s chief advancement officer, in the release. “Moira and Anthony will no doubt serve as an inspiration for others both now and for years to come.”