Recently we hosted our two annual Open Houses—one for Manhattan, the Bronx and Westchester; the other for “the rest of the world.” Between the Wednesday evening and Columbus Day Monday afternoon, we had over 2,400 prospective students, parents, grandparents, and siblings tour the building.
Following Mr. DiMichele's famous slideshow, groups were paired up with students to lead them through all six floors of the building from the new science labs on the fifth floor to the student activities in the lower gym and the academic departments in the cafeteria. They were two days filled with energy, enthusiasm, and excitement.
Many people mentioned to me as they were leaving how impressed they were with the students, our programs, and our building. Now, having been on the job for about two months, I wasn’t surprised by their comments at all. I am proud of all we are able to accomplish, and I am grateful to those of you who make it possible.
This issue of the Regis Alumni News (meant for more than just our alumni certainly) is the Annual Report which lists those whose contributions make our work—our mission—a daily reality. You know that we are a tuition-free school (really, THE tuition-free school), and our modest endowment of approximately $78 million only covers about $3 million of the $11 million gap in our budget. A full accounting of our budget can be found on page 6, but the facts are clear: without the support of alumni, alumni parents, current parents, and friends, we could not continue this important work.
Last year, under the inspired leadership of Fr. Jim Croghan, the Annual Fund hit a record level. For this I am very grateful. But as you can see, even at this level, we still would have operated in the red had it not been for the payment of Strong To Endure capital campaign pledges—pledges that should really go to building the endowment, not to paying the light bill. We were also very fortunate to receive the first half of the final legacy gift from the Founding Family. This payment of $5.4 million (and about $5 million should be received this year) is going to the endowment as a way to make sure that the Founding Family’s final gift continues to impact countless generations of Regians.
If we can continue to grow the Annual Fund, then we will be able to make efforts to grow the endowment to the level that supports the school at a rate that would insulate us from periodic downturns in the market which impact both the endowment performance and annual giving.
As we move towards stabilizing the financial situation of Regis, we can turn our attention to building our programs, first, back to where they were, and then, second, where they should be for a school with the quality of students that we have. A simple example of the first would be to reintroduce French which was discontinued last year due to budget constraints. I think we could all provide examples of the second, and I plan to engage our community in a wide ranging strategic planning process next year to formulate that vision.
What we are able to do today and tomorrow are all dependent on your generosity, and your generosity reflects your dedication to this special place. I am deeply grateful for all that you help us to accomplish. It is not just an Open House which demonstrates how special our students are. They shine every day.
Thank you for your support of our mission.
Daniel K. Lahart, SJ