Year in Review

Development & Alumni Relations

By Tyler Casertano, Assistant Head of School for Advancement & Strategy

A total of 2,759 alumni, parents, faculty, parents of alumni, staff, grandparents, and friends contributed $2.83 million to Annual Giving, surpassing our $2.65 million budgeted goal and accounting for the second best Annual Giving year on record! 

Such outstanding results were made possible thanks to the efforts of hundreds of volunteers who, under the leadership of Chair Jonathan Nobil ’02, devoted countless hours to marshal support of friends and peers. Volunteer outreach was particularly important to sustaining our tradition of broad community participation. An impressive 42% of alumni and 90% of current families made gifts in 2019-20! Our results once again rank us at the top of peer schools.

Current families, who already contribute so much for the school, gave $1.55 million to Annual Giving — a 14% increase from the previous year. Our active parent volunteers were critical players in rallying peer support. A special recognition to the Class of 2028 on hitting 100% participation! 

We are incredibly grateful to every member of our all-star parent volunteer team. We salute our division chairs, Sara and Tony Asuncion for the Upper School and Richard and Sara Schaberg for the Lower School. Their leadership, especially at year-end, helped to clinch 90% participation. Bravo!

Alumni spanning nine decades, from the Class of 1936 to 2019, contributed an impressive $1.11 million — sustaining an impressive 42% participation. Securing these superb results was the work of 150-plus volunteers. Whether calling classmates at phonathon events held in October or early March, serving as a class agent or reunion committee member, alumni volunteers played an indispensable role.

Philanthropic support for the year totaled $6.98 million. Aside from the second highest Annual Giving year on record, highlights included significant new endowment for scholarships, faculty professional development, a new fund for computer science, as well as a COVID-19 resilience fund that will continue to be a point of emphasis for FY21. .

A strong second year under Alumni Board President Carter DeLorme ’88 saw the continuing success of our signature events. A well-attended Homecoming had alums gathering for morning varsity soccer and afternoon varsity football, with a tented noontime lunch for alums and current students on Grant Meadow. Our Alumni Dinner had one of the strongest programs yet: Washington Capital’s Don Fishman ’87 (introduction by Washington Post sportswriter Gene Wang ’87) spoke about how STA prepped him for NHL legal success; former Governing Board Chair the Hon. James “Jeb” E. Boasberg ’81 presented his successor as board chair, helped name Maria Donohoe Velleca an honorary alumnus and awarded her a  diploma; and Dan Jamieson awarded his friend Ben Guill ’69 with the Gilchrist-Holleman Alumni Service Award. The dinner, for many, would be the last time interacting with a large crowd and was awash in hand sanitizer, as a global pandemic would be coming to the forefront the very next week.

Because of COVID-19, Reunions 2020 — the 13-class collective Reunion Weekend in May (with the Friday evening barbecue held jointly at NCS) and the more intimate 50th Reunion in June, held in conjunction with Commencement — were instead Zoom videoc-onference gatherings; a suggestion to postpone physical gatherings to Homecoming 2020 (October 3) would now, we hope, appear to be postponed to 2021.

As for other established events: the 30th Annual Vernon W. Holleman Jr. ’54 Bulldog Golf Tourney was held on a spectacular October afternoon, with 82 avid golfers at the Members Club at Four Streams, in Poolesville (generously provided by our Wohlstadter family). Vernon Holleman ’89 and Dick Schoenfield ’76 joined for a special tribute to their father/uncle’s memory. Our annual baseball outing to Nationals Park in June again featured a pre-game reception catered by Surfside thanks to owner David Scribner ’86. One  surprise: the lead singer for the Bullpen-supplied band was none other than Steve Lanter ’86. The STA-NCS BOLD Thanksgiving Friday Event—with over 200 in attendance—is 27 years old (older than the guests!) and counting; this year it was held in a new venue, Georgetown’s Church Hall (owned by Geoff Dawson ’79).

Headmaster Jason Robinson’s “Welcome Tour” continued in October in Boston; a packed luncheon at the Somerset Club on Beacon Hill hosted kindly by Dan Rasmussen ’05 was followed in the evening by a reception at the harbor-view offices of Choate, provided by Bill Asher ’66 and Sandy Taylor ’66.  An annual New York City trip the next month featured a midtown luncheon at which Bill Manger ’40 raised a glass to toast the headmaster; that was followed in the evening with a reception hosted by Roddy Klotz ’73 at his downtown Brown Brothers Harriman offices, whose second floor room offered a commanding view of Trinity Street’s Zuccotti Park. January travel included a Nashville lunch that was hosted by the Frist brothers, a Brennan’s dinner in New Orleans hosted by Erik Schwarz ’75 (and a daytime visit by computer science teacher Michael Hansen to visit the sister of the late Joe Morris ’62 in her Garden District family home), and a Palm Beach luncheon hosted again by Zach Shipley ’70 (who had been instrumental in planning his now-postponed 50th…). (Planned March travel that was postponed included an “Industry” Off-The-Close event that was to be hosted by Tom Wellington ’96 and Phil d’Amecourt ’92 at the Creative Artists’ office; a Seattle reception hosted by Lex Lindsay ’67, and a Denver Country Club lunch hosted by Kevin Zimmerman ’86 — another time, gents, but thanks!) 

The Cornerstone Garden also falls under our purview, and we work in conjunction with the Chaplain’s Office to arrange for the interment of St. Albans family and friends in this lovely sanctuary. 

Lastly, the Headmaster’s Counselors advisory group — co-chaired by Doug Selin ’81 and Bob Gabriel ’80 — held a successful meeting last fall, with record attendance of 40+) for the group; a Zoom call for the spring meeting focusing on the strategic planning process was remarkably efficient and informative.

The department enjoyed a successful and busy 2019-20 school year, led by Special Events Manager Kari Wade and Director of Development Operations Catherine Carman. Highlights included our Homecoming Weekend barbecue, numerous regional gatherings to “welcome” Jason to new alumni groups; and a series of intimate dinners with parents and Headmaster Robinson and his wife Olinda. Annual events, such as our early-October Headmaster's Associates Reception, the Parent Dinner in January, the Alumni Meeting and Dinner in March, and April's Grandparents and Special Friends Day, all saw excellent attendance. Our department also ran a number of small-scale events designed to steward the philanthropy and service of our parents and alumni, as well as to celebrate our faculty. In FY21 Catherine Carman shifts to her new role in the Headmaster’s Office as Director of Operations and Kari Wade assumes the role of Director of Special Events & Creative Services. 

DEVELOPMENT INFORMATION SYSTEMSDuring FY20, Development Information Systems (DIS) processed and acknowledged 4,647 gifts, pledges, and payments, totaling more than $6.98 million. Nearly one-third of all donations reached St. Albans through online giving, a process made even easier with this year's implementation of Apple Pay as a method of payment. As the STA community braced for the impact of the pandemic, DIS adjusted regular business practices to ensure safe handling of donations and acknowledgments. 

In addition to his regular duties as manager of Development Information Systems, Preston Meche assumed a number of functions that expanded the scope of his role. As such, in FY21 Preston will serve the STA community as director of donor services. In this role he will continue handling the processing of all gifts, as well as providing leadership in the development of acknowledgment processes, special donor recognition initiatives, reports for business operations, and responses to donor inquiries.

While the "departmental” reports above commend our wonderful — and indispensable — volunteers, we cannot thank them enough. St. Albans alumnus and Governing Board member Brendan Sullivan ’93 chaired the Development Committee, as it began the new strategic planning process.

Thanks to Alumni Association President Carter DeLorme ‘88, vice president Carter Mitchell ‘93, and secretary Jason Cross ’95 — and to all Alumni Association Board members for their dedicated help and enthusiasm for alumni events in Washington and around the country.

The Headmaster’s Counselors, co-chaired by Bob Gabriel ’80 and Doug Selin ’81, convened one of their largest gatherings ever in October of 2019, and met again virtually in May because of the pandemic. This group of leaders from across the country continues to provide invaluable advice on a number of school issues, and we continue to rely on them (working with the Alumni Board) to strengthen connections with alumni nationally and internationally.

As always, the St. Albans community was strengthened immeasurably by a dedicated Parents' Association, led this year by Perry Fergus. The Christmas House Tour continues to draw together the St. Albans community while providing invaluable gifts to the school. We were blessed by a great leadership team: Elise Darden, Liz Davis, Lee Koch, Shannon Pryor, Diana Rogalle, Dana Spencer, and Katie Wiegmann. We also applaud Liz Moore, Pilar O’Leary, and Ladan Shayesteh, who tri-chaired the second and very successful Bulldog Bash. Thanks also to Heather and Andy Florance, who hosted a wonderful party for the House Tour patrons.

Located in Washington D.C.,  St. Albans School is a private, all boys day and boarding school. For more than a century, St. Albans has offered a distinctive educational experience for young men in grades 4 through 12. While our students reach exceptional academic goals and exhibit first-rate athletic and artistic achievements, as an Episcopal school we place equal emphasis upon moral and spiritual education.