WHEELING - In celebration of its bicentennial anniversary in 2014, The Linsly School on Saturday unveiled "Forward and No Retreat - The 200th Anniversary Campaign," a capital fundraising effort with a goal of $10 million.
The campaign will focus on three major priorities: building the school's endowment; investments in academic excellence; and creating spaces to grow and learn.
Linsly Headmaster Chad Barnett and President for External Affairs Reno DiOrio presented an overview of campaign priorities during Saturday's annual Parents' Day event at the school. They explained how the fundraising initiative - the largest in the school's history - will impact student learning, achievement and success in college and beyond.
The Linsly School on Saturday announced “Forward and No Retreat — The 200th Anniversary Campaign,”a $10 million fundraising initiative. Representing the school are, from left, Linsly President for External Affairs Reno DiOrio; fifth grader Nick Zimmermann; senior prefect David Brinsky; Head Prefect senior Taylor Cunningham; fifth grader P.J. Sauvageot; eighth grader Grace George; junior Zenia Bullard; and Headmaster Chad Barnett.
A celebration to mark the 200th anniversary campaign is scheduled for 6 p.m. Sept. 20 at Linsly's Banes Hall. DiOrio noted that "thanks to our most loyal, generous supporters, we have already reached half of our $10 million goal."
Linsly Board Chairman Robert Nutting noted the bicentennial campaign comes just months after the school received national recognition from the Malone Family Foundation as one of the premier schools in the nation.
"Led by a dedicated faculty and clear-eyed administration, Linsly students learn that perseverance, civility and personal responsibility matter," Nutting said.
"Through two centuries, The Linsly School has taken several forms to fit the times. Guided today by a commitment to academic excellence and character development, Linsly offers the best program in the state and the region for families seeking a traditional college preparatory education.
"Always mindful of the school's storied past, the current administration blends innovation with tradition in ways that boldly prepare people for success in a rapidly changing economic and educational climate."
Echoing the mantra of Linsly's founder, Noah Linsly, who established the school charter with the guiding principle of "Forward and No Retreat," the 200th anniversary campaign positions the school to continue its tradition of academic excellence and character development while preparing students for 21st century success, Barnett said.
"Linsly offers a counter-cultural experience for students in a world that is changing socially, academically, and economically," said Barnett. "Where society rationalizes dishonesty, Linsly expects honorable behavior. Where society says it's OK to win at all costs, Linsly insists on sportsmanship. Where society accepts giving up, Linsly requires perseverance. Where society suggests success can be given, Linsly proves it must be earned."
According to Barnett, the nation's prosperity and security depend on more - and better - education.
"In our information economy, showing up for work just isn't enough. Average is over. Linsly students are expected to think critically, collaborate, problem solve and innovate new solutions to familiar challenges. They are expected to do this with a resilient attitude and sense of personal responsibility," he said.
To enhance these commitments, Barnett said Linsly's solution is to continue to hire and retain quality teachers who support the school's counter-cultural mission.
To this end, the campaign's first goal, endowment building for scholarship and faculty professional development, includes $4 million to support students and teachers.
Through the endowed scholarship fund, students with great promise and ambition will have the opportunity to experience Linsly regardless of their financial means, Barnett said. Additionally, by supporting faculty enrichment through various forms of professional development, Linsly will offer teachers the opportunity to rise with the challenges of our time.
Dr. Donald Hofreuter, longtime Linsly board chairman, is chairing the 200th anniversary capital campaign. He touched on the importance of supporting students and teachers through the effort.
"The strength of our school has always been in our faculty," Hofreuter said. "The 200th anniversary campaign will support our endowment, which will ensure that we can continue to maintain and recruit quality faculty in the years to come. Additionally, it gives more students an opportunity to receive a Linsly education, regardless of their economic background, through endowed scholarships and financial aid."
Barnett explained why the second goal of the campaign, to invest in academic excellence, is so relevant in today's changing educational and economic climate.
"We are living in a time when the top 10 jobs for 2012 didn't even exist in 2004," said Barnett. "It's no longer good enough for students to compete with students on the other side of town. We need to prepare our students to compete in a global economy, to work in jobs that haven't been created yet using technology and tools that haven't yet been invented. How is that possible? By developing flexible and resilient thinkers. We expect our graduates to be adaptive and persistent. We want them to take special pride in the quality of their work. We want them to grow and learn every day of their lives. We want them to serve others with humility and ambition. These qualities lead to success in college and beyond," he said.
Included in this $5 million academic investment package are enhancements to Banes Hall including:
-- A high-tech presentation classroom with stadium style seating for 100;
-- A new academic wing;
-- A redesigned library converting the existing space into a 21st Century information hub;
-- state-of-the-art classroom presentation technology.
Linsly also will completely rebuild its campus-wide technology network infrastructure, Barnett said.
The final campaign priority, creating spaces to grow and learn, supports Linsly's belief that strong minds require healthy bodies. Through a $1 million investment, Linsly will restore and improve Behrens Gymnasium and improve the campus athletic and physical education facilities.
Linsly's bicentennial celebration officially begins with the opening of school for the 2013-14 academic year. DiOrio said Linsly is among an elite group of independent schools to reach this 200th anniversary milestone.
"In the National Association of Independent Schools, of which Linsly is a member, there are approximately 1,400 member schools," DiOrio said. "Fewer than 50 of these schools were founded in 1814 or earlier, and the majority of them are located in New England or on the eastern seaboard. It is a remarkable achievement for any institution to reach the milestone of 200 years, and Linsly is proud to be among the small number of independent schools to celebrate our bicentennial anniversary."
DiOrio went on to explain the significance of celebrating 200 years and Linsly's place in history. "When one considers everything that has happened to our country and to our local community in that time period of 200 years - the Civil War, two world wars, the Great Depression, major floods in the valley, the civil rights movement - we are proud that Linsly has been able to adapt with the times, to persevere and overcome challenges, and to remain committed to the founding mantra of Noah Linsly, 'Forward and No Retreat,' even in the most challenging of times," said DiOrio. "Today, nearly 200 years later, Linsly is stronger than we have ever been in our history. ..."
According to Development Director Mark Landini, Linsly has a series of events planned through the development office to hold celebrations of the 200th anniversary campaign in cities throughout the country, including Pittsburgh, New York City, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Charlotte and Chicago, where many of its alumni now reside.
"The 200th anniversary campaign is an exciting time for Linsly," said Landini. "Linsly has had successful fundraising campaigns in the past, but the bicentennial celebration is truly a unique event. The 200th anniversary campaign is just one part of what will be a year-long celebration that will involve our entire school community, and we look forward to the many events that are planned for our celebration year beginning in the fall of 2013."