Profiles of Giving
Larry Hall was Dean of Students at the Academy for 20 years and most recently works with SA alumni out of the school's Alumni Relations Office. He also began the exchange program with Munich, Germany, in 1978. Larry explains that one of the reasons he started the exchange program "was to give students with demonstrated financial need the opportunity to participate in foreign travel programs. Therefore, I have provided Sewickley Academy with a gift of retirement plan assets for the sole purpose of supporting student foreign travel."
Larry is committed to exchange programs and believes they offer students a global experience difficult to replicate in a classroom. The foreign exchange program fosters a deeper understanding of human global connections through an appreciation of our differences. These programs provide students vital language skills as well as the ability to function in different cultures. Overall, students gain the educational edge they need to succeed in a highly competitive, diverse, and interdependent world.
As a member of the Pillars Society, Larry is helping to sustain Sewickley Academy's tradition of excellence for years to come. The Pillars Society recognizes benefactors who have provided for the Academy's future through charitable gifts such as bequests, trusts, retirement assets or other estate plan gifts.
Growing up, Gretchen Hansen had the chance to experience a vibrant and diverse school community, so when she and her late husband, Sewickley Academy alumnus Gregg Hansen '77, decided to send their children to the Academy, she was hoping for a similar experience for her kids. "When I visited the school, I was so happy with the level of diversity in every facet. No one wants their children to grow up in a cocoon!" With four girls attending - Katherine '07, Julia '09, Laura '12, Sarah '18, - she's had time to realize what a wide breadth of opportunity there is for her girls. "Kids here get a taste of everything and are encouraged to participate widely."
By supporting the PICTURE THIS Campaign, Gretchen believes that she can continue to honor her late husband's vision for increasing the endowment, and it entails more than money: "My philosophy is that philanthropy is so much more than just writing a check. It's coming to the school to donate blood, to participate in activities, to give your time. It's easy to give when it's easy, but it's the giving that requires sacrifice that has the biggest impact personally and outwardly."
Sewickley Academy is a place where the Hansen girls have grown and flourished, and it is Gretchen's hope that it can be a place where, no matter what their background or socioeconomic situation, all students can attend and excel. She is carrying on the Hansen family vision for supporting programs in education, an area she calls "a big passion" of Gregg's. Gretchen Hansen, ever-generous in her philanthropy and commitment to the Academy, is proud to support what's at the core of this Campaign: "It's a great school because of the people who are here. Of course you need facilities and tools, but at the end of the day, it's about people and how we can affect them positively."
Darlene and David Motley
Board of Trustees member David Motley and his wife, Darlene, have a broader reference point than most on independent schools. Because of their relocation to David's hometown of Pittsburgh from Atlanta, their two children, Renee '10 and Carrington '12, attended two other independent schools before coming to the Academy. This allowed the family to assess each aspect of an Academy education on a national level. David explains, "Because of our familiarity with independent schools, we had an idea of the type of education that we wanted for our children. We were looking for a place where the children would have the ability to explore different areas and try a variety of things. It was clear to us that the Academy would provide the depth and breadth of experience that we wanted."
The Motleys have seen their children grow and blossom through the opportunities the Academy has offered. Watching this transformation, the Motleys are confident they made the right decision in choosing Sewickley Academy for their children. David explains, "One of our aspirations as parents is to make sure our children realize their full potential whatever that may be. Having them at the Academy has given us a level of comfort and assurance that this is happening."
Darlene and David are enthusiastic about the goals of the PICTURE THIS Campaign. More specifically, they feel strongly about the additional funds that will go toward assisting families with the cost of an independent school education. They recognize that their children have been the beneficiaries of a unique experience and want to be a part of making this possible for other students. On another level, they see the Campaign as a way to make a great education even better. David says, "Darlene and I share a belief that we have a responsibility not only to sustain the quality educational experience that the school provides, but also to ensure that Sewickley Academy is the distinctive school among distinguished schools for years to come."
Alden H. J. Sector
Alden H. J. Sector was a part of the Sewickley Academy community since his arrived here in 1955, where he taught fifth grade and Middle School history for 33 years. Ancient history was Mr. Sector's favorite topic amongst those he has taught. He was an avid collector of antiques and looked every part the distinguished and discriminating expert. Always smartly dressed, his bright blue eyes saw many students come and go through the Academy throughout the years. He witnessed key transformations at the school, including the creation of the Senior School in 1962. "Sewickley Academy was the focus of my life for a long time," explained Alden, "I formed lasting friendships with some of my students and with their parents as well." After retiring in 1988, Mr. Sector remained a close friend of the school and its constituents and established the Sector Speaker Series in honor of his parents. The series continues to bring distinguished speakers to the Academy to address audiences in the Rea Auditorium.
Mr. Sector was a member of the Pillars Society, which recognizes benefactors who provide for the Academy's future through gifts such as bequests, trusts, or other estate plan gifts. Mr. Sector made a significant contribution to the PICTURE THIS Campaign which established the Alden H. J. Sector Chair in History. The funds from his gift will underwrite the chair holder's salary and provide him/her with a stipend and additional funds which will support learning experiences such as taking students to productions or inviting speakers into the classroom.
Though his relationship with the Academy was unique in its breadth and tenure, he acknowledged that those considering a similar gift have many different reasons for giving: "People give for different reasons, one of which is because they appreciate what the school has done for their kids." For Mr. Sector, it was former student Amy Simmons Sebastian, who prompted him to consider a gift. "I was in the process of writing a new will. I decided that the school had been an integral part of my life since I was 25 years old and this is what I wanted to do."
Richard P. Simmons
Richard P. Simmons' contribution to Sewickley Academy’s PICTURE THIS Campaign is the single largest individual gift in the school's 169-year history. Mr. Simmons believes that Sewickley Academy offers the best opportunities for students to receive the best possible education, and that is why he chose to support the Academy in such a generous way.
Richard served on the board of trustees while both of his children attended. Today, his role in the life of the school has expanded — he is grandfather and step-grandfather to a total of six students currently enrolled at the Academy and a lead donor in the PICTURE THIS Campaign in the hopes that his participation will make the school even stronger. His primary interest, a larger endowment, would help accomplish two things: provide more financial aid while keeping the cost of tuition manageable, and attract the best and brightest educators.
Choosing Sewickley Academy was an easy decision for Simmons and his late wife, Dorothy, when choosing a school for Amy and Brian. “We liked the school's vision and are thankful for what it offered our family. Sewickley Academy provided our kids with great academics and also gave them the opportunity to fully integrate in a school community.”
Today, the Simmons legacy lives on at the Academy. After Dorothy’s death in 2001, Simmons married Virginia Moyles whose children also graduated from the Academy. Now, their six grandchildren from the Sebastian and Curran families continue the tradition and attend the school where their grandparents served as trustees. When on the board, Simmons often used the term “Max Pot” to help facilitate decisions that would continue to “Maximize the Potential” of every student that walked into the classroom. Now he hopes that his gift will inspire others to give.
Karen and Glenn Buterbaugh
For many years, Glenn and his wife Karen have been active volunteers of the Sewickley Academy community. Their participation in the PICTURE THIS Campaign was a natural step for the couple. “To us, PICTURE THIS was a way to tell the story of Sewickley Academy. It encourages the community to imagine what an enhanced endowment can do, what new buildings and resources will provide, and envision the future of the school.”
When Karen and Glenn moved back to Western Pennsylvania in the late 80s, Karen attended an open house at the Academy and remembers being immediately impressed by their student tour guide. In the fall of 1989, their oldest child, Ryan ’02, was enrolled in kindergarten at Sewickley Academy. In the following years, the Buterbaughs enrolled their three daughters at the Academy as well: Kristin ’05, Allison ’08, and Kaitlyn ’11. “We fell in love with Sewickley Academy and as the saying goes, ‘the rest is history,’” they recall.
Glenn and Karen are grateful to the Academy for providing their children with the opportunity to cultivate their individual talents and interests. “All of our children thrived at the Academy. To date, three out of the four have spent a semester in Switzerland when they were sophomores in high school. Their experience abroad not only added breadth to their education, but also contributed in a major way to the teenage maturation process. As a result, it made their college transition easier because they had already developed some of the skills and responsibilities necessary to live away from home.”
Glenn has been an Academy trustee for ten years and board chair for the last two. The Buterbaughs are especially interested in the long-term success of the school and the enhancement of the Academy’s endowment. “We’ve been through this process previously with the ‘Leading the Way’ Campaign, which focused primarily on bricks and mortar. What excited us about PICTURE THIS is the component of a strong endowment — which will afford us the opportunity to have outstanding programs, outstanding faculty, and to enhance the school in many different ways.”
Lisa and Paul Giusti
It was over fifteen years ago that Lisa and Paul Giusti were drawn to Sewickley Academy because of its nurturing and challenging environment as well as its high standards. As parents of Ted ’05 and Christina ’10, they have watched young people develop into individuals who go out into the world to make a difference. “Love and a great education are the best gifts we can give our children.”
A firm supporter of the Sewickley Academy mission, Lisa is Vice-Chair of the Board of Trustees and also serves as co-chair of the Development Committee, Chair of the Committee on Trustees, and a board member and avid supporter of Summerbridge Pittsburgh, the Academy’s award winning summer program.
The Giusti’s philosophy is simple: Life is not a dress rehearsal; make the most of every moment. “We’ve been so lucky to have our kids attend a school where they are encouraged to be the best they can be and to be a part of so many things." The Academy has not only left a good academic impression on their children, but they have also matured socially. “Our kids have grown up with children from various backgrounds and their social awareness has grown accordingly. Sewickley Academy has shown them that every person is valuable and can make a different yet equally meaningful contribution.”
Lisa and Paul wish that such an enriching academic experience could be available for all children. “We’re so grateful for all of the good things in our lives and we feel compelled to help others. We live in a world that’s experiencing some difficult times, and it is more important than ever to keep the Academy thriving.” It was this concern for the future of the school that moved the Giustis to be one of the first contributors to the PICTURE THIS Campaign, with the specific desire to strengthen the endowment.
The Academy is a special place to the Giusti family, a place where each students’ abilities and talents are encouraged and developed. They were happy to make a gift to the PICTURE THIS campaign, knowing that their contribution will help the Academy to remain an exceptional school where children are always the focus.
Douglas B. McAdams
Douglas McAdams is the father of three, two of whom — Megan ’04 and Heather ’09 — call the Academy their alma mater. A man of “firm conviction,” he believes that if an individual provides the best education he can afford and all of the love he can give his children, then one has done a good job as a parent.
Doug considers Sewickley Academy to be a “seat of learning as well as an inspiring environment for any young person, intellectually, socially, academically, and scholastically.” Of particular importance to him is the issue of opportunity. This past year, Mr. McAdams established a scholarship fund at the school, which will enrich the lives of students who want to attend Sewickley Academy but cannot afford to do so on their own. "Through the McAdams Scholars Program, more children will have the opportunity to come here and to excel, and then apply those credentials during the college experience and the rest of their lives.” McAdams Scholars will be students of distinction, selected not only for their academic record, but for their participation on the athletic field and in other areas of school life, including their personal commitment to volunteering in the community.
To address the issue of safety for students on campus, Doug has also made a gift to Phase I of the Campaign which will go toward the building of McAdams Circle, a driveway on the Lower School campus off of Hazel Lane that will make sure pedestrians have a safe space to walk and that will help traffic move efficiently about campus.
Doug is enthusiastic about the future of Sewickley Academy and hopes that others will support its strategic initiatives as well.