The GriffIN Campaigns

“Make no little plans, they have no magic to stir men’s blood, and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work.”

Daniel H. Burnham

A Letter From Our Honorary Campaign Chair

Dear Friends,

There is no greater investment we can make than one in our children. My life’s work in higher education attests to this fundamental belief – we must take very seriously the education and development of our young people. I believe that Roycemore is not only in line with this core belief, but it is also consistently working to improve and enhance the student experience. For these reasons, I agreed without hesitation to serve as the Honorary Chair of the GriffINNOVATION campaign.

Building upon the project-based learning that has a more than 50-year history at Roycemore, this is the ideal time to invest in a facility that will allow Griffins the space to innovate, invent, and inspire others. This is in line with the best of Roycemore’s traditions and characteristics:

Roycemore’s commitment to nurturing students to reach their individual potential, no matter their learning profile, allows students to pursue their unique path to excellence.
The School’s pioneering January Short Term launched 50 years ago, has served as an innovative model adopted by schools and colleges across the country that wish to provide opportunities for high school students to pursue rich independent projects.
Students are individually supported by caring teachers who facilitate their academic as well as social-emotional growth to become confident scholars, active citizens, and compassionate leaders.

Roycemore’s commitment to diversity and inclusion is the envy of independent school peers. Roycemore is now ranked the most diverse private high school in Illinois, with nearly 50% students of color and approximately 40% of students receiving some form of financial aid. The addition of international students offers unique multicultural exposure opportunities to the student body.
An individualized approach is a norm at Roycemore. It results in graduates who matriculate to schools that are as diverse as the student body itself, from large public universities to small liberal arts colleges, from art schools to engineering schools, and from the east coast to west coast and in-between.

Education is in a time of profound change. Modifications to school programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic have only served to accelerate educational transformation. In fact, the processes for college admissions and for hiring entry-level employees are similarly in a period of intense disruption that students are already beginning to experience. The world is shifting to a global rather than a local viewpoint, and jobs are shifting to encompass more teamwork than ever before as more tasks of the industrial era become automated. Because of Roycemore’s approach to education and innovation, it is poised to prepare students for this new environment.

I hope you will be inspired to join me in making a generous commitment to the Campaign and invest in the future of the School. I watched my investment in Roycemore pay off as my son and his peers matured and grew in impressive ways. They left the school ready for whatever challenges were to come and I knew that they would greet those challenges with grace, resolve, and creativity. I invite you, whether your Roycemore is today or in years gone by, to consider what the potential could be, as you explore the ideas herein for the GriffINNOVATION campaign. Let’s do what we can to support Roycemore as a place for young people to thrive.

Jonathan Holloway, Honorary Campaign Chair, President of Rutgers University, and Roycemore Alumni Parent

Dr. Jonathan Holloway is the parent of Ellison, ’21. A world-renowned US Historian, Dr. Holloway was appointed to the position of President of Rutgers University in 2020. Previously, he was Provost of Northwestern University from 2017–2020, and Dean of Yale College and the Edmund S. Morgan Professor of African American Studies at Yale University from 1999–2017. He serves on boards of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the University Research Association, and the Academic Leadership Institute, and is a Fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations.

An Innovation Center: Hanu Snyder ’21 and Aidan Scheidt ’25 Made a Plan

When Roycemore School acquired and renovated 1200 Davis to serve as its new home, it left one space in the building purposely unfinished and dedicated to the future needs of Roycemore’s students. Many of us know it as “Room 200” which is a 6,000 sq. ft. space on the second floor above the existing library and administrative wing. It currently serves as a “warehouse” for extra furniture and storage, as well as a space for painting sets and working on projects.

In January 2020, a high school junior, Hanu Snyder, embarked on an independent January Short Term (JST) project to learn about architecture. JST is a three-week period during which our upper school classes are suspended and students have the opportunity to explore their own passions. He enlisted a current parent who is an architect to serve as his project director and together they developed a plan for a makerspace. They partnered with middle school student, Aidan Scheidt, who had focused his Personal Passion Project (P3) on Room 200, and surveyed the community. They made a presentation to the Roycemore Board of Trustees to transform Room 200 into an innovation center that can serve multiple purposes and created a prototype for consideration.

After a gap year spent teaching and building in Ethiopia, Hanu will head to MIT to study architecture next fall. Both continue to be actively engaged with the Innovation Center project, with Hanu serving on the Steering Committee for Roycemore’s campaign to raise funds, and Aidan serving as the student representative on our Vision and Design team. Together these teams will make their vision a reality! Aidan and his peers will have the opportunity to see this vision fulfilled and benefit from the opportunities of an Innovation Center during their high school career. Hanu will go forward, pursuing architecture with a realized project under his belt. We cannot think of any place, other than Roycemore, where such a story could unfold.

Campaign Steering Committee Members

Sarah Coffman, US/MS Parent
Karen Dinelli, PK Teacher
Kevin Foote, Trustee, US Parent
Victoria Fromm, Trustee, Alumni Parent
Terry Gdoutos ’05, Trustee
Hilda Gonzales, Roycemore Librarian
Shannon Henry, US Science
Charlie Jackson, LS Parent
Rob Linkhart, Alumni Faculty, Alumni Parent
Geoffrey Mark ’85
Bessie Mbadugha, Trustee, LS/US Parent
Susan Osterberg ’62
Deborah Pergament ’87, Trustee
Julianne Raymond ’95
Linda Reed ’65, Trustee, US/MS Grandparent, Alumni Parent
Rosemary Reed ’60
Candace Risen, Trustee, US/MSGrandparent
Berhanu Snyder ’21
Howard Stanley, MS Humanities, LS Parent
Shamar White ’91
Jessi Wunder, Alumni Faculty, Alumni Parent

What is Innovation?

Vision Design Team

Our Vision and Design team is working together with information collected from Parent, Student, and Faculty surveys to build the framework for the new Innovation Center. They are visiting spaces like the Innovation Development Lab at DePaul to gain ideas on design, and use of innovation and maker spaces for students.

Check out this update from Devin Bell, Vision Design Team member and Roycemore Parent. 

Vision Design Team Members

Erik Anderson, 2nd and 4th grade parent
Devin Bell, 1st grade parent
Ruth Bell, 1st grade parent
Eric Calvert, Center for Talent Development
Chris English, Head of School Elect
Adrianne Finley Odell, Head of School
Charlie Jackson, RFA, 3rd and 4th-grade parent
Jason Keiper, 4th and 9th grade parent
Mark Lowry, Trustee
Jennifer Morgenstern, 11th grade parent
Paula Olszewski-Kubilius, Center for Talent Development
Barry Praeuner, 6th grade parent
Keith Raheem, 1st and 5th grade parent
Aidan Scheidt, 9th grade student
Beth Shutters, Faculty, 4th grade parent
Ron Tain, Faculty
Alec Wilson, 11th grade student

Meet the Architect

Weese Langley Weese is a full-service architectural practice with a broad local client base. WLW is a small highly effective open architectural studio in the River North area involved in higher education and affordable housing on a wide range of projects including numerous historic structures and new affordable housing construction. Already the architects and engineers are working on the permitting, subcontracting, and deliverables involving our new staircase. Their work includes leaving options open to one day access the roof!

With excitement and a mission-oriented mindset, WLW will help us take the first steps into the Innovation Center. Our next update should have more information regarding construction!

RFPs are in for the Innovation Center!

As of this writing, the Board Facilities Committee and Vision Design team are hard at work identifying a firm that will help us to design the Innovation Center. Eight firms responded to a request for proposals, four have been selected as finalists, and the final organization will be chosen by the Board of Trustees in early April. We look forward to sharing the drawings and vision with you very soon!

Together we can make this happen – gifts of all sizes are needed to reach our goal!

Capital campaigns are designed to be few and far between and to stretch both the capacity of the organization and ask our donors and friends to consider a multi-year pledge. Over the next few months, a member of our Steering committee may contact you directly to consider a pledge to the campaign.

Now is the best time to invest in Roycemore!

How to Participate

Annual Campaign

Where Participation Counts

Our Annual Campaign is the critical philanthropic component of Roycemore’s yearly budget. These funds impact our daily programming and every single student and faculty member. Roycemore depends on philanthropic support, rather than any form of public funds, to recruit and retain our talented faculty, the largest portion of our annual budget. Your participation is important.

Giving back to the school that gave your child a nurturing space to help them grow into who they are today is an incredible way to honor the teachers who believed in your child and who inspired their success. As a parent of a Roycemore alum, you know better than many how unique Roycemore truly is. Your gift can help ensure that we continue to fulfill our history of life-saving, life-affirming, and life-changing work for years to come, and to ensure that tomorrow’s students receive the same level of education that your own children enjoyed.

GriffINNOVATION Campaign

What Dreams Are Made Of

6,000 square feet of unfinished potential lies in wait at Roycemore School. Many of us know the sun-filled space above the existing library and administrative wing as “Room 200.” It currently serves as a “warehouse” for extra furniture, a “storage unit” for various odds and ends, and a “workspace” for painting sets and project work. It beckons to serve a larger purpose – to house the imaginings of our students. Part old school shop, part magic, and part envisioning the future, it’s an innovation space, a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) lab, a place where students paint on canvas in one corner and design virtual realms in another. At its core, the Innovation Center is a place for making, collaborating, learning, and sharing. It provides hands-on STEAM experiences that are critical for students to gain important problem-solving, design, and prototyping skills. We welcome you to be a part of making the transformation of Room 200 to the Innovation Center a reality.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is this campaign for?

Roycemore’s Innovation Center (AKA Room 200) is 6000 square feet of possibility! Your donation would help transform a lifeless warehouse space into a space for students of all ages to engage in STEAM activities through authentic, hands-on approaches.

What is a meaningful gift?

Only you can answer that. Our plans to upgrade our students’ learning experience will take several years to complete, so you can fund your donation over a period of up to five years. Making your pledge as early as possible will help us break ground! We need everyone in on this exciting time for Roycemore!

Let's cut to the chase. I am already paying tuition, why should I donate money as well?

Bottom line: your gift supports the people and programs that make Roycemore so special. Small class sizes. Socio-economic diversity. Tuition can never cover all of the opportunities our students receive.

How much of a difference can my gift make, really?

Roycemore has a fraction of the supporters of a university or large charity. Because the number is small, but the need is large, each gift given makes an impact. Also, when stakeholders donate, it inspires large institutional donors.

How is my Annual Campaign gift different from this GriffINNOVATION Campaign?

Because paying your mortgage won’t renovate your kitchen! The Annual Campaign funds Roycemore’s day-to-day needs. The GriffINNOVATION Campaign will bring us into a new era of education, ready for our next 106 years.

Is there an opportunity for recognition of my gift through naming a piece of the project?

Yes! After you talk with your family about it, please contact our Campaign Volunteers to start this process.

Why not raise tuition to cover all of the expenses?

That level of tuition would put our beloved school out of reach for more than half of our current students. For 106 years Roycemore has been the answer for many middle class families seeking a better education solution.

Are there more reasons to give?

Pride in the recognition that comes with gift-giving. Making social contacts. Still, more view their giving as a way to become active stakeholders in the school. Finally, it’s a tax deduction!