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Former McDonogh parent Edward St. John, McDonogh trustee Jack Luetkemeyer, and Headmaster Charlie Britton addressed students, faculty, staff, and benefactors gathered to celebrate the opening of the Edward St. John Student Center. Members of the Upper School jazz band played "Future So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades" for attendees who wore orange and black sunglasses as part of the festivities.
Video coverage by Cindy Green.

Edward St. John Student Center Dedication Reflects McDonogh’s Bright Future

The weather on Friday, April 4 was not what drove more than 1,400 members of the McDonogh School community to don orange and black sunglasses; it was the bright future they were seeing at the dedication of the Edward St. John Student Center. As the entire school community and almost 200 special guests gathered outside the new student center for the celebration, an Upper School band set the tone for the event playing “The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades.”

The ceremony began with a spirited welcome from Headmaster Charlie Britton, who shared his excitement about the variety of new spaces in the student center that will foster learning and community. Britton also recognized special guests saying, “Every one seated before me and on the stage has played a key role in making the opening of the Edward St. John Student Center a reality.”

Following Britton’s introduction, devoted trustee and McDonogh benefactor Jack Luetkemeyer spoke directly to the student body about his friend Edward St. John, and the series of events which led to Mr. St. John’s transformational gift for the development of the new student center. Luetkemeyer said that there are many lessons to be learned from Mr. St. John and his support of McDonogh. He went on to describe St. John as a generous and modest man, a man of great character who is committed to supporting scholarship.

Before welcoming Mr. St. John to the podium, Luetkemeyer said, “This quote describes Edward St. John: ‘To give life a meaning, one must have a purpose larger than one’s self, and more enduring than one’s life.’”

Mr. St. John was clearly pleased to be among the students who will benefit from the building that bears his name. During his remarks, St. John said, “Supporting education is my philanthropic priority. I strongly believe that education has the power to transform lives and transform communities.” He talked to the student body about the importance of “giving back and helping others," not for recognition but because it is the “right thing to do.” He emphasized, “The satisfaction you will receive from helping others is reward enough.”

After addressing the crowd, Mr. St. John was joined by two students from each division for the official ribbon cutting. The excitement built to a crescendo thanks to a drum roll and a countdown from the audience. When the official ribbon was cut, orange and black streamers filled the air, and the band resumed playing the theme song of the day, “The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades.”

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