At the annual Christmas at the Academy celebration, Brenden Kelley ’08, president of the Alumni Association, presented the 2019 Gilmour Academy Alumni Man and Woman of the Year awards to two alumni who have each impacted the Academy in their own way.
Mary Ann Lasch G.O. ’72 was named Woman of the Year for her tireless efforts to ensure that the Glen Oak spirit lives on at Gilmour, most recently by fundraising for the Glen Oak Scholarship Fund. She was part of a dedicated group of Glen Oak alumnae who, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the opening of Glen Oak (which Lasch pointed out in her acceptance speech was the day after Woodstock!), launched a campaign to raise funds for the Glen Oak Scholarship while increasing awareness and visibility of the fund. The fund awards scholarships annually to young Gilmour women who embody the Glen Oak spirit and motto of “Person. Service. Love.” For more information, visit gilmour.org/glenoak.
In accepting the award, Lasch recalled her days at Glen Oak and shared that the experience was integral to who she is today. She enjoys working with the scholarship committee, which is comprised of a community of Glen Oak alumnae who share the Glen Oak values and are excited to meet the generation of young women who are carrying those values forward. She concluded by thanking the Gilmour community for embracing the Glen Oak spirit and allowing the school’s alumnae to keep that spirit alive.
Matthew P. Figgie ’84 was named the Man of the Year posthumously for the incredible impact he had on the Academy, namely two initiatives that transformed the campus. After discovering that his daughter, Maddie ’25, was taking piano lessons after school on a 99-year-old piano whose keys stuck, Figgie came up with a plan to replace every piano on Gilmour’s campus with a Steinway & Sons piano. The final piano – a Model D concert grand - arrived on campus in November and was placed in The Lorraine and Bill Dodero Center for Performing Arts. Upon receipt of that final piano, Gilmour officially earned its designation as a Steinway Select school, marking Gilmour as the first K-12 school in the Midwest and one of eight in the country to earn the distinction.
Figgie also rebuilt Figgie Field at Sharnsky Stadium. The baseball field now features a state-of-the-art synthetic turfed infield and outfield, making Gilmour the only high school in northeast Ohio with an entirely turfed field.
Just months after the official opening of Figgie Field, Figgie passed away unexpectedly. His daughter, Maddie, accepted the Man of the Year Award on his behalf. Presenting the award, Head of School Kathy Kenny said, “Matthew’s love and pride for Gilmour was unquestionable, but the thing of which he was most proud was his daughter and he wanted to make sure that everything on this campus provided her with the best educational experience.” Maddie’s mother, Betsy Figgie, then shared a few words about Matthew and his love for Gilmour. She closed by saying, “This award on behalf of Matthew is so special to all of us. He would be so pleased.”