Gilmour Receives Transformational Gift From The Howley Foundation

The 2022-23 academic year opened with news of a transformational gift from The Howley Foundation. The $28 million commitment will impact Gilmour students through scholarships for years to come and will provide much-needed renovations to the heart of campus - Tudor House and the Commons. 

The gift will support 48 students in Grades 7-12 with annual scholarships and will provide for a variety of capital needs at Gilmour, including a new Student Commons and dining hall as well as the restoration of Tudor House and Tudor Gardens.

While providing deserving students access to a high-quality education is their passion, the Howleys were looking to support Gilmour in whatever other ways would be most helpful. When asked about the school’s needs beyond scholarships, Head of School Kathy Kenny shared the urgent need for the renovation and expansion of the existing Commons building and the restoration of the exterior of Tudor House and Tudor Gardens.

The new Student Commons will serve as the campus dining hall and will more than double seating capacity to accommodate Gilmour’s current student body, and the faculty and staff of the Middle and Upper Schools, as well as to allow for future increases in enrollment. The space will feature a college-style dining layout, with enhanced dining options to meet students’ varying dietary needs. It will also serve as a gathering space for student and faculty use throughout the school day.

The renovations of Tudor House and Tudor Gardens will ensure that these 98-year-old campus icons will endure for future generations of Gilmour students, faculty and alumni. This phase of restoration will remediate the slate roof and numerous chimneys, copper gutters and flashing, masonry, windows, doors and foundation. The repair of Tudor Gardens will include the stone balustrade, steps and walkways. Once complete, these historic spaces will once again be used for alumni and parent gatherings, and student meetings and events.  

Kathy Kenny said, “I am in awe of the generosity of The Howley Foundation and their commitment to changing the trajectory of young people’s lives through education. We are so grateful for their trust in Gilmour Academy and this incredible partnership.”

Nick Howley earned a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering from Drexel University and his MBA from Harvard School of Business. He is a founder and chairman of Transdigm Group, a publicly traded company on the NY Stock Exchange servicing the worldwide aerospace industry. Lorie graduated with both a Bachelor of Science and a master’s degree in ornamental horticulture from Cornell University. She worked for many years in horticulture education and was the founding Director of The Howley Foundation.  

Asked why they chose Gilmour for this huge commitment, Nick said, “Our Foundation’s goals align well with Gilmour’s mission of providing a strong academic foundation and significant character formation to students from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds. With Mike and Meg as graduates, we know firsthand the impact a Gilmour education can have.” 

Two of their children, Michael ’01 and Meg ’03, attended Gilmour for middle school and high school. Mike graduated from the Washington & Jefferson College with a degree in finance and, after gaining experience at commercial banking, New York City investment banking and private equity firms, he is now the the managing partner at Bratenahl Capital, a private equity firm in Cleveland.

Meg graduated as a psychology major from Hobart and William Smith Colleges. She went on to earn subsequent graduate degrees at Drexel University and Rowan University and became a licensed school psychologist. She is now the Executive Director of The Howley Foundation in Philadelphia.

Mike and Meg remain actively involved at their alma mater. Mike is a current member of Gilmour’s Board of Trustees and, as an alum and a Foundation Executive Director, Meg is closely involved in the Howley Scholars Program at Gilmour. Mike shared, “As graduates of Gilmour, Meg and I are thrilled with this donation from The Howley Foundation. It will provide opportunities for more students to benefit from the same academic excellence and character formation that defined our experience.”

The Howleys made this commitment to Gilmour in gratitude for the experience that their children had there. Nick and Lorie have been involved at the school since their kids arrived at the Middle School in the ’90s. In the years since, they have remained loyal supporters. Nick served on the Board of Trustees from 2002-2012 and Lorie has worked with Gilmour through the scholarship program. The Howley Foundation has been providing scholarships at Gilmour for 16 years. They started with one Howley Scholar in 2006 and have added additional scholarships each year. This past school year, there were 11 Howley Scholars enrolled at Gilmour. With this new commitment, by 2026, there will be 48 Howley Scholars enrolled each year.

The Howley Foundation takes a hands-on approach with their scholars. Members of the Foundation’s Board meet with their scholars to check in, develop relationships and go over expectations. Howley Scholars must maintain a specific GPA, must remain in good standing with the school and must be involved in at least one extracurricular. 

Meg commented, “We support over 800 students with tuition assistance and access to a quality education. My years at Gilmour uniquely prepared me for college and beyond. I am proud that we are able to provide the advantages of a Gilmour education to the students that we support.”

And the Foundation works to ensure that they are investing in schools at which their students are finding success. They have hired a Gilmour grad, David Corvi ’03, to serve as a consultant doing analytics on each of the schools in which they are involved. Dave looks at outcomes such as college placement and retention rates to ensure that the students’ needs are being met.  

The Howleys also recognize the pivotal role that counselors play in the success of their scholars and ensure that the schools have the proper support system in place to help students find success. This June, Gilmour hired Kevin Johnson as the Howley Scholars Coordinator. Kevin serves as a point person for each Howley Scholar and their family. He assists them with the application process and then remains as a point of contact throughout the students’ years at Gilmour. 

Board of Trustees Chair Fred Botek ’85 stated, “The impact of the Howley family and this gift cannot be overstated. These multi-year scholarships that we will be able to offer will allow deserving students the chance to shape their future through the power of education. And the capital improvements planned are centered on preserving our incredible sense of community on this campus. We are so grateful to The Howley Foundation for their vision, their leadership and their generosity in support of our shared mission.”

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An independent, Catholic, coed, day and boarding school in the Holy Cross tradition. Toddler-Grade 12.