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Forever a Dragon - Alumni Promise the Power of an O’Dowd Education for Tomorrow’s Dragons

Class of '58

“My time at O’Dowd helped shape me into the person I am today. My teachers, my classmates, and the experiences we had together are ones I hope for every student. These shared experiences are what make us forever Dragons.” - Susan Frank Lambertson ’58

Each year, O’Dowd welcomes alumni back to campus to celebrate their milestone reunion. The special day is filled with joy as Dragons reconnect with one another, visit with their former teachers, and relive their student memories. “At the last Reunion Day I enjoyed seeing students from the past and catching up,” remarks Dennis Dougherty, recently retired math teacher. “Seeing the alumni reminds me of the impact we make in the classroom.”

At every reunion, our alumni enjoy seeing how the campus has changed since their graduation. In small tours alumni experience firsthand how impactful an O’Dowd education continues to be. “O’Dowd is always moving forward,” says Jim Canty ’60. “The school’s exceptional Catholic, college-preparatory education has stayed consistent for the last 72 years and produces extraordinary graduates. We all share in maintaining this legacy.”

John Dennis Heagerty '60 and Jack Nelson

Last year, 828 alumni made gifts to O’Dowd, representing a 10% increase over the previous year. These gifts support the school, including O’Dowd’s tuition assistance program, which provides a financial bridge to over 350 students each year. In honor of their milestone reunions, our alumni are making a promise of an O’Dowd education for all future Dragons by creating class endowments. “Financial aid is critical to maintain opportunities for students who cannot otherwise afford to attend O'Dowd,” reflects John Heagarty ’60, who helped his class begin their endowment. “Tuition assistance ensures that the O'Dowd student body continues to reflect diversity, opportunity, and accomplishment. All of which the school has been nationally recognized for.”

The Class of 1960 was the first to create an endowment, with classmates spearheading a $35,000 scholarship fund in 2014. Since then the endowment has grown to over $650,000.

More recently, the Class of 1988 formed a Reunion Committee, which joined together to ensure great attendance at Reunion Day and ask their peers to participate in founding a new 1988 Class Endowment. The result was the strongest reunion attendance by any one class, AND they raised more than $40,000 for their endowment fund. “O’Dowd gave us a great education, and we want to ensure that money isn’t an obstacle for a family to send their kid to O’Dowd!” shares Jason Mack ’88.

Since the Class of 1960, thirteen alumni classes have started a Class Endowment to support today’s students. These endowments currently hold over $1.5M, which will continue to grow and distribute funds every year in perpetuity. This year the classes of 1974, 1984, and 1989 are joining the promise, actively building their class endowment funds in honor of their upcoming reunions. Ahead of her 50th reunion in May, Carol Heard ‘74 recalls her experience and says, “I want to continue to financially support the school to ensure that O’Dowd continues to offer the exceptional programs and socioeconomic diversity that makes O’Dowd unique.”

This year’s Reunion Day, celebrating classes ending in 4 and 9, will take place on campus on Saturday, May 4, 2024. Learn more about our Reunion Day and about creating a class endowment.


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