As Hugh O’Donnell ’37, finance chairman for the Board of Regents, wrote in the October 1979 issue of Genesis, “though the debt on our beautiful campus is nearly retired, this is no time to retreat from the task of providing excellent educational opportunities in the SI tradition…. Shortly, SI will announce a new program, Genesis II, that will enable our school to enhance its reputation, solidify its financial position and keep the devastations of inflation from sending tuition costs out of sight.”
SI liquidated its debt for the new school on December 31, 1980, and then launched the Genesis II campaign to raise SI’s endowment from $1.1 million to $4.5 million by 1985. The school would use the interest from the fund for “scholarships, facilities maintenance and to offset rising salaries.” In addition, the school hoped to raise an additional $250,000 each year to help keep pace with inflation.15
The Alumni Association pitched in by launching the first annual Golf and Tennis Tournament on June 6, 1983. The event is still held and is now billed as the All Class Reunion and Sports Day, bringing alumni from all eras back to SI.
Key to the success of the Genesis II campaign was William McDonnell ’42, Chairman of the Board of Regents from 1980 through 1991. After graduating from SI and USF, he and Gene McAteer became partners in Tarantino’s and The Spinnaker restaurants. (William’s son, Tim McDonnell ’71, now manages those businesses.) McDonnell joined the Board of Regents in 1973, chaired then by the Hon. Eugene Lynch ’49. When Fr. Sauer asked McDonnell to serve as chairman, he and regent Hugh O’Donnell tried to assess the school’s financial situation — not an easy task given the accounting practices at the time. He then worked with Fr. Sauer to bring people to the board who had a variety of talents that could serve the school over the years including Bill McInerney, a talented lawyer; Paul Hazen, president of Wells Fargo Bank; and Martin D. “Pete” Murphy, senior partner of Tobin & Tobin, who would succeed McDonnell as chairman.
McDonnell praises Steve Lovette and Frs. Prietto, Carlin and Sauer for the success of the Genesis II, III and IV campaigns. “They made an amazing team. They understood the problems and suffered through many meetings to arrive at creative answers.” He also encouraged the business office to adopt modern accounting procedures, and Michael Silvestri ’67 was made business manager in 1985.