Genesis III Capital Campaign

Before SI went coed, it had a student body of around 1,100 boys. After coeducation began, enrollment soared to 1,450 boys and girls. When the trustees voted to allow girls, they knew they would have to build to accommodate the larger and more diverse population.

In planning for the construction, the development office hired a consulting firm to help determine the scope of the project. That firm advised the school against aiming for the $16 million mark, believing it was too high. Fortunately, the development staff ignored the advice and went ahead, launching, on December 1, 1990, the Genesis III: Building for the Future capital campaign — a $16 million fund-raising drive to pay for a new theatre, pool, garage, tennis courts and gym and to remodel the Student Activities Center, the first and third floors of the school and the campus ministry center.

The school hired the architecture firm of Corlett, Skaer and DeVoto Architects and put much of the planning in the hands of Randy DeVoto ’68. DeVoto’s firm had designed the Glen Park and Balboa Park BART stations, the 1960 Winter Olympics facility at Squaw Valley and educational and government buildings throughout California.

DeVoto had to figure out a way to allow for construction with minimal disruption to classes and extracurricular events. He split the project into three phases, the first involving the construction of a parking garage at the southern end of the campus with four rooftop tennis courts, with work beginning in 1989. The second phase included the remodeling of the first and third floors of the school building, the student activities center and the campus ministry center. For the final and largest phase, the school hoped to build a second gym, a pool and a black box theatre. The project also involved updating the library, science labs, energy conservation system and the interior corridor.

DeVoto hoped his redesign would reorient the campus around an interior pedestrian circulation spine that would allow students to reach every part of the campus without having to go outside the school. “We accomplished this by demolishing a classroom at the south end of the first floor of the academic building and extending the existing corridor through it,” said DeVoto. “This new extended corridor, which connected to the new student center, served as a hub for students to gather.”

To raise funds for this project, the school asked Steve Lovette ’63 to make a move from the south end of the campus, where he served as assistant principal for academics, to a new office at the north end of campus as the school’s vice president for development. In his 15 years in the Development Office, Lovette has led the school through two successful campaigns including Genesis IV: Endow SI, which brought the school’s endowment to the $50 million mark. Both Fr. Prietto and Fr. Sauer praise him for his unfailing loyalty to the school, the professionalism with which he performs his job and the intelligence and foresight he has shown in preparing SI for the challenges of the new millennium.

Assisting Lovette and Fr. Sauer was a new Development team that formed in the late 1980s. In 1987, Paul Totah ’75 (the author of this book) began editing theGenesis magazine, and two years later Jim Dekker ’68 took over as Alumni Director. Bob Graby, a foreign language teacher and counselor, joined the staff to write grants, and Stella Muscat was hired to oversee all special events, such as the auction and President’s Cabinet Dinner. Shirley Minger, Katie Kohmann and Concie Tarantino continue to do a remarkable job helping as part of the Development staff.

Leading the drive for funds was Martin D. “Pete” Murphy ’52, senior partner of Tobin & Tobin and president of the law firm. As chairman of the Board of Regents between 1991 and 1996, he made sure that SI would earn enough money to pay for the facilities it needed. Murphy, who served as chairman of the Genesis III: Building for the Future capital campaign, was aided by assistant chairman Jay Fritz, honorary chairman Al Wilsey and the entire Board of Regents. Before the school announced the $16 million campaign, these men raised $2.5 million from the members of the Board of Regents in 1989. “The regents came through because they believed in the school,” said Murphy. “They made fund-raising easier when people saw the level of support coming from those regents.”

Key to financing the project was a $7 million line of credit from Wells Fargo, secured thanks to Wells’ Chairman Carl Reichardt, President Paul Hazen and Senior Vice President Paul Watson ’57. Fortunately, too, for SI, the construction industry was in a lull. For the largest and final phase, seven companies bid, with Webcor turning in the lowest figure at $7 million, a full $2 million under the architect’s estimate. Webcor finished on time and with no cost overruns. “We couldn’t have built at a better time,” said Murphy.

“When we started, the $16 million figure seemed like $600 million,” Murphy added. “The school had never raised that much money that quickly. But we finished with only a small amount of disruption to the school, and we ended up raising close to $20 million, giving us a jump start on the next campaign to increase the endowment. I’ve run four capital campaigns in my life, and this was the best. We had a real spirit of optimism. Much of that credit goes to the SI community. People really care about the school.”

Murphy could have stayed on longer as board chairman, but he believed the regents needed new blood and stepped down in 1996. The school, grateful for his counsel and leadership, asked him in 1998 to become one of the first lay members of a reorganized Board of Trustees, and he has served the school in that capacity and as a lifetime member of the Board of Regents since then.

Assisting Murphy through his years at SI was his wife, Joanne, who served as chairwoman of an Ignatian Guild fashion show, created the first International Food Faire and chaired the groundbreaking ceremony in 1989. Murphy is also proud of his long association with the Jesuits. He spent 11 years in Jesuit schools — four at SI, four at SCU and three at USF law school — and his three sons (Martin ’84, John ’86 and Pat ’91) are all SI grads.