Holy Ghost Prep receives the largest gift in its history
Posted 12/30/2016 08:55AM


Holy Ghost Prep receives the largest gift in its history

Holy Ghost Prep has received a $500,000 gift from the Holt family, the single largest individual gift in its history, the school announced during a Dec. 20 school assembly in the Firebird Fieldhouse.

The family’s gift will serve as the naming gift for the Holt Center, a campus jewel that will debut in late 2017 and will include a performing arts center, a multi-purpose gymnasium, music instruction rooms, and special training areas for baseball, track and field, golf, lacrosse, and rowing. The Holt Center will serve Holy Ghost students but also will be available to community groups.

In addition to their generous Activity Center pledge, the Holts have also announced an additional $150,000 matching gift challenge. This additional gift, if achieved through alumni and parent leadership donations, will support the two-phased construction of a STEM Tower in Cornwells Hall. In phase one of the project, the lower level of the northeast wing of Cornwells Hall will be converted this summer into a maker space where students will be creative, experiment, and build practical projects. The second phase of the project will result in the building of two STEM-based biology labs, two STEM-based physics labs, and two STEM-based chemistry labs.

“This is a landmark day in the history of Holy Ghost Prep,” said Holy Ghost Prep president Gregory J. Geruson ’79. “The Holts have a deep and real passion for Holy Ghost, its students, its faculty, and the values that the school instilled in them. Thanks to the Holts’ generosity, we are starting a new chapter in the history of Holy Ghost Prep, one that will propel our already great school to even greater heights.”

The just-announced gift to name the Holt Center and to help the construction of Holy Ghost’s STEM Tower puts the Holt family in rareified air as the only family to have donated over $1 million to the school.   

The Holts are an HGP institution.  Tom Holt ’81 was the first family member to attend Holy Ghost Prep and now sits on the school’s Board of Trustees. Tom’s brothers, Leo ’82 and Michael ’91, are also Holy Ghost graduates and all three brothers serve together as executives in Holt Logistics Corp., the family’s 40-year-old marine terminal business. Tom’s four sons—Thomas III ’02, Eric ’03, Phillip ’01, and Christian ’11—are all HGP graduates too, as are four of his nephews (L.J. Petroni ’98, Rich Petroni ’02, Nicholas DiBello ’01, and Angelo DiBello ’05).

For the Holts, Holy Ghost Prep is more than a school. It helps define them. But the Holts want people to know that their connection to Holy Ghost is more than a name on a building. It’s a lifelong connection.

“The (Holt Center) name is less important to us than the legacy of the young people going through it and what it means to them and how they’ll be able to enjoy it,” Leo Holt says. “It’s less important than the fact that Holy Ghost will continue the traditions it established.”

The Holt Center, when completed, will be vital step in Holy Ghost’s quest to become the area’s premier Catholic college preparatory school.

“We enjoyed many advantages at Holy Ghost, one of the very best high schools in the country,” Tom Holt said. “And we learned that because we had the benefit of such a great education, we had the obligation to give back so that other young men can have the same experience and enjoy a great head start in life.

“That’s really why we’re here today: Because the Holt family understands and cherishes the chance to give back to the school that has meant so much to our family.”

The Holt family’s $150,000 matching gift challenge should inspire HGP donors to completely fund the school’s major gift initiatives, including the Holt Center and the STEM Tower project.

“We hope this challenge will inspire additional generosity to Holy Ghost,” Tom Holt says. “This matching gift challenge will allow certain gifts to the school’s Vision 2020 initiative to be matched dollar for dollar and will enable Holy Ghost Prep to fund and complete these bold initiatives.”