FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 20, 2016
Dorrie Voulgaris, Director of Advancement
DEMAREST, NJ - With deep gratitude for a significant leadership gift, the Academy of the Holy Angels (AHA) announces the naming of the “Sister Genevieve Kelleher Hall” on its Demarest campus. Once utilized as the primary residence and convent of the School Sisters of Notre Dame (SSND), Sister Genevieve Kelleher Hall will undergo a complete transformation and become a vital hub of interdisciplinary instructional space, artistic expression, and sacred reflection and worship.
The donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, has chosen to honor Sister Genevieve
Kelleher, who served the Academy of the Holy Angels for 63 years from 1948 to 2011. Currently living in the SSND retirement residence in Wilton, CT, Sister Genevieve
epitomizes the mission of the School Sisters, “to proclaim the Good News as School Sisters
of Notre Dame, directing our entire lives toward that oneness for which Jesus Christ was sent.” The School Sisters of Notre Dame who founded the Academy of the Holy Angels in 1879 in Fort Lee, were AHA’s primary faculty members and administrators for over a century, and remain steadfast sponsors and supporters of the institution.
Sister Genevieve Kelleher was the longest serving SSND to Holy Angels, and was a quiet, humble and reassuring presence to the entire school community. During her tenure, she taught English, Religion, Biology, French and History, and was also the school librarian. Sister Genevieve is beloved by decades of AHA alumnae “angels,” and was present at that transformative moment when Holy Angels moved from its first campus in Fort Lee to its present location in Demarest.
As Melinda Hanlon, President expressed, “We are truly honored that the Academy of the Holy Angels is the recipient of this $1 million gift. It is a truly generous and transformative gift for our school and we are blessed to receive it. Recognition of Sister Genevieve has such depth of meaning for all of us. Our Fort Lee alumnae remember her
as a committed and caring teacher, who devoted her life to service. In 1965, she was one of the intrepid women forming the caravan of Sisters who journeyed from Fort Lee to Demarest, personally ferrying many of the School’s furnishings, books, archives and religious articles to our new campus in Demarest. Having then lived at the convent, which will now bear her name, Sister Genevieve inspired thousands of students, who remember her with great affection. In so many ways she has been a constant and steady presence, spanning generations of students and alumnae. Now, the Sister Genevieve Kelleher Hall will extend that bridge to a new future for our facilities, helping to prepare our students to become leaders in their chosen field and transform the world.”
This leadership gift establishes the nucleus fund to launch the Academy’s strategic master facilities plan in earnest. Renovation of the former convent, in part to accommodate increased enrollment, is a key component. Underutilized for over 15 years, the convent’s phased renovation and repurposing began last summer with repairs to the roof and building envelope. Additional features will include new large multi-purpose instructional classrooms, studios and MAC lab for Fine Arts and the STREAM program, a renovated chapel, and the SSND Heritage Suite for religious studies classes, seminars, and campus ministry. Sister Genevieve Kelleher Hall will generate expanded opportunities for interdisciplinary courses and study.
The convent initiative is one element of the strategic master facilities plan which will support all students and be implemented in phases, in order to accommodate the school calendar. Sister Sharon M. Slear, SSND, Chair of the Board of Trustees explained, "The Academy of the Holy Angels has always benefited from wonderful expressions of devotion and generosity from our alumnae, parents and friends, who join with the School Sisters to sustain the mission and vision for AHA. The interdisciplinary approach which we extol is built upon AHA’s core strengths of academic rigor and accomplishments. Over the coming months, we look forward to sharing details of our plans and philanthropic needs with all members of our Holy Angels family. We will continue to aspire to educate young women who will grow, achieve, and serve, and mirror the pioneering spirit of the School’s foundress Sister Nonna Dunphy and devoted faculty such as Sister Genevieve Kelleher.”
For more than 136 years, the Academy of the Holy Angels, sponsored by the School Sisters of Notre Dame, has been young women from all religious backgrounds in a rigorous, college-preparatory program. Located on a college-like campus, AHA is a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence and a National Service Learning Leader School that empowers young women to lead in academics, arts, athletics, spirituality, and service. For more information, visit www.holyangels.org.