Building on a Strong Foundation

Just a short time ago, the Winn Science Center was nothing but a concrete slab; even the most ambitious projects start out with a foundation.
It took just three months to assemble the Winn Science Center’s steel frame atop the concrete foundation, outlining a building that will inspire Marksmen for decades to come. In January, the entire School community watched as the final beam, speckled with the signatures of the senior class, teachers, and project leaders, was lifted onto the top of the planetarium dome. Just a month later, the steel skeleton is now filled in with fiberglass sheathing, sloped metal trusses border the roof, and the top of the planetarium gleams with metal decking that will soon support the signature copper dome.
 
Since the opening of the McDermott-Green Math-Science Quadrangle in 1961, science and technology have advanced exponentially. To ensure Marksmen are prepared to face the challenges of an ever-changing world, the School regularly updates its strategic plan. The latest iteration, Goals for St. Mark’s IV, identifies the School’s opportunity to “strengthen and expand science and technology education through the construction of the Winn Science Center and the renovation of the McDermott-Green Physical Science Center.”
 
Since its beginning, St. Mark’s has benefited from strong supporters and visionary leaders who seek to further the School’s mission of leading young men forward on the Path to Manhood. A half century ago, the McDermotts and Greens laid the foundation for a major transformation in science education. And today, this tradition of support continues, with a new cadre of community members who have played a foundational role in the success of the School and will enable a bright future for the next generation of leaders and innovators. They have a great understanding of the early and lasting impact St. Mark’s has on students. Through that lens, they can see the Science Center’s potential as a powerful vessel for exposing Marksmen to skills that are so critical for today’s workplace and society.
Some supporters have been part of St. Mark’s for most of their lives. Jon Mosle III ’79 came to St. Mark’s in sixth grade and, after commencement, returned to serve on its Alumni Association Board and the Board of Trustees, including a term as President on both, all while watching his son, Michael ’16, forge his own Marksman experience.
 
“Listening to the faculty talk about the ways the building could transform teaching at St. Mark’s made a big impact on our family,” Jon said. “This impressive space will inspire each student and create new opportunities to find something really exciting.”
 
Other supporters are relatively new to the community but are no less enthusiastic about this project. “The value of a science education early enough in a child's life cannot be overestimated,” said Sam Darwish, father of Jason ’29 and Samo ’27. “The advances of science lie at the heart of development and continual advancement, and science does not work without facilities, labs, and equipment. This building will enable teachers to cultivate future scientific thinkers.”
 
While this new building will be a boon for science education, it will benefit every Marksman on campus. After watching her sons, Jack ’14 and Rob ’17, spend their formative years at St. Mark’s, and after serving nearly two decades as a Trustee, Kathy Crow understands the importance of a comprehensive education:
"While my sons didn't go into STEM fields, math and science definitely played a role in how they developed their learning skills, learning how to collaborate, how to study, and how to look at the world outside of the box."
Kathy also sees the Science Center Project as an investment in the School’s most valuable asset: its teachers. “I would say every single one of the faculty with whom my boys had contact were impactful in who they've become.”
 
Fellow Trustee Dr. Brad Hirsch ’97 can personally relate to this sentiment. Much of his own career path through medicine and technology has been defined by the atmosphere of St. Mark’s, his fellow students, and his teachers.
 
“Of all the schools I’ve attended, St. Mark’s is the most important in terms of giving me the toolset to be successful,” Dr. Hirsch said. “That’s a lot of the reason I’m involved in the Science Center and on the Board.”
 
Though his career path led to business and investment, Jon Mosle feels lucky to have had the opportunity to sit in the science classrooms of legends like Steve Seay ’68. “Part of it was the personal relationships that faculty developed with students. Mr. Seay was just a great guy, and his enthusiasm and passion for what he did was contagious.”
 


Jon saw these relationships continue in the next generation of Marksmen, as his son Michael formed bonds with teachers across all disciplines and interests, from physics and engineering to sculpture and English literature.
 
Anyone who is a part of the St. Mark’s community will tell you that, while academics are second to none, the most important lessons Marksmen learn are about character and leadership. The new Science Center will certainly provide unparalleled learning opportunities in engineering, chemistry, biology, and beyond. But, more important, it will continue to facilitate the relationships through which St. Mark’s faculty can impart true lessons of manhood.
 
“St. Mark’s focuses on growing these young men into people who are thoughtful citizens in their communities and people who want to move others forward, which to me is the definition of leadership,” Kathy said.
 
Though his two sons are relatively new to St. Mark's, Sam has already witnessed the important lessons they are learning. Like so many in the community, Sam recognizes St. Mark’s is a special place worthy of a lasting investment. “I’ve seen a lot of educational institutions,” Sam said. “I have to say this is one of the best in the nation. It's probably one of the best in the world, and I will always be attached, committed, engaged, and grateful for St. Mark’s.”

Video: Topping Off Ceremony

    • The planetarium dome begins to take shape over the steel structure, including the final beam, signed by members of the community.

      The planetarium dome begins to take shape over the steel structure, including the final beam, signed by members of the community.