Continuing the Legacy

There's a recurring phrase heard around campus: "We stand on the shoulders of giants."
Throughout its 113-year history, St. Mark’s has taken numerous leaps forward to ensure that the School is well-equipped to educate and develop character-driven leaders. In the 1960s, the School saw a need to expand its science education facilities and the McDermott and Green families stepped up to lead the construction of the state-of-the-art Science & Mathematics Quadrangle, which helped elevate St. Mark’s to the national stage. That building, with its iconic planetarium and observatory dome, signaled to the Dallas community that St. Mark’s was serious about doing exceptional things in education. It attracted the curiosity of young boys who would grow up to become national leaders, like technology entrepreneur Steve Winn ’64. As he stood before the new Winn Science Center bearing his family’s name in 2019, Steve recalled, “The Science-Math Quad was the catalyst that brought me to St. Mark’s. My dream formed the first time I saw it. I didn’t know Cecil Green and Eugene McDermott, but their generosity built this most amazing place, and I became fixated on becoming a part of it.”

Just as the McDermotts and Greens contributed to a transformative facility in the 1960s, the Science Center Project leaders, including the Winns and other families, are ensuring a strong future for St. Mark’s. One of the Project’s supporters, Alan Schoellkopf ’91, has personally witnessed St. Mark’s multigenerational impact. His father, an alumnus from the Class of 1960 and a former St. Mark’s Trustee, ingrained in Alan the importance of philanthropy and community support.
    • The original McDermott-Green Science & Mathematics Quadrangle.

      The original McDermott-Green Science & Mathematics Quadrangle.

“My parents have always shown a steadfast commitment and dedication to St. Mark’s that is important to me to continue for generations to come,” Alan said. “We all want to see our lives have meaning beyond our own lifetime and supporting St. Mark’s allows me a chance to share what is meaningful and important in sustaining future success and greatness.”

Today, Alan watches his son, a member of the Class of 2027, attend classes on the same campus and, in some cases, with the same teachers who shaped his own youth. And just as his father inspired him, Alan hopes that his generosity will inspire his son’s generation. “If you are thankful and appreciative of what you have been given by those before you, contribute now and don’t wait. Your legacy does not begin later in life. It starts today.”

This fall, when Alan’s son enters Middle School, he will be among the first students to learn in the renovated McDermott-Green Physical Science Center. The renovation efforts will modernize 25,000 square-feet of classrooms, labs, offices, and meeting spaces while also honoring the memory of its benefactors. As students enter this building and look to the future, it is important that they also are reminded of the strong foundation upon which St. Mark’s is built.
    • Students play Spikeball outside of the McDermott-Green Science Center (left) and the Winn Science Center (right).

      Students play Spikeball outside of the McDermott-Green Science Center (left) and the Winn Science Center (right).

As a student attending class in the original Quadrangle, Mike Warnecke ’87 recalls the palatable impact he felt from the McDermott’s and Green’s generosity. “I was keenly aware that the McDermott-Green Science & Mathematics Quadrangle represented the very best of St. Mark’s. It represented the tradition of academic excellence, the tradition of pushing the limits of what a high school could be, and the tradition of setting high expectations for what the students would do in their careers and in their own philanthropy as adults.”

Recognizing the impact that St. Mark’s benefactors had on his own life, Mike has remained an active member of the community and a steadfast supporter of projects like the construction of the Winn Science Center and renovations to the McDermott-Green Physical Science Center. He refers to his support as a “force-multiplier,” allowing him to deliver the next generation of science education to the St. Mark’s community. Mike hopes his actions will inspire current students to give back. 
“The best way for boys to honor the generosity of the Winn family and the other Science Center donors is to focus on putting their hearts and souls into their studies and to engage in the programs offered," said Mike Warneck ’87. "The rest will come naturally.”
Attending class alongside Mike, David McAtee ’87 felt similar gratitude for the facilities they enjoyed. In the late 1980s, the School had begun planning the next major phase of the campus master plan, which included reevaluating the needs of the Science & Mathematics Quadrangle. David took an interest in this project and, during his senior year, he helped the School’s leadership tackle this project. “With graduation approaching, I had only a few months to enjoy my time on campus, and I wanted to channel my energy into something that might add value to St. Mark’s long after Commencement.”

Having received so much from St. Mark’s, David wanted to give back however he could. He worked closely with the administration to identify the School’s needs and how to achieve them. “My favorite part of the project was joining then-Headmaster David Hicks in his meetings with some of our most generous benefactors. Being a part of those conversations, sitting between David and some of our city’s most respected figures, was my first and most lasting lesson on the importance of philanthropy.”
    • Students study and collaborate in the Winn Science Center common area.

      Students study and collaborate in the Winn Science Center common area.

Thirty years later, David McAtee continues to invest in St. Mark’s, serving as a Trustee and supporting the Science Center Project. This new facility builds on the vision of those benefactors he met with as a senior, ensures a bright future for the next generation of Marksmen, and stands to inspire a new generation of supporters. “I’m delighted by the impact that the Winn Science Center is already having on my own son. I hope that, before he graduates, I can teach him the same lesson I learned so naturally back in 1987.”

As a whole, the Science Center Project will provide two incredible new facilities for Marksmen and their teachers. The two buildings, the Winn Science Center and the McDermott-Green Physical Science Center, also represent the impact that individuals can have on future generations. Eugene McDermott and Cecil Green may not have imagined all that their Science & Mathematics Quadrangle would inspire. Since the 1960s, Marksmen have become leaders in every industry and discipline. Marksmen are developing autonomous cars, performing life-saving medical research, and exploring both the furthest reaches of space and the deepest points under our oceans. However, the McDermotts and Greens were likely well aware that in supporting St. Mark’s, they were teaching boys the value of philanthropy and generosity. These are lessons that Marksmen indeed learned well and continue to practice today.

Construction Updates