Sunday, March 09, 2014 5:22 AM
Published on: Thursday, May 06, 2010
By Rebecca Campbell
For the last ten years, Father William George S.J. (Society of Jesus) has presided over Georgetown Preparatory School in North Bethesda; next month however will see him handing over his title as president of the oldest all-boys boarding school in America when he retires June 30.
Taking the place of Father George, will be Rev. Michael Marco S.J., who currently leads Walsh Jesuit High School in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, where he has served as President since 2003.
Ten years ago, the Board of Trustees and Father George set goals that he wanted to achieve as President of Georgetown Prep. Not only did he want to renovate and expand Prep’s physical facilities, but the institutions financial future needed to be secured.
“Most of my goals for Prep have been met. If we did not have the economic downturn the endowment would have been where I wanted it,” Father George said. “We are in good shape, but like most schools, trying to recover. We are recovering well with belt tightening and generous parents, alumni and friends.”
A man who has achieved an immense amount during his presidency at Georgetown Prep, Father George has transformed the school into what it is today; one of the best Jesuit schools in the world that displays an environment that students and parents can enjoy, with an energizing cultural diversity.
“When I came to Prep, the Board of Trustees and I were absolutely on the same page,” Father George said. “Together we created a Master Plan designed by Leo Daly. Together, with wonderful benefactors, we built a magnificently green and engaging campus.”
The Master Plan which couldn’t have been made possible without the help of donors who gave $33 million in pledges, $22 million in cash, plus a land leash of 3.7 of the 91 acres at Georgetown Prep. These contributions have enabled the school to grow $1.6 million a year with a 3 percent increase for the next 99 years.
“This provides a wonderful cash flow and asset that adds a lot of financial security to Prep,” Father George said. “One of a president’s most important responsibilities is to ensure financial security for the school, so I am most proud of what that leash gives Prep. It is Prep’s major endowment.”
Father George has also seen the Prep’s faculty grow in excellence, which is demonstrated through the number of teachers who hold Ph.D.’s.
“Our language and science departments have evolved tremendously,” Father George said. “Our students have been accepted into the best of universities throughout the world. There are a huge number of boys who want to attend Prep, which is directly linked to the sense of family we all share on campus.”
Many faculty members and students have expressed their appreciation of the work Father George has achieved over the years of his presidency at Prep, wishing him the best for life after Georgetown Prep.
Rev. Marco, who will assume the presidency on July 1, 2010, was named President after a unanimous vote of the Board of Trustees on November 20, 2009.
“Rev. Mike is an energetic, bright and talented Jesuit priest,” Father George said. “It’s every Jesuit president’s dream to have a Jesuit brother in Christ succeed him. Not every school is this fortunate. Prep is most fortunate to have him as my replacement.”
“I’m thrilled to be joining the community at Georgetown Prep,” Father Marco said. “I’ve met so many committed and talented people during this process; I’m beyond excited to join forces with this group and continue the tradition of excellence that has marked this school for over 200 years.”
The choice of Rev. Marco comes after a four-month, nationwide search that was led by board member Thomas J. Boyland. After a pool of more than fifty applicants, Father Marco was selected from three Jesuit finalists by the Trustees.
“Our search was an open and collaborative process,” Thomas J. Boyland said. “We were energized by the optimism and insights of all the candidates and by the community’s involvement.”
At present, Father George is still talking to his religious superior and potential new bosses when it comes to deciding what life will be like after Georgetown Prep. What is certain is that he will miss the school greatly.
“Having lived on the fourth floor with the senior resident students, I will certainly miss their shenanigans,” said Father George. “Prep parents are the best and I will miss many of them. I will not miss the many friends I have made, because I hope to continue seeing them.”
Father George will also miss the many athletic games that he witnessed.
“Saying Mass for the football team before every game was very special for me,” Father George said. “Landon vs. Prep lacrosse, Gonzaga vs. Prep football, and the Metro Swimming Championships are major athletic events I have enjoyed.”
Of course, when Father George hands over the title of President to Father Marco next month, he can leave with many memorable experiences, one of which includes Father George and seven people meeting the Holy Father at the Vatican Embassy when he visited the United States.
During his spare time, which he said is very rare, he enjoys playing tennis, golf and hunting wild turkey.“Good red wine and bourbon with good friends is also one of my joys,” Father George added.