Office of the President Update – January 2024

St. Augustine High School
Office of the President

With the new year in full swing and with unparalleled possibilities awaiting St. Augustine High School in the future, it is with a grateful heart that I look back on the fall semester and say thank you.  During my 18 years at Saints and prior to that Fr. John Keller’s, ‘55, OSA, three years as president of the school, the campus was rebuilt to the tune of $60 million. Saintsmen, parents, past and present, and friends of the school were asked to contribute to the rebuilding of the campus and stepped up.  Where there was a trickle of funds before the first campaign of the Master Plan, the culture and generosity of the community began to shift to a more charitable position.  

This change of direction has been vital to our ability to grow the Augustinian mission, rebuild the campus and ensure that boys from all walks of life are able to become Saintsmen regardless of family circumstance.  This past semester has seen a record amount of giving at Saints.  The amount raised for a small Catholic all-boys school during the past six months has been astounding and this philanthropy from July 1, 2023, to mid-January speaks to the good news.

Anthony Wagner ‘94, a former Saintsman, wanted to honor fellow Saintsman and long-time faculty member, Thomas Cudal ‘72.  Tom had been instrumental in Anthony’s acceptance and success at Saints and continues to be a mentor to him. On November 8, 2023, Anthony organized a kick-off cultivation party at his home to begin a fundraising effort to establish a scholarship fund in Tom’s name.  This new fund would be part of the Endowment Fund and would support underserved young men with financial assistance to attend Saints.  

To name a scholarship requires funds of $100,000 or more.  In less than 2 months, the scholarship reached that goal and by mid-January, the scholarship had grown to $144,180.  We know teachers are the critical piece in a strong learning environment and young men are motivated by teachers who care for them.  At Saints, we are blessed with teachers who not only teach their subjects but teach in the larger sense.  They form young men who are self-confident, faith-filled, and successful professionals.  Tom is one of those teachers.  We are blessed he teaches English and worked as the Assistant Principal and Associate Student Body Coordinator at Saints since graduating from college.  He is a person who makes a critical difference in his student’s lives.  Those of you who have given to this new scholarship, thank you for making a gift.  Your love for Tom is evident by how quickly this scholarship has been funded.

To give you an idea on the year-end giving totals, I would like to remind you that on November 28, the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving was a day of service for our boys. They worked around the county for the San Diego Parks and Recreation Department.  On the same day Saintsmen were giving back to the community, my office kicked off a day of giving.  Due to a large gift, we were able to raise $257,000 for the Endowment Fund within that same 24-hour window.  When the books closed for 2023 on the last day of December, we raised an additional $241,879 from Giving Tuesday, November 28 to the end of the year.  The total giving for a little more than one month totaled $498,879.  

With most of these funds flowing into the Endowment Fund, Saints is making excellent progress in establishing a financial assistance fund that will continue to grow and be of even greater support to our families.  The Board of Directors decision to grow the Endowment Fund in 2018 from $4.5 million to $40 million by 2038 will create an income stream of $2,000,000 a year that will flow in perpetuity into financial assistance.  As income from the Endowment Fund grows, Saints will have more options to cover operating costs rather than raising tuition. During this same time, gifts from wills and trusts accounted for another $2,314,037 raised.  Most of these gifts were designated to the Endowment Fund. When accounting for these gifts, the Thomas Cudal ’72 Scholarship Fund, Giving Tuesday and the Christmas Appeal, Saints was the recipient of total of $2,812,916. 

Today, the Endowment Fund stands at $17,200,000.  In the past six years, the Saints Community has averaged $2 million a year in gifts to the Endowment Fund.  These single acts of generosity are creating futures for young boys whose families never thought a Saints education was possible for their son.  We are grateful for your generosity these past two decades.  It is making a difference in so many lives of young men we educate.  We are confident they will be men later in life who will also see the financial needs of others and act.

An education is a gift which cannot be lost or stolen.  It lasts forever and keeps on giving and due to the manner in which our young men are educated, they desire to and can change the world.  A huge thank you to the entire Saints Community for supporting Saints.  We are indebted to you and feel your love and support for our great school in your never-ending generosity.


Ed Hearn