La Salle High School receives largest gift in school history; renovations underway this summer!
Bob Dorsey is a proud alumnus of La Salle High School, graduating in 1975. He is also a father of a 2013 graduate, a husband, friend, volunteer and a large benefactor to La Salle High School. He is a humble man. While he and his wife Lisa would prefer to remain quiet about their amazing $2 million gift to his alma mater, it’s the largest gift in the school’s history and the news is too exciting not to share with the larger community of proud Lancer fans.
For the last couple of years, La Salle High School administrators have been silently working behind-the-scenes to research and craft a plan to renovate, modernize and add air conditioning to the almost 60-year-old school. The “Always Be” crusade is off to an incredible start with Dorsey’s lead gift along with 16 other extremely generous graduates and Lancer supporters. Dorsey’s donation is the springboard that will help launch the transformational construction of the school, scheduled to begin in June 2020, much sooner than originally anticipated. To date, the group of 17 donors has already contributed $4M to the $20.5M project.
When Dorsey heard about the plans for the school renovation and the addition of air conditioning, he was intrigued and wanted to help. “It is wonderful to give back to a place that gave me so much,” he said. “I’m just happy to be able to do it.”
“Bob’s gift will help transform La Salle High School for years to come,” noted principal Aaron Marshall.
Dorsey has been a consistent donor over the years and said that the desire to give back is part of the fabric of La Salle. Graduates are called to share their time, talent and treasure and Dorsey is doing just that. “I hope my gift inspires other alumni to start their legacy with La Salle, if not in treasure, in time spent with the young men sharing their talent,” he said.
“La Salle has been blessed with very supportive and passionate alumni, friends and benefactors,” director of advancement Matt Dierkers exclaimed. “Much work has been done to transparently share the current status and future direction with our constituents to bring people closer to our great school. Bob and Lisa Dorsey's gift is affirmation toward the great work La Salle continues to do to support our young men.”
“La Salle prepared me well for my career and my life and I’m forever grateful,” Dorsey included.
In September of 2017, the administration at La Salle High School enlisted SHP, a local design firm, to review La Salle’s current facilities and provide a Master Facilities Plan. They determined the project scope to fall into four phases for a total of $20.5M. In the fall of 2018, the school partnered with Dan Eddingfield, a local consultant, to conduct a philanthropic study with the school’s top donors and determine if the project was feasible. The Archdiocese of Cincinnati approved the study and the project in November of 2018, and the Advancement Department has been meeting with high-level consistent donors since then.
Calling the project “Always Be” reflects the last two words of the Lancer’s alma mater. This phrase resonates with all La Salle graduates and reflects La Salle’s commitment to the core values of a Lasallian education - Faith, Service, Community, Leadership and Scholarship. The administration and staff strive to develop these core values in all Lancers so that they can reach their full potential in mind, body and spirit!
Always be a man of Faith
Always be a man of Service
Always be a man of Community
Always be a man of Leadership
Always be a man of Scholarship
The first and second phases of the renovation include upgrading utilities, replacing windows and removing asbestos, as well as adding air conditioning to the building and moving the main entrance of the school to the back of the building.
The street-facing side of the building will become the back and all administrative offices will be moved to the ground level to allow educators to collaborate better in a more secure environment. The addition of green space, as well as modernized classrooms and collaborative learning spaces, will allow students to be more creative problem solvers while building community in the new space.
“La Salle High School is about offering high-quality academics while building disciples of Jesus Christ,” Marshall commented. “We know how important it is to teach our young men the skills needed to be successful in the future. Ultimately, we are preparing our students for jobs that may not even exist at this point.” The upgraded facilities will foster this growth and development and also provide opportunities for students to experiment with equipment and technology they may be using in their careers.
Phases three and four include a renovation of the gymnasium and building a new theater in the De La Salle building that’s detached from the school. Construction is slated to begin once all funding has been secured.
“The future is extremely bright for 3091 North Bend Road,” Dierkers added. “We ask for continued prayers toward the success of our mission.”
Dorsey was the co-founder and co-CEO of Ultimus Fund Solutions, a mutual fund servicing company with headquarters in Cincinnati, OH. Earlier this year, he and his partners decided to sell the firm to GTCR, a Chicago-based private equity firm. He is now a Vice Chairman for the organization and continues to work at Ultimus.
Dorsey embodies everything it means to be “called to serve,” a tenet of the de La Salle Christian Brothers across the globe. His time in the classroom with the Lasallian Scholars Institute, serving on the Advancement Committee for 15 years and now serving on the La Salle Board of Limited Jurisdiction and volunteering for other events and projects exceeds the expectations of both the students and staff. Adding a significant financial contribution to his generosity of time, talent and annual giving is simply the icing on the cake!
“La Salle’s been important to me,” Dorsey shared. “I have a lot of great memories from my days there. I stayed connected by serving as a class captain and participating in the yearly alumni phonathon. I love coming back to La Salle because it’s so different today, plus there’s something to be said for the camaraderie of the brotherhood being in an all-boys Catholic school.”
Dorsey got his taste for the financial industry during his senior year accounting class with Brother Larry Keller. He recalls sharing that he wanted to continue similar courses in college. Dorsey’s father owned a meat stand at Findlay Market and he always thought he would join the family business as a butcher, but his mother wouldn’t hear of it.
At the suggestion of Brother Larry, Dorsey visited Christian Brothers College (now called Christian Brothers University) in Memphis, TN and fell in love with the place. “I have Brother Larry to thank for guiding me there. It really was a great experience. I loved the school, I loved Memphis, but I knew I’d come back to Cincinnati to start a career,” Dorsey added. “I’m proud that La Salle has sent so many students to CBU over the years. The education I received at 3091 North Bend Road prepared me incredibly well for college. Many of the classes I took my first year at CBU were similar to those I took at La Salle, so I was able to jump right into my major.”
Advice for current La Salle students
“When I was here (La Salle) I made a lot of friends,” he boasted. “I didn’t try to hang out with a certain group. In addition, I made friends with guys from different parishes and who participated in all different activities. Now, I love running into my classmates and fellow alums in the community, at the grocery store or church. It’s like we never grew up and we catch up without missing a beat!”
Advice for La Salle graduates
When asked if he had advice for other La Salle graduates, he lit up. “You’ve got to come back to La Salle,” he said. “You’d be proud to be here and see all the success happening now. I’m a big fan of Catholic education because I experienced how it helped me.” Dorsey continued, “You have to have strong schools for a strong community. I still live in Monfort Heights and I want La Salle to continue to be a focal point in our community.”
About La Salle High School
As a Catholic school in the Lasallian tradition, La Salle High School prepares young men to achieve their full potential in body, mind and spirit. The institution, which turns 60 years old next year, is located on the west side of Cincinnati, OH.