St. Michael’s Catholic Academy Receives $500,000 Endowment for Speaker Series

We're excited to announce that a St. Michael's family has donated $500,000 over five years for the express purpose of inviting compelling, contemporary leaders and visionaries to the St. Michael’s campus to address students in a series of stimulating talks. The series is titled EDIFY.

In accordance with EDIFY’s mission, presentations will be directed to “unleash and enlighten the intellectual curiosity of St. Michael’s students so that they may form the habits of mind and heart that will enable them to courageously contribute to the common good.”
The donor, who prefers to remain anonymous, proposed the idea based on his experience of a similar program at his boarding school. Decades later, he recalls how many of the speakers he encountered made a profound impression on him, and said he believes such a program has tremendous value.

“I am primarily interested in practical, non-academic subjects to expand the students' critical-thinking skills and their view of the world. They already receive academic information in school, and improved critical thinking is a skill they can and will use throughout their lives,” he said.

On Thursday, May 3, 2018, the inaugural EDIFY presentation will feature Erik Weihenmayer, a pioneering adventurer and the first blind person in history to reach the summit of Mount Everest. For this feat, he was honored with a Time magazine cover story. In 2008, he also completed his quest to climb the Seven Summits—the highest mountain on each continent. The event will take place in the Gloria Delgado Performing Arts Theatre. PLEASE NOTE: This is a school-only event and closed to the public.

According to information found on his website, “Weihenmayer is one of the most inspiring, engaging, and sought after speakers in the world. Erik's essential messaging focuses on harnessing the power of adversity, developing a guiding vision and building a strong ‘rope-team.’ Erik sees every new challenge as an opportunity to problem solve, strategize and pioneer new ways forward.”

"I think this is the best time in history, the most precious time in history to be a pioneer, to reach out, to seize hold of adversity and challenges we face, to harness energy not only to transform our own lives, but to elevate the world around us," he writes.

Erik Weihenmayer is also the celebrated author of “Touch the Top of the World,” which has been published in 12 languages. Erik’s second book, “The Adversity Advantage: Turning Everyday Struggles into Everyday Greatness,” focuses on practical advice for using adversity as fuel for growth and innovation. His latest book “No Barriers: A Blind Man's Journey to Kayak the Grand Canyon,” was released in February 2017.

In 2005, Weihenmayer co-founded No Barriers, a nonprofit organization with the tagline, “What’s within you is stronger than what’s in your way.”

For questions, please contact Laura Duggan, Director of Marketing & Communications.

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