Almost 60 years ago, Ralph Aye and Collin Baker, Jr. saw the opportunity to build something remarkable. Baker, Aye, and other visionary Tampa Bay families founded Berkeley Preparatory School in 1960 and proudly opened the doors to students in the fall of 1961. They dared to dream of an independent day school that would provide all the essential elements for a well-rounded education: a rigorous academic program, including comprehensive offerings in the arts and athletics; a strong emphasis on the importance of moral and spiritual values; highly motivated students; innovative and caring faculty members; and supportive families.
Since I joined the Berkeley community as Headmaster nearly 10 years ago, I’ve seen that dream further fostered. We have grown in so many ways, while remaining staunchly committed to our core values, and to the needs of each individual student. Via the most ambitious capital campaign in Berkeley’s history, our community’s generous philanthropy allowed us to transform the campus through the construction of the Straz Family Field House, the Berkeley Café, the Gries Center for the Arts and Sciences, the Seivold Center for Early Childhood Education, as well as deliver significant renovations to Middle Division and Upper Division spaces. In all we added over 175,000 square feet of new space and renovated 110,000 square feet of existing spaces. One year after completing Above & Beyond: the Campaign for Berkeley Preparatory School, our Board of Trustees conducted a review of the school’s Master Plan and campus site plan. That strategic exercise gave us the time to thoughtfully rework the layout of the northern side of campus while endeavoring to complete the school’s Master Plan set forth in 2007. After concluding the review, the Board boldly voted to move forward with a new campaign.
It is my pleasure to announce to you our latest dream for Berkeley. It is with boundless pride that I announce the public launch of our Berkeley Now, Berkeley Forever
capital campaign. This campaign will allow us to:
- Construct the new 13,500-square-foot Forsyth Center for Elementary Education (housing grades 2 -5) and renovate significant portions of the Dev Family Lower Division Complex
- Construct the Berkeley Chapel on its new site adjacent to McCleary Mound
- Renovate the Lykes Center for the Arts by adding a 175-seat balcony
- Significantly increase the school’s endowment in support of these new buildings and all programs
In testament to the generous ongoing philanthropic support from the Berkeley community and the continual belief so many have in the power of the work we do, I am pleased to report that the Berkeley Now, Berkeley Forever
campaign is off to an inspiring start. We have secured over $16 million in cash and pledges in the quiet phase of this campaign from leading current and alumni families, our Board of Trustees, and our closest friends. The initial gift came from Janice Ferman Straske ’87 and Steve Straske, which gave us the opportunity to begin design work, and then, after receiving an inspiring commitment from an anonymous donor, many others have come forward with leadership level commitments, including: Ami Patel Pagidipati ’02 and Sidd Pagidipati, Matt Bray ’95 and Susie Bray, Francesca and Richard Forsyth, Jean and Ian MacKechnie, Bob Gries, and Shannon and Bruce Lucas. In addition to those, we’ve received tremendous commitments from dozens of others, which has now put us in position to ‘go public’ – to make a broader appeal for necessary support.
At Berkeley, we are the community we create. As we aspire to complete our Campus Master Plan, transform our Lower Division, and strengthen our school forever through growing our endowment, we are asking our community to help us reach our goals, so as to create the best possible environment for each child in our care. In the coming months, we will offer a variety of opportunities to learn more about our vision, and hope that you will consider a gift to the effort, to make our aspirations a reality. CLICK HERE
to learn more about the Berkeley Now, Berkeley Forever