When the school was considering moving from the Merion Campus out to Newtown square, everyone was worried that the alumni might be upset. In fact, when people first visited the new campus, many alumni commented that it was nice, but it “is not the school I attended.” With that context, you will perhaps understand why the following comment meant so much to me.
Jim Rhodes, Class of ’65, listened attentively to me, as I gave an update on the school’s progress and work. He said to the group, “After walking around, talking with the students, and seeing what is going on here today on this campus, I know in my heart that this is Episcopal.”
The buildings and locations have changed many times in our storied history, but our commitment to excellence has been a constant.
A gift from the Class of 1965
This weekend at the dinner celebration of the Class of 1965, Peter Magee told the most wonderful story of Rudy, the janitor at the old Merion campus. Rudy had kept a lot of the artifacts that were to be thrown away when Episcopal Academy moved from Juniper Street in Philadelphia out to the Merion campus. Like many of the students over the years, Peter befriended Rudy. When looking through the things he had collected, Peter saw a wall clock from the Civil War era that once hung on the old campus. Peter asked Rudy if he could buy the clock from him and offered ten dollars. Rudy thought that was a lot of money for an old clock!
Peter eloquently shared this story with his classmates and me, and then said, “I have been holding on to this clock for all these years, waiting for the right time. Tonight, it seems like just the right time, and so we present this clock to you, T.J.” With a teary eye, I gladly accepted this precious artifact of our history. I was overwhelmed with the passion these alumni had for Episcopal, and I was honored they were asking me to continue the rich traditions of our great school.
A picture from the Locust Street gymnasium from the 19th Century. This may be the same clock that hung on the back wall.