The Gift of Anonymity: How Unnamed Donors Shape Our School

Owen Harrington, Staff Writer

November 13, 2023

At the start of this year, every student and faculty member was issued their own Nobles jacket regardless of their involvement in athletics. This was a welcome surprise given the weather we have experienced this fall, but many students were left questioning the origin and true purpose of this gift. The jackets were not the only surprise addition to the school. The new golf practice green at the foot of the Castle has left students asking similar questions. The answers are quite simple: both initiatives were the result of anonymous donations to the school, intended to improve a specific aspect of student life that was of particular concern to the donor. That being said, each donation had its own lifecycle that brought the idea from conception to implementation in a way that best benefited the school and satisfied the donor.

The athletic jackets were a particularly unique gift because they impacted the entire school rather than just a specific group of students. This was by design, and when asked about the inception of the idea, Director of Athletics Alex Gallagher (N ‘90) said, “It was somebody who wanted to do something around the topic of gear and who wanted to do something that could potentially raise some school spirit…We definitely wanted to do something that would benefit everybody in the community. They were all in on that and enabled us to go out and buy 900 jackets to make sure that every member of the school community got one.” This is a perfect example of the back-and-forth that can occur during the giving process. The donor starts with a general idea of what they want to improve, and then the school responds with what they believe the best implementation would be to have the greatest impact on students.

The new golf facilities which consist of the green by the Castle and the simulator in the Morrison Athletic Center followed a similar process of cooperation between the school and the donor. The issue of accessibility to golf has been a challenge that has affected the Nobles Golf program for a while now. “Because making the team is pretty difficult, you have to be a pretty good golfer, and we had no resources on campus for a kid who didn’t make that team and wanted to work on their game…and maybe be able to make the team the next year,” Gallagher said. This was in many ways antithetical to the Nobles belief of working hard to improve yourself, as that was simply not an option for many students who were unable to access golf outside of school. Gallagher said, “We were really lucky to have a great donor who was really interested in helping us with the simulator and a great donor who was really happy to help us with the chipping and putting green…These facilities make it so that now a kid who wants to work on their game in the off-season certainly can.” While they are still new additions, the impact on current and aspiring members of the golf team as well as any other members of the Nobles community interested in the sport will likely be significant. 

With the impact of these gifts, you may believe that these anonymous donations are a primary driver of change in both the Athletic Department and community as a whole, but Gallagher described them more as a nice bonus. “Our school works really hard to give me and everybody [who] runs programs at Nobles the resources to be able to try and do the best we can to offer the best opportunities for our kids,” he said. Anonymous giving is only one way that generous donors give to the school, and while the results of these gifts may impact students more directly than other funds, they certainly are no more or less important to the operation and future of the school. 

These new facilities and jackets are incredibly nice resources, generously provided by individuals who truly care about the school and the well-being of its students. While we may never know who really gifted these additions, it is important to remain grateful to them and all of the donors who ensure that Nobles has a bright future ahead. With that in mind, please continue to treat these new gifts with respect so that generations of future students can feel their positive impact and the generosity of the donors who provided them.

(Photo Credit: Zack Mittelstadt)

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