Harker Benefactors Honored at the Opening GalaBy William Cracraft | Dec. 4, 2008
On Aug. 22, the dream of opening a new science and technology center became reality as the Harker Benefactors (families making gifts of $100,000 or more) gathered together to dedicate the five centers that make up this new facility. The five Centers, named after the families who made Visionary gifts of $1,000,000 to help fund these individual Centers, are proudly named: The Jain Technology Center, The Pawlowski Chemistry Center, The Krishnamurthi Physics Center, The Madala Biology Center and The Ringold Research Center.
Over 120 guests attended the gala, which began with Askok Krishnamurthi thanking the teachers for their work with Harker students before making the inaugural swing of the Foucault pendulum in the building’s rotunda, setting it in perpetual motion and signifying the opening of the building. Guests were then invited to tour the building where teachers were happily showing their new classrooms and labs.
The 52,000-square-foot “green” center, which broke ground in May 2007, is designed to be fully LEED certified; the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a Green Building Rating System.
As guests were summoned to the auditorium, Christopher Nikoloff, head of school, was joined on stage by the Visionary Donors, and thanks were extended for their incredible generosity. “You all can feel really good about what you have helped make possible and this building will have a major
impact for our students, our teachers and our program,” Nikoloff said.
The Jain Technology Center was dedicated first. “Navin and Madhu Jain made the very first Visionary gift to the Cornerstones Campaign approximately nine years ago. Navin and Madhu are involved as volunteers, including serving on our Parent Technology Committee and being a member of the Board of Trustees, and it is with great joy that we dedicate the Jain Technology Center tonight,” Nikoloff said.
The Pawlowski Chemistry Center is named for Visionary Donor Brian Pawlowski, who made his gift when his son Nic was in the upper school. “Brian continues to be a mentor to our 11th grade students and we are very grateful to Brian for his early leadership in the Senior Parent Appreciation Giving
Program,” Nikoloff said, as he thanked Pawlowski and his wife, Aki Ueno.
Gordon and Tanya Ringold were among the first donors to the Cornerstones Campaign when Harker first began the expansion to a K-Gr. 12 school. During Phase III of the campaign, the Ringolds made an additional
commitment to the school, becoming Visionary Donors. The Research Center was dedicated in their honor.
Ashok Krishnamurthi and Deepa Iyengar were next to be recognized for their visionary gift. The Physics Center in the building is named in memory of Krishnamurthi’s father, who passed away a few years ago.
“Ashok has not only been a major benefactor, but he co-chaired this phase of the Capital Campaign along with John and Christine Davis,” Nikoloff noted.
The final center dedication was for the Biology Center. Nikoloff: “Srini and Durga Madala just kept getting more and more excited about what they were seeing happening as Phase III began to come together. They committed to making a gift early in this phase and they kept increasing
the amount of their gift as they became more and more excited about the benefits that it was going to provide to our students and teachers. We are grateful for their visionary commitment and for naming the Biology Center.”
Also being honored for their Visionary gift were Krish and Nina Panu. Much of the success of the record-breaking year in annual giving (bringing in $1.5 million and 80 percent parent participation) is due directly to the Panus, who joined the Madala family in a matching gift challenge that resulted in 153 families making gifts who had not donated the year before, and 418 families increasing their gifts to the campaign.
After this moving ceremony, Nikoloff turned his thanks to the Gold Circle Benefactors, Shirish and Archana Sathaye, and Marcia and Chris Riedel, Sehat Sutardja and Weili Dai and Sally Anderson and presented them each with a commemorative book highlighting the process of the construction of the entire Phase III project.
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