Answering the call.

Access and excellence.

Learning and discovery.

Creative problem-solving and ethical public service.

With St. Thomas’s deep expertise, and grounding in Catholic and Basilian values, the Eagle community is capable of extraordinary impact. Gifts in support of institutional-wide ambitions unlock this potential and advance the school’s sacred mission – Teach Me Goodness, Discipline, and Knowledge.

The 17th Annual Scholarship Breakfast honored both donors and current recipients, and the tradition of philanthropy that remains vital to the school’s cherished Basilian heritage. Steps silent and unseen continue to move St. Thomas toward a flourishing future.

Foundation Board President John Granger ‘97 P ’26 and ‘:27 took part in the celebration in Reckling Gymnasium with a leadership team including President Fr. James Murphy, CSB, Vice President for Advancement Mark deTranaltes ‘83, and Principal Dr. Aaron Dominguez ‘96.

All share the belief that the most meaningful and lasting measure of the St. Thomas experience is beyond elite academic achievement. Benefactors are often the most direct way to set in motion the exponential force of an Eagle education igniting the rise of the next significant learners and leaders. Financial gifts empower the school to remain agile, responsive, and innovative in its pursuits.

Granger joined the Foundation Board in 2019 and succeeded Greg Kroencke P ‘20 as president after his highly successful tenure. During conventional times, the position demands leading a collaborative effort that employs long-term and active monetary investing philosophy. Kroencke and crew were forced to respond posthaste to not only the magnitude of COVID-19 but also the persistent inflationary pressures facing the economy.

The collective results have been astonishing – robust return streams across strategies and sectors highly diversified while minimizing risk and volatility.

“I’m proud to say that the foundation is as healthy today as ever and contributed a record amount to tuition assistance this academic year,” Granger says. “And the board recently voted to increase that pledge for the next fiscal year without sacrificing support for the ever-growing needs of the future.”

Granger recognized the like-minded individuals providing the investment prowess, insight, and stability required to fortify the school, particularly Kroencke, Michael Soper ’85 P ’23, Clay Rynd ‘08, and Al Clay ‘61, who along with wife Dona donated $10 million to the 4500Forever capital campaign that secured the Joplin Campus expansion. Their unprecedented almsgiving emphatically propelled the St. Thomas academic enterprise with a lasting gift that extends beyond a lifetime.

Granger also acknowledged the recent addition of Ronnie George, vice president of finance, “who has already made huge contributions to our collective efforts and represents all the values that St. Thomas stands for.”

President Fr. Murphy reminded those in attendance that he is “only here today because of Piehler, Piehler, the Pontiac Dealer in Rochester, New York. Michael Piehler established a scholarship at St. John Fisher College in the name of his father. That scholarship provided me the chance to attend a small Catholic college when I became a Basilian priest. I am eternally grateful for the generosity of Piehler, Piehler, the Pontiac Dealer. His passion for St. John Fisher paved my only path to attend that university.

“Today, we gather with a sense of gratitude for generations of St. Thomas families and supporters who invest their time and treasure to trigger the teaching of goodness, discipline, and knowledge. And we pray that our students embrace the possibilities this education affords them.”

Since its inception, St. Thomas has prized its role in providing affordable access to the full range of circumstances that make the Basilian college preparatory experience unique. That motivation relies on an array of funds available to students based on academic achievement and financial aid determined by a family’s ability to contribute.

The Foundation Board oversees more than 80 named and endowed scholarships made possible by the selflessness of contributors since 1969, with more than half established since 2000.

“It’s important that St. Thomas is positioned to reward students who embody the school’s standard for achievement with discounted tuition,” Granger says.  “But at our Basilian core, the school’s objectives are to stand for more than academic excellence.  We strive to nurture a culture that develops young men with the highest character.”

Eagle students also benefit from numerous sponsored grants such as the Basilian Fathers Inner City Schools Scholarships, the Basilian General Counsel Scholarships, the Tom and Nancy Marcrini Foundation Scholarships, and Specs Scholarships.

This benevolence is critical to fulfilling the school’s single highest altruistic priority: ensuring access and affordability for all students seeking the St. Thomas experience.

Saluting the many efforts that assure a storied past continues to create promising futures, designated scholars are asked to offer testimonies at the Scholarship Breakfast relating the depth of their St. Thomas enrichment.  Anthony Pellerin ‘25 and Nicholas Zakarevicz ‘25 provided compelling accounts of how they are learning to use their specific strengths and passions in service of God and the world only through the altruism of St. Thomas donors. 

Granger’s ongoing involvement is consistent with his father’s sterling example of service. Weldon Grangier (above, middle, in 2017) was previously a vital presence with the Foundation Board and the school’s Board of Directors, forever a vibrant champion for St. Thomas. The namesake for Granger Stadium, the home of Eagle Football, emerged from the humblest of Louisiana beginnings, raised among 11 children, who all molded distinguished careers in law, education, and real estate. Weldon earned acclaim as the long-time owner and managing partner of the JonesGranger Law Firm, specializing in federal litigation and representing members of the railway labor industry.

Just as significant, Weldon and his late wife Fran were steadfast in supporting Catholic education and its charities, with particular emphasis on making it possible for those less fortunate to share in the same opportunities as their children. Like his father, John demonstrates an extraordinary ability to connect with others and a commitment to helping make the world a better place.

Earlier in the academic year, the unrivaled and unmatched Round Up student fundraising event reached an unprecedented breakthrough – a jaw-dropping $922,415 in annual raffle ticket sales. All monies again contribute directly to the school’s tuition assistance program, a Basilian tradition for nearly a century.

Yes, $922,415.

The explosive volcanic 2024 sales erupted in the wake of a series of massive blasts: $819,770 in 2023, $670,610 in 2022, and $595,145 in 2021. The 11-year wrecking-ball rumblings now advance to nearly $6.7 million.

Since 1900, St. Thomas has embraced its goal, its passion, its obligation to provide a supportive, safe environment for students to thrive, inspiring them to create positive change everywhere life takes them.

The formation of scholars.

The inquiry of faculty.

The commitment to the common good.

Answering the call.

Catholic. Basilian. Teaching Goodness, Discipline and Knowledge since 1900.