RE celebrates close of campaign, STEM center

Ransom Everglades marked the successful conclusion of its Reinventing Excellence campaign – which raised $82.3 million in six years – with a long-awaited open house that showcased the upper school’s glistening centerpiece, the Constance and Miguel Fernandez STEM Center, and recognized the people whose gifts brought the center to life.
Delayed several times by the pandemic, the celebration during the 2022 Alumni Weekend included an unveiling of the donor wall honoring the Fernandez family and others who contributed to the state-of-the-art science, technology, engineering and mathematics facility. It was highlighted by a bustling open house, which featured scientific demonstrations and experiments put on by dozens of RE students and faculty and open to alumni and other members of the RE community throughout the afternoon on April 23.

Guided by an interactive map designed by students, guests to the center received an insider’s look at how the building has enhanced learning, interdisciplinary work and collaboration since it opened in August 2020. They observed robotics and engineering projects overseen by engineering teacher Bob DuBard, math competitions under the direction of math teacher Karen Key, and a variety of entertaining and hands-on physics, chemistry, math and biology demonstrations and shows directed by faculty members Paul Natland ’02, Jay Salon, Claudia Ochatt, Adam Bitzer, Mandira Bose-Nyberg and STEM Department Chair Doug Heller ’80.

REinventing Excellence: The Campaign for Ransom Everglades
(2015-21) was the largest campaign in the school’s history, supporting not only the Fernandez STEM Center, but also allowing RE to acquire the La Brisa property and renovate its buildings, increase the endowment and achieve annual giving records through The Fund for RE.

Former board chair Andy Ansin ’81 and trustees Elana Oberstein-Harris '93 and Ricky Stokes '94 joined head of School Penny Townsend for the unveiling of a plaque honoring the campaign’s leadership donors, and Townsend thanked Campaign Co-Chairs Jeffrey Miller ’79 and Constance Fernandez; board chairs Ansin, Eric Mendelson, Rudy Prio Touzet ’76 and Jeff Hicks ’84.

“The extraordinary success of this campaign was due to the vision and dedication of many people, including the Board of Trustees; our generous donors; numerous parent and alumni volunteers; and RE administrators, faculty and staff,” she said.

She also recognized all 4,700 people who contributed to the six-year campaign, as well as the volunteer leadership, faculty and staff, and former board chairs who were active in the effort.
Founded in 1903, Ransom Everglades School is a coeducational, college preparatory day school for grades 6 - 12 located on two campuses in Coconut Grove, Florida. Ransom Everglades School produces graduates who "believe that they are in the world not so much for what they can get out of it as for what they can put into it." The school provides rigorous college preparation that promotes the student's sense of identity, community, personal integrity and values for a productive and satisfying life, and prepares the student to lead and to contribute to society.