Halligan Family Believes Exceptional Faculty are the Key to Success

There wasn’t one thing about the CHARGING forward campaign that resonated with Chris Halligan. He and wife Sarah gave a leadership-level gift anyway. As they tell it, their strong affinity and desire to give to Providence Day transcends any single initiative, building, or program.

“I believe in the institution. I believe in the leadership,” said Chris. “If you’re a beneficiary of the institution, then you want to be a patron of the institution. The best way to do that is to invest without expecting anything in return and don’t put any constraints on it.”

Sarah explains their approach to supporting the comprehensive campaign as a logical extension of the trust that they’ve already placed in the school.

When you send your kids to an independent school, and you pay tuition, you’re giving the school a lot of your money and your most precious thing — your children,” she said.  “You need to trust them to do right by both of those.”

The Halligans, both of whom regularly volunteer at the school, trust the school implicitly. They aren’t interested in measuring the success of the campaign in the number of dollars raised. They see progress and achievement in how the school shapes and influences its students, and enhances teachers’ abilities to create exceptional learning experiences. To them, the academic focus of the CHARGING forward campaign is a bonus.

Faculty, in their minds, are the key.

“The kids’ academic skills are great because they’re cultivated every single day by a qualified person who cares about them,” said Chris. “We have really exceptional faculty investing in our kids…and doing it in an environment that does not breed entitlement or elitism. That, to me, is what Providence Day is about.”

To underscore the point, Chris and Sarah shared a “PD moment” that has stayed with them. Daughter Grace had unsuccessfully campaigned for a seat on the Middle School Student Council. After her third attempt, Grace received a note from faculty member Brian Field. He expressed support and encouragement for her efforts despite the outcome; he was proud of her for her determination and perseverance in the face of disappointment. To him, that was the sign of a true leader.

Brian wasn’t Grace’s coach or advisor. He was simply a teacher reaching out with empathy to a student he knew.

“You see these teachers who are giving so much of their time and talents to help kids beyond the classroom,” Sarah said. “The level of investment and commitment to the school is simply incredible.”

Sustaining the environment of academic and teaching excellence at Providence Day is tremendously important to the Halligans – more so than any other marker of success. They made their gift to the CHARGING forward campaign because they want the school’s strategic vision to come to life, knowing more “PD moments” are awaiting future Charger families.

Chris and Sarah Halligan are the proud parents of Jack ’14, Clay ’15, and Grace ’18.

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