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Calvert Hall donor praises school for 'diversity that still exists today'

'I want to develop a legacy,' Calvert Hall High donor said.

A 1964 graduate of Calvert Hall College High School has given his alma mater a gift of more than $1.5 million. The donation will be used to create a new gathering space on the Towson campus as well as an endowed faculty chair.

The announcement was made on Oct. 28 in an assembly before the student body with board members and guests in attendance, according to Brother John Kane, FSC, Calvert Hall's president.

"It was very moving and touching," Kane said.

After announcing the gift from Calvert Hall alumnus John Noppinger Jr., of Lutherville, the first faculty honoree was surprised to hear his own name, Kane said. Principal Charles Stembler led Augie Miceli, a faculty member since 1960, onto the stage.

The students, Kane said, "understood the significance of recognizing someone like Augie who is the last person who would seek it."

"It was appropriate that he be the first," Kane said. "He has had such an effect on people."

Noppinger's gift comes in two parts. The first, a capital gift, will go toward construction of the John G. Noppinger Jr. Commons, a place that can be used during the school day by students to gather and study, and in the evenings for other meetings.

Kane said the second part of Noppinger's gift will establish the John G. Noppinger Jr. '64 Endowed Chair for Faculty Leadership. The first faculty member to be honored is Miceli — who coincidentally arrived at Calvert Hall the same year as Noppinger, in 1960, when Calvert Hall moved to its new campus in Towson, Kane said.

"The goal of that is to recognize outstanding teaching and leadership among our faculty," Kane said. Like the commons concept, Calvert Hall is adapting a collegiate idea — the endowed chair — for use at the boys' Catholic high school.

Miceli, who has taught math at Calvert Hall for 54 years, has also served the Christian Brothers' school as its football coach and athletic director.

Miceli said he was "very surprised and honored" to be the first named for the chair. The endowment will be good for the faculty in the future, as well. "It's also an incentive to the faculty to achieve this honor themselves," Miceli said.

It's certainly an honor for someone who calls his job "fun." "I never feel like I go to work in the morning," he said. "I really enjoy my job."

The commons, based on a collegiate space, will adapt an existing boardroom and adjacent courtyard just beyond the front door of Keelty Hall to provide a multi-use space. It will lead into an outdoor area, Kane said. The existing boardroom will be relocated. 

"It's a great location on campus," Kane said.

Noppinger, a Baltimore native, spent much of his business life in Houston, according to a Calvert Hall press release. After more than 20 years, he returned to the Baltimore area to care for his ailing parents. He established the John G. Noppinger Jr., '64 Scholarship in November 2013 at Calvert Hall, the press release said. His wife of 20 years, Lucy, is a native of Baltimore. 

"I got a lot from Calvert Hall because of the diversity that existed when I went to school here and that still exists today," Noppinger said in a statement. "Calvert Hall afforded a structure and a discipline, as well as a great education, that led me to be successful. 

"I want to develop a legacy. This gift will live on well beyond my own years for the benefit of the young men who walk these halls today and who will continue to do so for many years to come," Noppinger said in the statement.

The school, established in 1845, has been the recipient of a number of large gifts in its 170-year history with buildings and the stadium named for donors. At present about 1,200 students are enrolled at Calvert Hall.

This story has been updated.

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