09 Jul 2012

Catholic High Remembers Brother Donnan Berry, SC

Catholic High School remembered Brother Donnan Berry, SC at a Mass at Sacred Heart Church in Baton Rouge on Monday, July 9. A reception followed in the church hall. Brother Donnan passed away on Friday, July 6, 2012.

A man large in stature, Brother Donnan Berry, SC had an even bigger heart and voice. He leaves behind a legacy that has and will continue to have an impact on thousands of men and women.

For 25 years, Brother Donnan served the Catholic High community. He was principal from 1964 í 1974 and returned to CHS in 1980 to establish the first Development Office where he served as
director until 1993.

Under Brother Donnaní´s leadership as principal, Catholic High experienced many historical events. In 1965, the first students from St. Josephí´s Academy attended CHS, enrolling in physics class. CHS received its first accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in 1966; also in 1966, Brother Donnan established the Catholic High Hall of Fame; in 1970 history was made when CHS played McKinley in what marked the first time a predominately white parish prep team engaged in athletic competition with a predominately black parish prep team in the Baton Rouge area. More than 1800 fans packed the gym that night.

íÍBrother Donnan was a well-organized, dynamic principal at CHS. Under his strong leadership, the school was first accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Besides emphasis on building a strong academic program, Brother Donnan realized the importance of involving the local community of Baton Rouge to provide ongoing support for the school and its programs. Working closely with the schoolí´s Mení´s Club and Mothersí´ Club in organizing various events for the school, Brother Donnan formed life-long friendships,íñ commented Brother Xavier Werneth, SC.

Brother Donnan brought to CHS the importance of a development program to furthering the mission of the school. He shared his vision of fundraising to the broader community by founding the Baton Rouge Chapter of the National Society of Fundraising Executives (now called Partners in Philanthropic Planning) to help non-profits throughout the area. He was the first person in Baton Rouge to hold a CFRE (Certified Fundraising Executive) designation.

During his time at CHS, Brother Donnan also saw the campus grow with the addition of the new south wing, that holds the CHS Library and Union today, as well as the addition of the Fine Arts/Computer Center.

In recognition of his outstanding service to CHS and to the community, Brother Donnan was inducted into the Catholic High Hall of Fame in 1975. He was also honored nationally by the National Catholic Education Association (NCEA) in 1991 for his significant contribution to American Secondary Education.

íÍHe was my hero, a gentleman to the core. I was blessed to have him as a mentor,íñ commented Gwen Fairchild, Director of Planned Giving for the LSU Foundation.

In September of 1993, the board of directors of the CHS Foundation established the Brother Donnan Berry Faculty Enhancement Endowment. The purpose of the endowment is to help faculty cover unreimbursed tuition expenses for coursework related to their field of education.

íÍAnd so, Adieu! May Christ the teacher be your guide, your model, and your mainstay, now and forever. PeaceíŠand unity,íñ Brother Donnan, SC.