The gift from Mr. Mazur (class of 1963) and his wife is the single largest donation to
West Catholic since its founding in September of 1916.
Today, West Catholic Preparatory High School (WCPHS), located in the University City section of Philadelphia, celebrated a gift of $5 million dollars made to the school by Mr. Leonard Mazur (class of 1963) and his wife, Helen. It is the largest single donation to the school in its nearly 100 year history.
Mr. Mazur is the Vice Chairman and Co-Founder of Akrimax Pharmaceuticals, a cardiovascular pharmaceutical company he created in 2008. In addition to his support as a benefactor, he serves WCPHS as a member of its Board of Trustees. He is also Chairman of the Board of Trustees at Manor College in Jenkintown (Montgomery County) and is a member of the Board of Visitors for Temple University’s College of Liberal Arts.
Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. joined the WCPHS community and invited guests, including several members of the WCPHS Class of 1963, as well as senior leadership from Faith in the Future (FIF) and the Office of Catholic Education (OCE) for today’s announcement.
Archbishop Chaput said, “I was very pleased to gather with the West Catholic Preparatory High School community today in thanksgiving for the overwhelming generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Leonard and Helen Mazur on the eve of the school’s 100th anniversary.
Their investment in the future of urban Catholic education is a remarkable demonstration of support for one of the most important ministries in our local Church. I’m deeply grateful to the Mazurs for this gift. It will greatly enhance the school’s ability to fulfill its mission.”
He continued, “I’m also thankful for the many benefactors, administrators, teachers, and school families who love Catholic education, embrace it, and work each day to sustain it for our current and future students.”
Brother Richard Kestler, F.S.C., President of WCPHS said, “Today, we were honored by the presence of many individuals who have played roles in the resurrection of West Catholic Preparatory High School over the past four years. Each of them has taken stock of the mission of West Catholic and those we serve. They’ve clearly stated their endorsement by offering gifts of time, talent, and resources to our school.”
He continued, “This is an historic moment in the life of West Catholic. Mr. and Mrs. Mazur’s extraordinarily generous gift will go toward strengthening academic programs and investing in students who are in need. My hope for this gift is that it will clearly signal to both present and future students that there are people who have confidence in their potential and in the ability of this institution of Catholic education to harness and maximize that potential.”
In January 2012, following the Blue Ribbon Commission Report on Catholic Education, WCPHS was one of four Archdiocesan high schools recommended for closure due to rising educational costs, declining enrollments, and various other factors. However, upon creation of the Faith in the Future Foundation, which oversees and strategically manages the 17 high schools and four schools of special education in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Archbishop Chaput announced that the four high schools originally slated for closure would remain open.
Since that time, the new management model has flourished through the collaborative efforts of OCE, FIF, and the school communities they serve. Throughout the system, today’s Catholic high schools feature stabilizing enrollments, increased local fundraising efforts, and prospects for growing student populations. OCE and FIF continue to work with all of their partners to maintain quality academic programming that poises students for success in the 21st century learning landscape while maintaining a strong focus on Catholic identity and values. Additionally, they seek new ways to make Catholic education as accessible and affordable as possible for all families who desire its benefits. They look to build on the success of a model that already sees more than 90% of Archdiocesan high school graduates enrolling in college degree programs and nearly 60% being offered scholarships to pursue post-secondary education.
WCPHS has proudly served West Philadelphia and the Center City area for nearly 100 years since opening in the fall of 1916. In 1926, the De La Salle Christian Brothers arrived at what would become West Philadelphia Catholic High School for Boys, then located on 49th Street between Chestnut and Market Streets. In 1989, the Brothers of the Christian Schools (F.S.C.); the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (I.H.M.); and the Sisters of Saint Joseph (S.S.J.), along with over 1,000 students, merged the Boys and Girls Schools, to become West Philadelphia Catholic High School at the present location of 4501 Chestnut Street.
The school’s primary mission is to prepare each student to face the challenges of everyday life, to embrace leadership positions in society, and to value service in an ever-changing global society.
Editor’s Notes: For more information about the schools in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, please visit http://www.aopcatholicschools.org/.
For more information regarding Faith in the Future Foundation, please visit http://faithinthefuture.com/.
To learn more about West Catholic Preparatory High School, please visit www.westcatholic.org.