GriffINNOVATION Campaign

The Innovation Center demonstrates the best part of Roycemore: the dedication to giving each and every student the opportunity to express who they are, not just in the classroom but in every aspect of their education.  My hope is not that it will transform students, but that it will give students the tool necessary to transform themselves.
— Berhanu Snyder '21

Roycemore Breaks Ground on Stairwell of Future Innovation Center

On Thursday, May 26, 2022, Roycemore School celebrated the groundbreaking of the site of their future Innovation Center. When Roycemore School acquired and renovated 1200 Davis to serve as its new home, it left one space in the building purposely unfinished and dedicated to the future needs of Roycemore’s students. The groundbreaking signifies the start of construction on the stairwell that will be built in the 6,000 sq. ft. space allowing it to be occupied for student use. 

In January 2020, a high school junior, Hanu Snyder, embarked on an independent January Short Term (JST) project to learn about architecture. JST is a three-week period during which upper school classes are suspended and students have the opportunity to explore their own passions. Hanu enlisted a current parent who is an architect to serve as his project director and together they developed a plan for a maker space. They partnered with middle school student, Aidan Scheidt, who had focused his Personal Passion Project (P3) on the space known as ‘Room 200,’ and surveyed the students to assess their priorities for what should be included in the space. They made a presentation to the Roycemore Board of Trustees to transform ‘Room 200’ into an innovation center that can serve multiple purposes and created a prototype for consideration.


“I think it’s fitting that this ‘addition’ is not really an addition, but just the filling of a void that has always been here. It does not transform the school that I have always loved, but it refines and expands on the unique qualities that made me love it in the first place. It completes and unifies the Roycemore experience, providing new methods of thinking and creating and dreaming that each student may already have inside them but don’t yet have the tools necessary to bring to life. The Innovation Center demonstrates the best part of Roycemore: the dedication to giving each and every student the opportunity to express who they are, not just in the classroom but in every aspect of their education. My hope is not that it will transform students, but that it will give students the tools necessary to transform themselves.”

Hanu graduated from Roycemore in June of 2021 and gained acceptance to MIT, but took a gap year to help teach and build a school in Ethiopia.  He will put those skills to use at MIT where he will be an architecture student this fall. Hanu and Aidan continue to be actively engaged with the Innovation Center project, with Hanu serving on the Steering Committee for Roycemore’s campaign to raise funds, and Aidan serving as the student representative on the Vision-Design team to plan the Innovation Center. Together these teams will make their vision a reality! Aidan and his peers will have the opportunity to see the vision fulfilled and benefit from the opportunities of an Innovation Center during their high school career. Hanu will go forward, pursuing architecture with a realized project under his belt.

The plans for the space include part old-school shop, part high-tech STEAM lab. A Vision-Design team made up of students, parents, grandparents, faculty, and Trustees is working together with information collected from community surveys to build the framework for the new Innovation Center. They are visiting spaces like the Innovation Development Lab at DePaul to gain ideas on the design and use of innovation spaces for students.

“Building upon the project-based learning that has a more than 50-year history at Roycemore, this is the ideal time to invest in a facility that will allow Griffins the space to innovate, invent, and inspire others,” says Dr. Jonathan Holloway, Honorary Campaign Chair and alumni parent of the Roycemore Class of 2021. A world-renowned US Historian, Dr. Holloway was appointed to the position of President of Rutgers University in 2020. Previously, he was the Provost of Northwestern University from 2017 to 2020.


On April 11, 2022, Roycemore’s Board of Trustees approved an engagement with Cordogan Clark, a local architectural firm, for architectural design services for the future Innovation Center. The selection of Cordogan Clark was the culmination of a robust process that involved the Vision-Design Team and the Facilities Committee of the Board reviewing proposals from 9 firms, and selecting 4 to present to the Roycemore administration. Cordogan Clark stood out among the other firms due to their experience with similar projects and their knowledge and thinking about the future of education.

The Innovation Center will be built through funds raised from the GriffINNOVATION Campaign. “The current space beckons to serve a larger purpose,” says Sara McGuire, Director of Development, “to house the imaginings of our students. At its core, the Innovation Center is a place for making, collaborating, learning, and sharing.” 

Construction of the stairwell is expected to begin next month with the goal of the space being usable by the 2022-2023 school year.


Thank You to Our Donors

INnovate $500,000 and Up

Randy D. Podolsky Family Foundation

The Rogue Willow Foundation

INspire $100,000 – $499,999

Pradeep Chintagunta and Marisa de la Torre

Elizabeth Ellrodt and Scott Schweighauser

Linda Reed ‘65

Jerry and Micki Springer

INvest $50,000 – $99,999

Aisling Colón and Jonathan Holloway

Adrianne Finley Odell and Rich Odell

Kevin and Diane Foote

The Fromm Family

Fred and Pam Sasser

The Scheidt Family

Anita Shah and Jeffrey Tong

INvent $25,000 – $49,999

Dorian Bezanis

Laura and Michael Boutross

Sossina Haile and Jeff Snyder

Jennifer Morgenstern

INvigorate $10,000 – $24,999

The Adams Family

The Drake Family

Lynn and Tom Ellis

Vicky Kalogera and Fred Rasio

Ted and Katie Karn

Bessie Mbadugha

and Jason Keiper

Deborah Pergament ‘87

Mairéad Reidy and Canice Prendergast

Elizabeth Shepherd and Scott Kinsloe ’72

INfluence $5,000 – $9,999

Juliet and Peter Birnbaum

Dr. Anthony and Derilyn Chambers

Holly and Jim Crilly

Christopher and Liz Deutsch

Aleksandra Egelja-Maruszewski and Joe Maruszewski

Sanford M. Goldberg ’72

Margaret and Robert McCamant

Evan Michael McCombs Memorial Foundation

Candace and Dennis Risen

Nicole Woodard Iliev

INterpret $2,500 – $4,999

Eleftherios Gdoutos ‘05

Barbara ‘52 and John Larson

Brianna Sylver-Galvao and Adriano Galvao

Katrina Veerhusen and Rick McCombs

INvite $1,000 – $2,499

Devin and Ruth Bell

Abby Ghibaudy

and Adam Schenck

Tim and Lori Hurley

Katherine and Ken Greisman

Leigh Jurecka and Matthew Jacobson

Mairaj Jaleel and Muqeeth Raheem

The McGuire Schnitger Family

Susan ‘60 and Edward Osterberg

Julianne Raymond ‘95

Helen Swanston ‘72

INcubate $500 – $999

Sammy and Amy Averbuch

Pushpa Gopalan and Dirk Reinhardt

Becky and Charlie Jackson

Peggy Klein

Eva and Lenz Neuhauser

Constance and James Roberts

Olga Vydra and Sam Iosevich ‘91

Staci and Jospeh Zake

INitiate – Up to $499

Anonymous (4)

Darcy and Kyle Aksamitowski

Staci Aronson

Ololade Bakare

Courtney Barlow

Anna Sue Bouzas

Janine Bragdon

Ana Camino

Katherine Carson and Colin Hart

Marie Cinquemani Thomas

Sarah Coffman and Josh Goldberg

Jonathan Cohen ‘02

Tim and Ana Costello

Gillian and Eric Deinoff

Michelle and Christopher DeMent

Karen Dinelli

Nancy and Dan Dudek

Ellin and Kip Duggan

Layi and Bunmi Durojaiye

Patricia and Bill Eder

Kayla Fortino

Charlotte Freccia

Theodora and Carsten Franck

Egemen and Agnieszka Genc

Judy and David Godinho

Hilda Gonzalez

Morgan Graff

Wendy Griffin

Jane and Evan Gruber

Bari Guibord and Lenka Reznicek

Shannon Henry

Chris and Mary Hill

Bill and Susan Horine

Jane Kim

Jordan and Melissa Koss

Kristina Kriis and Michael Barshai

Brynn and Charles Leavitt

Cheryl and Rob Linkhart

Merlin Liu and Pelle Deinoff

Gina Lorenz

Mark Lowry

Jennifer Marsidi and Christo Sedgewick

Geoffrey Mark ‘85

Beth Negronida and Charles Saxe

Jessica Nguyen and James Rondinelli

Richard R. Norton

April Ohlinger

Ralph and Sara Patrello

Robbyn Pauley and James McKee

Angela Peters Murphy

Victoria Peters

Vicky and John Pickett

Cynthia and René Rivera

Stefanie and Dale Rivera

Jolee and Amiel Rosenkranz

Shalini Shankar and Kurt Mueller

Jill Silverman and Kyle Edwards

Tara and Chris Skinner

Caroline Sloat ‘61

Marielle St. Amand

Howard and Karen Stanley

Ron and Kimmie Tain

Bellamy Taylor-Pines

Karen Tomsa

Naeema and Christopher Torres

Rachel and Adrian Walters

Katie Wilcher ‘15

Bridget Wild and Benjamin Kornfeld

Lizanne Wilson and Todd Hensley

Marge Woodfill

Jessi Wunder

Shauna Young

Now is the Time to Invest in Roycemore

Meet the Teams Behind the Future Innovation Center

Our Vision and Design team is working together with information collected from Parent, Student, and Faculty surveys to build the framework for the new Innovation Center. They are visiting spaces like the Innovation Development Lab at DePaul to gain ideas on design, and use of innovation and maker spaces for students.

Erik Anderson, 2nd and 4th grade parent
Devin Bell, 1st grade parent
Ruth Bell, 1st grade parent
Eric Calvert, Center for Talent Development
Chris English, Head of School Elect
Adrianne Finley Odell, Head of School
Charlie Jackson, RFA, 3rd and 4th-grade parent
Jason Keiper, 4th and 9th grade parent
Mark Lowry, Trustee
Jennifer Morgenstern, 11th grade parent
Paula Olszewski-Kubilius, Center for Talent Development
Barry Praeuner, 6th grade parent
Keith Raheem, 1st and 5th grade parent
Aidan Scheidt, 9th grade student
Beth Shutters, Faculty, 4th grade parent
Ron Tain, Faculty
Alec Wilson, 11th grade student

In April 2022, the Board of Trustees approved our engagement with Cordogan Clark, a local architectural design (and build) firm for architectural design services for our future Innovation Center. The selection of Cordogan Clark was the culmination of a robust process that involved the Vision-Design Team and the Facilities Committee of the Board reviewing proposals from 9 firms, and selecting 4 to present to the Roycemore Administration. Cordogan Clark stood out among the other firms for a variety of reasons but one of the things we really liked about them was their experience with similar projects and their knowledge and thinking about the future of education. The timing related to how soon the Innovation Center can be completed now rests on our success in raising funds, however, having them on board will help us better show a vision for what the space could look like when it is done. There will be opportunities in the months ahead to have additional input beyond the prior surveys and focus groups.

Weese Langley Weese (WLW) is a full-service architectural firm with a broad local client base. WLW is a small, highly effective open architectural studio in the River North area involved in higher education and affordable housing on a wide range of projects including numerous historic structures and new affordable housing construction. WLW Architects and Engineers are working on the permitting, subcontracting, and deliverables for our new staircase.

At Roycemore School’s May 16th Board meeting, the Board approved engaging with W.B. Olson, a local contractor who will build the stairwell to the Innovation Center for us during the summer and fall of 2022. 

Support the GriffINNOVATION Campaign

Donate Now