Remicks forgive $9 million loan to Rochester Catholic Schools
Rochester Catholic Schools is celebrating an early Christmas present after Jack and Mary Ann Remick announced they'd forgive the remaining $9 million loan provided to build the new Lourdes High School.
The Remicks shared that decision with RCS on Dec. 3, according to an internal memo sent out this morning by RCS Director of Schools Michael Brennan that was obtained by the Post-Bulletin.
"Due to the generosity of a truly remarkable couple, RCS will now be debt free!" Brennan wrote. "I am still having difficulty digesting and processing the magnitude of Jack and Mary Ann Remick's giving spirit. My heart is filled with joy, gratitude and excitement for what this means to us all here at RCS — both now and for our future."
Brennan told the P-B earlier this year that Lourdes' new facility would be in the fundraising stage without the Remicks' financial support. The well-known Rochester philanthropists provided a $10 million loan to get the $34 million project moving forward, further cementing their extensive 30-year relationship with the private school.
RCS had repaid about $1 million of the Remick's loan since the new building in Northwest Rochester opened in 2013 and had been expecting to spend most of the next decade finishing those payments.
"Words simply cannot articulate the gratitude and emotions our hearts are experiencing as we continue to digest the magnitude of their generosity," Brennan said via press release.
The RCS press release indicates the Remicks made the decision to forgive the loan "to ensure that future development and fundraising efforts of the school system are focused on academic enhancements, increasing access to our schools through the provision of financial assistance and growing an endowment for the long-term sustainability of Catholic education in our city."
Jack Remick said this morning that fundraising had proved difficult with that debt hanging over the private school district's head. He felt that the loan forgiveness would just "simplify everything."
"That was just stifling some of those goals," said Remick, who turns 79 next month. "It was something I was able to do, and I think it's going to provide a long-term benefit for them. I wanted to get it done, and I wanted to get it done quick. When you get to be my age, you don't really make many long-range plans."
The loan forgiveness is the latest of many generous donations supporting Catholic education from the Remicks. Jack, a former IBM employee and co-founder of Fastenal in Winona, has been a prominent financial supporter of Lourdes, Saint Mary's University in Winona, Winona Cotter High School and Notre Dame since amassing his fortune.
The couple was recognized in 2014 for donating $10 million to Notre Dame, while also being honored with the Heritage Award for Transformational Philanthropy after donating $8 million to Saint Mary's last year. Those donations were followed this year by a $3 million gift of Cascade Meadow Environmental Science Center in Rochester to SMU.
"You have an affinity to support what you know," Remick said this summer after donating Cascade Meadow to SMU.
Remick built the Rochester Athletic Club in 1993 and purchased the Clements car dealership in 2009. He still owns 24 vacant acres, valued at nearly $2 million, across from the new Lourdes High School, but it remains unclear how that property will be developed in the future.
"If something develops for Lourdes or Saint Mary's down the road, it just gives me an option," Remick said.