When retired technology manufacturing CEO Tom Lynch needed a top secret government security clearance a few years back, the FBI’s request for him to provide a list of people who had known him for a long time made him realize something.
Almost all his closest friends after decades traced back to the days the native of Levittown attended what was then Bishop Egan Catholic High School, an all boys Catholic high school at the time.
He even met his Levittown-raised wife, who attended the affiliated all-girls Bishop Conwell Catholic High School, through the school community.
He realized his Bristol Township high school, which is now Conwell-Egan Catholic High School on Wistar Road, had not only shaped his career but his personal life in so many ways.
On Wednesday, Lynch and his wife, Patty, attended a celebration where their foundation announced the donation of $5 million to the high school that prides itself on serving students in Lower Bucks County. Both graduated in 1972.
The donation from the Danaher Lynch Family Foundation has been in the works for months and will help the school upgrade its infrastructure in its nearly half-century-old building, develop a Center for Student Leadership and extend the number of scholarships provided to working-class families from the area. Officials even joked that the hard wood-backed chairs in the auditorium might even get an upgrade.
Conwell-Egan President Daniel Lodise said $2 million from the large donation will be used over the next decade to help fund student’s tuition, which averages about $9,150 per year. The remaining funds will mainly be used over the next two years to provide a kick-start for the Center for Student Leadership, infrastructure upgrades and other educational opportunities.
The new Center for Student Leadership is working to find an executive director over the next several weeks. Lodise explained the program will not just teach students to become leaders but allow them to find the leader in themselves and grow that attribute. He said leaders come in different styles and each student taking part in the program will be able to find what works for them.
Lynch, a board member for the school and Newtown resident, said the spirit of Conwell-Egan is strong and he wants to help it grow its programs.
Just five years ago, Conwell-Egan was on the verge of closing after the Archdiocese of Philadelphia released a study that suggested the high school should close as the church looked to reduce costs.
The high school community rallied together and was able to stop the closure plan. Lynch said he recalls the dark period but is happy his donation will help keep the school open and growing.
Lodise said the Danaher Lynch Family Foundation has been highly-involved in the school and is doing more than just donating money. He said the nonprofit that is funded by the Lynches has their own office space set up for when they work with staff and the high school’s roughly 500 students.
Student Tessa Smiley, a freshman from Langhorne Borough, said she was thrilled to hear about the donation. She hopes some of the donation will go toward improving the arts program at Conwell-Egan.
“Five million is a lot of money,” she said.
“I’m really excited to benefit from it and the upgrades,” Newtown freshman Andrew Mack said. He added that the leadership center was of interest to him.
Lynch, the retired CEO of TE Connectivity, joked the students seemed to have much more pep than he would have when he sat for an assembly more than 40 years ago.
The $5 million gift is among donations from the education-focused Danaher Lynch Family Foundation. Currently, 53 Conwell-Egan students receive scholarships separate from the $5 million announced Tuesday, Lodise said.
The Danaher Lynch Family Foundation gift ties with another recent $5 million donation to a Philadelphia Catholic high school from Leonard Mazur, the CEO of a pharmaceutical company.