Thank You, Mr. President

A Letter to Mr. Kennealey as the Sun Begins to Set on His Salesianum Career

Declan Landis, Reporting Journalist

Last week, Salesianum officially announced that school president Brendan Kennealey would be stepping down from his position at the end of the 2021 school year. Mr. Kennealey, Sallies’ first lay president in history, served the school in this position for ten years and accomplished many feats for the community he loves, including funding a new stadium and increasing the outreach of the financial aid and diversity initiatives.

Mr. Kennealey is a beacon shining clear and bright; through his actions, his words, and, quite simply, his presence, he has been a role model and a leader when we have needed him most. Words can never truly do justice to what he means to not just me, but the entire Salesian family.

Mr. Kennealey graduated from Salesianum in 1994 and continued his education with his undergraduate degree at Boston College and M.B.A. at Harvard. In 2011, Kennealey accepted the role as president when Sallies was facing great financial turmoil and struggling with maintaining its reputation of being truly welcoming to all. From his time establishing schools in Massachusetts for low-income families and creating the Benebikira Sisters Foundation, which helps provide important medical services and schooling in Rwanda, he truly understands the value of service and the Salesian virtue of applying his gifts and talents to the needs of others. He still serves on the board of the Benebikira Sisters Foundation, as well as those of the Red Cloud Indian School in South Dakota, Ursuline Academy, and DeSales University.

As president of Salesianum, Mr. Kennealey was able to land two of the top ten biggest gifts to a private Catholic secondary school in the country: $10 million for the Endowment, which Mr. Kennealey used to support need-based financial aid, and $16 million for Abessinio Stadium, which is set to open soon to any Wilmington-area school in need of a complex. During his time as president, Mr. Kennealey led efforts that eventually helped increase the financial aid given out each year by 340%, outpacing the increase in tuition by 600%, a massive achievement in helping those that couldn’t afford to pay full tuition.

Mr. Kennealey has also had a massive effect on my high school career. I would not have been able to attend Salesianum without the scholarship I received, and one of the happiest moments of my life was when I realized I could attend the school I had already fallen in love with before I even thought I could go. Mr. Kennealey was one of the first people I met at Salesianum, and his presence was just so genuine, kind, and welcoming. He has helped me over the years, whether he realized it or not, to become who I am today. He has been there every step of my high school journey. There is no better representation of what it means to “be the light” than what Mr. Kennealey has done for me and countless others.

So, Mr. Kennealey, on behalf of all the students you’ve helped, all the teachers you have worked with, all the lives you have changed, and all those that are grateful to you for what you have done, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. You’ve set Salesianum’s path for continued success, preparing boys to become men serving a world in need.

Tenui Nec Dimittam,

The Salesianum Community