With a generous lead gift to support the Second Century Campaign Theater Initiative, Ellen S. and Peter G. Leemputte '75 are hoping to inspire others to support the development of a new theater for the performing arts at Loyola Academy.
The first words that Peter Leemputte and Ellen Schlax ever exchanged may very well have been in German. They were 16 years old at the time, the year was 1973, and they were enrolled in a Loyola Academy German III class for Ramblers and Regina Dominican students. As they conjugated verbs and conversed in German, they also forged a friendship that would deepen in the months and years to come as they progressed from classmates to soulmates to lifemates.
Over the years, as Peter and Ellen married, built a life together and raised four children, their commitment to Loyola Academy never wavered.
In the 1980s, they began giving back by supporting our Annual Fund, Ramble and President’s Dinner. In 2004, the Leemputtes established the Peter John Leemputte Scholarship in honor of Peter’s father. Five years later, they funded the Francis E. and Mary R. Schlax Scholarship in honor of Ellen’s parents.
For Peter, the decision to fund scholarships was a deeply personal one.
“I grew up in a family with six kids, and my brothers and I would not have been able to attend Loyola Academy without tuition assistance,” he says today. “The scholarships that Ellen and I established in our parents’ names were our way of passing the gift of a Jesuit education on to the next generation.”
In 2014—ever thoughtful about their giving—the Leemputtes sat down with Loyola Academy President Rev. Patrick E. McGrath, SJ, to discuss the school’s most pressing needs.
“The Second Century Campaign was just getting started at the time, and we wanted to make a significant gift to support the campaign,” recalls Peter, who joined Loyola’s Board of Trustees in 2016. “Because the arts are key to educating the whole person—and the small, outdated theater that has served Ramblers for decades cannot support a thriving, 21st-century performing arts program—Ellen and I decided to make a lead gift to the Theater Initiative.”
The Leemputtes’ generous gift reflects their shared belief that the benefits of a highquality performing arts program extend far beyond the stage.
“One of the traits that has been critical to my success as a CFO for several organizations is the ability to communicate and feel confident in front of a group,” comments Peter. “Participation in the performing arts teaches young people how to communicate effectively, work collaboratively and take command of a stage, which will serve them well throughout their lives.”