Archbishop Williams dedicates Student Center in honor of Stephen J. McGrath ‘71

The late Stephen J. McGrath, Class of 1971 and former development director at Archbishop Williams High School, was honored November 5 by family, friends and his high school alma mater at the dedication of a new student center bearing his name.  
 
"Everytime we pass through those doors, we’ll remember all that Steve McGrath means to the Archbishop Williams community,” said President Dennis Duggan. “In every way that should ever matter, Steve was indeed successful. He was an empathetic listener, a skilled advocate, trusted adviser, a principled fiduciary, and a dedicated and selfless representative. He was a mentor to many and a role model and inspiration to more people than he would ever know.” 
 
The college-styled flexible use facility, which opened with the start of classes in September, serves primarily as the school’s cafeteria. It has cushioned booths, high top and standard height tables and chairs, carpeting, sound-proof ceilings, a state-of-the art speaker and projection system, and plugs and connections for laptops, iPads, and cellphones at each stationary table. 
 
The center can also be used for formal dining, large meetings, reunions, retreats, project space,  dances, and before and after school studies. A key feature of the facility is a wall-length mural including thousands of photographs displaying the history of the school from its opening in 1949 until spring 2017.
 
David McGrath ‘77 and his wife Molly, Stephen McGrath’s brother and sister-in-law, donated the funds for the facility.
 
“Archbishop Williams was a special place for Steve where he spent his post political office years working in development,” said David McGrath. “He truly cared, as we all do, about keeping this place alive, and helping Archbishop Williams perpetuate its long tradition of developing and inspiring educated, compassionate, responsible citizens that we need in this world.” 
 
Principal Dr. Michael Volonnino gave thanks for the donation. “What your gift has done, what this magnificent place has done, has given us a facility to match the spirit that has always been here,” Volonnino said. “This is a true student center, more than a cafeteria, more than a place that has fantastic tater tots, chicken patties and $1.75 muffins. This is a gathering spot where Archbishop Williams students are so proud, so proud that they are students here in this space.”
 
Joining approximately 80 guests were McGrath’s wife Jane Madden McGrath, sister Patricia McGrath ‘73, sister-in-law Penny Manners, and mother-in-law Anna Madden. Former principals, Mary Ellen Barnes and Mary Lou Sadowski, and Assistant Principal John Donoghue, who all worked with Steve, were also present, as were a number of Quincy city officials. McGrath was a longtime Quincy official, serving as a city councilor, council president, city solicitor, special counsel to the president of Quincy College, and director of human resources for the city until his death in 2013.
 
Duggan thanked the many people responsible for the new facility: Gary Kazanjian, designer of the student center; Nancy Hohorst, mural creator; Jim Sheehan, mural printer; Lindsay Simpson, Director of Advancement; James Coughlin, art teacher and mural photographer; John McMahon, Director of Technology; and Dan Dooley, Director of Facilities. 
 
“All of these people combined to bring their unique and superior talents to create this wonderful space, this flexible showcase for Archbishop Williams,” Duggan said.
 
Under the direction of Linda DeRosa-Coakley, Music Director and Chair of the Fine Arts Department, the chorus provided entertainment. The singers were Olivia McDonnell, Ashley Hamparian, Olivia Raneri, Anna Egan, Daisy Zhang, and Olivia Notarangelo.
 
The new facility is the latest infrastructure improvement completed at the school, which in the last year saw a new state-of-the art science lab, athletic and training center, amphitheater, outside classroom, and in Nazareth Hall, renovated classrooms, music, art and performance rooms.