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Celebrating the Eichberger Years at St. George’s

Monday, April 23, 2018

About 300 members of the St. George’s family gathered at the school on Sunday, April 22nd to celebrate the last 35 years of the school’s history, the Eichberger years. Staff, faculty and Board members, both past and present, current and former parents and alumni celebrated Rob and Elaine’s remarkable service to St. George’s Episcopal School with a beautiful cocktail reception in the Middle School Commons and school gym. 


The reception featured a powerful video (below) which described what Rob and Elaine mean to St. George’s and how and why their legacy will live on at the school for decades to come. 

Remarks from current Chairman of the Board, Greg Schafer, past Chairmen of the Board, Dr. Stephen Hales and Mr. Robert Boh, and comments from the Eichberger children, incoming Chairman of the Board, Alex Breckinridge and 8th grade student, Ricky M., told the story of Rob and Elaine's tenure at St. George's and how they helped foster an environment which has made the school what it is today. 

“I could not have imagined this celebration when I first met Rob thirty-six years ago. I chaired St. George’s Board at a time when this fairly new school could only be described in real estate terms as a ‘fixer upper’,” explained Dr. Stephen Hales, Chairman of the Board of Trustees from 1981-1983. Dr. Hales told the story of how he offered Rob the position in the Pontchartrain Hotel and how Rob said yes to what was supposed to be a two-year commitment for the Eichbergers, but what eventually turned into 35 years of change for the “fixer-upper” school in Uptown New Orleans. 

“No longer a struggling new school in a fixer-upper building, St. George’s occupies a respected and beloved position in New Orleans, and it occupies a campus we could never have dreamed of,” said Hales. “But some things haven’t changed. St. George’s has never lost its heart. It’s in the DNA commitment to supporting each child’s path to learning and success.” Dr. Hales finished his remarks by thanking both Rob and Elaine for devoting virtually their entire professional lives to the school saying, “Its heart has never been stronger. Its vision, its future, never more assured.”

Mr. Robert Boh, Chairman of the Board of Trustees from 1999-2001 took to the stage to give his reflections on Dr. Eichberger’s vision and leadership for the school how he along with the people he and Elaine encouraged, built the school physically and environmentally over the past 35 years. 

“As I reflect on my years of working with Rob on the Board of Trustees and as its Chairman, I’m reminded that Rob is a man after my own heart. He is a builder. He has built, in the physical sense, in that the school has methodically acquired and renovated real estate almost constantly throughout his tenure. In fact, there were times during the Capital Campaign that I thought Rob might be a real estate developer masquerading as a school Headmaster…But primarily, and really more importantly, Rob is the builder of a truly great organization. St. George’s has not only succeeded under his leadership, it has stood the test of time by adapting and growing.” 

Mr. Boh went on to explain how a vision for the education of each individual child was created and how students leave St. George’s with an understanding of their own strengths in a way that prepares them for the next phase of their lives. He also explained that while Rob and Elaine were at the center of shaping the future of St. George’s, they could not have done it alone. 

“Of course, none of this could be possible without assembling the right team of people, and fostering a culture in which they can be successful. During our fifteen years as the parents of three very different St. George’s students, we worked with so many talented and passionate teachers, counselors and administrators. This was a reflection of a team working together under Rob’s direction and leadership,” he explained as he thanked Rob and Elaine for the great work they have done in the community and for making it a better place.

After beautiful and loving comments, about both Rob and Elaine, from their children, Dr. Eichberger took the stage and thanked the many, many people that made it possible for St. George’s to become the school it is today and how those people should be commended for wanting to make the school and community better as well.

“What we found when we got here so long ago was a group of people, who are so hungry for wanting this school to succeed. So willing to roll up their sleeves and do what was necessary to help this school,” said Dr. Eichberger.

“I believe that Elaine and I are leaving this school as a strong, healthy, vibrant institution. One that has real meaning. We have a Board of Trustees that is committed to our mission. We have a faculty that is passionate and dedicated. We have an administration that is absolutely phenomenal. And as I wrote to you last year, we leave a moral compass in the hands of these three groups to help steer our children and their families, to a bright and exciting future. Elaine and I wish God’s every blessing on the school. May He continue to bless St. George’s Episcopal School family,” concluded Dr. Eichberger with Elaine at his side.

As the evening came to a close, Ricky, an 8th grade student, read cards about Dr. E., similar to those Dr. Eichbgerger reads about each 8th grade student during Graduation. He also helped unveil a beautiful portrait of Dr. Eichberger, painted by his son-in-law Billy Solitario. The portrait will hang proudly in the school, in honor of the man who fostered the environment which ultimately made St. George’s Episcopal School one that embodies perseverance, integrity, compassion and respect—values that foster lifelong learning and success.

To see the entire reception, click here.

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