Thanks to the generosity of two alumni families, Benedictine College Preparatory announced on Monday that has received the largest charitable donation in the 110-year history of the school.
The combined gift of $2.5 million was announced in a ceremony conducted in the nearly completed gymnasium of the River Road school. That building will now be named “The McMurtrie-Reynolds Pavilion,” in honor of two late Benedictine graduates.
Alex McMurtrie Jr. and Randy Reynolds Sr. jointly announced that they were bestowing the school with the gift in honor of a pair of family members, both graduates of Benedictine, who have passed away.
Monday’s pledge, made in conjunction with the school’s fund drive, “The Campaign for Benedictine,” pushed the total donations past the campaign’s target goal of $20 million.
That pavilion’s new name will be unveiled during a grand opening celebration on August 28. That celebration will also include the introduction of the plaque that details the two people in whose honor these contributions are being made.
Alex McMurtrie Jr., who graduated from Benedictine as Valedictorian in 1953, made his donation in honor of his older brother Edward McMurtrie, a member of Benedictine’s Class of 1942. Following a year at Belmont Abbey College, Edward was drafted into the United States Army, training as a scout swimmer and attending the underwater demolitions school. While preparing to participate in Operation Overlord, Edward died in in 1944, during a training exercise in Norfolk, Virginia. “He was my older brother, and I looked up to him,” McMurtrie said of Edward. “I am honored to make this gift in his memory. I hope that his story it will inspire the work ethic and patriotism of future generations of young people.”
The Reynolds gift was organized by Randolph “Randy” Reynolds Jr., in honor of his son Sean Reynolds, a member of Benedictine’s Class of 2015. Sean was the pipe major in the Benedictine Bagpipe & Drum Band. He led the Cadets in their performances at the battlefields in Normandy, France to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Operation Overlord.
Tragically, Sean Reynolds died in an automobile accident in October 2017. “Sean was his happiest at Benedictine,” said his father. “He loved the school, his friends and his mentor, Major Jesse Grapes. Sean excelled in the structured environment that Benedictine offers to young men. His positive attitude and spirit is greatly missed. He especially loved going on runs with his mentor and practicing his bagpipe songs. We are eternally grateful to Major Grapes and what he did for Sean.”
Alex McMurtrie Jr. attended the former Cathedral High School in Richmond, where he excelled as a student and basketball player, until his father’s untimely death. Thereafter, he transferred to Benedictine where he was the drill instructor for the school’s Band Company. He would go on to attend the University of Notre Dame, where he played on the freshman basketball team and graduated Cum Laude. McMurtrie earned a juris doctor degree from Georgetown University. A lawyer by training, he also served in Virginia’s House of Delegates from 1972 to 1982.
Randolph Reynolds Jr., has served as a Principal of Reynolds Development, a board member at Virginia Commonwealth Bank, an executive committee member on Benedictine’s campaign board and a former sales manager at Reynolds Metals Company.
The McMurtrie-Reynolds Pavilion is a 65,000-square foot building that will include three baskeball courts, seating for 2,000, a skybox, an indoor track, classrooms, a military Hall of Valor to honor graduates who served in the United States military and a Hall of Fame to recognize those who excelled in their athletic endeavors. It is graced with a colossal 97-foot bell tower as its entranceway, reminiscent of the tower that sits at the school’s former site in the Richmond museum district.
The Campaign for Benedictine kicked off in April 2019. It was designed to provide funding for three distinct components, including a state-of-the-art gymnasium, an endowment to fund future scholarships for Cadets and an endowment to fund faculty and staff professional development.
The Reynolds and McMurtrie donations will be applied to the gymnasium portion of the campaign.