“Father Harry Carlin Heritage Society” Carries on Mission
The SI Carlin Society, which honors those who have included the school in their estate plans, has been renamed The Father Harry V. Carlin, S.J., Heritage Society.
The name change honors this great priest who died last year at 89 and who left as his SI legacy the Sunset District campus for which he raised millions.
“He was without a doubt the father of the modern SI,” said Steve Lovette ’63, the school’s vice president and a close collaborator with Fr. Carlin, who continued to work in SI’s development office well into his 80s.
“He was not ambitious or flamboyant,” Lovette added. “He preferred visiting the sick to asking for money. He did it because it needed to be done.”
He spoke of Fr. Carlin’s success in raising $2 million to purchase 11 acres from the San Francisco Unified School District for the new campus in the mid-1960s, and then raising the additional millions required to build the facilities and pay off the debt.
Fr. Carlin’s fundraising visits were notable for their directness. “‘You’re a busy man, and I’m a busy man,’ he would say after arriving, sometimes unannounced, at the downtown office of an SI alumnus,” said Lovette. “He then would add, ‘Let’s talk about your gift to SI.’”
SI’s Director of Development Joe Vollert ’84 sees the newly named Carlin Society as a linear descendent of the great Jesuit fundraiser.
“Fr. Carlin laid the foundation for the current campus,” Vollert said. “The members of SI’s Carlin Society are laying the foundation for the school’s future. Their bequests will help ensure that SI will never turn deserving young men and women away for financial reasons only.”
Attorney Michael Stecher ’62, who, with his wife, Patricia, chairs the Carlin Society, remembers Fr. Carlin as “a wonderful priest and a great spiritual leader.”
Stecher, whose involvement in SI includes a two-year stint as president of the Father’s Club, 10 years as president the Alumni Association and 12 years as an SI regent, often sought Fr. Carlin’s advice.
“People looked at him as a fundraiser, but he was much more than that,” Stecher said. “With his support, the Alumni Association provided volunteer labor for St. Anthony’s Dining Room and the San Dimas youth programs in St. Peter Parish. He was intelligent, humble and forceful when he needed to be, but he preferred the background.”
The Father Carlin Heritage Society is not the only SI effort to perpetuate his memory. Fr. Carlin came back from summer vacation in 1970 and found that the school’s commons had been named after him. “We probably could have raised money by naming it after someone else,” he said.
The Father Carlin Heritage Society currently numbers 95 members. Members are invited to an annual luncheon in the spring and a Mass and reception in the fall. For information on joining the society and ways of including SI in your estate plan, contact Joe Vollert at (415) 731-7500, ext 319, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also check the SI website for planned giving details.