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Oct 21, 2015

St. Stephen's Dedicates Courtyard for Retiring Head

Bob Kirkpatrick Surprise

Austin, TX — On Oct. 16, the St. Stephen’s Episcopal School community held a surprise dedication ceremony for Head of School Bob Kirkpatrick, who will retire from the school in June 2016. To recognize Kirkpatrick’s skillful leadership of St. Stephen’s for the past nine years, more than 900 students, faculty, staff and trustees assembled at the lower entrance to Moody Walk, where a new campus courtyard was named in Kirkpatrick’s honor.


As an unsuspecting Kirkpatrick was led to the courtyard by event organizers, the school’s Thunder Drumline, dressed in red kilts in a nod to Kirkpatrick’s Scottish heritage, kicked off the dedication with a spirited performance. Attendees, donning purple and red mustaches mimicking Kirkpatrick’s own, then let out a rousing cheer.


Located adjacent to the school’s new Spartan Fitness and Wellness Center, which was dedicated in September, the Kirkpatrick Courtyard is a gathering space nestled between the lower and upper levels of the campus.


“The trustees felt this space was the most appropriate place on our lovely, recently revitalized campus to recognize and honor Bob’s incredible commitment to St. Stephen’s,” said Ellen Osborne Ray ’86, executive chair of the board of trustees.


“To say that I am overwhelmed would be an understatement,” Kirkpatrick said, clearly surprised by the event. “This is a remarkable community, just remarkable. Although Sue and I will be 700 miles away, St. Stephen’s will never be far from our hearts. Thank you all.”


The timing of the surprise dedication event proved serendipitous, as just a few weeks ago the school received a $600,000 grant from the Moody Foundation to complete the fourth and final phase of Moody Walk. The project has transformed eroded land into pathways, drystone creeks and gathering spaces.