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Higginson Honored With Induction Into Class of 1862


Phil Higginson, holding plaque, stands with Doreen Kelly

Higginson and Kelly at the Ravenscroft Welcome Center following his induction into the Class of 1862.

Longtime Associate Head of School for Philanthropy Phil Higginson was honored earlier this spring with induction into the Class of 1862, an award from the Ravenscroft Alumni Association that bestows honorary alumni status to members of the school community who have made outstanding contributions to the institution.

The award was created in 2000 to honor school employees and volunteers for dedicated service and support, whether in direct work with students or behind the scenes. With Higginson’s addition, there are now 10 members. Previous inductees include faculty members Michelle Piette (2016), Carol Miedema (2016), Barbara Jean Warren (2007), Cherie Fowler (2006), Bruce Miller (2002) and George Joyner (2000); school nurse Martha Janes (2015); and longtime board members Lewis “Snow” Holding  (2009) and Frances Pugh (2009).

Higginson has led the Institutional Advancement Department at Ravenscroft since 2002 and has overseen four major fundraising initiatives in that time: Charge to Victory, which funded updates and enhancements to school athletic facilities; Phase 1 implementation of the 25-year campus master plan, providing improvements to the perimeters and driveways of campus; Embrace Possibility, an endowment campaign to support financial aid, health and wellness, and Lead From Here; and Dare to Dream, which made possible the construction of the Olander Center for Student Life and renovations of the A.E. Finley Activity Center. 

“The establishment of over 70 new family endowment funds is what I am most proud of,” Higginson said. “These funds all represent a commitment to Ravenscroft for generations to come, supporting areas of our mission that align with the families’ values.”

In addition to his work in philanthropy, Higginson has in the past worked directly with Ravenscroft students as a coach of both boys and girls lacrosse and the sponsor of an Upper School club focused on business entrepreneurship. As a member of the Leadership Team, he has been a reliable greeter at morning carpool, attended innumerable athletic and fine arts events, and led campus tours highlighting the school’s history and the importance of its philanthropic legacy.

Head of School Doreen Kelly shared the news with the school community at several year-end ceremonies. 

“I am honored to announce that Phil Higginson was inducted into the Class of 1862 at an April 20 celebration,” she said in those remarks. “As the letter for his nomination stated, ‘What makes Phil worthy of being inducted into the Class of 1862 is how he has shown up for the little things, day in and day out, for the last 20+ years — and never requested nor expected any public recognition or accolades for doing so. … He is the very definition of a servant leader.’”  

Asked to reflect on his contributions to the school, she added, “When I think of our slogan, ‘Every Raven, Every Day,’ I think of Phil Higginson. He has been both-feet-in, green-and-gold since Day One, and we are better for his commitment and care for Ravenscroft. Ken Blanchard has said, ‘Servant leadership is all about making the goals clear, and then rolling up your sleeves and doing whatever it takes to help people win.’ This exemplifies Phil to a T. Whether helping out at carpool each day, working with various constituencies, coaching lacrosse, raising money to help improve teaching and learning, Phil has always rolled up his sleeves to help us live out the mission each day.”

Higginson leaves Ravenscroft on June 30 to begin work as a consultant with Independent School Management. He said the school’s legacy of excellence serves as powerful inspiration for the work ahead.

“Over the past 21 years, I have immersed myself in the history of Ravenscroft. In doing so, I have had the honor and privilege to meet the school’s iconic educational leaders and learn to fully appreciate how special Ravenscroft is,” he said. “Our alumni are truly citizen leaders throughout the world. To be recognized as an honorary alumnus is humbling and an honor that I will cherish. We challenge our alumni to Change Their World, and I will do my very best to represent the alumni body — and will strive to have an impact on schools around the world in the years to come.”