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Retired teacher donates $1M to Roycemore

Private school prepares for 104th graduation ceremony on Friday, managed to maintain in-person classes for most of this pandemic-disrupted school year.

William Hinchliff, teaching at Roycemore, in an image from the schools 1976 yearbook.

Roycemore School in Evanston has received a $1 million gift from William Hinchliff, a former faculty member and trustee of the school, in memory of his parents, Mae B. & James D. Hinchliff.

His mother, then Mae Bliss, had graduated from Roycemore in 1930.

Inspired by the experience his mother had as a Roycemore student and his own experience as a faculty member and trustee of the school, Hinchliff says he hopes the gift from his parents’ charitable remainder trust will bolster Roycemore’s position as “the clear choice among families seeking a college preparatory school with high academic standards, a diverse environment and personalized, project-based instruction.”

Mae Bliss, in Roycemore’s 1930 yearbook.

David Royko, a graduate of Roycemore’s class of 1977, remembers Hinchliff as the kind of teacher who would “make you pay attention to, and love, things you thought might be boring, thanks to his genuine and almost giddy enthusiasm for sharing great literature.”

Board Chair Kathleen Scheidt said, “We are deeply honored to receive this transformative gift from Bill. His belief in Roycemore’s mission and vision has inspired us during the COVID-19 pandemic and allowed us to focus on providing a healthy and safe school environment for faculty and students while also planning for Roycemore’s future.”

Roycemore’s robust Health and Safety Plan enabled faculty and students to attend school in person for the majority of the school year, an especially important opportunity for this year’s senior class.

It’s typical for 100% of Roycemore’s graduates to earn admission to college, often at each student’s dream school. With the benefit of personalized curricula, a dual-enrollment option at Northwestern University and dedicated college admissions counseling, the 25 seniors in Roycemore’s Class of 2021 received almost $3 million in 4-year scholarship award offers.

Roycemore’s 2021 graduates will matriculate to colleges as varied as Boston University, Brandeis, CalTech, Colgate University, Culinary Institute of America, Dickinson, Grinnell, Loyola University Chicago, MIT, Michigan State University, New York University, Northwestern University, Occidental College, UC Davis, University of Georgia and University of Pennsylvania.

That’s “an especially significant achievement given the current college admissions environment,” according to Mauricio Robert, Roycemore’s college counselor. “This year, the class of 2021 faced quite arguably the most competitive college admissions season in the history of higher education. Admissions processes were complicated by the absence of standardized tests, which led to a massive surge in application numbers since a major entry barrier no longer existed.”

Roycemore will hold its 104th Commencement exercises on Friday.

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