Old Boys donate to 'grateful' school
Brothers Chris and John Liddell have such fond memories of their school they have given it $1 million.
The Mt Albert Grammar School old boys have made the generous contribution as seed money for the newly-founded Centenary Endowment Fund.
The school aims to raise $10 million over the next eight years as the state high school approaches its centenary in 2022.
The goal is to use the interest and proceeds for ongoing funding for student and staff scholarships and infrastructure improvements.
John Liddell says there are several reasons why the pair decided to donate the money, but there is one reason particularly close to his heart.
"The personal reason is the support that we received in 1973 when our father died unexpectedly," he says.
"We were in very difficult circumstances and I thought I was going to have to leave school and get a job, because the family needed someone to be working. And I came in to see the headmaster who told me I couldn't do that."
With the principal's guidance John stayed at school and joined the First XV, who pitched in and helped the Liddell family move house.
"I still keep in contact with those group of boys 40 years later," he says.
Nowadays John and Chris are high-flyers.
Former MAGS dux Chris, 55, has lived in the United States for the last decade and worked as the chief financial officer for Microsoft, General Motors and International Paper.
Last year he took up a key role with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and is now planning his next career move.
John, 58, is a top army officer who has served the New Zealand Defence Force for nearly 40 years.
The pair started Liddell Scholarships at the school a couple of years ago and have been pleased to see students and teachers blossoming as a result.
Roughly half of their latest donation will be used to continue the Liddell Scholarships and the remainder will kick off the Centenary Endowment Fund.
The brothers hope their latest donation will encourage others to contribute.
"We both believe education is greatly important for the health and future of New Zealand, so now we can contribute to the education system in a school that we both had a great time at," Chris says.
Headmaster Dale Burden says the school roll sits at about 2700 and grows about 3 per cent each year.
The money will benefit many students, he says.
"It's very unique for a state school to have this level of support from our Old Boy community, which is fantastic," he says.
"We are very grateful."
The Liddell brothers will be returning to the school in March for the official launch of the MAGS Foundation and the Centenary Endowment Fund.