A new “Home of the Crusaders” is coming soon to East Elmhurst.
Msgr. McClancy H.S. recently broke ground on its new campus athletic complex – a project that was made possible with the help of a $2.1 million donation by alumnus Stephen J. Squeri, ’77, who is the chairman and CEO of American Express.
The donation is the largest individual gift in school history. The new complex will feature all-turf softball and baseball fields, a full-length soccer field, and a protected track-and-field area. The track student-athletes used to have to stop training when the other sports practiced since there was no protection from baseballs, softballs, or soccer balls.
“Our motto is ‘The School That Makes a Difference,’ and Steve has truly made a difference in the lives of so many members of the McClancy community,” said Brother Robert Connolly, S.C., financial director at McClancy.
Construction began in late June. The goal is for the spring sports to christen the new complex. Currently, the Crusaders’ boys and girls soccer teams are playing in local parks or are competing at their opponents’ schools.
Upon completion, Msgr. McClancy will be the only Catholic high school in the Diocese of Brooklyn to have baseball, softball, soccer, and track fields directly on its campus. The complex will also be used for outdoor physical education classes.
“McClancy has always been a special place for me,” said Squeri, who has also served on the school’s board of directors for more than a decade. “Whether in the classroom or outside of the classroom, the Brothers of the Sacred Heart and the entire McClancy staff enabled me to gain the critical skills and reinforced the important values that have guided me throughout my life and career.
“I am proud to be able to pay it forward and hope this new athletic complex will help ‘Make a Difference’ in the lives of many students for years to come.”
Squeri was a varsity basketball teammate of Nick Melito, McClancy’s president and former varsity baseball coach. When Melito was named president prior to the 2020-2021 school year, he met Squeri for lunch, where the latter pledged $2.1 million to be used for a meaningful renovation project. Melito suggested a new athletic complex that would carry Squeri’s name.
As a result, the Stephen J. Squeri Sports Complex was born.
“He’s very generous,” Melito said. “He always gives back to the school. He gives the school credit for where he is today.
“At McClancy, one of our core beliefs is to serve others, which is something Steve exemplifies through his ongoing commitment and personal generosity to the school.”
In addition to the athletic complex, Squeri funded renovations to the school’s student center in memory of his parents. He also helped support many families in the school community during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Going along with the spirit of giving, McClancy intends to offer the use of its athletic complex to local youth sports organizations, including the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO). Melito, a CYO Hall of Famer who began his sports career as a baseball and basketball player at St. Mary Winfield, Woodside, knows the value of CYO sports and how they shape young athletes.
“We’re a private Catholic high school,” Melito said. “We want nothing more than to help the CYO. Whatever we can do to help, we will for sure.”
In just a few short months, the Crusaders will set foot on their brand-new sports complex. The values of the school — as portrayed by Squeri — will be on full display as McClancy begins the next chapter in its storied athletics history.
Contact Jim Mancari via email at email@example.com.