King of Prussia, PA (August 27, 2015) – The National Catholic Education Association (NCEA) has announced that H. Edward Hanway, founding chair of Faith in the Future Foundation, and Ellen Hanway will be among five honorees to receive the organization’s 2015 Seton Award at its 25th Anniversary celebration on October 5 at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C.
The NCEA Seton Award is named for Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton in recognition of her lifelong dedication to teaching. The annual award recognizes outstanding individuals whose support and service provide a positive impact on Catholic education and on the well-being of American youth.
Access to quality Catholic education has long figured prominently in the Hanway’s charitable causes. Ten years ago, financial stress and declining enrollment threatened to close St. Katharine Drexel School, the one remaining Catholic school in the city of Chester, Pennsylvania. In September 2007, Ed and Ellen joined like-minded partners to form Drexel Neumann Academy (DNA), an independent Catholic school with a Franciscan spirit. The new school offers a high-quality Catholic education to any child residing in the city of Chester, regardless of religion, financial resources, or race. More than 85 percent of the 191 students today are non-Catholic, and over 90 percent require tuition assistance with an average class size of 20 students per grade.
In 2012 the Hanway’s would once again champion the cause of Catholic education by partnering with leaders in the Philadelphia region to save four Catholic high schools recommended for closure. The result was the creation of a separate nonprofit entity called the Faith in the Future Foundation (FIF). FIF grew out of the recommendations of the 2011 Blue Ribbon Commission to examine the challenges of Catholic education in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. In a historic management agreement with the Archdiocese, Faith in the Future assumed strategic and operational control of all 17 high schools and four schools of special education, as well as operational oversight of the Office of Catholic Education (OCE). By leveraging the favorable economics of a fixed-cost business model, Faith in the Future aimed to make a high-quality education available to an increasingly larger number of families each year, many of whom were not Catholic but who specifically sought this educational experience.
With Ed Hanway as its founding board chair, Faith in the Future reversed years of declining enrollment and now looks to a projected year-over-year growth in the total number of students for the first time in decades. As a result, Faith in the Future and the Office of Catholic Education today are overseeing one of the largest private Catholic high school systems in the world with nearly 14,000 students.
The unique combination of civic management matched to Catholic mission was a product of Hanway’s vision, which also drew the time and sponsorship of 2004 Seton Award honoree Gerald J. Parsons, president and CEO of Communications Test Design, Inc. (CTDI) and former Philadelphia archdiocesan school board president. “Ours is the most leveraged investment that can be made in workforce readiness, job creation, and the future economic stability of the Philadelphia region,” Hanway said. “First, we have capacity to add students today without adding to our overhead. Second, the quality of our schools is already proven with 92 percent of our graduates attending college.”
Those same graduates, Hanway notes, are awarded millions in scholarships and financial assistance by the colleges of their choice—more than $275 million for the Class of 2013, $320 million for the Class of 2014, and even more when the final results are recorded for this year’s graduates. “Our students succeed. There has never been a better time to invest in Catholic education,” he suggests. He credits his education at the archdiocesan Cardinal O’Hara High School as a significant factor in his business success. He served as Cigna Corporation’s chairman from January 2000 through December 2009.
Faith in the Future’s mission has been to support a high-quality education at each one of our outstanding high schools while at the same time, finding economies of scale and creating central services to support our schools as a system. “Our system and our core beliefs make a difference in the lives of young people all across our region. We truly believe in our foundation motto and its mission for the schools: “individually excellent, better together.”
Ed Hanway is Chairman Emeritus of Cigna Corporation and has been active in a wide range of issues and initiatives associated with children’s health, education, and international business. He serves on the board of Marsh and McLennan Companies, Inc., and of the March of Dimes Foundation. He is a former board member of the Philadelphia Orchestra and was a member of the Business Roundtable and the Eisenhower Exchange.
Hanway is a member of the American Institute and the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants. He is a graduate of Loyola College of Baltimore (B.A., 1974), where he served on its board of trustees, and of Widener University (MBA, 1984). Hanway was recently notified that he will be included in the 2015 National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) Directorship 100, the annual list of the most influential directors and governance or governance-related professionals.
Ed and Ellen Hanway will join four other individuals or organizations in receiving the 2015 Seton Award at a gala dinner on October 5 at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C.: the Archdiocese of Washington; Robert B. Catell, chairman of Futures in Education and Cristo Rey Brooklyn High School; Most Reverend Paul S. Loverde, Bishop of Arlington, Diocese of Arlington; and the University of Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE).
About the NCEA Seton Gala
Seton honorees are recognized at the Seton Gala, which raises funds to support NCEA research, leadership development, and advocacy programs that support Catholic school educators and students. A scholarship presented in honor of each awardee is presented during the celebration event to a deserving Catholic school student in the local community. For more information visit www.ncea.org