New Orleans — New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson and his wife, Gayle, on Thursday donated $10 million to Brother Martin High School to establish a fund designed to maintain the buildings at the Gentilly campus.
Benson graduated from St. Aloysius High School in 1944. The century-old Esplanade Avenue school merged with Cor Jesu High School, its brother school, in 1969 to form Brother Martin. The fund will be named the Brother Nicholas, S.C., Building Endowment. It honors the late Brother Nicholas Geisenberg, a brother of the Sacred Heart for 78 years and a mainstay at Brother Martin for more than 40 years as a teacher and administrator.
The student mall, which serves as the cafeteria and an activity space, will be named in honor of the Bensons. The couple will be recognized for the donation before the Brother Martin-Archbishop Rummel game at 3:30 p.m. today at Tad Gormley Stadium.
Benson said he recalled walking past St. Aloysius as a boy and the generosity of Brother Martin Hernandez, whom the Gentilly school is named after, who told Benson’s father to “pay what you can” to send him to the school.
“I have never forgotten that,” Benson said. “The foundation for what I learned as a young man was built there. Today, I pledge to the school a gift that I hope will endure for many years to come.”
This isn’t the first time Benson has donated to his alma mater’s descendent.
In 1985, he and his brothers established the Benson Free Enterprise Resource Library at the school in honor of his parents.
When the school launched a capital campaign in 1995, Benson and his classmates funded the construction of an auxiliary gymnasium.
“It is not an overstatement to say that with their incredible gift, the Bensons have made our future brighter and infinitely more secure,” said John Devlin, president of Brother Martin.
“It’s something they have been doing for New Orleans and for Louisiana for years.”