Metairie Park Country Day School announced Monday that it has received a $2.5 million donation — the largest in the 87-year-old school’s history — from the members of the family who once owned International-Matex Tank Terminals.
The donation from brothers Thomas B. “Tommy” Coleman, James J. “Jimmy” Coleman Jr., Peter D. Coleman and their wives will be used to renovate and expand the independent K-12 school’s dining room, where students are served “healthy, chef-prepared meals served family style,” the school said.
The Coleman brothers are all Country Day graduates.
In 2014, the family sold the remaining half of its New Orleans tank farm and storage company to New York-based Macquarie Infrastructure Co. LLC in a $1 billion cash-and-stock deal.
Tommy Coleman is the father of Dathel Georges, who, along with her husband, John, bought The Advocate in April 2013.
In a news release, Coleman and his brothers said they were motivated to help Country Day with the donation because lunch at the school is about much more than simply eating.
Each school day, in two lunch periods, six to eight students from varying grades sit around tables headed by teachers and are assigned responsibilities from serving the meal to clearing up the tables afterward.
Jimmy Coleman said the tradition helps students develop a sense of responsibility, commitment to their community and self-confidence.
“I feel honored to join my brothers in helping ensure our cherished lunchtime tradition continues for generations,” Tommy Coleman said in a statement. “This is an undertaking I hold close to my heart.”
Officials estimate the new dining room will open in August 2017.
Jimmy, Tommy and Peter Coleman graduated from Country Day in 1959, 1961 and 1962, respectively.
Coleman family members have served on Country Day’s board of trustees, and Tommy Coleman was the board’s chairman from 2005 to 2007.
Head of School Carolyn Chandler said Tommy Coleman’s leadership helped Country Day recover from Hurricane Katrina after 2005.