San Diego CA— The Academy of Our Lady of Peace (OLP), the oldest high school and only all girls’ school in San Diego, has received a $2 million donation from Darlene Marcos Shiley. This is the largest cash gift ever received by OLP. The funds will be used for the renovation and reconstruction of an academic building which will be named the Shiley Center for Science and Innovation. The building will feature a 1,500-square-foot engineering makerspace and innovation lab that will engage students in creative higher-order problem solving, hands-on design and construction in engineering and robotics classes. The new facility will include five fully-outfitted multidisciplinary science labs that will accommodate 150 students at any one time.
“We are so deeply honored and humbled by Darlene’s generosity,” said Dr. Lauren Lek Head of OLP School. “The new Shiley Center for Science and Innovation will stand as an enduring tribute to Darlene for her support of science, technology, education, and math (STEM). We are blessed to have her in our community.”
At OLP, STEM engages students in integrated learning as they explore the world around them, create innovative solutions to problems and communicate their results. The proof is in their numbers, with 100% of OLP graduates going on to pursue higher education. OLP’s curriculum includes access to more than 53 classes in STEM disciplines and more than 30 Advanced Placement and Honors courses.
In 2015 the Academy of Our Lady of Peace created the STEM certification program to recognize students for their achievements and involvement in STEM-related activities. This past year, the graduating class saw 40% of its graduates pursuing STEM majors in college, which is more than double the co-ed national average (16%).
Darlene Marcos Shiley is the president of The Shiley Foundation and a renowned patron of the arts, medical research, and education.
A resident of San Diego, Shiley’s philanthropy has benefited countless institutions, including the Old Globe Theater, the University of California San Diego (Shiley Eye Institute and Shiley-Marcos Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center), the University of San Diego (Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering, Shiley Theatre, and the Donald P. Shiley Center for Science and Technology), Scripps Clinic (Shiley Pavilion, Shiley Center for Orthopedic Research Education: SCORE, and Shiley Musculoskeletal Center), the Salk Institute, San Diego State University’s Shiley Bio Science Center, Public Broadcasting Service’s Masterpiece Theatre, The University of Portland (Donald P. Shiley Hall and the Shiley School of Engineering), and KPBS public radio and television.
In 2012, the Chronicle of Philanthropy named Darlene Shiley as one of the Top 35 most charitable funders in the United States. In addition, a number of organizations have named the Shileys “Philanthropists of the Year.”
She graduated with honors from San Jose State University and was awarded honorary doctorates from the California State University and the University of Portland. Shiley has served as Chair of the Board of Trustees at the University of San Diego and Vice Chair on the Salk Institute Board, and serves on the Shiley Eye Institute Advisory Board, the Shiley Clinic Advisory Board, and the University of Portland Board of Regents. She is known in San Diego as “the Duchess of Downtown” for her incredible generosity that propelled the success of PBS’s Downtown Abbey.
About the Academy of Our Lady of Peace
Founded in 1882, the Academy of Our Lady of Peace has been educating the next generation of women leaders and innovators for 136 years. Inspired by the charism of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, students at OLP are challenged to become academic, social, and spiritual leaders of the CSJ mission. The high school is dedicated to helping students become “all of which woman is capable.”