Maguire Stadium is the final piece in the first phase of a capital campaign that has led to the complete renovation of all the school’s outdoor facilities.

Maguire Stadium is the final piece in the first phase of a capital campaign that has led to the complete renovation of all the school’s outdoor facilities.

by Clark Groome

When Maguire Stadium is dedicated during the varsity football game’s halftime at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy’s Homecoming Sept. 27, its namesake and lead donor will be continuing a personal and family philanthropic tradition.

Named for James J. “Jamie” Maguire Jr., CHA class of 1978, the stadium is the final piece in the first phase of a capital campaign that has led to the complete renovation of all the school’s outdoor facilities.

The project, which cost around $12 million, included completely reworking the school’s athletic fields, two of which were resurfaced with artificial turf; building the Francis P. Steel ’77 Sports Pavilion near the SCH tennis courts; the creation of walkways throughout the campus; and the building of the stadium adjacent to Landreth Field.

Maguire, 54, is chairman of the board of the Philadelphia Insurance Companies (PHLY) that was a Maguire family firm until it was sold in 2008 to the Tokio Marine Group for $5.5 billion.

Founded by his father as the Maguire Insurance Agency in 1962, the sale of the company allowed Maguire to create The Jamie Maguire Family Foundation.

“My foundation has been focused on coupling philanthropy with athletics,” Maguire said during a recent interview at a local coffee shop.

(Full disclosure: I knew Maguire when I worked at CHA in the ‘70s while he was a student there. He was a good student, a fine athlete, an involved member of the CHA Players and the editor of his class’ yearbook, which I served as faculty advisor.)

When we met to chat, he told me that his foundation has worked with Challenged Athletes Foundation, a group that buys prosthetics for athletes injured in accidents or in the military. It also supports Special Olympics and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. In addition, he serves on the boards of the Franklin Institute, the American Red Cross and St. Joseph’s University and its Academy of Insurance and Risk Management.

One of his other focuses is his alma mater.

“The [SCH] stadium appealed to me because it was related to athletics,” Maguire said. “I had a great athletic experience at CHA.”

As a student he played football, tennis and wrestled. He was part of the 1977 football team that had a record of 8-0-0 and outscored its opponents 235-16. It was the only team inducted into the CHA Athletic Hall of Fame’s’ inaugural class in 2001.

Maguire Stadium seats approximately 400 people (it depends, SCH says, on whether its filled with adults or with kids) and features restrooms for the public, locker rooms for the home and visiting teams to use at halftimes and a concession stand called the Snack Schack [sic].

For Maguire, the timing of SCH’s construction project couldn’t have been better. He had been his company’s chief executive officer for many years until 2012 when he stepped away from day-to-day responsibilities while retaining his role as chairman.

“I was so involved in the day-to-day operations of the company,” he said, “trying to grow that business and traveling to Japan to court Tokio Marine, so it wasn’t until five years ago that I became reengaged {with CHA}, just before the merger [with Springside].”

Before that, Maguire contributed to the school’s annual fund, as he does at his other schools: St, Joseph’s University, where he received a B.S. in finance in 1984, and the University of Notre Dame, where he got an MBA in 1986.

“I saw what was going on on campus and began the dialogue,” he said.

He was given a list of projects he might want to support and chose the stadium. He had input into the facility’s final design and worked with the school to make sure that it wasn’t too big and that it looks like an extension of the existing buildings.

“What a great way to give back,” Maguire said. “My agenda was to give back to an institution that gave me so much: education, athletics, friends, the Players.”

While Maguire was the lead donor on the approximately $1.7 million stadium, the school also solicited other alumni to buy seats in the facility. Close to 550 seats were named. The solicitation for this part of the project was at two levels: alumni out of school 10 years or less were asked for $25 and for those out longer than 10 years it was $100. There will be individual nameplates on the seats honoring those who participated in this program.

The Snack Schack was funded by $80,000 in contributions from the CHA and Springside classes of 1978. Maguire said he hoped he could “work with the school to [have] healthy menu options” at the concession stand. He and his wife are committed to that and “want to be on the cutting edge [with] healthful food [and] lead from a nutritional standpoint.”

Since graduating from college, Maguire has continued to participate in athletics at a high level. He’s run in marathons all over the country and is an accomplished triathlete.

Maguire noted in our interview that he shared his father’s view that “knowledge is power, so by giving students knowledge that will help them be successful through high school, college and life.”