The Luetkemeyer family story is stitched together with black and gold and fond memories of Tuscany Road, where three generations of students embarked their educational journey. If you ask John “Jack” Luetkemeyer, Jr. ’53, his first education was the most important.
“I always said I never thought I learned anything after Calvert School,” Jack said. “As far as the cornerstones for any prospective learning after Calvert, it was all put in place. We learned how to diagram sentences. We learned how to organize things. I was using it in graduate school.”
Now a strong Calvert supporter and former chair of the Board of Trustees, Jack attended Calvert School with his sisters after his mother graduated with the Class of 1927. Decades later, Jack’s daughters, Molly ’79, Julie ’81, and Annie ’84, would continue the trend, furthering a legacy of excellence that has left a lasting impact on the School.
Thanks to a generous gift from Jack’s father, Calvert debuted the Luetkemeyer Planetarium in 1979. The Luetkemeyer Wing of the Lower School opened in 1987, and in the years since, Jack has continued his family’s commitment to the Calvert community. As an instrumental member of the Planning Committee and Board of Trustees, he pushed for the addition of the Middle School and supported the project through the early 2000s.
While it proved to be toughest development project of Jack’s career, it was also an incredibly gratifying effort, one that he believed would ensure the School’s prosperity for years to come.
“I’m told by Andrew Holmgren that if we had not done that years ago, the School would still be here, but it certainly would not be as vibrant or as much of a value added to kids as it is today,” Jack said.
In recognition of this early work and support, Luetkemeyer House bears his name. Thanks to a later gift, the Middle School Assembly Hall – which opened in 2013 – is named for his mother, Anne A. McLanahan Luetkemeyer ’27.
Today, the Luetkemeyer legacy continues with Jack’s support of Calvert’s next expansion, a spacious, modern athletic center that will enhance the School’s robust athletics program.
Inside the Luetkemeyer Athletic Center
To build this new complex, the first dedicated athletics building in Calvert’s history, Jack generously provided a $2.5 million matching challenge gift that secured extraordinary support for the project. Named in recognition of Jack’s generous gift, the Luetkemeyer Athletic Center will feature a nearly 13,000-square-foot turf field and an updated fitness center for students and faculty.
The new facility will also grow one of Calvert’s most popular offerings, the Middle School squash program, by introducing 10 brand-new courts for on-campus play.
These courts, which include spectator viewing areas, will allow Calvert to move squash practice and competition on campus for the first time in the program’s history.
For Jack, a longtime squash player, the decision to support the building combined two strong influences on his life.
“I played an awful lot of squash at a lot of places, and I always found that was my favorite sport,” he said. “My favorite school was Calvert School. If you put the two together, it was pretty easy.”
In more than a decade since its creation, the Calvert Middle School squash program has stirred remarkable student interest and yielded multiple regional and national championship wins.
The addition of an on-site facility will give Calvert the flexibility to expand this enriching program by enhancing Fifth Grade intramurals, adding squash to Lower School physical education classes, and resuming Squash Sundays for Calvert families.
These initiatives will not only boost the School’s enrichment offerings, but they will further Calvert’s mission of providing a well-rounded educational experience that nurtures the whole child.
“A lot of kids will get a terrific physical fitness boost out of having squash available, because there are no weather problems, it’s coeducational, and it’s the best exercise you can possibly get in a competitive environment,” Jack said. “I think the whole story is ‘sound body, sound mind.’ Squash complements what Calvert is already producing in its curriculum.”
In addition to enhancing the squash program, the new athletic center will provide a valuable practice facility for more than two dozen other sports, including soccer, lacrosse, football, and field hockey, that will benefit from indoor facilities.
Thanks in part to the athletic center, Calvert will have greater opportunities to secure lasting community partnerships, expand afterschool club and camp offerings, and stand apart from other schools in the area.
“The way the future bodes is we’re going to be in a very competitive area attracting good students and good teachers,” Jack said. “This is just one more facility that is going to give arts, athletics, and academics the full complement to keep Calvert at the head of the pack.”