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As Seen In: de Sales Sheet Magazine, Fall 2022 Edition

by Laura Johnson, Director of Institutional Advancement

As director of advancement, I have the pleasure of working with members of our community whom I would describe as true Cavaliers. They love Mount de Sales, and they care deeply about giving back. They have a generosity of spirit and a heart for philanthropy. Their commitment to the school is evident in how they talk about MDS, the time they donate to serving the school, and the charitable gifts they make to enhance the student experience. In addition, they make donations out of appreciation for their abundant blessings and without the desire for recognition.

Dr. Allen Cherer and the Murphey family are two great examples of these true Cavaliers.

Game-Changing Scholarship

Dr. Cherer graduated from MDS in 1969 and dedicated his professional Iife to caring for sick newborns and their families. He is a board-certified pediatrician and neonatologist whose home is Charlotte.

For more than 35 years, he has served in Level III newborn intensive care units in Georgia, California, and North Carolina. Following graduation from the University of Virginia and the Medical College of Georgia, he completed a pediatrics residency at Kosair Children’s Hospital at the University of Louisville School of Medicine. He subsequently was commissioned in the United States Air Force Medical Corps where he became chief of pediatrics at USAF Regional Medical Center in Minot, North Dakota. Dr. Cherer then completed a fellowship in neonatal-perinatal medicine at the Joint Program in Neonatology at the Harvard Medical School. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and continues to care for the most vulnerable patients.

Dr. Cherer credits his experience as a student at Mount de Sales with “opening the doors” to his future career success. He grew up in a military family that was stationed at Robins Air Force Base, and when his parents agreed to send him to Sacred Heart School and then to Mount de Sales, he finally felt a sense of community and witnessed a dedication to fostering excellence in one’s talents.

Dr. Cherer never hesitates to express his tremendous gratitude to his parents, Sacred Heart School, and Mount de Sales. It is in this spirit that Dr. Cherer made his first generous charitable contribution to the Father Cuddy Middle School campaign. Last year, Dr. Cherer and I talked about his vision for a lasting contribution that would enable future students to benefit from the MDS experience, just as he did. Subsequently, he established the Bernard F. and Dolores M. Cherer Endowed Scholarship in honor of his deceased parents, which will provide a student at Sacred Heart School with the opportunity to matriculate to Mount de Sales. “I wish the scholarship to be a game-changer for students to be a part of and contribute to this remarkable MDS community,” he said.

Family Fund

Craig and Dawn Murphey are grateful for the education and faith community that their sons, Stephen (2012) and Ryan (2017), benefited from while at MDS. “It was such a gift for our sons to have had the opportunity to see faith modeled for them through their teachers and coaches at MDS and to embrace living their faith as an integral part of their high school experience,” noted Dawn. “We believe that faith is foundational in navigating life.”

The late Msgr. John Cuddy, who encouraged St. Joseph parishioners to “give what you can, where you can,” inspired the Murpheys to be actively engaged in the life of the school. In addition to their generous charitable gifts, they have made significant contributions of time and talent, whether pressure washing the bleachers, raising money for the athletic program, or leading the soccer team in building picnic tables and benches for Cavalier Fields.

Furthermore, Dawn, who volunteered as one of the “team moms” during several soccer seasons, served on the Cavalier Club board from 2013 to 2016, and as the booster club president in 2015. Craig, who attended Mount de Sales until his sophomore year when his family moved to Florida, served on the board of trustees from 2013 to 2022 and chaired the board for two years.

As they have modeled the importance of caring for others and giving back to one’s community, their sons have embraced volunteerism and philanthropy. In fact, Ryan’s Eagle Scout project during his freshman year was to repaint the lines of the parking lot at Cavalier Fields. Both Stephen and Ryan have helped the school in various capacities since graduating and have become faithful donors as they began their careers.

Recently, the family initiated an endowed scholarship fund to ensure that any student who experiences the death of a parent while at Mount de Sales can continue his or her education at the school. They chose the name James 1:27 Scholarship Fund in reference to the Bible verse that directs Christians to look after orphans and widows in their suffering.

Dawn shared that she lost a parent while in the ninth grade and Stephen and Ryan each had classmates who lost parents, so they understand just how traumatic losing a parent is for a child. “We hope the fund will help, in a small way, ease the burden on families at a difficult time and ensure that the child’s school life doesn’t change as they are grieving,” said Dawn. Craig added that he hopes that others will be inspired to give as well. “There are so many ways that anyone can have an impact on the school and students, and it is remarkable what we can all achieve together,” he said.

Mother Teresa once said, “It’s not how much we give, but how much love we put into giving.” There is no doubt in my mind that there is a lot of love in the gifts made by the Murpheys, Dr. Cherer, and others, and that their devotion and generosity will bless Mount de Sales students and families for many years to come.