In recognition of her exemplary service to Emma Willard and her role as a builder of bridges and connections for the school, Lisa LeFort will be honored with the naming of the new glass atrium that joins the Alice Dodge Wallace '38 Center for the Performing Arts with Snell-Dietel-Maguire.
Together, Lisa and her husband Jack have made a multi-million dollar legacy gift to the Infinite Horizon campaign to support campus preservation and modernization initiatives for Emma Willard. Jenny Rao made the surprise announcement of the gift during a recognition ceremony for Lisa at the May board dinner on Mount Ida. In addition to the generous monetary support, Jack gifted the school the motif of a compass to be inlaid in the floor of the LeFort Atrium and to signify Lisa's role in charting a course for Emma Willard during her two terms as chair of the board. The LeForts are avid sailors and actively compete in racing events with their boat, Challenge XII, on which Lisa serves as navigator and Jack skippers.
"We are honored to be able to support Emma Willard School and its commitment to developing women in leadership today and in the future,” shared Jack LeFort upon announcing the named space. “This institution has had such an incredible impact on Lisa’s life and it is a privilege to give back in a way that demonstrates her dedication to the mission of the school.”
The LeFort Atrium is a key element in the architectural design of the Wallace Arts Center. In addition to providing the physical connection between the school's new performing arts facility and the existing spaces for other arts-based disciplines in Snell-Dietel-Maguire, the transparent glass structure allows for a stunning view across the northwest campus green and athletics fields toward Wellington-Lay. Lastly, the Atrium provides a modernized and fully-accessible entrance to the two much older structures it bridges, an important step in a broader plan to enhance Emma Willard’s physical plant.
The new Center for the Performing Arts was made possible by Alice Dodge Wallace '38 (1920-2020), whose $30 million gift was the first to the Infinite Horizon campaign that Lisa LeFort was a chief architect in launching as board chair. Lisa's own support of the campaign has also been earmarked toward the priority that supports the campus facilities and educational spaces that were so influential on her during her time at Emma Willard.
"It's so easy to give back to Emma Willard — I just want the school, in all her glory, to be there forever," said Lisa of her ongoing support of the school. "It has meant so much to so many for so long, and it needs to remain a strong voice in women's empowerment for generations to come!"
This piece was written for the Spring 2023 issue of Signature Magazine.
- infinite horizon