Martha and Dick Ellison DonorDick Ellison '48 originally came to St. Albans by happenstance. In 1946, while moving to Washington from Detroit, his mother spied St. Albans' gracious stone buildings as the family was driving down Massachusetts Avenue. "That looks like a nice school," she said, and within a couple of days, Dick was enrolled in Form V.

Although Ellison studied at St. Albans only two years, the School has remained an important part of his life. Recently, he and his wife, Martha, both made generous gifts to St. Albans by funding a charitable gift annuity. It provides life-long income to the donors and an immediate tax deduction, and the remaining principal flows to St. Albans' endowment for a selected priority such as financial aid or faculty support.

At St. Albans, Ellison played football, baseball, and basketball, and was a Cathedral server. In Form VI Ellison was elected a prefect. He credits much of his later success to this, telling the Bulletin, "One of the things I learned to do at St. Albans that helped me later in life was working with people as a prefect."

Upon graduation, Ellison attended Trinity College, in Hartford, Conn., where he developed an interest in business through involvement in numerous ventures. He then attended the Wharton School for a short time before receiving a commission in the Navy.

Ellison went on to run a variety of businesses, some of which he founded, including Washington's Foley Electronics, a cutting-edge electronics company. Later, for several years he co-owned a hotel in the harbor of Christiansted, St. Croix, and also shipped bananas to San Juan aboard his 200-foot schooner. What can one do with bananas turning black before reaching port? Sell them to busy bars along the way to make banana daiquiris!

Later, in 1965 and driven by his love of watercraft, Ellison co-founded Boat Owners Association of the United States (BOAT/US), a AAA for the waterways. The organization represents the interest of mariners, providing education, advocacy, insurance, and discounts on equipment.

"In retrospect, the most important things I gained from St. Albans were the capacity for hard work and an appreciation of the values learned there," says Ellison. He and his wife, Martha, have been deeply involved with the School through the years. Martha, a long-time board chair of Washington's Vocal Arts Society and a soprano and voice teacher, recalls that Dick has volunteered for St. Albans phonathons "as long as we've been married." He also formerly served as a member of the School's Governing Board and as chair of alumni fundraising.

When asked about her thoughts on St. Albans, Martha noted that she is a product of a very good education at Midwest public schools but praised the overarching quality that St. Albans provides. She said, "If I had a son, I would have wanted him to go to St. Albans. A St. Albans education addresses the entire individual."

Through their continued dedication and generosity to the School, the Ellisons have demonstrated their deep affection for the institution. "What I've tried to do for St. Albans is payback for what they have done for me," says Dick. We thank the Ellisons for their generous gifts.