ASHEVILLE, N.C. (May 21, 2012) The Asheville School Board of Trustees recently honored former Assistant Headmaster for External Affairs, Raymond G. Cruitt, with the school's Award of Merit – the highest honor the school bestows.
Cruitt, who served atAsheville School from 1984 to 2002, received the award on Saturday, April 28 during the school’s annual Alumni Weekend. He led Asheville School's constituent relations and fundraising programs with dignity and determination, developing countless meaningful relationships with students, alumni and other friends during his tenure. His fundraising totals are unparalleled in the history of Asheville School, and he is directly responsible for much of the school's current success.
The Award of Merit, first awarded in 1966, was established to honor friends of Asheville School and of education in the Southeast for their lifetime accomplishments. Recent winners have included several former Asheville School teachers – Ron Bromley, Doc Embler, Chuck Carter, Chase Ambler '50, Irv Ornduff, Sly and Donna Lewis; alumni Steve Bryant '41 (attorney and philanthropist), Zoltan Soos '58 (Chemistry professor at Princeton), and Pete Dye '44 (golf course architect and member of the World Golf Hall of Fame); and parents of alumni Dr. John Lawrence and Major General John Grinalds.
During his tenure, the school raised over $45 million, and its endowment grew from $4.5 million to $27.5 million. In addition to his success in raising significant capital gifts, Cruitt was particularly adept at convincing constituents to consider a legacy gift for Asheville School through their estate planning. This prompted his creation of the Wilbert Peck Society, of which he is a member. But much more than just a fundraiser, Cruitt looked for ways to connect people to each other and to the school, and those connections continue to serve Asheville School today.
The crowning achievement of Cruitt’s service was the successful Centennial Campaign, which well-exceeded its $23.5 million goal, and its culminating Centennial gala in 2000, which brought hundreds of alumni and friends to campus. Cruitt’s effectiveness was also recognized externally—his Centennial efforts garnered a CASE Circle of Excellence Award in 2000, and he was recognized as Fundraising Executive of the Year by the Western North Carolina Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals in 2002. Upon his retirement, an alumnus of Asheville School honored their friendship by making a $1 million gift to the school for the Raymond G. Cruitt Scholarship Fund.
A nationally acclaimed co-ed college preparatory boarding and day school, Asheville School enrolls approximately 275 students from across the country and overseas. Recent graduates are attending Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, University of Pennsylvania, Cornell, Caltech, UCLA, UNC-Chapel Hill, Davidson, NC State, University of Virginia, Emory, Duke, and Wake Forest, among others.