Holy Cross School is pleased to announce a true servant leader and Holy Cross Man, Mr. Stephen Donnes, Class of 1976, as our 2018 Alumnus of the Year. As a student at Holy Cross, Donnes was active in extracurriculars, having served as a member of Key Club and the Math Club as well as a member of the drumline in the Tiger Band.
After graduation, he went on to serve as the Banquet and Catering Manager for Hilton Hotels, working with properties in Chicago, Savannah, Ga., and his hometown of New Orleans. His entrepreneurial spirit led him into many successful business ownership opportunities in the food industry, real estate, auto dealerships and the legal system.
As a Holy Cross alumnus, Donnes’ philanthropy extends far beyond financial contributions. His volunteerism and spirit of servant leadership have been a vital presence at our annual golf tournament, fishing rodeo and Family Day events. He also played a key role in establishing the first-ever Holy Cross men’s retreat. But his love for the Holy Cross family shows brightest through his 15-year commitment to chairing the annual Tailgate event, which coincides with the state’s oldest rivalry football game between the Holy Cross Tigers and the Jesuit Blue Jays. Donnes was instrumental in adding to the pageantry of the game by creating and donating the Golden Football Trophy, awarded each year to the winner of the game. Next fall, the schools will meet for the 99th time.
Donnes is also known throughout the city as a supporter of numerous charities and causes that he holds dear to his heart, and his strong belief in giving back has been evident throughout his life.
“I had a number of hardships growing up, and Holy Cross is the reason I was able to overcome the adversity and find success,” said Donnes. “I remain involved with Holy Cross because I have a deep loyalty to my school.”
Donnes credits Brother Timothy Hickey, C.S.C., Mr. Charlie DiGange and Mr. Mike Leach as being key figures in working with him as a student to ensure he would become the best man he could be and reach his fullest potential. He also understands the rich history of Holy Cross School and believes Holy Cross Men have a responsibility to continue living the mission to ensure that the legacy of Holy Cross lives on with our current and future students.
Donnes has three brothers, two daughters and will soon add a seventh grandchild to the family.