As AB Tech undertakes the restoration and renovation of the historic Ivy building on its Victoria Road campus, alumni and friends of St. Genevieve/ Gibbons Hall are seeking to honor their longtime teacher and headmaster Joseph M.Lalley, now a resident of Deerfield with his wife Nancy.
The Ivy was designed and built in 1936 as an auditorium/ gymnasium for the St. Genevieve schools that thrived on Victoria Road from 1908 - 1987. In 1987, AB Tech bought the property and utilized campus buildings for several years. Now, after the Ivy has stood in disuse for a number of years, AB Tech has received a state grant to finance part of the refurbishing; additional funds are being raised through contributions from alumni and friends of the schools. The building will serve as a site for meetings, lectures, and receptions and will house offices of the AB Tech Foundation.
St. Genevieve/ Gibbons Hall graduates Andrew ’76, Leonard ’78, and Robert ’81 Blum have announced a dollar-for dollar $50,000 challenge gift to name the main floor of the restored building in honor of Joe. As Leonard has noted, “We all recall that Joe took great pride in and nurtured not only the school but also each individual student. Joe cared deeply about the students and faculty as the lifeblood and mission of SG/GH. He also did everything the school needed to survive and thrive. Whenever there was a need, he was teacher, coach, bus driver, in addition to fulfilling a greater-than-full-time role as headmaster and fundraiser.”
For the 34 years of Joe Lalley’s association with the St. Genevieve schools, he taught math and coached virtually every sport, served as assistant head and headmaster of Gibbons Hall (1957-69), and as headmaster of both Gibbons Hall and St. Genevieve-of-the-Pines Academy (1969-71) and of the merged SG/GH (1971-84).
Under his leadership, the schools underwent significant changes as the Academy closed in 1971 and St. Genevieve/Gibbons Hall opened as an independent, non-sectarian, coeducational day school for students in kindergarten through ninth grade. Those who were part of the merged school family throughout its existence recognize that Joe’s dedicated and unflagging commitment to the school was critical; without his intense faith, unstinting energy, and perseverance to maintain high standards, SG/GH could not have survived.
The Ivy was the center of the schools that thrived on the Victoria Road campus from 1908 – 87. “The building now serves as a symbol of those schools,” notes Stuart Camblos SGP ’66 and co-chair of the Ivy Renovation Project Steering Committee. “The restoration of the ‘Ivy Building’ will continue providing opportunities for current and future A-B Tech students and the community, while weaving the important history of St. Genevieve’s and Gibbons Hall into Asheville’s tapestry.”
For more information on the Ivy building restoration project visit: https://www.abtech.edu/donate