The Clift Family Legacy

Alumni parents Howard and Deb Clift began their relationship with Bishop Hendricken over a decade ago.  Their nephews, Matt ’05, Zach ’05 and Nick Reay ‘07, attended Hendricken and were very involved, Nick particularly in the arts.  Later the couple’s son, Howard III ’12, followed in Nick’s footsteps and made a name for himself in the arts program.

The Clifts witnessed the remarkable transformation of both their nephew and son under the talented influence of then Director of the Arts, Brian Cordiero.  Howard came into Hendricken as a shy, quiet kid and it was the arts program that allowed him to find his path and thrive.  “The Hendricken Arts Department was such a strong influence, so much so that Howard is now a music major at Salve Regina University,” said Deb.  It is our hope that others receive the same opportunity.  Hendricken is a great place for kids to grow and find themselves.”

“The Arts Academy is such a gem with so much untapped talent. So many shy kids blossom, my son included, and now he’s thriving in the arts at Salve.  Music is going to take him places,” she added.   Howard is expected to soon be inducted into a Holistic Leadership Program at Salve. The Clifts feel that Hendricken gave him the skills to excel and the confidence to pursue his dreams.

While at Hendricken, Howard became the top fundraiser for the Mission Peru House by soliciting donations and participating in phone-a-thons.  He even gave one of the Brothers his artwork, “Peace Dove,” that currently hangs in the house.  Howard singlehandedly raised $10,000 in addition to being the #1 calendar salesperson in each of his four years at Hendricken.

Young Howard received his gift for giving and helping others from his parents who were also instrumental in the addition of Hendricken’s science lab in 2010.  Simply put, Deb added “the boys were very interested in science and we recognized the need to build a new one.”

The Clifts have also long supported the band.  “We gave Mark McPhillips the duty of coming up with the percussion ensemble. By the time it was complete the ensemble was fantastic! It’s exactly what we wanted our son involved with. It became a family.”

And family is at their core.  Every year the Clifts host a picnic at McCauley House and the arts students help out by serving food and providing musical entertainment.  McCauley House is a meal site and house of hospitality for nearly 300 guests who, for various reasons, struggle to get by. The Clifts instilled the idea in the art students to use their talents and good will to help those less fortunate. “We are all about families helping families,” said Deb. “It’s not our motto, it’s our mission.”

Those words came to life when the Clifts began the Clift Family Scholarship, given to a member of the Arts Academy each year.  To date, three talented arts academy students have attended Hendricken thanks in large part to the Clift family who have lived out the mission of Bishop Hendricken and helped dozens of young men through the years.

The Clift’s generosity ranks them among Hendricken’s top donors.  It is with great gratitude that they continue to give long after their son has graduated, and it is our honor to call them family.

(Currently the Clifts have 3 more nephews in the hawk ranks: Joshua Clift ’15 and Cameron Clift ‘17.  Their younger brother, Nathan, plans to attend Hendricken soon.)