The student news of St. Paul Academy and Summit School

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The student news of St. Paul Academy and Summit School

The Rubicon

The student news of St. Paul Academy and Summit School

The Rubicon

[WHAT’S IN A NAME] Lasting legacies: the people behind SPA’s named spaces

WHOS THAT? Many are familiar with spaces on campus like Redleaf Commons or the Schilling Center, but few know the stories of the people they are named after. These people are alumni, entrepreneurs and change-makers of all kinds.
Greyson Sale
WHO’S THAT? Many are familiar with spaces on campus like Redleaf Commons or the Schilling Center, but few know the stories of the people they are named after. These people are alumni, entrepreneurs and change-makers of all kinds.


Huss, Schilling, Drake and Redleaf. There are many places on and around campus where students and faculty alike spend large portions of their time every day. Most of these people don’t know the history encapsulated in the names of these places or the one thing that ties them together: people.

Sophomore Hugh Adams explained this sentiment from his perspective: “It’s crazy that I spend so much time in these places and have no idea who they’re actually named for. I’ve never actually thought about it; I hear the names all the time and just don’t pay attention [to them],” Adams said.

These places are all named for people and all of these people have a story. Many students and faculty may have heard of Ruth Huss or Hugh K. Schilling, but what kind of people were they and what kind of legacies did they leave through their donations? What about Drake Arena and Redleaf Commons?

Drake Arena was named for Carl B. Drake, whose donations went towards constructing Drake Arena. Drake, a physician, graduated from Yale University in 1908, before earning his M.D. from the University of Minnesota Medical School in 1912. He also served in WWI. Throughout his career, Drake sought to use his medical background outside of the doctor’s office, serving as the secretary of the Minnesota Medical Association until 1921, before becoming a school doctor for Hamline University. This is noteworthy given that Hamline’s hockey teams used to play in the arena. Later, Drake became the president of the Ramsey County Medical Society. Although Drake did not attend SPA, he will be remembered in the community for Drake Arena.

Redleaf Commons was named for Andy Redleaf, an SPA graduate from the class of 1975. Redleaf graduated from Yale University in 1978, earning his B.A. and M.A. in only three years. Beginning his career as a trader, Redleaf quickly amassed significant wealth. In 1995, he launched the Deephaven Market Neutral Fund, where assets grew from $5 million to $300 million under his shortly-tenured management. After leaving Deephaven, Redleaf founded and became the CEO of Minneapolis-based hedge fund, Whitebox Advisors, now worth $5.5 billion. After 20 years, Redleaf retired, leaving Whitebox in August 2019.

It’s crazy that I spend so much time in these places and have no idea who they’re actually named for.

— Malcolm Adams

Outside of his investing career, Redleaf used his wealth for philanthropy, donating to the Yale International Center for Finance and creating the Redleaf Scholarships at SPA, a significant addition to the financial aid program. The scholarships are for high-achieving students who model school values and are entering SPA in grades six through nine. The endowed scholarships offer up to 50% financial aid. For this generous contribution, Redleaf was honored in Redleaf Commons, a common area that is part of the Huss Center.

The Huss Center for the Performing Arts was named after Ruth Huss, whose donations made the center a reality. Huss, a 1957 graduate from Summit School, moved on to attend Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, where she graduated with a B.A. in 1961. After college, Huss moved to New York City, where she would work at the conservation department for the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Lastly, Huss moved back to Saint Paul, where she met and married her husband John.

Throughout her life, Huss has championed the importance of art and music to society. Through the philanthropy work of the Huss Foundation, she and her husband have made generous contributions to a wide variety of art-related organizations, groups and places in the Twin Cities, such as the Ordway Center, the Minneapolis Institute of Art, Public Radio and Television, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and, of course, the Huss Center for the Performing Arts. She was even honored with SPA’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 2018. Through her generosity and commitment to using art to better the world, Huss’s legacy will live on in the Huss Center.

Freshman Ella Barlow, a frequent participant in theater productions, believes that SPA has honored Huss’s legacy well with the building and theater program. “[Huss] was super into all types of arts and […] has used that passion as a way to make a difference. It’s cool that a space where students have plays and music performances is named after someone like that and people have the opportunity to lean into the arts just like she did,” Barlow said.

[Hugh K. Schilling] is one of the few donors in SPA’s history whose philanthropy changed decisively and discernibly the future of the school.

— Bryn Roberts

The Hugh K. Schilling Math and Science Center was named in honor of donor Hugh K. Schilling. After graduating from SPA in 1943, Schilling entered the Army Air Corps cadet program, before serving in WWII as a gunner on a B-29, flying missions over Japan from 1943-1946. Upon returning home, Schilling married Margaret Simons in 1951, with whom he would help raise three children. That same year, Schilling’s entrepreneurial spirit inspired him, along with two business partners, to take a risk and purchase Horton Holding, Inc., a company that manufactures engine-cooling solutions, something Schilling knew very little about. However, this risk paid off, sending Schilling into a long and successful career, in which he expanded Horton into a global company, operating in over 70 countries.

Schilling’s focus on innovation and entrepreneurship is represented in the Hugh K. Schilling Math and Science Center, which he played an important role in designing, even having conversations about the direction of the school’s science curriculum. After a long life filled with many achievements, Schilling passed away in September 2020.

In an interview remembering Schilling, former Head of School Bryn Roberts offered his praise: “He is one of the few donors in SPA’s history whose philanthropy changed decisively and discernibly the future of the school,” Roberts said.

Whether watching a theater production in the Huss Center, hanging out in Redleaf Commons with friends during a free period, doing a science lab in the Schilling Center, or hitting the ice in Drake Arena, be cognizant of the incredible people that made these spaces possible, both named and unnamed. Take a look around and realize that SPA is filled with history.

“The school is built on the shoulders of people who came before us. We didn’t just spring out of the ground, it was the consequence of a lot of hard work,” Roberts said.

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About the Contributor
Greyson Sale
Greyson Sale, News Editor
Hi, I’m Greyson Sale (he/him). I work as a News Editor for RubicOnline, and this is my second year on staff. At school, I run track, am co-President of the Stock Market Club. and am a member of the Sophomore Class Leadership Council. Outside of school, I love rock climbing and get to compete on the national level. I'm even hoping to compete at some North American Cup events soon. I can be reached at [email protected].

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