STEMM Building Named for nexAir Chair Robert McEniry

STEMM Building Named for nexAir Chair Robert McEniry

Christian Brothers High School (CBHS)  honored distinguished alumnus Robert McEniry and his wife Paula today by dedicating a new building for ground-breaking science, technology, engineering, math and medicine (STEMM) programs in their name.

McEniry Hall houses an innovative CBHS-Christian Brothers University (CBU) dual enrollment program that offers college classes and credits to CBHS students. The rigorous STEMM courses will nurture home-grown science and technology talent that companies will need for the high-skill jobs of the future.

“CBHS and its Lasallian affiliate, CBU, have produced job-relevant graduates for over 140 years.  Employers, locally and nationally, will need qualified employees for STEMM careers for years to come,” said McEniry. “Our family is proud to support the Christian Brothers as they continue to produce young men of character and excellence for the good of the Memphis community.”  

McEniry is chairman of nexAir. For 50 years, he led what grew to be the second largest privately owned distributor of industrial gases and welding supplies in America. He serves on the boards of Junior Achievement, Memphis Minority Business Council and Christian Brothers University and previously served on the board of United Way.

“We are blessed by Paula and Robert as members of our Christian Brothers community and by their generous contributions of time, talents, and treasure,” said Brother Chris Englert, president of CBHS. “Jesus reminds us to ‘Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.’ Paula and Robert have let their lights shine for many years. Our city is so much brighter and better as a result of their active engagement.”

McEniry graduated from CBHS in 1959 and Vanderbilt University in 1963, when he joined his family’s business, then known as Standard Welders Supply. During his 50 years as company CEO, the company grew in revenues from $1 million annually to $150 million. His son, Kevin McEniry, a CBHS grad in 1989, now serves as CEO.

“McEniry Hall builds on our tradition of innovation,” said CBHS Principal Chris Fay. “Through our partnership with CBU, we are providing challenging courses and college credit to students with the affinity and aptitude for science and technology, engineering and medicine.”

“Yet, this is just one piece of what we offer. If the arts are your thing, we have it. Interested in business? We have a comprehensive program,” Fay said. “The depth and diversity of our curriculum is amazing. We want boys to know what they’re interested in and have a career in mind before they graduate and head off to college.”

The dedication ceremony today is the as first in a series this year as CBHS reshapes its Walnut Grove campus to reflect dramatic changes in the ways teachers teach, the ways students learn, and in the sheer number of young men involved in the storied high school’s competitive and intramural athletic programs.

Currently, crews are wrapping up a the renovation of Heffernan Hall which includes the installation of a spacious new commercial kitchen, upgraded dining facilities and a striking new patio and courtyard overlooking Tom Nix Field.

Construction is also moving along on a soon-to-be-completed Brothers Athletic Development Center. About 65 percent of the students participate in organized sports. The center will provide a state-of-the-art athletic facility to support existing teams as well as the physical education programs for all students.

(PHOTO BY PURPLE WAVE PHOTOGRAPHY: Robert McEniry and family gather with Br. Chris Englert to cut the ribbon on the new STEMM building at Christian Brothers High School. From left to right: Mary McEniry Silva, Paula McEniry, Kevin McEniry ’89, Robert McEniry ’59, and Br. Chris Englert, FSC.)