Froelicher legacy lives on

The man whose vision created what is now Colorado Academy will soon have a different building to honor his legacy. Demolition of the Froelicher Theatre produced a quandary as to how the community would continue to pay tribute to former Headmaster Chuck Froelicher; but Head of School Dr. Mike Davis encouraged the idea of finding a new naming opportunity that matched Chuck’s impact. One idea that resounded with many was to name the Upper School, and recently, CA’s Board of Trustees approved a resolution to designate the Upper School as the F. Charles Froelicher Upper School. At their first meeting of the new school year, held on September 9, 2020, the Trustees gave their unanimous support to efforts to ensure that Chuck’s legacy would have a proper place on campus.

Froelicher came to CA in 1955 and transformed the school from a boys-only military academy into the coed college preparatory school it is today. He hired outstanding teachers and developed traditions that still live on to this day.

“When we first shared the idea of naming the Upper School for Chuck, I heard from alumni who fondly recall his distinctive and heartfelt approach to leadership,” says Dr. Davis.

Chuck Froelicher at the ribbon-cutting for the Upper School with (L to R) Maddie Webster ’16 and Samah Mohamed ’16

Peter Ehrlich ’70 shared a memory about a mischievous moment in Fifth Grade. It was a prank that could have ended in expulsion, but Chuck thought it better to admire Peter’s leadership skills and give Peter what he calls a “patient review” of the complimentary information from former teachers. Chuck’s grace in the incident has forever stayed with Peter, as he has applied lessons learned in that moment to parenting and business ownership. Many students who had a chance to learn from Chuck have shared similar memories.

Everywhere you look on campus, you see reminders of the kind of leader Chuck was—whether looking at the beautiful grounds and the unique learning opportunities provided only at CA, like Woody’s Pond, or to the values we instill today around leadership and adventure.

“It’s fitting that the Upper School will bear Chuck’s name, as its rebuilding was my first major project when I arrived at CA 13 years ago,” says Davis. “Before his death in 2014, Chuck and I would get together periodically to talk about a range of issues. He took an interest in my development and growth as CA’s Head of School, and I could not be more grateful for his friendship.”

The hope is to celebrate the naming of the F. Charles Froelicher Upper School on Giant Relay Day, which is May 21, 2021, providing the pandemic restrictions are lifted, and we can again gather as a campus and alumni community.

In this video from 2014, Chuck details his experiences at Colorado Academy and his hope for CA’s future. It is a wonderful memory of a man who loyally served the school for 20 years, and whose impact will be felt forever.