GREENWICH, CT, Friday, December 4, 2020 – Greenwich Country Day School and NBA superstar Donovan Mitchell (GCDS class of 2012), are thrilled to announce the largest single pledge of support to the school in the history of the institution. Donovan and his family (mother Nicole and sister Jordan—GCDS Class of 2017) have pledged $12,000,000 to help the school achieve ambitious goals.
Mitchell, an NBA slam dunk champion, runner-up in Rookie of the Year balloting, and a 2019-2020 NBA All-Star, attended Greenwich Country Day from third to ninth grade (the school has since added a high school). A star athlete, Donovan was also an exceptional musician and as Head of School Adam Rohdie describes, “as great an athlete as he was, Donovan was an even nicer young man. He is a man of the highest character and he has lived his life embodying the Country Day creed of TIGER PRIDE which asks our students to be kind, empathetic, respectful, thoughtful, and to act with the highest levels of integrity.”
Mitchell’s mother Nicole was a Lower Elementary school teacher at GCDS from 2007 until just last year. Rohdie describes her as one of the warmest and most caring educators he has worked with. Generations of Country Day’s youngest children have been impacted by her kindness.
Mitchell, a champion of education and of providing access to the best possible education for children from all backgrounds and from under-served neighborhoods, is excited to create the Mitchell Family Scholarship Fund. This program will help GCDS remain a leader in providing need-based aid for students in grades Nursery through 12. Additionally, Donovan and Nicole are pleased to announce the Nicole Mitchell Faculty Support Fund. This monetary award will be made yearly at the opening faculty meeting and will be given to a teacher in each division (4) in the school who have been at GCDS for at least 3 years, and have demonstrated the “passion, enthusiasm, optimism, and love for children always shown by Nicole Mitchell.” Head of School Adam Rohdie shared, “these two funds perfectly highlight Donovan’s understanding of the power of a great education. This gift will allow GCDS to reach an even broader cross-section of students and it allows us to celebrate those teachers that make the magic at our school every day.”
Finally, this gift will also allow GCDS to build the D.O.N.! The Determination Over Negativity Mitchell Family Athletic Center will be a state-of-the-art gymnasium and will house one full court (NCAA regulation court) with full stands on both sides. When the curtain is dropped it will house two full courts running north to south. This building will also provide the space for the entire campus to gather for school-wide assemblies and will be a focal point for our Old Church Road Campus.
Donovan shared, “I know how lucky I have been to have the foundation of my education happen here at Country Day. This school has shaped who I am in so many ways, and I feel blessed to be able to give back and make the Country Day experience available for more kids especially those from inner-city neighborhoods or with backgrounds like mine. Over the past few years on my NBA journey, I have made it my mission to champion the causes of equity, social justice, and equal opportunity, especially in education. There is no better school anywhere to carry forward this mission and my family is excited to make this happen.”
Bio Brief: Donovan Mitchell
A 6-foot-3 guard from the University of Louisville, Donovan Mitchell took the NBA by storm during his rookie season. Mitchell led all rookies in scoring at 20.5 points per game, and he was named Western Conference Rookie of the Month for December, January, February, and March/April. Mitchell scored at least 25 points 27 times and dropped 41 points in a home win over the Pelicans on December 1.
The Denver Nuggets selected Mitchell with the No. 13 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft—and then immediately traded him to the Jazz. He won the 2018 NBA Slam Dunk Contest, and he finished second in Rookie of the Year voting.
Mitchell was born on September 7, 1996 in Westchester County, New York. His mother, Nicole, was a Prekindergarten teacher at Greenwich Country Day School, and his father, Donovan Sr., works as director of player relations for the New York Mets. Mitchell played baseball and basketball growing up, but chose to pursue basketball at Louisville, where he was named First Team All-Atlantic Coast Conference as a sophomore.
Mitchell's jersey number is 45, which he wears in honor of Michael Jordan, who wore the number while playing baseball and when he first returned to the NBA in 1995. Mitchell goes by the nickname "Spida," which has become an official entry on dictionary.com.
Greenwich Country Day School (GCDS) is the only coeducational, college preparatory, independent school in Greenwich, CT, for Nursery through Grade 12. The purposeful mission of academic excellence and character development is as relevant today as it was at the school’s founding in 1926. GCDS’s curriculum builds a solid background in the sciences and humanities while challenging students to develop critical knowledge and skills through inquiry, exploration, interdisciplinary studies, and real-world applications.
The school’s pedagogy and curricula seek to bring forward multiple perspectives, disciplines, and voices as a means to deepen learning and develop empathy—all to help GCDS students graduate as engaged, ethical global citizens. Important lessons are learned not only in the classroom, but also on the playing fields, in the art room, on stage, and through extracurricular activities, such as the chess team, robotics club, and student publications. An extensive community service program and numerous leadership opportunities teach students to turn their initiative and generosity into meaningful action.
GCDS is a joyful learning environment where curiosity and creativity are valued, resilience is cultivated, and the health and well-being of every student is essential. GCDS graduates are known as exceptionally well-prepared for success in higher education—and in life.