Special to The Message
To kick-off Reitz Memorial High School’s centennial celebration, officials recently announced a $500,000 donation to be used to renovate the school’s library. Reitz Memorial Alumnus Thomas Madden of Arizona made the donation to help the school create a university-style student learning commons to be used for workshops, community events, group study sessions, individualized tutoring, club meetings and more.
“We could not be more grateful for this generous gift from Mr. Madden,” Reitz Memorial President Christian Mocek said. “We could not carry out our mission without the support of alumni like him. This donation will be transformational, ensuring we continue to provide a Catholic, values-focused, 21st-century education for our students.”
In the fall of 2022, Reitz Memorial undertook a facility master planning process that included input from students, faculty, staff and alumni. A priority of the finalized master plan was to renovate the current library so students would have more opportunities to collaborate with each other and the broader community.
“Student achievement, in both scholastics and athletics, is outstanding at Memorial,” Madden explained. “I am pleased to have the opportunity to give back to the institution that helped me achieve my goals.”
Madden graduated from Reitz Memorial in 1955. He is the former President of Rite Stuff Foods, Inc., a company he founded in 1989. With more than 230 employees, Rite Stuff Foods is the leading specialty potato product manufacturer in the United States. The Jerome, Idaho, based company processes the original Idaho potatoes to baked, filled potatoes, filled potato skins and potato wedges in different flavors, as well as potato pancakes, rollers and hearts. The company was acquired in 2019 by Frostkrone, an international frozen foods manufacturer and distributor.
In 2020, Madden was inducted into the Frozen Food Hall of Fame. He lives in Arizona with his wife, Marianne.
“As we launch our centennial celebration this month that will go through 2025, we are planning to make significant improvements to our learning environment for our students, families and school community,” Mocek explained. “I’m excited to partner with Mr. Madden to make those improvements and continue our mission of educating hearts and minds.”