The David Steward Family

Graduation is also a time to reflect on the importance of philanthropy: Making an active effort to promote the welfare of others. We are all here today because of the generosity and support of those in our community who believe in our school and in you, our students.

At our first graduation in 2005, we established the Oliver Langenberg Award to annually honor a St. Louisan whose contributions have made City Academy and our broader community better. Oliver Langenberg was City Academy’s first donor in 1998, a year before we opened! He invested in a school with no students or teachers. Think about that. Mr. Langenberg believed in our vision for a school of excellence for all families. He had faith that we would get it done. We did! And I will always be grateful.

David Steward II and Don Danforth

This year’s Langenberg Award goes to the David Steward Family. I am honored to have Dave Steward II here tonight, as well as Mina, from the Steward Family Foundation. Mr. Steward is the Co­-Founder of Lion Forge, which publishes comics and graphic novels. Their motto is “Comics for Everyone,” and their characters reflect the diversity of our world. Additionally, Dave is the Founder and CEO of Polarity, a newly formed global media company and animation studio producing content for TV and film.

Mr. Steward’s father, David Steward, Sr. founded World Wide Technology in 1990. Today, it is one of St. Louis’ leading civic companies, and among the largest and most successful private corporations in the country. In describing his family’s philosophy, Mr. Steward said in an interview, “We established core values that are vitally important. Those core values – integrity, trust, attitude, teamwork, innovation and diversity. ”

Sounds a lot like City Academy’s values!

To use comic book lingo, the Stewards have literally been
“superheroes” for St. Louis. They have made giving back to their community a priority, heavily investing their time and support to outstanding organizations, including: Nine Network, St. Louis ARC, The Sheldon Arts Foundation, Jazz St. Louis, Variety Club Children’s Charity and the United Way.

Education has been a priority, as well. Dave told a group of our alumni earlier this year that “education is the pillar of our philanthropy and gives the greatest return on our investment.” In addition to supporting scholarship at many area schools, the Stewards made an incredibly generous investment in City Academy’s expansion, allowing us to grow enrollment. For this, we are honored to name the center of our magnificent new Early
Childhood Center “Steward Hall.”

I am pleased to present this year’s Langenberg Award to Dave Steward II.

Graduates, the Langenberg Award recognizes the investment of others whose generosity has made our school and success possible. We could not be here today without people like the Langenbergs and Stewards.

David Steward Sr. summed it up well by saying this, “I believe, ‘to whom much is given, much is required. ‘ What is required of me is to ensure that the next generation and the generation behind them has a better quality of life. ”

Graduates, my challenge to you is to take Mr. Steward’s philosophy to heart. Invest in our community, and make it a better place tomorrow than it is, today. Each of you can do this in your own way. Be involved. Make a difference. Now it is your time to step forward. I promise the rewards will be great. Who knows, like the Stewards, you too, may become a “superhero” to an individual or organization.

By Don Danforth | President & Co-Founder

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