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About Brother René Sterner, FSC '55

6/8/1937-5/11/2009
Induction Class of 2017

Frederick S. Sterner amassed an impressive record at Delone Catholic High School as a member of the band and an orator. His academic performance placed him as the valedictorian of the Class of 1955. These achievements set the stage for a lifetime of influence in his faith, as an educator and in the forensics community.

After becoming the first of five siblings to graduate from Delone Catholic, he entered the Ammendale novitiate for the Brothers of the Christian Schools in June 1955, received the religious habit and the name Gregory René in September 1955 and pronounced perpetual vows in 1962. He continued his education, graduating magna cum laude from La Salle College in Philadelphia, Pa. Brother René also earned master’s degrees from La Salle College and Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pa.

During a 45-year career in education, Brother René had extended tenures at Central Catholic High School in Pittsburgh, Pa., serving as both vice principal and a member of the faculty from 1960-1977; as principal at Calvert Hall College in Baltimore, Md., from 1980-1990; and on the faculty and administration at La Salle College High School in Wyndmoor, Pa. From 1991-2005, Brother René served as the president at La Salle College High School, prior to returning to his alma mater to spend two years as Delone Catholic’s Director of Development and Alumni Relations.

Brother René was responsible for two major capital campaigns at La Salle, which added over 100,000 square feet of academic and extracurricular space to the campus in addition to developing the strategic plan that served as the foundation for a third capital campaign.

In 2003, Brother René cofounded La Salle Academy in Philadelphia, Pa., a partnership between the Christian Brothers and the Sisters of Saint Joseph. The school was established to educate children in grades three through eight whose parents desire, but cannot afford a quality Catholic education.

Upon his return to Delone Catholic, Brother René resurrected a dormant Alumni Association. He also worked with the Board of Directors and the administration to lay the ground work for what would become Delone’s Diamond Decade Initiative, a comprehensive plan that has completely renovated the academic facilities at the school.

In addition to his work in the classroom and as an administrator, Brother René spent nearly 50 years transforming the lives of his students through high school forensics. The speech and debate teams at four different schools flourished under his leadership, and in several cases, gained national prominence. For most of his career, he served on numerous councils and committees on the local, state and national levels. Brother René was, at various times, the treasurer, publicity director, vice president, president and national tournament director for the National Catholic Forensic League. He also served on the executive council of the National Forensic League for 31 years.

Brother René was recognized by numerous organizations for his significant and lasting impact. He was honored by the Diocese of Pittsburgh, the Archdiocese of Baltimore, the state houses of both Maryland and Pennsylvania, the National Catholic Education Association and the National American Legion for his work with youth. For his services on behalf of Christian education and the larger community, Saint John Paul II conferred on him the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Medal in 1990. In the forensics community, Brother René was inducted into the Pennsylvania High School Speech League Hall of Fame in 1986 and the National Forensic League Hall of Fame in 1987. Within a year before his passing, he was the first recipient of the National Forensic League’s Alumni Lifetime Service Award, and he also received a similar award from the National Catholic Forensic League.