Rosmini College’s beloved former Principal Mr Tom Gerrard sadly passed away on Thursday, 14th August. He was born in Ireland in 1941 and came to New Zealand as a small boy.
Rosmini College’s current Principal, Mr Nixon Cooper says, “Tom’s first connection with Rosmini College was a teacher from 1966 to 1970. He taught a range of subjects and coached the First XV. Tom returned to Rosmini College in 1975 as Principal after the College had had four Principals in three years. He would go on to be Principal for the next 39 years until 2014.
"An outstanding educator, Tom was a giant in Catholic boys’ education for four decades. A great thinker and philosopher, Tom had a clear sense of his mission in Catholic boys’ education. In essence, it was to produce a well-rounded young man whose morals were rooted in a strong spiritual foundation in the Catholic faith, this combined with academic rigour and co-curricular interests. He also never wavered from a belief in the need for firm discipline to which many an Old Boy can attest.
"Tom Gerrard was a larger than life character with an incredible sense of humour and ready wit. He was exceptionally good company and could keep a packed room amused and entertained for hours. Many of his former fellow Principals readily attest to him being arguably the most colourful Principal they knew during his long tenure in charge at Rosmini.
"It was when others suffered misfortune that Tom especially showed his genuine human kindness, affection, warmth and care for those in the wider Rosmini community be they a staff member, pupil, parent or board member. Being true to his faith, he found time to comfort those in need.
"Tom was always quick to recognise the support and help of others. He was deeply indebted to many long serving members of the Board of Trustees. Tom would also have been keen to acknowledge the 25 years of loyal service Jim Flanaghan and Owen Doody gave him as part of their close-knit senior leadership team.
"Tom leaves behind an extraordinary legacy at Rosmini College. It is impossible to quantify and to cover each aspect. Just one aspect that can be seen by us all illustrates that legacy. When Tom arrived, the College had a roll of 572; it had 1020 by the time he left. In that time, Tom oversaw the fundraising and construction of the Foster Cooke, Catcheside, Tindall Auditorium, Sormany Science and Peter Maire Technology teaching blocks. Not to mention the eponymous gymnasium, John Copson Sports Pavilion and seven extra classrooms.
"When he had free time, Tom loved philosophy, his beloved W.B. Yeats and sports. His great sporting passions were rugby and horse racing.
"His passing at this time makes it difficult for the many people whose lives he touched in the Rosmini community to mark it, as they would probably wish. In the meantime, I ask you to keep all his family in our thoughts and prayers. May the soul of Tom Gerrard, through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen.”