Contact: Richard A. Lechleiter
February 15, 2023




Foundation Seeks All-Time Fundraising Record to Benefit Catholic
School Families and Parishes in the Archdiocese of Louisville

Father Mike Schmitz of “Bible in a Year” to Deliver Keynote Address

(LOUISVILLE, Ky.) – The Catholic Education Foundation of the Archdiocese of Louisville (the “Foundation”) today announced that it will host the 33rd annual Salute to Catholic School Alumni Dinner (the “Salute”) at Louisville’s historic Galt House Hotel on Wednesday, March 8, 2023.


The Foundation will honor eight individuals at the event whose accomplishments in career, community and life highlight the storied tradition of excellence in Catholic schools in central Kentucky that began over 200 years ago.


Established in 1990, the Salute is a hallmark community event in the Commonwealth, raising funds for families, parishes and schools to provide tuition assistance for families as well as grants for religious education, professional development of teachers and advancements in technology.  In the fall of 2022, the Foundation and its funding partners awarded a record $7.7 million in tuition assistance to an all-time high 3,600 students across 39 Catholic elementary schools.


The Foundation is blessed to have as this year’s Salute keynote speaker Father Mike Schmitz, host of the popular podcast series, “Bible in a Year”.


Mr. Randall J. Bufford, Founder and Chairman of Trilogy Health Services and President and Chief Executive Officer of Synchrony Health Services, will serve as the Chair of this year’s event.


The 2023 class of Salute honorees (with school affiliation) includes:

William Pike Conway, Jr. (St. Joseph School, Bardstown, KY) – President and Dealer Principal, Conway-Heaton, Inc.

Dr. Cynthia R. Crabtree (Angela Merici High School) – Past President, Sacred Heart Schools

Honorable Audra J. Eckerle (Sacred Heart Academy) – Kentucky Court of Appeals

Susan M. Gatz, SCN (Presentation Academy) – Sisters of Charity of Nazareth

Thomas A. Perrone (Saint Xavier High School) – Managing Director, Perrone Wealth Management Group at Morgan Stanley

Patrick M. Potter (Trinity High School) – President, Flexo Wash

The Foundation will also honor Greg M. Gitschier, Deacon, St. Patrick and St. Boniface Parishes and Chaplain, Louisville Metro Police, with its distinguished Community Service Award. Fifth Third Bank of Kentucky is sponsoring this award for the 22nd year.


Terry R. Rogan, a teacher at St. Gregory School, will receive the 2023 Father Joseph McGee Award as the outstanding Catholic school educator in the Archdiocese of Louisville. The award is being sponsored by Norton Healthcare for the 14th consecutive year.


Foundation President Richard A. Lechleiter remarked, “We could not be more excited to celebrate our eight distinguished honorees at this very special event on March 8! One of the largest of its kind in the Commonwealth, this event has long provided significant funding to strengthen our families and Catholic education across central Kentucky. Our team is working very hard to surpass last year’s fundraising record of $1.4 million, and we are indeed grateful to our many supporters who value Catholic education and the countless benefits that it has provided to students, families and the broader community for generations.”


The Most Reverend Shelton J. Fabre, Archbishop of Louisville, noted, “I am so grateful for this community’s staunch support of both the Salute dinner event and the work of the Foundation. What a feat it is to aim for such an enormous result to support families across central Kentucky who want their children to attend a Catholic school but can’t afford its full cost. We are indeed blessed to work for their benefit and the futures of their children!”

The Foundation also announced that, for the second consecutive year, Louisville-based ISCO Industries will serve as Presenting Sponsor of the event with an investment of $75,000. Jimmy Kirchdorfer, ISCO’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, noted, “My brother Mark and I are thrilled that our company will again serve as the Presenting Sponsor of this prestigious event. Here at ISCO, many of our team members are Catholic school graduates and we think it makes so much sense to invest in one of our community’s greatest treasures – Catholic education!”


Major benefactors of this year’s Salute, each of whom has contributed from $25,000 to $50,000, include Fifth Third Bank of Kentucky (founding benefactor); Norton Healthcare; AirHydro Power; Brown–Forman Corporation; The Bufford Family Foundation; Jill and Chris Burckle; Caldwell Tanks and Preload; D3 Foundation; Dahlem; Joseph and Sherry Dougherty; David and Cathy Durik; The Galt House Hotel; David and Jennie Heintzman; the Klimek Family; the Kramer Family; Sarah and John Lechleiter; Louisville Thoroughbred Society; Manna, Inc.; Keith and Jeanie Mouser; Bill and Michelle Mudd; the Ramsey Family; Karen and Hank Robinson; the Sautel Family; SCJ Fiduciary Services; Len and Susan Spalding; Brad and Charlotte Stengel; Stock Yards Bank and Trust Co.; the Ulmer Family; Willis Klein; Tom and Rhonda Wimsett; and the Richard Lechleiter Family.


The Salute doors will open at 5:30 p.m. and the dinner and program will begin at 6:30 p.m. Tables and individual seats may be purchased by contacting the Foundation by phone or online at


About the Catholic Education Foundation:

For over 200 years, Catholic schools have contributed significantly to the social, spiritual and economic fabric of our entire community.  The Catholic Education Foundation is a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit organization dedicated to the growth and vitality of Catholic education in the Archdiocese of Louisville.  Since 1999, the Foundation has awarded over $51 million in support of Catholic education.  Visit the Foundation at