HEBRON — Hebron Academy is receiving the largest gift in the school’s history — $10 million — from the Albert Lepage Foundation, the academy announced Thursday.

Lepage’s gift will allow the high school to build on its core values and attract a more diverse student body and faculty, and build more varied programs, said retiring Head of School John King.

“We’re incredibly thrilled with this gift and the opportunities this gives to the school to move forward progressively,” King said.

Albert Lepage graduated from Hebron Academy in 1965 and is the former president of Lepage Bakeries in Lewiston, which produces Country Kitchen and Barowsky’s breads. Formerly of Lewiston, Lepage lives in Auburn and Florida. He is not related to Gov. Paul LePage.

Lepage’s gift will complete renovations to the Albert Lepage Center for the Arts, and establish the Albert Lepage Center for Diversity at the school.

The Lepage Center renovation is being done on an existing building, one of the most stately on campus, King said.

“His gift allows us to finish the building into a full-scale center for the arts,” he said.

Renovations include a music performance space and classrooms, upgrades to the Androscoggin Theater, theater-style seating, expanded backstage and set spaces, and infrastructure for access, sound management and a visual arts display.

The Albert Lepage Center for Diversity will create richer, new student programs, attracting more diverse faculty and students, King said. Another big part of Lepage’s gift will be endowments for students who otherwise could not afford to attend Hebron Academy.

Annual room and board and tuition is $59,000 a year; annual tuition for commuting students is $30,000.

“Not very many students pay that amount,” King said, explaining that most receive help. Lepage’s gift will further provide more assistance to students, he said.

In a prepared statement, Lepage said that in his more than 50 years of association with Hebron, “I have seen how the arts and a diverse community have helped students grow into outstanding adults. My goal is to have my gift continue this tradition for generations to come.”

As a former student, Lepage recognized that Hebron has brought together students of different backgrounds and cultures, an experience that broadened him, King said. Growing up as a French Canadian in Lewiston, Lepage contributed to that by bringing his own background to the school, King said.

King, a friend of Lepage’s, described him as “wonderfully loyal, an enthusiastic individual who has strong feelings and opinions and expectations.”

A longtime board member of the school, Lepage speaks his mind and knows what it takes to offer a quality education, King said.

He is also generous, King said.

“He is a remarkable example of someone who directs his philanthropy to causes close to him and close to his personal experiences,” including his former schools and colleges and the local hospital, King said. “He recognizes those are places his money can get something done.”

After graduating from Hebron, Lepage graduated from Tulane University and joined the family baking company. He became president in 1978 and chairman in 1983. Today about 400 workers are employed in the downtown Lewiston bakeries.

In 2012, Lepage Bakeries merged with Flowers Foods, and Lepage became co-chairman. He retired in 2014 as chairman of Quality Bakers of America cooperative, the national licensor of Sunbeam Bread, and as treasurer of the American Bakers Association, the baking industry’s leading national organization.

Hebron Academy opened in 1805 and is one of the nation’s oldest endowed boarding schools. For more than two centuries, Hebron Academy’s mission has been to teach students liberal arts and sciences and to revere and respect individuality.


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