More than 200 boys have the opportunity to learn science and math with state-of-the-art technology as a result of a generous gift from Roger ’66 and Kathy Novak. The Novaks are tied to Gilman in a myriad of ways. Their sons, Ned ’01 and Alex ’09, are the third generation of Novak men to attend Gilman. Roger’s father, Edmund R. Novak, was a member of the Class of ’34.
Kathy Novak taught in the Lower School (LS) in the ’70s through 1982. In addition to teaching in Gilman’s LS, Kathy served on the Parent Association Board. One of her students, Peter Kwiterovich, III, ’87, is the current Head of the Middle School (MS), and has recently been appointed Gilman’s Assistant Head of School.
Roger has more than 25 years of experience as a venture capitalist and angel investor in various areas of technology. He served as a Gilman trustee for 11 years, and recently has judged student entrepreneurs during the Startup Experience workshop.
How fitting, then, that when the Novaks decided to fund an initiative that would have an immediate impact, they would turn their attention to the Middle School. With a passion for technology, they elected to support a MS innovation lab – a technology hub of creativity and imagination for sixth through eighth graders.
Recently the Novaks visited the Novak Innovation Lab to observe boys in action. The lab boasts 3D printing machines, a laser cutting machine, drone technology, Arduinos (an open source electronics platform), “plug and play” circuitry and electronics components, LEGO Mindstorms EV3 robotics, and a green screen wall for filmmaking. On the day of their visit, overhead projectors beamed notes of thanks to the Novaks on the walls. After their visit to the lab, they joined students and faculty in the library for a special lunch held in their honor.
Beyond Gilman, Roger has served on the State of Virginia’s Joint Commission on Science and Technology, as well as Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government’s project to examine the funding gap between innovation and commercialization. A frequent speaker on venture capital, risk and innovation issues, he has addressed the National Institute of Science and Technology, the World Bank/IFC, DARPA, and other institutions. He has also advised members of Congress and government agencies about ways the public and private sector can work together to improve the nation’s high-tech economy. He has appeared on programs including The McNeil Lehrer Newshour, CNN, and Wall Street Week to speak on technology and investment issues. Learn more about Roger’s professional and volunteer activities.