The Marvelwood School in Kent has announced a $10 million gift to its endowment by Stephen and Mary Byron Smith of Naples, Fla.

Steve Smith, a member of the school’s second graduating class in 1959 and his wife, Mary, have been actively involved with the school almost since its founding.

Their gift, which will be given over 10 years, is the single largest in the school’s 60-year history.

The Smiths hope that their gift will encourage others to get involved.

“We are enthusiastically making this gift to Marvelwood with a focus on the school’s need to grow its small endowment,” Steve said. “As we all know, the ongoing needs of every institution become less burdensome with a carefully-tended and growing endowment fund in place.”

“With our gift, we sincerely hope to encourage the Marvelwood ‘family of families’ to join us in ensuring the mission and prosperity of this remarkable school,” he said.

With the Goodearl and Tacy Endowment Fund, the Smiths honor and recognize two of Marvelwood’s former heads of school: second Headmaster Peter Tacy, who served from 1981-89, and Arthur F. Goodearl, Jr., who recently retired after seven years as the school’s sixth head.

The Smiths consider both Tacy and Goodearl to be “visionaries” who, at different times and in different ways, along with many other fine administrators, faculty and staff, shaped the school to become what it is today.

“A significant increase in endowment enables the School to think beyond itself to the possibilities that, before, we could only hope to one day be in a position to imagine,” said Interim Head of School Blythe Everett.

“Steve and Mary’s transformational gift has the power to turn Marvelwood's dreams into realities,” Everett said. “It reflects their unwavering commitment to supporting the hallmarks of the Marvelwood experience: celebrating a mutual respect and appreciation shared between faculty and students; heeding the call to reach beyond oneself in pursuit of a goal; and embracing a commitment to responsible stewardship and service as a way of life.”