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Philip McNeal Leadership Program

The Philip McNeal Leadership Program was established in 2021 in order to support MKA's signature learning initiative, the Culture of Integrated Ethics, by providing Upper School students robust curricular and co-curricular activities to learn how to be ethical beings, critical thinkers, responsible citizens, and honorable leaders. This program will deepen the conversation on the topic of ethical leadership and help students identify their own unique leadership style in order to best prepare for college and the world beyond.

Through a combination of readings, discussions, videos, presentations, and activities, students will explore key concepts and challenges of good leadership, cultivate strong character habits, develop stronger cultural and racial competencies, and strengthen critical skills of listening and communicating. The Leadership Retreat and Workshops will provide students an environment of trust in which to exchange ideas and debate as students explore the intersection of leadership and ethics and give consideration to relevant topics including race, community engagement, sustainability, and technology.

This work will continue throughout the year in leadership workshops facilitated by our Tri-Campus Chair of Integrated Ethics, Kerry Verrone.

About Philip McNeal

Philip was born in St. Louis, Missouri on December 6, 1953. The only child of the late Missouri Senator Theodore McNeal and his wife Virgie, Philip was named after American labor movement giants, A. Philip Randolph and Milton Webster. The elder McNeal worked with both men to organize the International Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, the most prominent predominantly black labor union of its day. In 1976 Philip graduated with a BS in mechanical engineering from University of Missouri, Rolla, and he began his career at ExxonMobil as a project engineer. In 1984, Philip joined J.P. Morgan as an investment banker in the firm's Natural Resources and Power Group and later served as Managing Director and Senior Client Advisor. Philip met his true love Glenda Goodly, and they married in 1989. They were blessed with two wonderful children, daughter Sydney and son Carter.

Despite his demanding career, Philip was active in his community, serving as a longtime board chair of the Montclair Human Needs Food Pantry, a former trustee of Montclair Kimberley Academy, and trustee of Newark Academy. 

Thoughtful and generous to his core, Philip’s McNeal’s legacy lives on through philanthropy that will impact generations to come. A fund to support Pancreatic cancer research was established in his honor at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and the Philip McNeal Leadership Program was established at MKA in his honor. This program was inspired by the tenants of leadership that Philip lived by:

Live with Purpose - Be centered in values that influence your beliefs and guide your actions, that shape who you are and your service to others

Give Hope - Motivate and inspire others toward their best performance and to see opportunity through challenges and setbacks; believe that you can make a difference

Lead with Integrity - Honor truth in all that you do; treat people with respect; be accountable

Listen to Hear - Practice active listening with energy and understanding to achieve perspective, empathy and compassion

Be Inclusive - Embrace differences and give others a sense of purpose and belonging; be an advocate and an ally

Lead with Passion - Approach life with great curiosity, energy, and focus, believing the impossible is possible

Be Kind. Be Humble. Laugh. Love.


Interested in learning more? Contact Kerry Verrone, Tri-Campus Chair of Integrated Ethics and Upper School Dean of Student Life, at or 973-842-2881.

If you are interested in supporting this program, please contact Laela Perkins, Director of Development, at or 973-509-4528.

This Program is Made Possible Through the Generous Support of:

Founding Sponsors
Glenda McNeal
An Anonymous Sponsor

Lead Sponsors
Bonnie and Michael Carter
The Edward John and Patricia Rosenwald Foundation
Lori and Patrick Fouche
JPMorgan Chase

Program Supporters
Wendy and Jared Bartie
Gretchen Berra
Stephen Diamond
Pamela Firestone
Michael Foster
Roberta Graves
Jocelyn and Peter Handy
Mona Thomas