Designing Minds: Rudy Seikaly ’81

A refugee from Lebanon wounded as a teen during the country’s civil war, Seikaly is now founder and CEO of MCN Build, a “purpose-driven” construction company. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the firm specializes in building schools and the adaptive reuse of public facilities. (It also works on libraries, museums, fire stations, health care centers, community centers, and more.) He serves on the board of trustees of Bread Inc., the Charter Schools Development Corporation, Teach for America, and the Federal City Council, and chairs the MCN Build Foundation, his firm’s nonprofit arm, which builds schools and libraries on a pro bono basis in underserved areas around the world.

Education: B.S. (Engineering Technology), New Jersey Institute of Technology

Examples of his work: MCN Build has constructed or renovated more than 3.5 million square feet of educational space, including Powell Elementary School, a four-building complex in Washington, D.C.; Rocketship Public Charter School, a K-5 LEED Platinum building, also in Washington; and Green Street Academy, in Baltimore, a former public high school that is now the world’s second-largest K-12 Educational LEED Platinum Certified building.

Favorite places at Williston: “I remember a place where they molded clay. It surprised me that a school would put as much emphasis on arts, music, and theater, which was not really the case in the third world. My favorite spot was a creek that ran behind the school, the Manhan. We used to have ropes hanging from the trees where we could swing like Tarzan into the creek. One of my classmates built an elaborate treehouse in one of the trees, and we used to go hang out with him up there.”

In his own words: “We are a purpose-driven company. We believe that social justice begins with education. And we believe we have a purpose and a role. Our primary function and mission is to deliver state-of-the-art facilities. After that, we hope that other team members will complete the rest of the puzzle to help us create an environment where kids can pull themselves out of poverty through their education.”

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