|Alumna Donates $5 Million To Support Teachers At Miss Hall's School|
|By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff|
05:04PM / Wednesday, February 27, 2019
|Miss Hall's School on Holmes Road received its largest single gift. Above is Linn Hall, the school's new academic building, opened in 2016, and the Elizabeth Gatchell Klein Arts Center at right. |
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Miss Hall's School will bolster its efforts to attract and retain faculty with the help of the largest single gift the school's ever received.
Theresa Thompson, who graduated from the all-girls school in 1964, donated $5 million with an eye toward retaining faculty who deliver innovative curriculum at the school.
"The gift is directed to supporting salaries ... the salaries are our largest expense and our most valuable asset," said Head of School Julia Heaton on Wednesday.
Heaton said the gift had been in the works for some time and is being celebrated this year to honor Thompson's 55th graduation year. Thompson splits her time between New York and West Virginia but will be back on campus this spring and the school plans to honor her gift then. Heaton said Thompson has been a long-time supporter.
"Terry has been really involved in the school and has been a generous supporter," Heaton said, and Thompson wanted to do even more with the biggest single gift the school has ever had.
Thompson grew up in Perrysburg, Ohio, where her father, Henry L. Thompson Jr., was a prominent businessman. She graduated in 1964 and has since served as a trustee and a member of the school's emeritus trustee advisory council.
"I have been so moved by the teachers, coaches, and role models who work with students each day that I wanted to make a major contribution to MHS," Thompson said in a statement released on Tuesday.
"I am proud to be a Miss Hall's alumna, and I believe one of the ways we can show appreciation for what the school has meant in our lives is to support its important work in meaningful, substantive ways that make a difference in the lives of future women leaders."
Heaton said the gift will be extremely helpful to the school's operations. She the costs of providing the education exceeds what they charge for tuition so donations become important to the school's ability to be accessible for students.
"It is hugely important to what we do," she said. "Miss Hall's is committed to making education accessible."
Heaton said the hope is that others will follow Thompson's lead and help support the private institution. The school was founded in 1898 and has leaned on donors to help keep its programming robust.
"At the heart of a Miss Hall's education is a transformative academic program and personalized, experiential learning tailored to girls," Heaton said. "This amazing gift will support teachers who innovate every day and provide students with opportunities to pursue their ambitions to the fullest."
Miss Hall's School currently enrolls 218 students and employs 38 full and part-time faculty who offer 100 different courses taught in 155 sections. Thompson's gift won't be used to add staffing or immediately give raises but rather keep salaries up over the years to attract and retain staff.
"Terry's bold commitment to empowering girls with vision, voice, gumption, and interpersonal efficacy is exciting," said Board President Stacey Sotirhos in a statement.
"Not only will it shape classroom experiences of students for years to come, but it is also inspiring others to do everything we can to support Miss Hall's."