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NMH Celebrates the Gilder Center, Calagione Fitness Center, and Draper Riverhouse

Oct. 26, 2021 — Even the sunset cooperated. During the “magic hour” on Saturday, Oct. 16, the sun fell behind Memorial Chapel bathing the Gilder Center’s granite facade in a warm glow as visitors stepped inside the new state-of-the-art math and science center — many for the first time — for tours, and a dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony. 

During the ceremony held in the “hub” — an expansive, glass-walled lobby in the heart of the Gilder Center — Head of School Brian Hargrove described the building as “the perfect balance between form and function” and thanked family members of the late Richard “Dick” Gilder ’50, who, with his wife, Lois Chiles, donated lead gifts for the project. The Gilders also inspired other donors from across the globe, including Korea, China, and Hong Kong to support this project to provide experiential learning opportunities for all NMH students.

Dick Gilder’s daughter, Britt-Louise Gilder, said that her father’s experience as a student here was transformational. She said he was a “math whiz” with a photographic memory and “a brain that could do complex things.” She said, “It is fitting that one of his final projects is a building devoted to the teaching of math and science.” 

“Being here is breathtaking,” said Bea Garcia, assistant head of school for academic programs and dean of faculty. “Gilder exceeds our expectations and makes us smile. As a teacher, I feel like a little kid with a new toy, so many possibilities, so much fun to have.”

The Gilder Center, which held its first classes on Monday, Oct. 18, was one of three new campus facilities celebrated by the campus community, including the new Calagione Fitness Center, a 6,000-square-foot weight-training and cardio fitness facility within James Gym, and the 7,000-square-foot Draper Riverhouse, the home base for NMH’s rowing team. See photos of celebrations at the Gilder Center, the Calagione Fitness Center, and the Draper Riverhouse.

The fitness center was made possible by a $1 million lead gift from Board of Trustees Chair Mariah Calagione ’89 and her husband, Sam Calagione ’88, P’20, ’18. The Calagiones also gave the lead gift for the Draper Riverhouse, which replaced the nearly 50-year-old Speer Boathouse and is named after Mariah Calagione’s father, Tom Draper ’60.