Benefactor Bolger’s Impact Will Live On

Jan. 3, 2019 — Stalwart Northfield Mount Hermon supporter David F. Bolger ’50 passed away on Dec. 29, 2018, with his family by his side. A real estate financier with roots in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Florida, Bolger built a reputation not only as a tough negotiator but also as a generous patron of museums, libraries, and hospitals as well as his alma mater. 

“David will be remembered for his determination and wisdom, his loyalty to friends and family, his wry sense of humor, and his genuine interest in ‘paying it forward’ to benefit young people, which is especially visible at NMH,” said Head of School Charles A. Tierney III. “His legacy here covers the entire campus.”

Bolger was NMH’s largest donor over the course of his lifetime, and his gifts spanned more than half a century. He worked with the Class of 1950 to fund the renovation of NMH’s dining hall. He helped build Bolger House, NMH’s admission building, and the Bolger Early Childhood Education Center, which serves families both at NMH and in the local community. He was behind the most recent renovation of Ford Cottage — home to the head of school’s family — as well as renovations and repairs in Memorial Chapel. Years ago, he helped create the Bolger Art Center inside the Talcott Library, which is located on the former Northfield campus.  

Despite Bolger’s impact on NMH’s physical plant, his generosity has been most keenly felt by the dozens of students who received financial-aid scholarships that he established and endowed in honor of his immigrant parents — scholarships that will continue to support students in perpetuity. “David embodied NMH’s mission of acting with humanity and purpose,” Tierney said. “He believed in the power and potential of young people. Clearly, he has earned a spot in our school pantheon.”

David is one of four siblings who attended Northfield Mount Hermon, including the late William J. Bolger ’44, Betty Bolger Fleming ’46, and Barbara Bolger Collett ’50.