Burr and Burton Academy in Manchester, Vermont, has announced a $20 million gift from longtime supporters Barry and Wendy Rowland.
The largest gift ever to a secondary school in Vermont will fund the Rowland Project — the first phase of a multi-phased master plan — which includes construction of a classroom building, a courtyard/green space behind the school's seminary building, and a classroom facility at Hildene Meadows/Dene Farm, as well as other facility enhancements and upgrades. Over the course of the school's 189-year history, every building on the Burr and Burton campus has been built with privately raised funds.
"Because of our growth in student population we are in need of new infrastructure to accommodate demand," said Burr and Burton board chair Seth Bongartz. "This growth is a strong endorsement of school choice and independent governance, as is this remarkable generosity from the Rowlands. This gift is historic in its scale and will be transformational in its impact."
The Rowlands are the most generous donors in the school's history. In 2007, they donated $10 million to the school— at the time the largest gift ever made to a secondary school in the state — and in 2008 they established the $25 million Rowland Foundation, which provides fellowships to secondary school teachers in Vermont. At Burr and Burton, the Rowlands have supported construction of the Rowland Center, an addition to the E.H. Henry Gymnasium, and Birchbrook Founders Hall; helped fund the Student Success Program, which supports students aspiring to be the first in their family to attend college; and contributed generously to the school's annual fund.
"We see this as an investment in kids, an investment in our communities, an investment in the state of Vermont, and an investment in [Vermont] Governor [Phil] Scott's vision of making Vermont an education destination," said Barry Rowland, who has served as vice chair of the academy's board. "Wendy and I love this community and believe it deserves the absolute best. We have confidence Burr and Burton will make good on our investment!"