David F. Bolger ’50 David F. Bolger ’50, one of Northfield Mount Hermon’s most dedicated alumni, died on Dec. 29, 2018, in Ridgewood, New Jersey, with his family by his side. He was 86. A real estate financier with roots in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Florida, Bolger was not only a tough negotiator, but also a generous supporter of museums, libraries, and hospitals as well as his alma mater. “Northfield Mount Hermon will remember David for his determination and wisdom, his loyalty to friends and family, his genuine interest in ‘paying it forward’ to benefit young people, and his appreciation of art, history, and education,” said Head of School Charles A. Tierney III. “David’s legacy at NMH has been remarkable. It literally is visible throughout our 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 Center for Early Childhood Education, which serves families both at NMH and in the local community. He was behind the most recent renovation of Ford Cottage, the head of school’s residence; 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. Bolger was born in Alliquippa, Pennsylvania, to John Theodore and Coby Bunge Bolger, who had immigrated to the United States from the Netherlands. After he attended the Mount Hermon School for Boys, he graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 1954. He served in the U.S. Air Force and retired as a first lieutenant, then worked in the steel mills of Pennsylvania. He entered the field of finance and worked at a number of firms before founding his own real estate investment firm, Bolger & Co., Inc., in 1966, which he led for more than four decades. Years earlier, however, his Mount
Hermon career got off to a rough start. Bolger liked to tell the story of how the headmaster recommended that he not return to the school after his first semester and that paying the tuition fee would not be money well spent. Bolger’s father, John, assured the headmaster that he would help his son improve his attitude. Bolger returned to Mount Hermon, and graduated successfully. He took great pleasure, years later, in giving back to the school that had nearly kicked him out. Throughout his career, Bolger was known as a keen businessman, but he also adhered to a personal mission that was much like that of NMH founder D.L. Moody: to change lives for the better, to make the world a better place, and to give back more than he received. Alongside his impact on
Bolger House, NMH’s admission headquarters.
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