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Phillips Academy Giving

Writing the Next Chapter of Storied Bulfinch Hall


by Victoria A. Harnish

The Bulfinch Hall renovation recently received a boost from a group of 50 alumni and parents in Asia, with gifts totaling more than $1 million. Restoration of the building and construction of a small addition will begin in June and will be completed by December.

Providing generous support to the project are five members of the Asia Council—Henry Cho ’83 (Hong Kong), Byung-Pyo Kim ’79, P’05, ’13 (Seoul), Stephen King ’83 (Hong Kong), Xiang-Dong Yang ’83 (Hong Kong/Shanghai), and Yichen Zhang ’82, (Hong Kong/Beijing). The Asia Council works with leadership of the Academy to identify opportunities to engage alumni and parents in the region.

Bulfinch Progress
as of September 27, 2012
Gifts & PledgesGoal

XD Yang’s and Yichen Zhang’s gifts will fund the construction of the media classroom, located on the ground floor of the building. The room will be named in honor of Bardyl Tirana ’55, who sponsored the first students from China’s Harbin Institute of Technology. It was the late 1970s when Josh Miner traveled to the Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C., hoping to initiate Andover’s recruitment efforts in the People’s Republic. Tirana, working in the area at the time, happened to see this legendary dean of admission walking down the street. When he greeted Miner and asked why he was in town, Miner explained his objective, adding that he was making no progress. Eager to help, Tirana offered to make some connections. Their chance encounter led to Andover’s partnership with the Harbin Institute of Technology in the 1980s. The program, which brought Harbin students to Andover for a postgraduate year, was an act of non sibi that extended Andover’s mission to develop leaders who go on to make a difference in their communities and the world.

Among the first students to participate were Yang and Zhang. It was in Bulfinch Hall that their English language skills and their passion for learning flourished, and so they chose to support their alma mater and honor an alumnus with their gifts to Bulfinch. The media classroom is part of a small addition that will provide a space conducive to master classes, scene work, and film screenings. With 28 faculty in the English department and all students taking at least one course in Bulfinch, the building has become quite worn over the years. “This is one of the busiest places on campus,” says Jeff Domina, chair of the department.

Domina reassures that the character of the building will be preserved in this renovation. “We love the quirks in the design, and we plan to protect what is here,” he says. “And for those elements that we can’t keep intact, such as old doorknobs, we’ve found creative reuses for them. We look forward to a wall of coat hooks made from the historic knobs.”

Please contact Christine Adams, director of development, at or 978-749-4288 if you would like to contribute to this project.

Bulfinch Hall Restoration Rises to the Fore

November 17, 2010

The renovation of Bulfinch Hall gained significant momentum on November 6, with two trustees of Phillips Academy contributing to the effort. A new gift from Tom Israel ’62 -- coupled with the designation of a portion of Oscar Tang’s campaign commitment and initial support of $1 million from earlier donors -- puts total funding for the project over $4 million.

In thanking Israel and Tang for their thoughtful generosity, Head of School Barbara Chase described Bulfinch as “an iconic building, housing legendary teachers--past and present--and touching every Andover student.”

The project will now proceed to the design phase, and efforts to secure the final $2.8 million are underway.

Designed by architect-builder Asher Benjamin and built in 1819, Bulfinch Hall served over the years as a gymnasium and a dining hall prior to becoming the home of the English department. The facility will be renovated to include updated and more flexible teaching areas, converting what is currently a worn structure into an efficient and inviting space for student learning and faculty collaboration. “This is tremendously important to the Academy,” said Chase. “We look forward to providing the quality teaching and learning environment that our faculty and students deserve.”