December 11, 2020

Teaching excellence

Donors fund innovation while honoring Andover legends
Dr. Robert Perrin P’98

Thirty-some years ago, Dr. Robert Perrin P’98, a beloved PA instructor in math and physics, handed Xiao-Guang Sun ’89 a bike wheel to demonstrate the conservation of angular momentum. Sun recalls Perrin’s originality to this day. “He was a superb educator—a bright light,” says Sun. “His enthusiasm for science inspired many students, and exemplary teachers like him should be remembered as role models for future generations.”

Now Sun and classmate Jeffrey Chen ’89 are honoring Perrin, who passed away in 2007, through an endowed faculty fund. The friends say they feel compelled to commemorate their teacher, to express appreciation for their broader Phillips Academy experience, and, simply, to pay it forward.

Support for faculty has enormous resonance, strengthening Andover’s campaign commitment to academic excellence and innovation with gifts that directly benefit teaching foundations and instructorships, faculty research, professional development, and more—all while providing teachers the vital resources to guide their students to scholastic success.

His enthusiasm for science inspired many students, and exemplary teachers like him should be remembered as role models for future generations.

Xiao-Guang Sun ’89

Dr. Theodore Sizer P’75, ’77, ’80, GP’08

Author Stacy Schiff ’78 recently endowed a fund at the Tang Institute honoring the late Dr. Ted Sizer, 12th head of school, and his wife, Nancy P’75, ’77, ’80, GP’08, a distinguished history instructor. “The Sizers were among the first adults who treated me as if my opinions and my questions mattered. Is there any greater gift? My debt to Andover is boundless,” says Schiff, who also paid tribute to her philosophy and religious studies instructor Tom Hodgson P’99—who doubled as squash coach for more than 20 years—with a donation to the Snyder Center.

Schiff knows how critical it is for educators to have the freedom to creatively flex their own scholarly muscle, ultimately benefiting generations of students. “The faculty represents the beating heart of the school,” she says. “No one more deserves the opportunity to venture outside the lines, the better to work the ineffable Andover magic in the classroom.”

Chen echoes those sentiments: “I feel more and more indebted to the teachers of my past who prepared me so well for the future. It seemed only fitting to honor someone who taught me so much.”

Originally printed in The Vista: Views from the Knowledge & Goodness Campaign, fall 2020.

Categories: Campaign News

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