Frederick Gunn School in Washington receives $25 million donation

WASHINGTON — The Frederick Gunn School received a $25 million gift from Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch ’72, the largest philanthropic commitment in the school’s 172-year history. Inspired by a nearly 60-year bond with the Frederick Gunn School, the gift demonstrates the family’s tremendous philanthropic partnership with the school, according to a statement.

The funding will enable construction of the Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch Center for Innovation and Active Citizenship this spring, with an expected opening in fall 2023.

“This new academic building will be centrally located on campus, allowing the school to house its innovative science, math, engineering, technology, entrepreneurship and citizenship curriculum in one location overlooking the historic Quad school,” the statement said.

“The Frederick Gunn School is changing the way people think about what a school is capable of doing. We are excited to help accelerate this transformation – a strategic vision developed and led by Peter Becker over the past nine years. Importantly, the strategic course is relentlessly committed to the school’s founder and namesake, Frederick Gunn. Mr. Gunn was a transformative leader, pioneering educator and courageous abolitionist. He inspired students to be curious and reflective. , to be active citizens and to stand up for what they believe in – his ideas are as relevant today as they were 172 years ago. the finest boarding school experience that is the modern embodiment of the ideals of Frederick Gunn and there has been no better time than now to help accelerate this momentum,” said Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch.

With the building opening in fall 2023, the school will fully integrate its science, math, engineering, technology, entrepreneurship, and citizenship courses into the center of campus. The building will act as a hub of interdisciplinary learning, featuring state-of-the-art labs that will enable students and faculty to turn their ideas into action in line with the declaration. Students will experience learning environments dedicated to helping them be curious, problem-solve, take risks, think independently, and develop strength of character. Interdisciplinary courses will promote rigorous and reasoned dialogue, rational debate and, ultimately, active citizenship.

“We are grateful for the continued trust and partnership of Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch as all members of the Frederick Gunn School community work together to advance our strategic plan,” said school principal Peter Becker. “Today’s announcement is a bold move that expands our partnership with a family committed to teaching young people the importance of being deeply curious learners and engaged, active citizens.


“There’s no better environment for a teenager to explore being an active, engaged member of a community than at boarding school,” Becker said. :On our campus, this pursuit aligns with the mission set forth by our founder in 1850 and is even more relevant today as future leaders enter an increasingly complex and interconnected world. Lizzie and Jon’s generosity will immediately contribute to the ongoing transformation of our campus and, more importantly, will further accelerate school programming initiatives already underway that build on Mr. Gunn’s values ​​that so deeply encourage active citizenship. .

Jonathan Tisch has a distinguished commitment to the advancement of education through many of his philanthropic initiatives. In addition to being a longtime supporter of the Frederick Gunn School, Tisch has invested in educational assignments at New York University and Tufts University. Through his 2006 philanthropic commitment to Tufts University for the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life, his leadership has shaped a program to encourage students to participate in something bigger than themselves that will empower them. to effect lasting social change.

“After two decades of success inspiring young minds to be active citizens at Tufts University, the opening of the Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch Center for Innovation and Active Citizenship on the Frederick Gunn School campus in Fall 2023 will bring a similar commitment to being an engaged citizen to the unique opportunities of a boarding school environment,” according to the statement. “Combined with the founding principles of Frederick Gunn, this new building at the heart of the school’s campus will usher in the next generation of the school’s commitment to ensuring its students become lifelong learners and active and principled citizens.”

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