Tom Israel ’62 Donates $5 Million Gift to PA

Alumnus, Charter Trustee, and Treasurer of the Board Tom Israel ’62 has pledged an unrestricted donation of five million dollars to Phillips Academy. Three million of this gift has been designated for campus renewal; two million supports the upcoming Commons renovation and one million will help expand the Addison Gallery of American Art. There has not been a decision as to the remaining two million. The two million directed to Commons will be used to improve the building to allow for more variety in food and atmosphere. The expansion of the Addison Gallery would include a 60% expansion and new space for art education. “Commons is the most traveled through building on campus and has had little updating since the 1930s,” said Mr. Israel. “I started thinking about…places that would need it most, as we are getting closer to making a decision on [renovations for] both those buildings, [Addison and Commons,] and it seemed that those would be very good places to start with.” The two million dollars that remains undetermined will likely be restricted in the future. A restricted gift can only be spent in the particular area the donor has designated, giving Mr. Israel control over the direction of his donation. If unrestricted, the board of trustees and administration will decide on the best allocation. “I am confident in the management of the school, as they know best where the money can be used, so I usually give them full discretion or discuss it with them,” said Mr. Israel. The Commons renovation and Addison expansion are both capital building projects because of their scope and cost. The cost of such large-scale projects is usually supported by contributions from alumni, parents or friends of the academy. A recent example of this kind of support is the new Gelb Science Center, funded in large part by an $11 million donation from Trustee Emeritus Richard Gelb ’41 who passed away shortly before the building was dedicated. In a similar way Mr. Israel has helped in the funding of these two projects. “The education I got at Andover was far and away the most important part of my education from kindergarten through college,” says Mr. Israel, on his Andover experience. He attributes his academic deja-vu upon matriculating to Yale to the “special education” he’d received at Andover. He shared this experience with his father, uncle, and brother. Mr. Israel also expressed his gratitude to Yale Medical University this month, similarly donating five million dollars in unrestricted funds. Mr. Israel’62 originally had considered making this pledge for his 50th reunion. As a result of conversations with Peter Ramsey, Secretary of the Academy and Mr. Israel’s belief in the importance of the timing in terms of the strategic plan, Mr. Israel decided to make the commitment now. Mr. Israel’s donation is one of the ten largest received in Phillips Academy history. Mr. Israel’s primary role on the Board of Trustees is his position as head of the financial committee. Part of his job is to oversee the endowment. He said, “[Finance] is something that I am familiar with and enjoy.” Mr. Israel was promoted to his current posiion a few years ago, at the same time that Mr. Oscar Tang was appointed Head of the Board of Trustees. It was upon Mr. Israel’s first suggestion as head of the Financial Committee that Phillips Academy hired a Chief Financial Officer. Mr. Stephen Carter currently occupies the position of Chief Financial Officer. Mr. Israel said, “Working more with PA has been one of the great joys and pleasures of my life. I have had many family members who have gone [to PA] and it is a place where any individual, after graduation, can still have a meaningful impact.” He continued, “It has been a great pleasure to serve on the board and contribute not only my time and energy but my resources [as well].” A Special Thanks to Mr. Peter Ramsey, Secretary of the Academy, for his contribution to this article.