Founders Hall is Open

Burr and Burton students, faculty, staff, and honored guests gathered on this brisk and brilliant morning to celebrate the official opening of the school’s new 25,000-square-foot academic building, Founders Hall. The crowd assembled in the spectacular Rowland Courtyard, which joins Founders Hall to the historic Seminary at the heart of campus, and bears the name of the late Barry and Wendy Rowland, whose vision and generosity over decades culminated in a $20 million gift to fund the new building. 

Speaking before the event, Headmaster Mark Tashjian noted how the building will impact learning at the school. “Founders Hall brings the architectural design to support a different kind of learning that is more integrated; we’re going to bring our disciplines together in a way that hasn’t been possible before. It’s a very exciting day.”

Student assembly leaders Lou Cubberly ‘22, Matt Grabher ‘22, and Chloe Andersen ‘22 welcomed the crowd of nearly 1,000, and introduced the speakers, who collectively represented more than 150 years of service to Burr and Burton Academy.

Chair of the Board Ed Campbell ‘70 noted the way campus spaces have evolved over the years, and said, “Today is not about the past—it is about always moving forward and always improving; it is about this beautiful building, and it is about the future: Burr and Burton’s future, your future, and that of the Bulldogs that will follow you.”

Associate Head of School Meg Kenny spoke directly to students: “Buildings come to life when their people and purpose come together. Nestled at the base of Mount Equinox, Founders Hall, arms outstretched, welcomes you to complete the building: your wonder and curiosity, your questions and collaborations; your struggles, goals, accomplishments, and engagement fill Founders Hall with life.”

Former Headmaster Chuck Scranton highlighted Barry and Wendy Rowland’s broad and deep impact on Burr and Burton encompassing everything from Founders Hall and the Rowland Center to student and faculty travel funds. “We lost them a few years ago, but they’re here with us today. They would be so proud to see the student body assembled in front of a building that was only a vision.”

Finally, Headmaster Mark Tashjian and legendary staff member and alumnus Benjamin Franklin Beers ‘61 took to the podium to declare Founders Hall officially open. The bell rang out from the Seminary Belltower, and attendees stood for a photo to commemorate the occasion.

Fully funded by a $20 million gift from Barry and Wendy Rowland, Founders Hall embodies the incredible impact of combining independent structure with public purpose, providing a state-of-the-art academic space to all students at no cost to the towns. Designed by Burr and Burton alumnus and architect Kyle Murphy ‘07, the building is now home to the BBA Humanities departments, as well as the library and the STEAM Lab, a maker’s space designed to foster hands-on integrative learning. For more information on Founders Hall, please see

Photo by Tony Cirelli