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Thomases Make IRA Gift to
Establish Development Chair

J. Richard Thomas, Sr. ’43

J. Richard Thomas, Sr. ’43 was frequently referred to by his sons’ classmates as “Mr. Gilman.” In the seven decades after he graduated, Mr. Thomas was involved with Gilman in a myriad of ways. He and his wife, Mary McCormick Thomas, supported the annual fund from its inception.

Mr. Thomas led Gilman’s first capital campaign and helped create Gilman’s planned giving program and Grasshopper Society, stating, “People [who] maybe had not done anything in their lives to financially help the School sometimes do remarkable things in their wills and planned giving programs.” A lifetime Trustee, he led the centennial celebrations in 1997–1998 and chaired the Board of Trustees from 1980 to 1985. His three sons, Richard ’72, Henry ’76, and Bill ’81, and three grandsons, Rich ’01, Stuart ’04, and Alex ’07, are Gilman alumni.

Mr. Thomas was always a strong proponent of philanthropy, understanding that tuition alone does not cover the cost of a Gilman education. In 2016, as part of the First Things First campaign, the Thomases pledged $1,000,000 from their IRA to establish the J. Richard and Mary McC. Thomas Development Chair. The Chair supports an exemplary Gilman faculty or staff member who embodies Gilman’s values and demonstrates steadfast dedication to development ideals.

Mr. Thomas noted, “This gift was a way to thank Gilman for all that it meant to me. Mary and I have had more fun out of giving this gift. We feel good about it, and that means a lot too.”


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