The Forum | General Education

In Memoriam: Richard Gilder

May 15, 2020 by Michael B. Poliakoff

Richard Gilder, a businessman and philanthropist whose generosity supported education and, in particular, historical literacy, passed away on May 12, 2020, a few weeks before his 88th birthday.

Born in 1932, Mr. Gilder attended Northfield Mount Hermon School (or, as it was then known, the Mount Hermon School for Boys) before enrolling at Yale College, graduating in 1954 with a Bachelor of Arts in history. He went on to work at the brokerage firm AG Becker & Co. and later founded Gilder, Gagnon, Howe & Co. in 1968.

Aside from his business pursuits, Mr. Gilder was a vigorous supporter of education and the advancement of knowledge. He served on the boards of the New-York Historical Society, the Omohundro Institute of Early American History & Culture, the Morgan Library & Museum, the American Museum of Natural History, the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, and the Manhattan Institute. In 1994, Mr. Gilder, along with Lewis Lehrman, founded the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting the study of and interest in American history. For their joined efforts at the Gilder Lehrman Institute, Mr. Gilder and Mr. Lehrman were awarded the National Humanities Medal in 2005.

Mr. Gilder was a generous supporter of and friend to the American Council of Trustees and Alumni. We will miss his friendship and guidance, but we will continue in our shared mission to ensure that every college student develops a deep understanding and appreciation of American history.


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