Alumni and Development
With the retirement of Mr. David Bolmer ’73, recipient of the George P. Milmine ’18 Chair and instructor in mathematics, next year will be the first year without a Bolmer among the school’s faculty in 73 years.
Mr. Stephen Bolmer, father of Mr. Bolmer, taught at the school from 1947 to 1991. Mr. David Bolmer grew up as a faculty child and graduated from Hotchkiss in 1973. After graduating, Mr. Bolmer attended the U.S. Naval Academy for two years, and then graduated summa cum laude from Springfield College with a B.S. in secondary education and mathematics. He taught at private schools in Virginia, New Jersey, and Hawaii before finding his way back to Hotchkiss in 1986.
Throughout his teaching career, Mr. Bolmer has always followed his father’s advice: “Teaching at a boarding school is all about the students, period. No exceptions and no excuses!” Mr. Bolmer added, “I tried to follow that advice every year for the last 42 [years]. It was not always easy and often downright annoying, but I think it was the right thing to do.”
From winning the New England Championships when he was Head Coach of the Girls Varsity Volleyball team to going on donut runs with his advisees before class on Wednesdays, Mr. Bolmer believes that his fondest memories come from the small moments in his career. He remembers driving his volleyball team to games, hearing the girls chat as if they were in their dorm rooms. He said, “[I] would be sitting there, and it’s almost as if they forgot that I was there. I sort of remember that fondly, not because I cared about what they were saying, but because the kids would feel comfortable enough doing that.”
Lisa Berlizova ’22, who has Mr. Bolmer as a math teacher, advisor, and volleyball coach, shared, “One of the highlights of my week would always be walking into advisory, seeing a box of cookies and some lemonade on the table, and joining whatever conversation everyone was already having.”
Mr. Jason Maier, head of the mathematics and computer science department, complimented Mr. Bolmer’s ability to get students to work with each other. Mr. Maier said, “[Mr. Bolmer’s] commitment to his colleagues and students outside of the classroom is a model for the whole faculty. Mr. Bolmer is always first in line to help a colleague if they are out sick and…volunteer to help students when they need it.”
Another one of Mr. Bolmer’s students, Kenny Zhang ’22, said, “Mr. Bolmer has taught me to be more mindful and precise in my language, and that’s a skill that could be applied in both math and general conversations.”
Even though this is the end of Mr. Bolmer’s 34-year teaching journey at the school, he will still be seen around campus. He said, “Right now, I [live] one mile away from Hotchkiss, so I’m going to be around. I’m going to be that guy sitting in the stands watching the soccer game, or the basketball game, or going to the tennis match, and I’m going to go to all the music concerts.”
This year, students will miss the tradition of lining the hallways to congratulate Mr. Bolmer as he leaves his classroom for the last time. Additionally, Mr. Bolmer was supposed to have a retirement dinner, but due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the community has found another way to show appreciation for Mr. Bolmer’s 34 years of service to the school. Students, parents, alumni, faculty, and staff can share memories with Mr. Bolmer on his Hotchkiss retirement blog page.