David M. Felsen, Central's headmaster, said yesterday that very few independent schools receive such a large gift to support science and mathematics education.
"He is really most interested in helping the school attract and maintain first-rate science and math teachers," Felsen said yesterday. "He already has a pretty good sense we have that here but he wants to make sure it continues to happen. His money will help enrich what we already have."
Hendrie, who lives in Boston, is a venture capitalist with Sigma Partners, a California-based firm that specializes in high-technology companies.
"I am deeply concerned about this nation's long-term economic competitiveness," Hendrie said in a statement released by the school. "We need to encourage more of its brightest students to undertake careers in science and technology. The best way to provide that encouragement, I believe, is through teachers and programs which provide inspiration as well as education."
With Hendrie's gift, Friends Central has received more than $4.3 million in the $5 million capital campaign for facilities and endowment announced in January 1991.
Friends Central, which enrolls 745 students, has its lower-school campus on Old Gulph Road in Wynnewood. The middle and upper schools are on the main campus on City Avenue, in Merion.