Get Phillips Academy essential facts below. View Videos or join the Phillips Academy discussion. Add Phillips Academy to your PopFlock.com topic list for future reference or share this resource on social media.
Independent boarding preparatory school in grades 9-12 in Andover, Massachusetts, United States
Independent, college-preparatory, day & boarding school in Andover, Massachusetts, United States
Founded in 1778, Andover is one of the oldest incorporated secondary schools in the United States. It has educated a long list of notable alumni through its history, including two American presidents, foreign heads of state, numerous members of Congress, five Nobel Prize laureates and six Medal of Honor recipients. It has been referred to by many contemporary sources as "the finest school in America".
It turned coeducational in 1973, the year in which it merged with its neighbor girls school Abbot Academy.
Phillips Academy admitted only boys until the school became coeducational in 1973, the year of Phillips Academy's merger with Abbot Academy, a boarding school for girls also in Andover. Abbot Academy, founded in 1828, was one of the first incorporated schools for girls in New England. Then-headmaster Theodore Sizer of Phillips and Donald Gordon of Abbot oversaw the merger.
The school's student-run newspaper, The Phillipian, is the oldest secondary school newspaper in the United States, the next oldest secondary school newspaper being The Exonian, Phillips Exeter Academy's weekly.The Phillipian was first published on July 28, 1857, and has been published regularly since 1878. It retains financial and editorial independence from Phillips Academy, having completed a $500,000 endowment drive in 2014. Students comprise the editorial board and make all decisions for the paper, consulting with two faculty advisors at their own discretion.The Philomathean Society is one of the oldest high school debate societies in the nation, second to the Daniel Webster Debate Society at Phillips Exeter Academy.
Phillips Academy also runs a five-week summer session for approximately 600 students entering grades 8 through 12.
Student body, Phillips Andover, 1910
Phillips Academy elm tree, which may date back to before the school's founding
Phillips Academy's traditional rival is Phillips Exeter Academy, which was established three years later in Exeter, New Hampshire, by Samuel Phillips' uncle, Dr. John Phillips, who was also a major contributor to Andover's founding. The two schools still maintain a rivalry. The football teams have met nearly every year since 1878, making it the oldest prep school rivalry in the country. In 1882, the first high school lacrosse teams were formed at Phillips Academy, Phillips Exeter Academy and the Lawrenceville School.
A view of Samuel Phillips Hall
Several figures from the revolutionary period are associated with the school. George Washington visited the school during his presidency in 1789, and Washington's nephews later attended the school. John Hancock signed the school's articles of incorporation and the great seal of the school was designed by Paul Revere.
For a hundred years of its history, Phillips Academy shared its campus with the Andover Theological Seminary, which was founded on Phillips Hill in 1807 by orthodox Calvinists who had fled Harvard College after it appointed a liberal Unitarian theologian to a professorship of divinity. The Andover Theological Seminary was independent of Phillips Academy but shared the same board of directors. In 1908, the seminary departed Phillips Academy, leaving behind its key buildings: academic building Pearson Hall (formerly a chapel), and dormitories Foxcroft Hall and Bartlet Hall. These buildings later became part of the Andover campus, which was expanded in the 1920s and 1930s around this historic core with new buildings of similar Georgian style: Samuel Phillips Hall, George Washington Hall, Samuel Morse Hall, Paul Revere Hall, Oliver Wendell Holmes Library, Commons, the Addison Gallery of American Art and Cochran Chapel. Small portions of Andover's campus were laid out by Frederick Law Olmsted, designer of Central Park and himself a graduate of the school.
Revere's design of the school's seal incorporated bees, a beehive, and the sun. The school's primary motto, Non Sibi, located in the sun, means "not for oneself". The school's second motto, Finis Origine Pendet, meaning "the end depends upon the beginning", is scrolled across the bottom of the seal.
Andover Battalion cadets training at the school, 1918
Phillips Academy curriculum and extracurricular activities include music ensembles, 30 competitive sports, a campus newspaper, a radio station, and a debate club. In 1973 Phillips Academy merged with neighboring Abbot Academy, which was founded in 1829 as one of the first schools for girls in New England and named for Sarah Abbot. After existing at Phillips Academy almost since its inception, secret societies were officially disbanded in 1949. Despite this, at least one secret society continues to exist.
Phillips Academy is one of only a few private high schools (others include Roxbury Latin and St. Andrew's School) in the United States that attained need-blind admissions in 2007 and 2008, and it has continued this policy through the present. In 2013 it received 3,029 applications and accepted 13%, a record low acceptance rate for the school. Of those accepted 79% went on to matriculate at the Academy.
Phillips Academy follows a trimester program, where a school year is divided into three terms, with each term lasting approximately 10 weeks. Classes are held from Monday to Friday, with the first period of the day beginning at 8:30 am and the last period ending at 2:50 pm. On Wednesdays, classes end early at 1:00 pm in order to provide more time for athletics, clubs, and community service.
Many courses are year-long, while others last only one to two terms. Most students take five courses each trimester. Four-year students at Phillips Academy are required to take courses in English, foreign language, mathematics (through calculus), history and social science, laboratory science, art, music, philosophy and religious studies, and physical education. Students may also choose to pursue an independent research program in a topic of choice under the guidance of faculty members if there are no more courses suitable for them in one or more disciplines.
Andover does not rank students, and rather than a four-point GPA scale, Phillips Academy calculates GPA using a six-point system. The Office of the Dean of Studies claims that there is no formal equivalent between the zero-to-six system and a conventional letter-grade system. However, a six is considered outstanding and is (theoretically) rarely awarded, a five is the lowest honors grade, and a two is the lowest passing grade. Grades earned in classes are sometimes weighted at the discretion of the instructor, and the school provides no uniform scale for converting percent scores into grades on the six-point scale.
For the 239 members of the class of 2018, average SAT's were 720 English and 740 Math. 
Bulfinch Hall was designed by Asher Benjamin, a student of architect Charles Bulfinch, and built in 1819. It now houses the English Department and received renovations during the summer and fall term of 2012.
The Gelb Science Center, named after alumnus donor Richard L. Gelb, opened for classes in January 2004. It replaced the older Evans Hall which was built in 1963 and demolished following the completion of Gelb. Gelb has three floors, each devoted to a separate science. The first floor houses biology, the second floor physics, and the third floor chemistry. Gelb also has an observatory above the third floor.
Gelb Science center.
Graham House was formerly used by both the school's psychology department and the school's psychological counselors. The psychology department has since moved to the Rebecca M. Sykes Wellness Center.
Graves Hall is used by the music department. Built in 1882, it was named after Professor William Blair Graves and was originally a chemical laboratory. The building houses a rehearsal space (Pfatteicher Room), a concert hall (Timken Hall), an electronic music studio, and several classrooms and practice rooms.
Morse Hall is used by the Math Department, CAMD (Community and Multicultural Development), the student-run radio station (WPAA), and some of the student-run publications. Morse Hall is named after Samuel Morse, who graduated from Phillips Academy in 1805 and later invented the telegraph and Morse code.
Oliver Wendell Holmes Library (OWHL) was built in 1929 (renovated 1987 and 2018-2019) and is named after Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., an 1825 graduate of Phillips Academy. The library houses more than 120,000 works. Located in OWHL is the Garver Room, containing the most comprehensive secondary-school reference collection in the country.[better source needed] In 2019, the OWHL received the Internet Archive's "Hero Award" for its work on digitizing its book collection and making it available via controlled digital lending (i.e. providing digital copies to one user at a time).
Pearson Hall, one of the oldest structures on campus, is the classics building. Built in 1817, it once was the main building of the Andover Theological Seminary. The only subjects with classes that meet in Pearson are Latin, Greek, Greek literature, mythology, and etymology. It was named after the school's first headmaster, Eliphalet Pearson.
Samuel Phillips Hall was built in 1924 and named after the founder of the school. This building houses the languages, history, and social sciences departments, as well as the school's language lab.
Cochran Chapel is a neo-Georgian church located on the north side of campus. It is also home to the philosophy, religious studies, and community service departments. A weekly All School Meeting is held here on Fridays.
Paresky Commons is the school's dining hall. The basement of Commons also houses "Susie's" (originally the Riley Room, and later "the den" until spring 2012), a grill-style student hangout/convenience store.
George Washington Hall was built in 1926 and has since undergone many additions and renovations. The building serves numerous functions, including as an administration building (Head of School's office, Dean of Studies, Dean of Students, among others), a post-office (a mail-room), and the Day Student Lounge and locker area. The hall also houses the drama and arts departments.
The Log Cabin is located in the 65-acre (0.26 km2) Cochran Wildlife Sanctuary on the northeastern edge of campus and serves as a place for student groups to hold meetings as well as sleep-overs.
Rebecca M. Sykes Wellness Center houses both physical and mental health facilities for students.
Western dormitory quadrangle ("West Quad").
The school also has dormitories to house the roughly 800 students that board. These buildings range in size from housing as few as four to as many as 40 students. Two notable dorms are America House, where the song America was penned, and Stowe House, where American writer Harriet Beecher Stowe (author of Uncle Tom's Cabin) lived while her husband taught at the Andover Theological Seminary. None of the original buildings remain; the oldest dorm is Blanchard House, built in 1789. Several dorms are named after prominent alumni, such as Henry L. Stimson, Secretary of War during World War II, and men instrumental in the founding of the Academy, such as Nathan Hale and Paul Revere. Also located on campus is The Andover Inn. Built in 1930, The Andover Inn is a New England country inn with 30 rooms and meeting space.
Winslow Homer's Eight Bells, part of the Addison Gallery's Permanent Collection
The Robert S. Peabody Museum of Archaeology was founded in 1901 and is now "one of the nation's major repositories of Native American archaeological collections". The collection includes materials from the Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, Southwest, Mexico and the Arctic, and range from Paleo Indian (more than 10,000 years ago) to the present day. Since the early 1990s, the museum has been at the forefront of compliance with the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. It currently serves as an educational museum for the students of Phillips Academy, but is also accessible to researchers, public schools, and visitors by appointment.
Athletic competition has long been a part of the Phillips Academy tradition. As early as 1805, football was being played on school grounds, according to a letter that Henry Pearson wrote his father, Eliphalet Pearson in 1805, saying, "I cannot write a long letter as I am very tired after having played at football all this afternoon." The first ever interscholastic football game between high schools was in 1875, when Phillips Academy played against Adams Academy.
One of the oldest schoolboy rivalries in American football is the Andover/Exeter competition, started in 1878. That year, the first Andover/Exeter baseball game took place, and The Phillipian returned from hiatus, named its first Board and began publishing regularly. Similar boarding school traditions include the Choate-Deerfield rivalry and Hotchkiss-Taft rivalry.
Today, Phillips Academy is an athletic powerhouse among New England private schools. Since the Constitution of the Phillips Academy Athletic Association was drawn up in 1903 with the objective of "Athletics for All," Andover has established 29 different interscholastic programs, and 44 intramural or instructional programs, including fencing, tai chi, figure skating, and yoga. Andover Athletes have been successful in winning over 110 New England Championships in these different sports over the last three decades alone, and have even had the chance to compete abroad, in such competitions as the Henley Royal Regatta in Henley, England, for crew.
As a way to encourage all students to try new things and stay healthy, all students are required to have an athletic commitment each term. A range of instructional sports are available for those who wish to try new things, and for those already established in a sport, most teams have at least a varsity and junior varsity squad.
For the 2018-2019 academic year, Phillips Academy charged boarding students $55,800 and day students $43,300, making it more expensive than HMC schools and among the most expensive boarding schools in the world. Phillips Academy offers needs-based financial aid. In the 2018-2019 academic year, 100% of demonstrated financial need was met with 47% of students receiving some form of financial aid and 13% of students receiving full scholarships.Tuition to Phillips Academy has increased at rate of 4.39% a year since the 2002 academic year, or 3.63% per year over the last decade. There are mandatory fees for boarding students and optional fees on top of tuition. These were an estimated $2400/year plus travel to and from the Academy in the 2017-2018 academic year.
Andover is a member of the Eight Schools Association, begun informally in 1973-74 and formalized in 2006. Andover was host to the annual meeting of ESA in April 2008. It is also a member of the Ten Schools Admissions Organization, founded in 1956. There is a seven-school overlap of membership between the two groups. In addition, Andover is a member of the G20 Schools group, an international organization of independent secondary schools.
Reports in 2016 and 2017 identified several former teachers in the past who had engaged in inappropriate sexual contact with students. The school hired an independent law firm to investigate allegations of misconduct, and the head of school, John Palfrey, and the head of the Board of Trustees, Peter Currie, sent an email to the school community that such transgressions must not recur.
Andover has educated two American presidents, six Medal of Honor recipients (Civil War: 2; Spanish-American War: 1; World War II: 2; Korean War: 1), and many other notable people.
In popular culture
Andover, often linked with Exeter, is often understood symbolically as an "elite New England prep school", connoting privilege. Writer William S. Dietrich II described Andover and other elite prep schools as being part of a "WASP ascendancy" during the first half of the twentieth century. Elite universities such as Yale and Princeton tended to accept disproportionate percentages of prep school students while using quotas to deny admission to minority applicants. An account in Time in 1931 described the two schools as having "flourished", and that both schools were "twin giants of prep schools in size and in prestige". essentially feeder schools for Ivy League universities such as Harvard and Yale, according to Joseph Lieberman. A cultural image from the 1960s was young men who had "perfect white teeth" and wore Lacoste shirts, with a look easy to identify by young women at the time:
They can tell just by looking at him whether a boy goes to an Eastern prep school or not. Not only that, they can tell which prep school, usually St. Paul's or Hotchkiss or Groton or Exeter or Andover, or whatever; just by checking his hair and his clothes.
-- Tom Wolfe in his book Mauve Gloves & Madmen, Clutter & Vine
The WASP ascendancy began to break down around the 1960s and onwards when the admissions policies of elite prep schools and universities began to emphasize merit rather than affluence. Still, images of exclusivity based on unfairness tended to remain. Gore Vidal suggested that Andover and Exeter had a "style that was quite witty." If the WASP ascendancy has waned, the image of unaffordability continues to persist, with one writer deploring how the schools cost $30,000 and more annually. Recent reports from graduates, however, paint a picture of educational excellence and diversification. For example, Cristina Hartmann, who attended Andover from 2001 to 2003, described the school as having a need blind admissions policy. She suggested the student body was mostly diversified, and that the school had dedicated buildings for specific subject areas, was challenging academically, and had flexible teachers and peers who were "smart and driven". She elaborated that Andover provided two sign language interpreters, free of charge, to help her academically to cope with her deafness. While the overall image may be changing to one which emphasizes greater diversity and respect for individual talent, the image of the school in the media continues to connote privilege, money, exclusivity, prestige, academic quality, and sometimes negatively connotes chumminess or clubbiness or arrogance.
The school is often mentioned in books and film, and on television. Some examples include:
In Chapter 17 of The Catcher in the Rye, Sally Hayes introduces Holden to a boy who attended Andover. "You'd have thought they'd taken baths in the same bathtub or something when they were little kids. Old buddyroos. It was nauseating. The funny part was, they probably met each other just once, at some phony party. Finally, when they were all done slobbering around, old Sally introduced us. His name was George something--I don't even remember--and he went to Andover. Big, big deal."
In the John Guare play Six Degrees of Separation, one of the characters laments that his parents could not afford to send him to Andover or Exeter.
In episode 17 of House of Cards, a reporter mentions that Claire Underwood attended "the prestigious Phillips Academy."
In season 4, episode 5 of The West Wing, titled "Debate Camp", White House chief of staff Leo McGary remarks that had President Bartlet lost the election, he would have been employed as the chairman of the board of economics at Phillips Andover Academy
In season 5, episode 15 of Gilmore Girls, titled "Jews and Chinese Food", Logan Huntzberger, when discussing boarding schools, says that he "did a year at Andover".
In the webcomic Check, Please! both B. "Shitty" Knight and Derek "Nursey" Malik Nurse are Andover alumni.
^John Palfrey (October 1, 2010). "Solutions Beyond the Law". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013. John Palfrey is the Henry N. Ess III professor of law at Harvard Law School . ...
^The pattern of strongly favoring Yale began in the 1840s and continued through the 1940s. During those years, when the senior class numbered around forty, Andover graduates matriculated as follows: 1858 - 20 to Yale, 10 to Williams; 1863 - 21 to Yale, eight to Brown, five to Harvard; 1868 - 105 to Yale, 12 to Amherst, 12 to Harvard. The height of matriculation to Yale was 1937, when one freshman in ten at Yale was an Andover alumnus. That year, 74 percent of the class matriculated at Yale, Harvard, or Princeton. By 1957 onldy 47% matriculated at those institutions. Amherst consistently ranked third after Yale and Harvard for many years in this period, but declined after the 1940s when the school sought to admit more public school graduates. In 1950 for the first time in over a century, more graduates were admitted to Harvard than Yale (64 and 46, respectively) (See Youth From Every Quarter: A Bicentennial History of Phillips Academy, Andover, by Frederick S. Allis, Jr. (University Press of New England, 1978)).
^ abcWilliam S. Dietrich II, Winter 2010, Pittsburgh Quarterly, "The WASP ascendancy"Archived March 17, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, "...In 1930, eight private schools accounted for nearly one-third of Yale freshman: Andover (74), Exeter (54), Hotchkiss (42), St. Paul's (24), Choate (19), Lawrenceville (19), Hill (17) and Kent (14) ...". Accessed June 26, 2013.
^Tom Wolfe, McGraw-Hill Ryerson Ltd, 1967, Mauve Gloves & Madmen, Clutter & Vine', "...Not only that, they can tell which prep school, usually St. Paul's or Hotchkiss or Groton or Exeter or Andover, or whatever; just by checking his hair and his clothes." Accessed June 24, 2013
^Spark Notes, Chapter Summary, Summary Chapter 17, The Catcher in the RyeArchived May 5, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, "...Sally irritates Holden by flirting with a pretentious boy from Andover, another prep school, ...", Accessed June 21, 2013
^F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gutenberg, This Side of ParadiseArchived March 4, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, "...There were Andover and Exeter with their memories of New England dead--large, college-like democracies ...". Accessed June 21, 2013.