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The Lawrenceville School
Lawrenceville Seal.jpg
Virtus Semper Viridis
"Virtue Always Green"
Lawrenceville, NJ, U.S.
Type Private, Boarding
Religious affiliation None
Established 1810
Headmaster Elizabeth A. Duffy
Faculty 142
Enrollment 815 total
545 boarding
255 day
Average class size 12
Student:teacher ratio 6:1
Campus 800 acres (3.2 km2)
Color(s) Red/Black
Athletics 21 Interscholastic Sports
Mascot Big Red
Average SAT scores 680 verbal
690 math 685 writing  (2006)

The Lawrenceville School is a coeducational, independent preparatory boarding school for grades 9-12 located on 700 acres (2.8 km2) in the historic community of Lawrenceville, in Lawrence Township, New Jersey, U.S. five miles (8 km) southwest of Princeton.

Lawrenceville is a member of the Eight Schools Association, begun informally in 1973-74 and formalized in 2006. Lawrenceville is also a member of the Ten Schools Admissions Organization, founded in 1966. There is a seven-school overlap of membership between the two groups.[1] Lawrenceville is additionally a member of the G20 Schools group.

For the 2009-2010 academic year, the School enrolled 815 boarding and day students, who come from 33 states and 33 countries. As of June 30, 2009, its endowment stood at $215 million. Lawrenceville received 1,778 formal applications for entrance in fall 2009, of which 245 were enrolled.



One of the oldest prep schools in the U.S., Lawrenceville was founded in 1810 as the Maidenhead Academy. As early as 1828, the school attracted students from Cuba and England, as well as from the Choctaw Nations. It went by several subsequent names, including the Lawrenceville Classical and Commercial High School, the Lawrenceville Academy, and the Lawrenceville Classical Academy, before the school's current name, "The Lawrenceville School," was set during its refounding in 1883. An 18 acre area of the campus built then, including numerous buildings, has been designated a U.S. National Historic Landmark District, known as Lawrenceville School National Historic Landmark. A newer portion of the campus, not intruding into that district, was built in the 1920s.

In 1951, a group of educators from three of the United States's elite prep schools (Lawrenceville, Phillips Academy, and Phillips Exeter Academy) and three of the country's most prestigious colleges (Harvard University, Princeton University, and Yale University) convened to examine the best use of the final two years of high school and the first two years of college. This committee published a final report, General Education in School and College, through Harvard University Press in 1952, which subsequently led to the establishment of the Advanced Placement Program (the AP Exams).

Lawrenceville was featured in a number of novels by Owen Johnson, class of 1895, notably The Prodigious Hickey, The Tennessee Shad, and The Varmint (1910). The Varmint, which recounts the school years of the fictional character Dink Stover, was made into the 1950 motion picture The Happy Years which starred Leo G. Carroll and Dean Stockwell and was filmed on the Lawrenceville campus. A 1992 PBS miniseries was based on his Lawrenceville tales.

In 1959, Fidel Castro spoke at the School in the Edith Memorial Chapel. Recent speakers have included boxer Muhammad Ali, former president of Honduras and alumnus Ricardo Maduro, first female President of Ireland Mary Robinson, playwright Edward Albee, legal scholar Derrick Bell, poet Billy Collins, playwright Christopher Durang, historians Niall Ferguson and David Hackett Fischer, the Rev. Peter J. Gomes, poet Seamus Heaney, political analyst Ariana Huffington, novelist Chang-rae Lee, photographer Andres Serrano, poet Mark Strand, writer Andrew Sullivan, politician Lowell Weicker, ambassador Pierre-Richard Prosper, philosopher Cornel West, physicist Brian Greene, actor Chevy Chase, and TV show host Jon Stewart.

Among Lawrenceville's prominent teachers over the years have been Thornton Wilder, a three-time Pulitzer Prize winning author, who taught French at the School in the 1920s; R. Inslee Clark, Jr., who revolutionized Ivy League admissions at Yale in the 1960s; and Thomas H. Johnson, a widely-published authority on Emily Dickinson. Faculty members have gone on to head institutions such as the Horace Mann School, Phillips Exeter Academy, the Groton School, Pacific Ridge School, Milton Academy, Westminster School, the Peddie School, Riverdale Country School, Governor Dummer Academy, and the American College of Sofia (Bulgaria).

Lawrenceville was all-male for much of its nearly 200-year history, until the board of trustees voted to make the School coeducational in 1985. The first girls were admitted in 1987. In 1999, the student body elected a female president, Alexandra Petrone; in 2003, Elizabeth Duffy was appointed the School's first female head master; and in 2005, Sasha-Mae Eccleston, Lawrenceville Class of 2002 and Brown University Class of 2006, became Lawrenceville's first alumna to win a Rhodes Scholarship.

The School's weekly newspaper, The Lawrence, has been in publication for 127 years. It has won numerous awards for journalistic excellence.[citation needed]

The Lit is the school's student run literary magazine first published in 1895 by Owen Johnson.

Lawrenceville will celebrate its bicentennial in 2010. The school is in the midst of a Bicentennial Campaign, with a fundraising goal of $200 Million by June 30, 2010. As of January 15, 2010 the campaign had already raised $185 Million toward its goal.

Geography and setting

The Lawrenceville School sits across U.S. Route 206 or Main Street, from the center of Lawrenceville. The village has historically been active as a commercial center for students. The Jigger Shop was for decades one of the most popular student hang out, with a soda fountain and the school bookstore. The school assumed ownership of the store in the 1970s and after a 1990 fire, the Jigger shop moved from Main Street to an on-campus location. The village's pizza parlor TJ's remains a popular off-campus spot for students. The cafe Fedora's and the Maidenhead bagel shop also serve as popular hang out locations for students.

The school includes a golf course, and owns much of the land to its east, which is covenanted as Green Space under New Jersey state law.

Lawrenceville sits midway between Trenton and Princeton, and has a strong historical connection to Princeton University.

Residential Life

Among Lawrenceville's most distinctive features is its house system common to British boarding schools. Students reside in three distinct groups of houses (or dorms), where they live with faculty members in a family-like setting: the Lower School, the Circle and Crescent Houses, and the Upper School. The IInd Form, ninth grade,[2] resides in two buildings, one for boys (Raymond) [which is split into Davidson and Thomas houses] and one for girls (Dawes) [which is split into Perry Ross and Cromwell houses.] The IIIrd and IVth Forms, tenth and eleventh-grade, live in either the Circle (for boys) or the Crescent (for girls) Houses. The "Circle Houses" are named for their location on a landscaped circle designed by the 19th-century landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, who is most famous for designing New York City's Central Park. The Circle is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a National Historic Landmark. The "Crescent Houses" are named after the crescent-shaped lane on which they are situated. Circle/Crescent houses, which field intramural sports teams, have their own traditions, and participate in friendly competition for inter-house awards. The Circle houses are Kennedy, Hamill House, Dickinson, Woodhull, Griswold and Cleve. The Crescent houses are McClellan, Stanley, Stephens, and Kirby. A fifth Crescent house, to be called Carter, is currently under construction. The Vth Form (twelfth grade) lives in separate dormitories off the Circle. These houses are : Upper (divided into Upper West and Upper East), Kinnan and Haskell (for boys) and McPherson and Reynolds (for the girls). Some Vth formers serve as prefects for underclassmen and live with them in their dorms.


The Harkness table is a hallmark of the School. In the Harkness method, teachers and students engage in Socratic, give-and-take discussions around large, wooden oval tables, which take the place of individual desks. Classes meet four times per week in one 50-minute and three 55-minute blocs. Most classes also meet for an additional period of time following one of the 55-minute slots: either an "X" period (an additional 40 minutes) which is used by lab courses (such as science or art) or a "Y" period (an additional 25 minutes).

Additionally, the school incorporates "consultation" periods into its schedule. During these periods, students have the option to consult with their teachers regarding their individual course questions. During an academic week, there are four "consultation" periods (on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings) of 40 minutes.


House Football: Griswold vs. Woodhull

Lawrenceville's arch-rival in the Mid-Atlantic Prep League is The Hill School of Pottstown, Pennsylvania. On the first or second weekend of November during "Hill Weekend," the two schools celebrate the nation's third oldest high school football rivalry and fifth oldest school rivalry in the nation, dating back to 1887.[3] Also famous is the annual golf competition for the Crooked Stick, similar in format to the Ryder Cup.

Lawrenceville competes with other schools in baseball, basketball, crew, cross-country, fencing, field hockey, football, golf, hockey, indoor and outdoor track, lacrosse, soccer, softball, squash, swimming, tennis, volleyball, water polo, and wrestling. In addition, the School offers a variety of intramural sports, including Ultimate (sport) for the girls' Crescent Houses and 8-man tackle football for boys' Circle Houses.

Lawrenceville's House Football League is the oldest active football league in America. Teams compete against each other to battle for the pride of their house. Traditions abound, including the yearly rivalry game between the Hamill and Kennedy houses referred to as "The Crutch Game," first played in 1947. The game is fought for the possession of a historical crutch made of wood. The most recent renewal of this tradition resulted in a 24-6 victory for the Hamill House. The games also include Woodhull against Griswold for a broken muffler ("The Muffler", with Woodhull traditionally being the stronger house, currently winning The Muffler for 8 years in a row while Griswold is 1-19 in the last four years, and Dickinson versus Cleve for the "Pride of the Circle".

A bit of Lawrenceville football lore is recounted in the book Football Days, Memories of the Game and of the Men Behind the Ball by William H. Edwards, a graduate of Lawrenceville. The book describes the author's time as a member of the Lawrenceville football team, and paints a vivid picture of "the vital power of the collegial spirit."

Notable Recent Interscholastic Achievements:

In the spring of 2008, the Lawrenceville Boy's and Girl's Varsity Track & Field team completed its season undefeated, placing first in the NJISSAA and MAPL leagues.

On November 6, 2005, the Lawrenceville Varsity Field Hockey team defeated Stuart Country Day School 2-1 to capture their third straight Prep A State Championship. On November 5, 2006, the Field Hockey team defeated Stuart Country Day School 1-0 to capture their fourth straight Prep A State Championship. In 2007 they tied rival Stuart Country Day School for a shared victory in their 5th straight Prep A State Championship.[citation needed]

On February 12, 2006, the Lawrenceville Varsity Boys' Squash team won the National Championship for the third year in a row.

On May 18, 2006, the Lawrenceville Varsity Baseball Team won the New Jersey State Prep A Championship over Peddie School in a double header (14-0 and 6-1), marking their second state championship in three years.

In 2006, Lawrenceville graduate Joakim Noah competed as a member of the University of Florida Gators' back-to-back NCAA-championship winning basketball team in 2006 and 2007. Noah was voted the most outstanding player of the Final Four in 2006. Noah now plays for the NBA's Chicago Bulls.


Woods Memorial Hall, the center for English studies on the campus of The Lawrenceville School
Edith Memorial Chapel

On Lawrenceville's 700-acre (2.8 km2) campus are thirty-four major buildings, including the Bunn Library (with space for 100,000 volumes). Peabody and Stearns designed the original campus of the school, which included Memorial Hall (renamed Woods Memorial Hall in January 2010), a gymnasium, the headmaster’s house and five cottage-style residences, and provided future plans for the chapel.[4] [5]

Opened in 1996, the Bunn Library offers more than 50,000 books, computer research facilities, an electronic classroom, study areas and an archives. Other campus highlights include a 56,000-square-foot (5,200 m2) science building (opened in spring 1998), a visual arts center (opened in fall 1998), a history center (reopened in fall 1999), and a music center (opened in fall 2000).

In the main arena of the Edward J. Lavino Field House are a permanent banked 200-meter track and three tennis/basketball/volleyball courts. Two additional hardwood basketball courts, a six-lane swimming pool, an indoor ice-hockey rink, a wrestling room, two fitness centers with full-time strength and conditioning coaches, and a training-wellness facility are housed in the wings of the building as well as a new squash court facility, hosting ten new internationally zoned courts, which opened in 2003.

The four Crescent House Dorms, designed by Short and Ford Architects, of Princeton, NJ, were opened in 1986. The Circle, declared a national historic landmark by the U.S. government, was designed by Frederick law Olmstead, the famous architect who is famous for his designing of Central Park in New York and the campus of Stanford University to name a few.

Lawrenceville has eighteen athletics fields, a nine-hole golf course, twelve outdoor tennis courts, a ¼-mile all-weather track, a boathouse, and a ropes and mountaineering course. During the summer, Lawrenceville is a popular site for sports-specific camps for youths, as well as several academic programs for students and teachers, including the prestigious New Jersey Scholars Program.


As discussed above, Lawrenceville athletics compete in the Mid-Atlantic Prep League.

Lawrenceville is a member of a group of leading American secondary schools, the Eight Schools Association, begun informally in 1973-74 and formalized at a 2006 meeting at Lawrenceville. At that meeting, Choate headmaster Edward Shanahan was appointed first president, Lawrenceville's Elizabeth Duffy was named first vice president, and former Lawrenceville chief financial officer William Bardel was hired as executive assistant. Shanahan was succeeded in 2009 by Duffy, and Bardel was succeeded by former Hotchkiss head Robert Mattoon. The member schools are Lawrenceville, Choate Rosemary Hall (known as Choate), Deerfield Academy, Hotchkiss School, Northfield Mount Hermon, Phillips Academy (known as Andover), Phillips Exeter Academy (known as Exeter), and St. Paul's School.[6]

Lawrenceville is also a member of the Ten Schools Admissions Organization, established in 1966 and comprising Lawrenceville, Choate, Deerfield, Hotchkiss, Andover, Exeter, St. Paul's, Taft School, Loomis Chaffee, and The Hill School.

Lawrenceville is affiliated with The Island School - Cape Eleuthera, The Bahamas


Notable Lawrentians

The following are some notable alumni of The Lawrenceville School.


  1. ^ Taylor Smith, "History of the Association," The Phillipian, February 14, 2008
  2. ^ the school stopped accepting 8th grade Ist formers in 1999
  3. ^ Ross, Rosemarie. "Hill ends season with key victory", Mercury (Pennsylvania), November 13, 2005. Accessed October 31, 2007. "In the game that annually means the most to them, it was near total Blues dominance as visiting Hill routed arch rival Lawrenceville, 41-18, Saturday to take home the silver trophy bowl for the second straight year. This was their 103rd showdown in a rivalry that started in 1887."
  4. ^ Peabody & Stearns | Schools
  5. ^ Lawrenceville School News
  6. ^ Taylor Smith, "History of the Association," The Phillipian (Phillips Academy), February 14, 2008
  7. ^ George Akerlof: Nobel Prize Autobiography, accessed April 2, 2007. "The Princeton Country Day School ended at grade nine. At that point most of my classmates dispersed among different New England prep schools. Both for financial reasons and also because they preferred that I stay at home, my family sent me down the road to the Lawrenceville School."
  8. ^ Slaymaker, S.R. II. Five Miles Away: The Story of The Lawrenceville School. Lawrenceville, NJ: 1985.
  9. ^ David Baird, Jr., Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Accessed August 26, 2007.
  10. ^ Dierks Bentley ’93 Wins CMA Horizon Award, Lawrenceville School, November 16, 2005. Accessed September 30, 2007.
  11. ^ George Houston Brown, Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Accessed September 1, 2007.
  12. ^ a b Gussow, Mel. "James Merrill Is Dead at 68; Elegant Poet of Love and Loss", The New York Times, February 7, 1995. Accessed October 31, 2007. "He went to Lawrenceville School, where one of his close friends and classmates was the novelist Frederick Buechner."
  13. ^ Homer Edward Moyer, ed (1935). Who's Who and What to See in Florida. Current Historical Company of Florida. pp. 77.;view=image. Retrieved 2008-08-08. 
  14. ^ "Major Sir Hamish Forbes, Bt: Champion of Highland and Gaelic culture who as a wartime PoW had been decorated for his numerous escape attempts", The Times, September 20, 2007. Accessed October 24, 2007. "Hamish Stewart Forbes was educated at Eton, at Lawrenceville in the United States and the School of Oriental and African Studies in London."
  15. ^ James, George. "Malcolm Forbes, Publisher, Dies at 70", The New York Times, February 26, 1990. Accessed October 24, 2007. "Young Forbes attended the Lawrenceville School and Princeton University, where he majored in politics and economics."
  16. ^ "Frank Is Unanimous Selection As Yale's 1937 Football Leader; Star Halfback, Kelley and Pond Are Among Speakers at Dinner, After Which Eli Gridiron Squad Disbands -- Williams Wins the Managerial Competition, With Wickwire Next.", The New York Times, November 24, 1936.
  17. ^ "Court Voice Of Reaganism Charles Fried", The New York Times October 24, 1985. p. 9
  18. ^ a b Ryan, Bob. "Noah was prepped to win", The Boston Globe, March 31, 2006. Accessed December 24, 2008. "Because the University of Florida's Joakim Noah exists, Armond Hill's heretofore unquestioned status as the Best Player in the History of The Lawrenceville School is in jeopardy."
  19. ^ Huey Lewis profile, Back to the Future, accessed December 26, 2006.
  20. ^ Clement Woodnutt Miller, United States Congress. Accessed June 2, 2007.
  21. ^ Konigsberg, Eric. "Why Is the Blond Smiling?", The New York Times, October 21, 2007. Accessed December 24, 2008. "The Mortimers have been a couple since their days at Lawrenceville, the New Jersey boarding school."
  22. ^ Rodman McCamley Price, Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Accessed September 24, 2007.
  23. ^ Lowell Palmer Weicker, Jr., Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Accessed December 16, 2007.

External links

Coordinates: 40°17′38″N 74°43′49″W / 40.293889°N 74.730377°W / 40.293889; -74.730377



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