The Governor's Academy: Wikis


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The Governor's Academy
Byfield, MA, USA
Type Private, boarding
Motto Non Sibi Sed Aliis
Not for self, but for others
Religious affiliation none
Established 1763
Headmaster John M. Doggett, Jr.
Enrollment 371
Student:teacher ratio 6:1
Campus 450 acres (1.8 km2)
Color(s) Cardinal Red and White         
Athletics conference Independent School League
Average SAT scores 1849  (2008)

The Governor's Academy (formerly Governor Dummer Academy) is an independent school located on 450 acres (1.8 km2) in the village of Byfield, Massachusetts, United States (town of Newbury); 33 miles (53 km) north of Boston. It has 376 students in grades nine through twelve, approximately 75% of whom are boarders. The school was established in 1763, and is the United States' oldest continuously-operating independent boarding school.[1]



Students study in small classes. Most faculty live on campus and serve as dorm parents and coaches as well as classroom teachers. Accelerated and AP classes are offered in subjects from mathematics and science to art, foreign languages, English and history. Chinese is offered as of fall 2007 along with the Western languages (French, Spanish, German) and Latin currently offered.


The Academy is a member of the Independent School League. The school fields 20 varsity teams. There are three levels of interscholastic competition offered at The Governor's Academy: varsity, junior varisty, and thirds.

2004-2005-Football ISL Champs

2006-Girls Soccer ISL Champions

2006-Softball ISL Champions

2007-2008- Girls Ice Hockey New England Champions

2008- Boys Lacrosse ISL Champions (undefeated)

2008- Girls Softball ISL Champions

2008- Golf ISL Champions

2008- Girls Cross Country ISL and New England Champions

2008-2009 Girls Ice Hockey New England Champions

2009- Boys lacrosse Tri-ISL Cammpions

2009-Field Hockey New England Champions

2009-2010 Girls Ice Hockey New England Champions

2009- Girls Cross Country New England Champions


Programs in visual and performing arts are offered in the Kaiser Art Center and the Performing Arts Center. Kaiser has studios for photography and film, ceramics, drawing, painting and design. The PAC has a 500-seat auditorium/theater, a black box, an art gallery, and a complete workshop for technical theater.


Campus Map.jpg

The school was founded two years after the death of William Dummer, who funded it in his will. Dummer had been lieutenant governor and acting governor of Massachusetts for many years and led the colony through a difficult period in the earlier 18th Century fighting off forays by "French & Indians" during what became known as "Dummer's War" in the 1720s. He also served as an early Overseer of Harvard College. He was from a prominent colonial family with his brother Jeremiah Dummer having been a principal founding benefactor of the College of New Haven which later became Yale University. As the Boston Latin School only accepted students from the city of Boston, the need arose for schools in more outlying areas to prepare students for college, the only ones existing at that time in New England being Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth and Brown. In that context the Dummer Charity School or Dummer Grammar School commenced operation in 1763 pursuant to the will of Governor Dummer with Samuel Moody as its first headmaster. In 1782 the Dummer school was officially incorporated as The Dummer Academy whose graduates in this era comprised approximately 25% of the undergraduate student body at Harvard. It should be noted, however, that most children in this era were home schooled with pre-college education ending around the age of 14 with youths thereafter going on to college or entering the workforce. Thus most college freshmen tended to be the age of high school freshmen today.

As was the custom, the curriculum in this era focused primarily on the study of Scripture, basic math and English and, most importantly, instruction in Latin, Greek and the Classics. The curriculum broadened over time as the requirements of college admission expanded. Although the academy initially operated in a one room schoolhouse which still stands to this day, it had access to the grand mansion of the late governor that remains a central fixture on the campus as the headmaster's residence. Over time other structures were built and the faculty and curriculum expanded so that by the time of the school's centennial in 1863 the Dummer Academy had grown into a well known 19th century prep school that catered mostly to children from affluent families who aspired to the Ivy League in the age before public high schools had come into their own. By the turn of the 20th Century, however, the school had fallen on hard times with enrollment and income down as the school struggled under the shadow of Exeter, Andover and other schools that had grown to become very well known and prestigious. It was in this context that Dr. Charles Ingham became headmaster in 1908 launching great efforts to revive the Academy which became stabilized and began to again thrive as a premier New England prep school that sent over a third of its graduates to Ivy League colleges during that period. Upon Dr. Ingham's retirement in 1930, Edward "Ted" Eames became headmaster, a post he held for 30 years. Early in Master Eames' tenure the name of the school was changed to the Governor Dummer Academy, a title it retained until 2006.

Over the years, the school's name has been entwined with those of many famous people. Paul Revere created the first seal for the school; John Quincy Adams served as secretary to the Board of Trustees; Theophilus Parsons, a Chief Justice of Massachusetts and author of the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780, attended the Academy ; Samuel Phillips, Jr., founder of Phillips Academy, Andover graduated in 1771; Captain Edward Preble, commander of the USS Constitution and a hero of the Barbary Wars, studied there; Booker T. Washington Jr. (son of Booker T. Washington) starred on the football team in the early 1900s; Yu Gil-jun, a famous social reformer and the first Korean to study in the West, attended the school. Henry Durant, a founder of the University of California and its first president, and later an early mayor of Oakland, served as headmaster of the Dummer Academy from 1849-1852.

With some exceptions, the school primarily was open only to boys until coeducation was established in 1972.

Name change

In December 2005, the Board of Trustees voted to change the name of the Academy to "The Governor's Academy" amid concerns that "Dummer" was deterring prospective students from applying. Legally the name remains "Governor Dummer Academy," doing business as "The Governor's Academy." When founded, the Academy was named "Dummer Charity School." Subsequently, the name was changed to the "Dummer Academy", which name it was known by for a century and a half.

The decision to change met with resistance from many students and alumni, and attracted media attention from around the country. Those who promoted the change saw it as one of a number of ways to expand the geographic representation and the overall initial appeal of the school, especially to those who are not familiar with the school. The name change took effect on July 1, 2006.[1]

Although the name of the school has been officially changed to The Governor's Academy, students in the Class of 2008 and Class of 2009 still have the ability to have Governor Dummer Academy printed on their diploma. Starting with the Class of 2010, all students will have The Governor's Academy on their diploma.

Notable Alumni

  • Samuel Phillips (1771), founder of Phillips Academy Andover
  • Eliphalet Pearson (1769), first headmaster of Phillips Andover, interim President of Harvard University, 1804-1806.
  • Theophilus Parsons (1765), former Chief Justice of Massachusetts
  • Rufus King (1773) delegate to Constitutional Convention, United States Senator and 1816 Federalist candidate for President.
  • Samuel Sewall (congressman) (1772), U.S. Congressman, Chief Justice of Massachusetts
  • Edward Preble (1776), U.S. Naval officer during Revolutionary War and thereafter, commanded USS Constitution during war with Barbary Pirates.
  • Benjamin Pickman, Jr. (1780), Mass. state legislator, U.S. Congressman
  • Sir David Ochterlony American "Tory" officer in the British Army who served in India from 1777 until his death in 1825, rising to the rank of general while helping to consolidate British colonial rule there.
  • Tobias Lear (1779), personal secretary to George Washington
  • Samuel Osgood (1776), first U.S. Postmaster, Speaker New York State Assembly; first President, City Bank of New York
  • Joseph Willard, President of Harvard University (1781–1804)
  • Samuel Webber, President of Harvard University (1806–1810)
  • Otis Phillips Lord (1828), Speaker of Mass. House; Justice, Mass. Supreme Judicial Court
  • Benjamin Apthorp Gould (the Elder)(circa 1803), principal of Boston Latin School and father of the astronomer of the same name.
  • Frederick W. Lander, Brig. Gen. USA, killed in action during the Civil War.
  • John W. Candler, member of Congress from Mass during the 1880s.
  • George Bancroft Griffith (1858), poet
  • Benjamin Perley Poore, journalist, newspaper editor and founder of the Gridiron Club.
  • Edward S. Griffing (1885), corporate lawyer, mayor of New Rochelle, NY.
  • Rev. Winthrop Peabody, Anglican churchman, missionary to Alaska.
  • Frank Crowe, (1901) civil engineer and dam builder (Hoover Dam, Shasta Dam) 2
  • Leonard M. Fowle (1924), sports writer for the Boston Globe and amateur sailor for whom the Leonard M. Fowle trophy is named.
  • James T. McClellan (1928), sculptor.
  • William Summer Johnson (1932), professor of chemistry at Stanford who was awarded the National Medal of Science.
  • Benjamin A. Smith II (1935), U.S. Senator from Mass., 1960-62.
  • Daniel Hanley (1935), chief physician for U.S. Olympic team, 1964-72.
  • John W. Frost (1939), national accounts manager, Stanley Tools
  • Joe Hoague (1937), professional football player, Pittsburgh Steelers.
  • Henry M. Sanders (1947), mayor of Darien, CT (1991–1997).
  • Michael B. Smith (1954), Deputy U.S. Trade Representative, U.S. Ambassador to GATT.
  • Daniel Ogg (1968), mayor of Kodiak, Alaska.
  • Jeb Bradley (1970), U.S. Congressman, 2003–2007; N.H. State Senator 2009-
  • Jonathan B. Imber (1970), Professor of Sociology and Dept. Chair, Wellesley College
  • Michael Mulligan (1971), Headmaster, The Thacher School
  • Timothy von Fuelling Straus (1972), hedge fund manager
  • Elaine Salloway (1977) international marketing executive.
  • Dan Gadzuric (1998) professional basketball player, Milwaukee Bucks.
  • Robert Francois (2004) professional football player, Minnesota Vikings, Detroit Lions
  • Nat Baldwin (1999) bassist for indie rock collective Dirty Projectors and solo artist
  • Melissa Bourque (unknown) daughter of NHL Hall of Fame hockey player Raymond Bourque


2 "F.T. Crowe Dead, Built 19 U.S. Dams", New York Times, February 28, 1946

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