Episcopal Academy

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The Episcopal Academy
Ealogo.jpg Espicopal Acad int.JPG
Esse Quam Videri
("To Be Rather than to Seem")
1785 Bishop White Drive
Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, 19073
United States
Type Private
Religious affiliation(s) Episcopal Church in the United States of America
Established 1785
Headmaster Thomas Joseph (T. J.) Locke
Faculty 180
Gender Coeducational
Enrollment 1,224
Average class size 15 students
Campus Suburban
Color(s) Blue and White
Athletics conference Inter-Academic League
Nickname Churchmen and Churchwomen
Rival The Haverford School and The Agnes Irwin School
Average SAT scores (2010)

655 Math; 646 Critical Reading; 667 Writing

athletics = 29 varsity teams

The Episcopal Academy, founded in 1785, is a private, co-educational school for grades Pre-K through 12. In 2008, it relocated from its Merion, Pennsylvania campus and Devon, Pennsylvania satellite campus to its new 123-acre (0.50 km2) campus in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania.[1] Episcopal Academy has been consistently ranked as a top private school in the nation by various media outlets, including the Wall Street Journal. The Academy is affiliated with the Episcopal Church in the United States of America.


Episcopal Academy in Philadelphia, Circa 1790

Early years[edit]

The Episcopal Academy was founded in 1785 by the Rt. Rev. William White at Old Christ Church in Philadelphia as an all-boys school focusing on education in Greek, Latin, religion, mathematics, and business. It was also a pre-missionary school. Its first campus was located on the east side of Fourth Street and was directed by Rev. John Andrews, D.D., the Academy's first headmaster.[2] However, when Dr. Andrews and several of faculty members left to teach at the University of Pennsylvania in 1798, The Episcopal Academy was reconstituted as a free school. In 1816 it became a Second Classical Academy and a free school again in 1828, but at some points the Academy did not operate as an educational entity.

In 1846 the school was reconstituted yet again, this time as a Third Classical Academy, and has operated continuously since. In 1850, the school moved to a building at Juniper and Locust Street, and remained there until its 1921 move to the Merion, Pennsylvania, campus.[3]


Move towards co-education[edit]

Though female students attended the Academy between 1789 and 1818, a plan for permanent co-education was not implemented until 1974. In 1974, girls were admitted to kindergarten, and then to one higher grade each year thereafter. The class of 1984 was the first co-educational class to graduate from the Academy. Female students were admitted when the Devon lower school campus was added to the Academy.[3]

Move to the new campus[edit]

Episcopal Academy was located in Merion, Pennsylvania, from 1921 until it outgrew the site and it moved to Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, in 2008.[4] In June, 1998, the Episcopal Academy Board of Trustees directed the "active pursuit of a large tract of land in the western suburbs to serve as a long-term asset and a means of preserving future options."[5] With a $20 million donation the Board purchased a 123-acre (0.50 km2) tract of land in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania on Darby-Paoli Road (Pennsylvania Route 252).[4]

The $212.5 million project was completed in the summer of 2008 and opened for the 2008-2009 school year.[6] Brailsford & Dunlavey served as the Academy's on-site program manager throughout each phase of the campus development project.[7] The architecture firms, including Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates, Gund Partnership, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, and RMJM Hillier, "coordinated the materials used as well as the landscape layout of the campus, with its pastoral central quadrangle and collegiate-village scale".[8] The Episcopal Academy sold its Merion campus to Saint Joseph's University, who renamed it the SJU Maguire Campus.

Current organization and events[edit]

The Episcopal Academy has a 100% four-year college matriculation rate, numerous athletics teams, and a chapel program that meets every other day during the school year. The school describes its mission in this statement: "Challenging and nurturing mind, body, and spirit, we inspire boys and girls to lead lives of purpose, faith, and integrity."[9]



The Academy is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. The Association's "Accreditation for Growth" protocol governed accreditation until the current accreditation cycle.[10]

The 12-day schedule[edit]

The Episcopal Academy's upper school is a college preparatory program. It operates on a 12-day, rotating block schedule designed by a committee of faculty and administrators. The basic structure of this schedule, which is designed to allow students to take six or seven academic courses, has been in place since 1998.

The Upper School year is broken into two semesters, with each semester representing one-half of a credit (a one-credit long course will meet during both semesters).

The middle school schedule also consists of twelve days, but in comparison to the upper school course-load which evenly drops one class in favor of a free period or an elective class, English, pre-algebra, Algebra 1, and Algebra 1.5 meet nearly every day. In addition, middle schoolers have extra-curricular activities built into their schedule. All middle schoolers have the opportunity to participate on sports teams ranging from waterpolo to squash, field hockey, and football. The middle school academic calendar is broken down into three trimesters, in contrast to the Upper School's two semesters.

Graduation requirements[edit]

Graduation requirements are as follows: 4 Credits (4 years) of English; 3 Credits of Math (including Algebra 2 and Geometry); 3 Credits of Laboratory Science; 3 Credits of History (including U.S. History); 2 Credits of the same modern or classical Language (French, Spanish, Mandarin, Ancient Greek, and Latin); 1 Credit of Religion, 1 Credit of Arts (music, theater, and visual arts).


Both boys and girls teams compete in the Inter-Academic League. For boys this league includes the Haverford School, Malvern Preparatory School, Chestnut Hill Academy, Penn Charter, and Germantown Academy. For girls this league includes Penn Charter, Germantown Academy, Notre Dame Academy, the Baldwin School, the Agnes Irwin School, and Springside School.

The athletics requirement[edit]

The Episcopal Academy has a sports requirement which requires all students to participate in athletics during each of the three seasons. Freshman and sophomores are required to participate in at least two inter-scholastic sports with the option of participating in the "Fitness" option for one season. Juniors may elect to participate in the "Fitness" option for two seasons. "Fitness" consists of organized athletic activities three days a week and community service two days a week. Seniors are permitted to take a "Senior Cut", that is they do not have to participate in any athletics for one season so long as they never received an "unsatisfactory" effort grade in any sport during their four years in the Upper School.

Athletic reputation[edit]

As a co-founder of the oldest High School sport's league in America, the "Inter-Academic League," and in the second oldest school rivalship in the nation, (against the Haverford School, later adding Agnes Irwin School) Episcopal Academy athletic teams have gained a reputation nationally and locally for stellar athletics. The boys basketball team, coached by Daniel Dougherty, gained national attention in 2005 and 2006, with full team effort including players Gerald Henderson '06 and Wayne Ellington '06. Both were nationally ranked high school basketball players. Henderson signed to play for Duke University while Ellington signed to play for the University of North Carolina. The team played at the Palestra twice during 2006, and the first of those two games was nationally broadcast on ESPN.[citation needed]

Sports offered[edit]

The Episcopal Academy has the following sports teams at both the Varsity and Junior Varsity levels, some containing Freshmen and Third Teams:

Fall sports

  • Cross Country (boys and girls)
  • Field Hockey (girls)
  • Football (boys)
  • Soccer (boys and girls)
  • Tennis (girls)
  • Water Polo (boys and girls)
  • Crew (boys and girls)

Winter sports

  • Basketball (boys and girls)
  • Ice Hockey
  • Squash (boys and girls)
  • Swimming/Diving (boys and girls)
  • Winter Track (boys and girls)
  • Wrestling
  • Ultimate Frisbee (coed team)

Spring sports

  • Baseball (boys)
  • Crew (boys and girls)
  • Golf (boys and girls)
  • Lacrosse (boys and girls)
  • Softball (girls)
  • Tennis (boys)
  • Track (boys and girls)

Episcopal also offers intramural sports such as Paddle tennis and Fencing.


A Centennial athletic tradition[edit]

The Episcopal Academy carries a tradition of inter-league competition, notably through Haverford-Irwin's Weekend. Formerly known as Haverford Day, this tradition of competition with the Haverford School of Haverford, Pennsylvania, was established when EA was still an all-boys school, but in 2006 the rivalry and day of events was extended to include girls' athletic competition against the Agnes Irwin School of Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. Every November, the three Inter-Academic rivals meet to compete against each other in cross country, football, soccer, field hockey, girls' tennis, and water polo. The venue alternates each year between the schools. The weekend is preceded by "Spirit Week," marked by various activities intended to energize the students for the weekend of competition and spectatorship. Spirit Week concludes with an Upper School Pep Rally on Friday. On Friday, Episcopal and Agnes Irwin (female competitors) compete in cross country, soccer, field hockey, and tennis. On Saturday, Episcopal and Haverford compete in soccer, cross country, waterpolo and one of the oldest football rivalries in the nation. The girls compete for the "banner" and the boys compete for the "sweater" which is presented to the school which wins 3 of the 4 competitive events. In the event of a tie the schools split ownership of the banner or the sweater for the year.

EA/Haverford/Agnes Irwin Weekend, and the week preceding it, is a time of school spirit and comradery. Teams often meet on the Thursday night before for a team dinner. The actual events are attended by virtually the entire student body and a large number of parents and alumni. The weekend concludes with the "Can Dance" which is a dance that takes place at the school where the day's competitions did not.

Germantown Academy Day[edit]

More colloquially referred to as "EA-GA day", this day was started in the Spring of 2005 and features a Saturday of competitions, both varsity and junior varsity, of Episcopal Academy versus Germantown Academy.

Religion and service[edit]

Episcopal Academy Chapel, designed by alumnus Robert Venturi

The chapel program[edit]

Upper School students meet once every other day for a morning chapel service in the Class of 1944 Chapel. Middle School Chapel also meets once every other day for a morning chapel service in Christ Chapel. Lower School Chapel meets once a week. The Chapel service typically gives students a thirty-minute break during the school day and consists of student musical offering (violin, piano or an organ-prelude), hymns, prayers, and an address by the chaplain, a member of the faculty, a student, or a guest. An elected student vestry plans most aspects of the chapel program. The students casually exit the chapel in single-file as a postlude carries through the campus.

Community service[edit]

The Academy also runs an extensive community service program, and organizes weekly visits to a soup kitchen in Philadelphia as well as monthly visits to a nursing home and to a facility for adults with AIDS. The Academy also participates in a tutoring program where students help younger children with their homework after school. In addition, the Community Service office sponsors other special events throughout the year, including a clothing drive, a toy drive, and a blood drive.

Can drive[edit]

Each year EA-Haverford day proceeds from a month-long "Can Drive" during which students bring in as many canned food items to their homerooms that are subsequently brought to the Chapel throughout the rally. At the end of the "Can Drive," EA proudly boasts minor mountains of Cans that have been stacked up by its pupils around the Chapel Altar. It adds camaraderie and spirit to the EA-Haverford-AIS day games, at the end of which the campus that did not host the athletic events that year shall host the "Can-Dance" the evening thereafter at which point students from all participating schools are invited and may pay the small entry fee in either cans or chump change.



  • Academic Center, with the Middle School, Upper School, and Science Center.
  • Lower School Building
  • Crawford Campus Center, including the Annenberg Library
  • Theater with Stadium Seating
  • Chapel, at the Center of Campus
  • Athletic Center, with a competition gymnasium and pool
  • Stadium Football Field
  • Black Box Theatre
  • Head of School's House
  • Chaplain's House


  • Thomas John ("T. J.) Locke--Head of School (from July 1, 2013)
  • Cathy Hall—Assistant Head of School
  • Delvin Dinkins—Head of Upper School
  • Stephen Morris—Head of Middle School
  • Andrea Danial—Head of Lower School
  • Doug Parsons—Dean of Faculty

Alumni, faculty, and others[edit]

Academy Founder William White (Bishop of Pennsylvania) wanted EA to be a place to produce "leaders of society." Episcopal also has a tradition of distinguished faculty.

Alumni have won Academy Awards, Emmy Awards, Pulitzer Prizes, Pritzker Prizes and one a knighthood. Alumni have also been national sport stars, successful CEOs and presidents of corporations and businesses such as Hyatt Hotels, Young and Rubicam, Philadelphia Flyers. Notable alumni of the Academy include:

Alumni in art and media[edit]

Alumni in athletics[edit]

Alumni in business and technology[edit]

Alumni in government[edit]


Noah Webster - lexicographer, textbook pioneer, English-language spelling reformer, political writer, editor, and prolific author, who has been called the "Father of American Scholarship and Education". He taught at Episcopal Academy for six months from April 1787.[33]

Susan Gelber Cannon - author and activist, creator of www.teachforpeace.org.[34]

Lee T. Pearcy - classicist, educator, and author; chair of classics (1986-2001, 2005-2008), director of curriculum (2001-2005); author of Grammar of Our Civility: Classical Education in America (2005),[35] co-author Standards for Latin Teacher Preparation (2010),[36] other books and articles; taught at Episcopal from 1985 - 2013.

Gina Buggy - first woman to serve as Athletic Director (since 1992), member of the U.S. field hockey team from 1981-1984, played on the 1982 World Cup team and earned a bronze medal in the 1984 Olympics. She also played for the U.S. women’s team in 1980 and 1981.[37]


Stephen Decatur as depicted on an 1886 Silver Certificate


  1. ^ "The Future of Episcopal Academy". Retrieved 2007-12-19. 
  3. ^ a b "US Handbook: History and Traditions". Archived from the original on 2008-04-02. Retrieved 2007-12-19. 
  4. ^ a b Gammage, Jeff (2007-10-21). "Episcopal Academy Prepped for Big Change". Philadelphia, PA: The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 2007-12-19. [dead link]
  5. ^ http://architectureyp.blogspot.com/2007/06/episcopal-academy-newtown-square-campus.html
  6. ^ "The Future of Episcopal Academy: About the Move". Archived from the original on 2008-04-02. Retrieved 2007-12-19. 
  7. ^ http://www.programmanagers.com
  8. ^ http://info.aia.org/aiarchitect/thisweek07/0803/0803p_episcopal.cfm
  9. ^ http://www.episcopalacademy.org/about/mission/index.aspx
  10. ^ https://inside.episcopalacademy.org/htm/Admin/directors/AFG2.htm
  11. ^ a b "A Quiz about Main Line Schools". The Main Line Times. 2008-09-03. Retrieved 2008-12-26. [dead link]
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "The Future of the Episcopal Academy". The Episcopal Academy. 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-26. [dead link]
  13. ^ Davis, Richard. "Adventures and Letters of Richard Harding Davis". Retrieved 2007-12-19. 
  14. ^ "R.W.B. Lewis: Pulitzer Prize-winning literary scholar and critic". Yale Bulletin and Calendar. 2002-06-08. Retrieved 2007-12-19. 
  15. ^ "Maury Paul, Noted Society Editor, 52, Dies". The Miami News. July 17, 1942. p. 1B. Retrieved September 16, 2014. 
  16. ^ "Benjamin Pearcy designer". Retrieved 2013-08-19. 
  17. ^ "The Future of Episcopal Academy: About the Move". Archived from the original on 2008-04-02. Retrieved 2007-12-19. 
  18. ^ "Sarah Steele". Retrieved 2007-12-19. 
  19. ^ [1]. Retrieved on April 16, 2010.
  20. ^ Santoliquito, Joseph (2007-07-25). "Barrage's Dougherty Still Saving the Day". Philadelphia, PA: The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 2007-12-19. [dead link]
  21. ^ "Kyle Eckel - Official New England Patriots Biography". The New England Patriots. Retrieved 2008-12-26. 
  22. ^ "Episcopal Academy star Eckel signs with Eagles". The Philadelphia Daily News. 2008-10-22. Retrieved 2008-12-26. [dead link]
  23. ^ "Wayne Ellington Profile". Retrieved 2007-12-19. 
  24. ^ http://www.drexeldragons.com/coaches.aspx?rc=185&path=mbball. Retrieved on April 16, 2010
  25. ^ "Gerald Henderson Profile". Retrieved 2007-12-19. 
  26. ^ "Greg Isdaner ESPN page". ESPN. 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-26. 
  27. ^ "Read the Thanksgiving Chapel Address". The Episcopal Academy. 2007-11-20. Retrieved 2008-12-26. 
  28. ^ "Venturi's Venture" (Reprint). The Wall Street Journal. 2006-08-09. Retrieved 2007-12-19. 
  29. ^ "Fitting Philly Pigs for Wings" (Reprint). Columbia Journalism Review. 2007-07-19. Archived from the original on 2007-10-13. Retrieved 2007-12-19. 
  30. ^ "John Yoo Interviewed about the Torture Memo". Esquire. 2008-05-12. Retrieved 2008-12-26. 
  31. ^ Slevin, Peter (2005-12-26). "Scholar Stands by Post-9/11 Writing on Torture, Domestic Eavesdropping". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-12-26. 
  32. ^ "John Yoo Comments on Suit Filed Against Him by Convicted Terrorist Jose Padilla". The Philadelphia Inquirer. 2008-01-15. Retrieved 2008-12-26. 
  33. ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=ydJbAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA121&lpg=PA121&dq=noah+webster+episcopal+academy&source=bl&ots=ejBaULK2Am&sig=iCblMCd6K11seR70b0uht0d796s&hl=en&sa=X&ei=n68rUvXCGpLd4APYlYDACA&ved=0CEgQ6AEwBQ#v=onepage&q=noah%20webster%20episcopal%20academy&f=false
  34. ^ http://articles.philly.com/2012-01-16/news/30632229_1_peace-education-middle-school-conferences
  35. ^ http://books.google.com/books/about/The_Grammar_of_Our_Civility.html?id=yowu0WMISZ4C
  36. ^ http://www.aclclassics.org/uploads/assets/files/Standards_for_Latin_Teacher_Preparation.pdf
  37. ^ http://www.episcopalacademy.org/news/detail.aspx?pageaction=ViewSinglePublic&LinkID=1502&ModuleID=24&NEWSPID=1
  38. ^ "John C. Groome". Pennsylvania State Police. Retrieved 2010-08-23. He was privately tutored growing up and graduated from the Protestant Episcopal Academy of Philadelphia in 1878. ... 
  39. ^ "Stephen Decatur Biography". Retrieved 2007-12-19. 
  40. ^ http://instagram.com/p/vWeB-8zQNq/?modal=true

Further reading[edit]

  • Lyons, Robert S. (2010). On Any Given Sunday, A Life of Bert Bell. Philadelphia:Temple University Press. ISBN ISBN 978-1-59213-731-2

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°00′22″N 75°25′30″W / 40.006°N 75.425°W / 40.006; -75.425