Kent School

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Kent School
Temperantia, Fiducia, Constantia
"'Simplicity of Life, Self-Reliance, Directness of Purpose'"
1 Macedonia Road
, Connecticut, USA
Type Private, Boarding
Religious affiliation(s) Episcopal
Established 1906
Headmaster The Reverend Richardson W. Schell '69
Faculty 80.1 (on FTE basis)[1]
Enrollment 560 (as of 2008–09)[1]
>90% boarding /~10% day
Average class size 12 students
Student to teacher ratio 7:1
Campus Township
Color(s) Blue & Gray
Athletics 22 Interscholastic Sports
56 Interscholastic Teams
Mascot Lion
Endowment $73 million [2]

Kent School is a private, co-educational college preparatory school in Kent, Connecticut, USA. The Reverend Frederick Herbert Sill, Order of the Holy Cross, established the school in 1906 and it retains its affiliation with the Episcopal Church of the United States.[3]

Students at Kent come from more than 40 foreign countries and nearly as many states.[4] Situated between the Appalachian Trail and the Housatonic River, the 1,200-acre (490 ha) campus currently serves around 565 students, about 510 of whom board. The school was one of the first New England boarding schools to educate both young men and women in 1960.[citation needed] Kent School Boat Club also became the first American school crew to row at British Henley Royal Regatta and compete for the Thames Challenge Cup in 1927.[5]

Kent is a member of the Founders League of New England preparatory schools which consists of, among others, Choate Rosemary Hall, Hotchkiss School, Trinity Pawling School and The Taft School.[6]

As of the 2011-12 school year, the school had an enrollment of 565 students and 80.1 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student-teacher ratio of 8/1.[1]


Born in New York City on March 10, 1874, Father Reverend Frederick Herbert Sill attended Columbia University and the General Theological Seminary. He was a monk of the Order of the Holy Cross and in 1906 he saw the need for a school where "young men with slender means could gain an education second to none." Unlike the traditional boarding schools of the day that were reserved for the wealthy American elite, Kent School would serve young men whose parents could not afford the alternative.

Father Sill led the school for the first thirty-five years of its existence. In the ensuing years, four headmasters have led Kent. Father Schell, the current Headmaster and Rector, graduated from Kent in 1969 and studied at Harvard (A.B. '73) and Yale (M.Div. '76) before returning to Kent as Chaplain. He was appointed Headmaster in 1981.[citation needed]

Spiritual affiliation[edit]

Founded in the Episcopal tradition, as were many New England boarding schools, Kent has retained its spiritual affiliation in an era when many other institutions have relinquished theirs. Kent's diverse student body comes from a variety of religious backgrounds and secular traditions. The entire student body gathers at St. Joseph's Chapel for three weekly services, which often include a student, faculty, or guest speaker or performance.

Pioneer of co-education[edit]

Originally an all-boys school, a campus for girls opened in 1960 with 100 girls in the third and fourth forms, making Kent one of the first of the traditional New England boarding schools to offer co-education. The girls' and boys' campuses were consolidated in 1992, resulting in the current, fully integrated co-educational campus of 560 students. Currently 46% of students are female and 54% male.

"Sliding scale tuition"[edit]

From the onset, Kent has been a pioneer in educating a variety of students, regardless of their social or economic status. Father Sill was committed to educating students from "all walks of life."[citation needed] This original mission resulted in his sliding scale tuition, where families paid what Father Sill felt they could afford. Kent continues this mission today with the Parents Fund and the Financial Aid Program, with one-third of the student body receiving some form of aid. Awarding more than six million dollars in the 2008 academic year, Kent's commitment to financial aid, relative to its endowment, ranks first among its peer schools.[citation needed]



Of the 66 teachers who compose the faculty, 71% have advanced degrees. Sixty percent of the teachers are men; forty percent, women. The average length of tenure at the School is greater than twelve years. Several teachers live on campus with their families. The student-to-faculty ratio is 8:1.


Kent offers a college-preparatory curriculum with 160 courses, 25 of which are Advanced Placement.[7] The average class size is twelve students.[8]


Kent offers 22 interscholastic sports with 56 interscholastic teams ranging from the 3rds, Junior Varsity, and Varsity. More than three-quarters of the student body participate in interscholastic sports. Many[which?] of the school's athletes earn All-League or All-New England Honors, and go on to compete at Division I, II, and III colleges and universities. Kent is a member of the athletics Founders League of New England prep schools.[9] Its mascot is the lion, and formerly, the fighting Episcopalian. The Loomis Chaffee School and Kent have a long-running rivalry. The two schools have annual Kent vs. Loomis days in which both schools play a number of sports.


Kent School Boat Club
on the banks of the Housatonic River

Crew at Kent has had a long history (Kent School Boat Club). The first crew was formed in 1922 with the encouragement of Father Sill, who was intimately familiar with the sport. Father Sill was the coxwain on the Columbia crew which won the first ever Poughkeepsie Regatta.

The program developed fast. In the ensuing years, Kent began competing with the Yale and Harvard teams and by 1927, was the first American school crew to row at British Henley and compete for the Thames Challenge Cup.[citation needed] In 1930, Kent was again Henley-bound, this time with the encouragement of New York Governor and future President, Franklin D. Roosevelt, who wished the team success and hoped that the "presence of a crew of American school boys will be helpful in strengthening the ties between good sportsmen of the two countries."[citation needed]

In 1933, Kent won the Thames Challenge Cup, just six years after launching the program. The Times in Britain wrote, "Kent School were almost certainly the best crew that ever rowed in the Thames Cup." Kent continued to achieve success in the sport, competing at Henley 32 times and winning 5 times, most recently in 1972. The school was featured twice in Life magazine,[citation needed] once in May 1937 and the other in June 1948 when Stuart Auchincloss '48 was featured on the cover. Kent Boys Crew has won the New England Championship Regatta 25 times since 1947.

Kent Girls Crew began in 1973. They have won two National Championships (1986 and 1987), and won New Englands in 1983, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1996, 1997, and 2005. In 2002, they won at Henley.

In 2006, Kent Boys Crew won the New England championship. This team also became the first American crew to challenge for the new Prince Albert Cup at Henley. In 2010, Kent Boys Crew won the New England points trophy and placed 1st at Youth Nationals. They were runners up in the Princess Elizabeth Cup.


In the fall of 2009, Kent Football was the first American secondary school to compete internationally during the fall season.


Kent is the only co-educational Founder's League school with an equestrian program. Its facilities include multiple outdoor arenas, a heated indoor arena, and a cross country course. Michael Page, an Olympic medalist who competed in three Olympic games and coached the Canadian Olympic team in 3-day eventing, has been the resident trainer and instructor since 1994. The coach for the team is Adrienne Wilbur.


Kent is situated on 1,200 acres (4.9 km2) between the Appalachian Trail and Housatonic River. The picturesque New England landscape surrounds the campus' Georgian brick buildings, arranged comfortably along the river bank.

Residential buildings include the North Dorm, Borsdorff Hall (Middle North), Middle Dorm South, Case Dorm, Dining Hall Dorm, Field Dorm, and Hoerle Hall (a new state-of-the-art dorm).

Instructional buildings include Foley Hall, Dickinson Science Center, schoolhouse, Mattoon Language Center, the field building, the 50,000-volume John Gray Park Library, Mattison Auditorium, St. Joseph's Chapel, music studios, and art studios.

Athletics facilities include the Magowan Field House (basketball, weight rooms, pool), fitness center, Brainard squash courts, indoor tennis building (4 courts), Springs Center (Nadal Hockey Rink), Sill Boathouse, Waring Partridge Rowing Center, Southfields Facility, Kent Stables, 9 playing fields, 13 outdoor tennis courts, and the Holcombe Cross-Country Course.

In 1995, Kent partnered with Microsoft, Toshiba, and 29 other pioneer schools to create the Anytime Anywhere Learning program. This program equips Kent students with laptop computers for use in every classroom on campus. Since 2002, these have been Tablet PCs. In addition, all classrooms, dorm rooms, the library, and administrative offices have access to the internet and the school network. All dorm rooms are equipped with individual data and voice connections which provide phone, internet, and intranet access for each student. All of the academic areas, dorm common rooms and many public areas provide secure wireless service as well.


  • Rev. Frederick Herbert Sill (founder) (1906–1941)
  • Rev. William Scott Chalmers (1941–1949)
  • Rev. John Oliver Patterson (1949–1962)
  • Sidney Norwood Towle '31 (1962–1981)
  • The Rev. Richardson W. Schell '69 (1981–present)

Kent School in media[edit]

The book (and 1999 film adaptation) Outside Providence is a fictionalized account of film director and screenwriter Peter Farrelly's experiences at the school.[citation needed]

The animated TV show Family Guy is written by alumnus Seth MacFarlane. In 1999, the school's headmaster, Father Schell, wrote to a number of companies urging them not to advertise with the TV show, calling it "obnoxious." Seth MacFarlane's parents, who worked at the school, resigned in protest.[10]

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]

William G. Pollard, Fiftieth anniversary of Kent School


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°43′37″N 73°28′56″W / 41.7269°N 73.4821°W / 41.7269; -73.4821