St. Mark's School of Texas

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St. Mark's School of Texas
Courage and Honor
10600 Preston Road
Dallas, Texas, 75230
United States
Coordinates 32°53′25″N 96°48′03″W / 32.890363°N 96.800762°W / 32.890363; -96.800762
Type Private, Day, College-prep
Religious affiliation(s) Non-sectarian
Episcopal (historically)
Established 1906
Sister school The Hockaday School
Headmaster David W. Dini
Faculty 125
Grades 112
Gender Boys
Number of students 845
Campus 40 acres (160,000 m2)
Athletics conference SPC
Sports 17 sports teams
Mascot Lion
Nickname Lions
Tuition $22,627 - $28,149

The St. Mark's School of Texas is a nonsectarian preparatory day school for boys located in Dallas, Texas, USA. The School offers grades 1–12.


St. Mark's developed from three preceding private schools: Terrill School (1906–1944), Texas Country Day School (1933–1950), and The Cathedral School (1944–1950). The school traces its earliest history to Mr. Terrill's school, which is considered the city's first effort to create a private school that could rival its East Coast counterparts. The Terrill School served as a base for the foundation of the Episcopal-associated Cathedral School, which then merged with the nonsectarian Texas Country Day.

The St. Mark's founders decided to make the school nonsectarian, with nondenominational Chapel services led by an ordained Episcopalian Chaplain. The school officially opened as St. Mark's School of Texas in 1953. The Hockaday School for Girls, founded in 1913, became the sister school to St. Mark's.

The school today[edit]

On its 40 acre-campus is an array of buildings, most of which are named after well-known Dallas families. Texas Instruments' co-founders Cecil H. Green and Eugene McDermott donated a math and science quadrangle, the main library, the greenhouse, the planetarium and the observatory.[1] Shortly after those buildings' completion in the 1960s, Time magazine called St. Mark's the "best-equipped day school in the country."[volume & issue needed]

In more recent years, the natatorium was named in honor of Ralph Rogers;[2] the Lamar Hunt family donated a football stadium, and Tom Hicks funded a new gymnasium. The Roosevelt family contributed a carillon in 2005 and a pipe organ in 2013.[3]

Spearheaded by a $10 million donation from the family of Harlan Crow,[4] the Centennial Project raised over $110 million when it ended in June 2013. The Project led to 11 endowed teaching chairs as well two new state-of-the-art academic buildings: Centennial Hall, housing the Math, English, History, and Administrative Departments; and the Robert K. Hoffman '65 Center, housing the Language, Debate, Journalism, and College Counseling programs, in addition to the Student Store and Senior Lounge.[5]

As of 2014, the school's overall endowment was over $100 million [6]


Its 849 students are spread across first through twelfth grade, and the overall student/faculty ratio is 8:1. Of more than 120 faculty and administrative members, 92 have advanced degrees, including nine with doctorates. More than 30 faculty members have been at the School 20 years or more. There are seventeen endowed chairs for teaching and administration (e.g., for the headmaster).[7]

Over half the class of 2015 was recognized by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, with 29 boys named as Semi-finalists and 19 boys being named commended scholars.[8] This recognition is based on the results of a single test (the PSAT), with 0.5% of the country's rising seniors being named semifinalists. Scores of commended students were in the top 2% in the state. Over the past 5 years, St. Mark's has had a higher percentage of seniors being named Semi-Finalists (28.4%) than any other school in the Dallas-Ft. Worth region.[9] The median SAT for seniors in 2013 was 2170 on a 2400 point scale. Seven St. Marks seniors have been named Presidential Scholars by the Presidential Scholars Program since 2003.[10] In 2013, a student also won the Nestle Very Best in Youth Award, one of 18 winners from around the country.[11]

While many graduates stay in Texas, many also matriculate around the country. The Wall Street Journal ranked American high schools based on their sending graduates to 8 selective universities (primarily on the east coast); St. Mark's was the highest ranked Texas school in that imperfect assessment [12][13] Multiple other surveys also rank St. Mark's as the top private school in the state and among the best in the country.[14][15][15] While presumably pleased by these rankings, St. Mark's administrators have repeatedly argued that no single ranking can capture a school's excellence or its fit with any particular student.


St. Mark's organizes 17 varsity sports teams that compete against similarly-sized private schools in the Southwest Preparatory Conference.[16]

As of 2014, Swimming has won 18 conference titles in 20 years, Wrestling has won 15 titles in 17 years and Track and Field has won 9 titles in 11 years. Lacrosse, Crew, and Water Polo have each won state championships since 2010.[17][18][19][20]

Several individual athletes have gone on to succeed at the next level. For example, Sam Acho '07, Emmanuel Acho '08, and Kalen Thornton '00 have all played in the National Football League—the Acho brothers are currently linebackers on different NFL teams.[21] More recently, Ty Montgomery '11 was named to multiple All American teams in 2013 and 2014 while playing wide receiver and returning kicks for Stanford.[22][22] Over the past several years, about 10% of St. Mark's graduates signed to play intercollegiate sports in college.[23]

Extracurricular activities[edit]

St. Mark's offers 42 Upper School clubs and academic teams for the 80 to 90 boys per graduating class.[13] This extracurricular activity has led to significant external recognition.[24]

The school newspaper and literary magazine won 2015 Gold Crowns, the highest award given by the Columbia Scholastic Press Association.[25] [26][27] In that year, only 11 newspapers, 13 yearbooks, and 16 magazines won Gold Crowns from around the country. This was the 12th straight Gold Crown for the newspaper, and third straight for the magazine.The yearbook won a Silver Crown after having won 6 straight Gold Crowns until this year. [28][29][30] A St. Mark's senior was named journalist of the year in the state of Texas in 2013, 2014, and 2015 by the National Scholastic Press Association. These three winners then went on to the national journalism competition, finishing 2nd in 2013 and 3rd in 2014, with the 2015 competition coming up.[31]

The debate team has won three national titles.[32] The school itself annually hosts one of the most prestigious high school debate tournaments in the country, The Heart of Texas Invitational.

The school's photography program has been named best in state by the Association of Texas Photography Instructors for eight consecutive years (2007–2014).[33]

A middle schooler (Sai Gunturi '07) won the 2003 Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Steve Miller and Boz Scaggs are probably the most famous alumni musicians; while in high school, they created a band called The Marksmen. The founder of Texas Monthly and a co-founder of the National Lampoon both attended St. Mark's. Prominent alumni actors include Tommy Lee Jones and Luke Wilson, both of whom were better known as athletes than actors when in school.[34][35]

The avidity with which students pursue extracurricular activities is mocked in the film Rushmore, which was co-written by Owen Wilson, who himself was asked to leave the school prior to graduation. Rushmore was set at a fictional cross between St. Mark's and Houston's St. John's School, the alma mater of the other cowriter and director, Wes Anderson. The film features a protagonist who participates in dozens of clubs and activities.[36]

The local press has long written about ways in which St. Mark's blends in and differs from the rest of Dallas.[37][38]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ Eugene McDermott biography[dead link], Missouri Southern State University
  2. ^ Rogers donation article
  3. ^ St. Mark's School of Texas ~ Roosevelt Gift to Fund New Pipe Organ
  4. ^ [1][dead link]
  5. ^ St. Mark's planned development
  6. ^ [2]
  7. ^ [3]
  8. ^ [4]
  9. ^ National Merit Semi-Finalists: 2008–2012 Cumulative Totals - plus 2013 NMSFs (Dallas: catholic schools, universities) - City-Data Forum
  10. ^ [5][dead link]
  11. ^ St. Mark's School of Texas ~ Prestigious Recognition for Senior
  12. ^ [6]
  13. ^ [7]
  14. ^ [8]
  15. ^ a b [9]
  16. ^ SPC Sports
  17. ^ [10]
  18. ^ [11]
  19. ^ [12]
  20. ^ [13]
  21. ^ [14]
  22. ^ a b [15]
  23. ^ [16]
  24. ^ [17]
  25. ^ [18]
  26. ^ [19]
  27. ^ [20][dead link]
  28. ^ NSPA - Contest Winners
  29. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  30. ^ Columbia Scholastic Press Association : 2012 Scholastic Crowns
  31. ^ [21]
  32. ^ [22]
  33. ^ [23][dead link]
  34. ^ [24]
  35. ^ [25]
  36. ^ [26]
  37. ^ [27]
  38. ^ [28]
  39. ^ Princetoniana Committee Oral History Project, "Interview of Henry Martin, p. 4-5 (pdf).
  40. ^ a b Steve Miller did not actually graduate from St. Marks' the school gave him an honorary diploma./story?oid=oid%3A107855 "Texas Top 40", Austin Chronicle, 8 November 2002.
  41. ^ Lieber, Dave (C'79). "Don't Mess with Texas Monthly." University of Pennsylvania Gazette. Accessed October 11, 2008.
  42. ^ Kennedy, Randy. Obituary of Robert Hoffman, The New York Times, 22 August 2006.
  43. ^ Biography page for Tommy Lee Jones at the Internet Movie Database
  44. ^ "Young Pianist to Present Recital at SMU Wednesday." The Dallas Morning News, 15 May 1966. Retrieved 2010-07-11.
  45. ^ NASA - Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate
    S. Alan Stern
  46. ^ "Another Time, Another Ross Perot", Business Week, 18 February 2002.
  47. ^ Randall Zisk - IMDb
  48. ^ Michael Weiss's website
  49. ^ "Reporter Biography: Kurt Eichenwald". The New York Times. Accessed October 11, 2008.
  50. ^ "Clark Hunt, Chairman of the Board, Kansas City Chiefs"[dead link]. Kansas City Chiefs website. Accessed October 11, 2008.
  51. ^ {}
  52. ^ "Dallas Solo's Practice Helps Him Perfect His Music Label." Texas Lawyer. October 20, 2005.
  53. ^ - Charles Olivier
  54. ^ - Owen Wilson
  55. ^ Luke Wilson biography[dead link] at his official website
  56. ^ Rays: The Rays' hottest prospect? Silverman
  57. ^ Eagles Acquire LB Acho From Browns

External links[edit]