The Haverford School
|The Haverford School|
|Haverford, PA, USA|
|Headmaster||John A. Nagl|
436 Upper School
225 Middle School
352 Junior Kindergarten, Kindergarten, and Lower School
|Average class size||16 students (Upper School)
17 Students (Lower and Middle School)
|Student to teacher ratio||8:1|
|Color(s)||Maroon and Gold|
|Average SAT scores||400-500 Math
300-400 Critical Reading
500-600 Writing (2008)
The Haverford School is a selective private, non-sectarian, all-boys college preparatory day school, junior kindergarten through grade twelve. Founded in 1884 as The Haverford College Grammar School, it is located in Haverford, Pennsylvania, nine miles northwest of Philadelphia, on Philadelphia's historic Main Line.
When the Pennsylvania Railroad finished 15 miles of track from Broad Street to Paoli, many of its families moved to the fresh air and country west of the city. Among them were Alexander Cassatt, brother of painter Mary, and his wife Lois Buchanan Cassatt, niece of the 15th President of the United States, James Buchanan. They occupied the Cheswold estate.
Their idea and ideal was a superior education for their boys, as well as the sons of others who had moved to The Main Line. To see their dream to reality, they enlisted the help of the young Quaker Dean of Haverford College, Isaac Sharpless. The College, founded in 1833, was a struggling institution. Swarthmore, a rival Quaker college, had its own grammar school, but there was no school for the sons of the Haverford professors. When Alexander and Lois Cassatt presented their idea, Dean Sharpless acted.
On the 23rd of September 1884, under Dean Sharpless' direction, four men and one woman began teaching 25 boys at The Haverford College Grammar School. In the spring of 1885, the School graduated its first young man, Walter E. Smith. His pressing duties as Dean forced Sharpless to turn control of the School over to its first headmaster, 26-year-old Charles S. Crosman.
In 1897, Crosman bought the Austin estate, where the School now resides, and began construction of Wilson Hall in 1901. The Crosman years were marked by an emphasis on a fundamental education that included an athletics program that produced national champions in hockey and tennis, and on an arts course that graduated Maxfield Parrish in 1888. Charles Crosman was dedicated to developing the full intellectual, athletic, and artistic potential of the boys he taught. It is a curricular ideal that continues to this day.
When Haverford moved to the Austin Estate, cut its ties to Haverford College, and became The Haverford School, it was a corporation owned by Crosman and supported by bonds that ultimately he couldn't repay. His successor, Edwin M. Wilson, inherited the leadership challenge and the accumulated debt.
Wilson ignored his Board of Trustees' advice to close the School, and reshaped the institution into a non-profit corporation, donating, in the process, his substantial personal equity. Wilson ran the School with the force of his personality; he willed his ideas into reality. There was never a written contract between him and his staff. Following his unfailing intuition, "The Buck" hired great teachers and prided himself on having the top faculty in the area. Among them were English master Robert U. Jameson, head of Lower School Cheyney Smith, chairman of the Latin department Samuel H. Newhall, and Joe McQuillen, who added a national swimming championship to Haverford's list of athletic accomplishments.
Wilson put Haverford's financial house in order, formed an alumni association, raised over $750,000 during the height of the Depression, built a new gym, and groomed his hand-picked successor, Cornelius Boocock. After 43 years, "The Buck" left a school with a reputation for academics and athletics. His emphasis on moral education and ideals continues today in our Upper School reflections, our Middle School House system, and in the letters of our Lower School Head. During Mr. Wilson's tenure, Smedley D. Butler, Class of '98, rose to the rank of Major General in the Marine Corps and was the only officer in history to win two Congressional Medals of Honor. A disproportionate 25 Haverford graduates died in the "war to end all wars."
A World War I veteran, Cornelius B. Boocock assumed leadership of Haverford in 1937, only to have his tenure cut short by World War II and his entry into active duty in the navy. Boocock came from a family of distinguished teachers. Because he was so well prepared to lead a school and so highly sought after, his five years at Haverford are a testament to the School's reputation as one of the nation's premier schools for boys. His legacy of patriotism and subsequent appointment as Dean of his alma mater, Rutgers University, remind us of the strong service component that has always been part of The Haverford School experience.
Leslie R. Severinghaus had taught English at Union Medical College in China, and when he returned to Columbia University to study for his master's degree, "Buck" Wilson, once again proving his intuitive ability to recognize good people, hired him. Severinghaus and his young wife, the former Emmavail Luce, came to The Main Line in 1929 and would not leave until 36 years later. Severinghaus championed the presence of exchange students and expanded the traditional curriculum to include college courses. Confronted with the destruction by fire of the School's boarding residence in 1943, he concentrated on Haverford's original mission to provide the best possible education to local day students. Under his leadership, enrollment grew to over 800, faculty and staff developed a sense of family at functions hosted by the Severinghauses, and he tackled the great burden of deferred maintenance on campus at the same time he balanced the budget.
Dr. Leslie R. Severinghaus would certainly give much of the credit to his successor, Mr. Davis R. Parker. Davis Parker kept a watchful eye during a period of great social turbulence when traditional educational values were challenged and changed. His hand held firm, and Mr. Parker maintained the School's original charter to employ the best teachers in order to draw the best students.
Under Mr. Parker's leadership, The Haverford School maintained its academic standards, built on its athletic reputation (most notably in wrestling under coach Neil Buckley, who with 646 victories was the most successful high-school coach in the nation), and dedicated itself to a renaissance in the arts with the construction of the Centennial Hall auditorium, stage, and classrooms.
When Davis R. Parker suffered a heart attack, his nurses approached Mrs. Parker and explained that they would continue to talk to him as though he could understand everything that they said. They asked if it would make him feel more comfortable if they called him "Davis" or "Dave." To which Mrs. Parker replied, "He would be most comfortable if you called him Mr. Parker."
Mr. Parker's strong austerity was followed by Bo Dixon's easygoing leadership style. W. Boulton Dixon was the first Haverford School graduate to assume headmaster duties, and the first headmaster to pose for his portrait in a sports coat. Key Man of the class of 1961, Bo attended Princeton University where he roomed with Bill Bradley, later Senator of New Jersey. He returned to his alma mater to teach English and coach baseball, and his portrait reflects his love of Haverford, its boys, and athletics. Bo Dixon hired women teachers in the Middle and Upper Schools, encouraged more socioeconomic and racial diversity in the student body, and placed renewed emphasis on the School's athletic traditions. Compared to his predecessors, Bo's tenure at Haverford was short, but his vision of needed change and his humanity left a lasting effect on the School. He has successfully led the McDonogh School in Owings Mills, Md., since leaving Haverford.
Another agent of change, Dr. Joseph P. Healey, came to Haverford from over a decade of responsibility as Dean of Hobart and William Smith College. Dr. Healey brought with him years of administrative expertise and a willingness to examine every educational premise. He is seen in his portrait sans jacket, ready to engage in the business of running a school. His leadership reversed declining enrollment and increased giving.
Under his direction, the School's "On Behalf of Boys" program offered insights into the best ways to teach boys and confirmed many of the virtues of single sex education. Joe Healey left a kinder and gentler Haverford School with a sound plan for the future and now leads the Ethical Culture Fieldston School in New York City.
Next, Dr. Joseph Cox took over as headmaster of the school after several years as an English teacher in the Upper School. He has worked for the past fifteen years to make Haverford a better school, whether by leading the institutional vision of rebuilding several of the schools academic and athletic facilites or increasing the endowment of the school.
Liberal Arts are the foundation of a Haverford School education. In order to prepare boys for life, each boy needs to master a body of knowledge in a variety of disciplines, and develop a set of skills that allows them to be productive citizens in the world they will help shape.
From JrK through graduation, the academic program provides not only a strong foundation for future learning, but more importantly, a skill set that will allow our students to navigate in and contribute to the ever-increasing, complex world that we inhabit. The students learn to build relationships with others to pose and solve problems collaboratively and cross-culturally; design and share information from a variety of communities to meet a variety of purposes; manage, analyze, and synthesize streams of simultaneous information; create, critique, analyze, and evaluate multimedia texts; apply strict reasoning and interpret the results to problems that are not intuitive; and attend to the ethical responsibilities required by living in a complex world.
The Haverford School is a member of the Inter Academic Athletic Association, the country's oldest inter-scholastic academic conference. Haverford fields 16 interscholastic sports. In the past decade, Haverford has won championships in water polo, cross-country, soccer, football, squash, ice hockey, lacrosse, baseball, tennis, crew, wrestling, and golf. In 2011, Haverford's varsity lacrosse team achieved a perfect 27–0 season, and were ranked No. 1 in the nation. The Fords have won the Heyward Cup (awarded each year to the Inter-Ac league school with the best overall record) 14 times, more than any other Inter-Ac school, including 1975–78, 1980, 1989, 1994, 2000, 2005, 2006, and for four out of five years in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013.
- Donald Grey Brownlow – An army intelligence major in WWII, Brownlow received a purple heart and Bronze Star, as well as the French Croix de Guerre. He fought at Utah Beach, the Battle of the Bulge and Ardennes. Brownlow taught history at Haverford for 55 years, and was the author of 10 books on Military history. He died January 11, 2006, after spending his final day teaching students.
- W. D. Ehrhart - American poet, writer, scholar and Vietnam veteran. Ehrhart has been called "the dean of Vietnam war poetry." Donald Anderson, editor of War, Literature & the Arts, said Ehrhart’s Vietnam-Perkasie: A Combat Marine Memoir, is “the best single, unadorned, gut-felt telling of one American’s route into and out of America’s longest war.” Ehrhart has been an active member of Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW). He was a 1993 Pew Fellowships in the Arts.
- Bert Bell 1914 – NFL commissioner
- Maj. Gen. Smedley Darlington Butler 1898 – two-time Medal of Honor recipient; Major General in the U.S. Marine Corps; Director of Public Safety in Philadelphia; political speaker and author; nicknamed "The Fighting Quaker."
- Britton Chance 1931 – Olympic gold medalist in sailing and University of Pennsylvania professor of Biochemistry, Biophysics, Physical Chemistry and Radiological Physics
- Robert Clarkson Clothier (1885–1970), Class of 1903, Wall Street Journal reporter, WWI Army officer, representative for Secretary of War, Haverford School headmaster, 14th president of Rutgers University (1932-1951), and president of the New Jersey Constitutional Convention (1947)
- John DiIulio 1976 – political science professor at the University of Pennsylvania and first director of the Office of Faith Based Initiatives initiated by President George W. Bush
- John duPont – an American and member of the prominent du Pont family who was convicted of murder in the third degree. He was also known as an ornithologist, philatelist, philanthropist, coach, and sports enthusiast.
- Theodore Miller Edison, child of his inventor father who graduated from college; went on to become an inventor with more than 80 patents.
- Oscar Goodman 1957 – Mayor of Las Vegas, Nevada
- John Hickenlooper 1970 – Mayor of Denver and Governor of Colorado
- Al Hunt 1960 – managing editor of Bloomberg News
- James Lavino 1991 – composer
- W. Thacher Longstreth 1937 – former Philadelphia, PA City Councilman
- James Rogers McConnell 1908 – military aviator who served as one of the founding seven members of the Lafayette Escadrille in the French Air Service in World War I; honored by the the Aviator statue at the University of Virginia and France's Croix de Guerre
- Mike Mayock 1976 – former NFL Player and NFL Analyst
- Peter Morris (playwright) 1991 – playwright, author of Guardians (play)
- Maxfield Parrish 1898 – painter and illustrator
- Ronald Perelman 1960 – billionaire; controlling owner of MacAndrews & Forbes and Revlon
- Steve Sabol 1960 – President of NFL Films
- Jeremiah White 2000 – professional soccer player
- Charles Sumner Crosman, 1884–1912
- Edwin Mood Wilson, 1912–1937
- Cornelius B. Boocock, 1937–1942
- Leslie R. Severinghaus, 1942–1965
- Kenneth Kingham, 1965-1966
- Davis R. Parker, 1966–1987
- William Boulton Dixon, 1987–1992
- Joseph P. Healey, 1992–1998
- Joseph T. Cox, 1998–2013
- John A. Nagl, 2013
- "The Haverford School // News // Rhodes Scholar named ninth headmaster of The Haverford School". Haverford.org. Retrieved 2013-09-02.
- Michael Robert Patterson. "Donald G. Brownlow, Major, United States Army". Arlingtoncemetery.net. Retrieved 2013-09-02.
- Frusciano, Thomas J. (University Archivist). Rutgers Leaders, Rutgers History: Robert C. Clothier - Rutgers President, 1932 to 1951, originally published in "Leadership on the Banks: Rutgers' Presidents, 1766–2004", Journal of the Rutgers University Libraries. Retrieved 29 August 2013.
- Staff. "Dr. R. C. Clothier, Ex-Rutgers Head; University President from 1932-51, Dies at 85" in The New York Times (20 March 1970).
- Edison Family Album: Theodore Miller Edison, national Park Service. Accessed November 21, 2007.
- "Decorated Army vet named new headmaster at Haverford School - Philly.com". Articles.philly.com. 2012-09-03. Retrieved 2013-09-02.