Armand Hammer United World College of the American West

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UWC-USA logo.gif
TypeIndependent Coed, Boarding
MottoUWC makes education a force to unite people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future
PresidentDr. Victoria Mora
Enrollment228 total
All boarding
Girls: 54% Boys: 46%
International Students: 75%
US and Canada: 25%
Average class size15 students
Student to teacher ratio9:1
CampusRural, 110 acres (0.45 km2)
27 buildings
Color(s)Navy blue/Aquamarine
NewspaperThe Literati
AffiliationThe United World Colleges, International Baccalaureate

UWC-USA (legally named the Armand Hammer United World College of the American West) is a United World College founded in 1982 by industrialist and philanthropist Armand Hammer. Located in Montezuma, New Mexico, it is a two-year, independent, co-educational boarding school accredited by the Independent Schools Association of the Southwest with about 230 students representing 70-80 countries at any time. Students are between 15 and 19 years old, and the majority receive full or partial scholarships. They are selected from 155 National Committees that represent the United World Colleges around the globe. Students graduate with the full International Baccalaureate Diploma, one of the most respected secondary diplomas in the world.

The school's mission is to teach international understanding by bringing together young men and women of diverse ethnic and social backgrounds in an environment in which they work together for shared success. In addition to offering the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program, the school has a strong program in the arts, a significant service program, and a unique wilderness program. The Bartos Institute for Constructive Engagement of Conflict (CEC) was also established in 2001 to help equip young people with the skills to identify and learn how to constructively engage conflicts —at personal, interpersonal, and larger community levels.[1]

Graduates are typically accepted at the most competitive colleges and universities around the world.[2] In late 2007, The Wall Street Journal identified UWC-USA as one of the world's top 20 schools for its success in preparing students to enter top American universities.[3] In 2010, UWC-USA was ranked a “Top Ten Program” by U.S. Center for Citizen Diplomacy.[4]


The Armand Hammer Foundation purchased the property to establish a United World College in the United States in 1981. Major renovations of existing buildings preceded the school's opening in the fall of 1982, an event that was attended by HRH Prince Charles, president of the United World Colleges movement. The school's founding president was Theodore D. Lockwood, who served from 1982 until 1993. Philip O. Geier served as president from 1993 until 2005, when he passed the reins to Lisa A. H. Darling, whose presidency ended in 2013. The school's fourth president was Dr. Mukul Kumar '89, an alumnus and leader in international education, who left the school in 2016. The school is currently led by Dr. Victoria Mora, former Dean of the Santa Fe campus of St. John's College.

In 1998, the school's endowment was significantly increased through the generosity of investment manager Shelby M.C. Davis and his wife Gale. Their gift today secures the largest block of the school's student scholarships and makes this school (and all the other UWCs) 100% free for all American students. Their initial gift of $45 million in 1998 was, at the time, the largest private donation ever made to international education.[5][6]

A subsequent fellowship program, also established by the Davis family, provides scholarship support for many graduates at over 90 colleges and universities in the United States, including Amherst College, Bates College, Brown University, Carleton College, Colby College, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, University of Florida, Georgetown University, Harvard University, Jacobs University Bremen, Johns Hopkins University, Lake Forest College, Earlham College, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Macalester College, Oberlin College, Stanford University, Smith College, Tufts University, Princeton University, University of Chicago, University of Pennsylvania and Yale University.


The Montezuma Castle, now the Davis International Center, houses student and faculty residences, classrooms, seminar rooms, and offices, in addition to the student center, college dining facility, and the Bartos Institute for the Constructive Engagement of Conflict.

The Old Stone Hotel (OSH), the first hotel opened in Montezuma (as the Hot Springs Hotel), was renovated in 1981 to serve as administration building until the restoration of the Montezuma Castle was completed. The OSH now houses the administrative offices of the Dean of Academics, Dean of Students, Dean of Experiential Education Programs, Registrar, Business Office, Counseling Service, and the school Archives. In addition, the mathematics department and the English faculty have its offices and classrooms in the building.

The Lockwood Library, dedicated in 2000 in honor of former president Theodore Lockwood and former Development Director Lu Lockwood, is attached to the Old Stone Hotel and houses more than 12,000 books and hundreds of movies.[7]

Dedicated in 2000, in honor of former president Theodore Lockwood and former Development Director Lu Lockwood, the Lockwood Library now houses more than 20,000 volumes and 1,800 media files.

The Oscar Getz Memorial Hall, given by Martha Getz, serves as the President's House. Formerly the staff house of the Hot Springs Hotel, was renovated in 1981 to serve as the residence of the president and his family, as well as guest house. Distinguished guests such as HRH Charles, Prince of Wales and Malcolm Forbes have resided there.

The Sasakawa Center houses the faculty club at UWC-USA, as well as meeting facilities. The house, a former student center before the restoration of the Castle, is an example of 19th century architecture, and carries an endowment from Ryoichi Sasakawa.

The Zeinal-Zade Science Building, given by Swiss-Azerbaijani businessman Kemal Zeinal-Zade, houses the department of experimental sciences, together with two physics labs, two chemistry labs, two biology labs, as well as a ceramic oven and classrooms. An early 2000 addition now houses the wilderness program class space as well as an extra multi-functional laboratory.

The Kluge Auditorium was given by cinema mogul John W. Kluge in 1988. The building houses the main auditorium, as well as the arts department, including art classrooms, music classroom, piano practice rooms, a recording studio, and a work space for dramatic production. The auditorium hosts close to a hundred events a year, including assemblies, cultural days, theatre performances, lectures, and conferences.

The Geier Center for Technology and Languages, given by the Trustees in honor of President Emeritus Philip O. Geier III and former Development Director Amy Y. Geier, houses the Information Technology department, comprising three computer labs and high-end printing facilities, as well as the language department and class space.

The Knutson Greenhouse was constructed by students, staff, and local construction company the Knutsons in 2009. Students plant and tend to herbs, produce, and flowers in the greenhouse, which is situated behind the Auditorium.

The Pedro Medina Fields, which separate the country road from the lower campus area, were dedicated in 2008 to former groundskeeper Pedro Medina, in appreciation for his 24 years of service to UWC-USA. The playing fields host numerous college traditions and events including graduation (weather permitting), soccer and baseball.

The Agroecology Research Center, which sits on 20 acres of riparian land and provides a hands-on laboratory for students interested in sustainability, agriculture, and environmental science.

Students from many nations gathered for graduation in May 2003
The Davis International Center, formerly the Montezuma Hotel, on the campus of the Armand Hammer United World College, May 2003


The school, in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, is located at 35°39′15″N 105°16′52″W / 35.65417°N 105.28111°W / 35.65417; -105.28111 in the town of Montezuma, New Mexico, just northwest of the city of Las Vegas, New Mexico, about 70 miles from Santa Fe.

The campus includes the historic Montezuma Castle.

Notable alumni[edit]

  • Alberto Lopez García-Basteiro, Medical Research Fellow in Barcelona Centre for International Health[8]
  • Amie Ferris-Rotman, Senior Correspondent for Reuters[8]
  • Carla Tennenbaum, artist[8]
  • Charmaine Pui Zse Lee, Secretary General of the Hong Kong-Taiwan Economic and Cultural Cooperation and Promotion Council [8]
  • Chiara Osbat, Principal Economist at the European Central Bank[8]
  • Sal Lavallo, Youngest Person to Visit Every Country in the World [9]
  • Dr. Lidija Sekaric, US Department of Energy[8]
  • Ed Burns, Deputy Manager at NASA[8]
  • Francisco Ferreira, Lead Research Economist for the World Bank [8]
  • Kristian Segerstrale, Co-Founder of Playfish
  • Lousewies van der Laan, Dutch politician
  • Marcelo Calliari, President of the Brazilian Institute of Studies on Competition, Consumer Law and International Trade[8]
  • Martin Doe, Legal Counsel at the Permanent Court of Arbitration, The Hague[8]
  • Michael Sugar, producer of Spotlight, winner of Academy Award for Best Film, 2016
  • Philippe Wamba, American journalist
  • Pontus Ohrstedt, Team Leader for the United Nations Development Program Crisis Prevention and Recovery Unit in Darfur[8]
  • Prince Philippos of Greece and Denmark
  • Pavlos, Crown Prince of Greece
  • Richard Rowley (film director), oscar-nominated director of Dirty Wars
  • Risana Zitha, Managing Director of Investment Banking at Morgan Stanley [8]
  • Sébastien de Halleux, Co-Founder of Playfish
  • Sophie Karbjinski, German actress
  • Giulio Regeni, Italian student abducted and tortured to death in Egypt.[10]
  • Stephen Flögleslev, Greenland Business and Investment Officer[8]
  • Takeomi Yamamoto, Deputy Director for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan[8]
  • Victoria Ransom, Co-Founder of Wildfire[8]
  • Luca Pesaro, Author of "Zero Alternative" [11]
  • Tyler Davis, one of the principals for Potavida [12]
  • Shahan Mufti, Journalist and Author of "The Faithful Scribe" [13]
  • Ian Chisholm, specialist for The Gemini Project [14]
  • Nadejda Marques, Cost of Inaction Project at the FXB Centre for Health and Human Rights at the Harvard School of Public Health[15]
  • Brendan O’Connor, creator of CreepyDOL, the "Creepy Digital Object Locator"[16]


  1. ^ "Bartos Institute for Constructive Engagement of Conflict". Retrieved 2015-09-29.
  2. ^ "College & University Counseling". Uwc-Usa. Retrieved 2015-09-29.
  3. ^ Staff writer (2007-12-28). "How the Schools Stack Up". The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on 24 July 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-25.
  4. ^ "Global Leadership Forum". Uwc-Usa. Retrieved 2015-09-29.
  5. ^ "S&G Foundation, Founded by Shelby and Gale Davis, Donates $45 Million to United World College, Montezuma, NM," PR Newswire, July 23, 1998
  6. ^ Russell, J. "Teaching Global Understanding: Donor Pays For Almost 700 Foreign Students," The Boston Globe, July 21, 2005
  7. ^
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "Where We Are". Uwc-Usa. Retrieved 2015-09-29.
  9. ^ Franco Salinas (2018-06-07). "Falling in Love With The World". UWC-USA Kaleidescope Magazine. Retrieved 2017-07-23.
  10. ^ Alexander Stille (2016-10-04). "Who murdered Giulio Regeni?". Retrieved 2017-01-30.
  11. ^ "Alumnus Ventures Into the Underworld". Retrieved 2015-09-29.
  12. ^ "UWC-USA: Who We Are". Retrieved 2015-09-29.
  13. ^ "News Post". 2001-09-11. Retrieved 2015-09-29.
  14. ^ "Ian Chisholm". UWC. Archived from the original on 2012-03-08. Retrieved 2015-09-29.
  15. ^ "Nadejda Marques". UWC. 2010-10-19. Archived from the original on 2012-10-17. Retrieved 2015-09-29.
  16. ^ "A More Secure Virtual World". 2014-02-26. Retrieved 2015-09-29.
  • "Dreams & Promises: The Story of the Armand Hammer United World College : A Critical Analysis", Theodore D. Lockwood, 1997

External links[edit]