|Headmistress||Patricia T. Kendall|
|Average class size||5 students|
|Student to teacher ratio||5:1|
|Campus size||1 acres|
|Color(s)||Green and white|
It was founded in 1876 as a boys' preparatory school for Cornell University. At this time Universities typically required students to be proficient in Latin and Greek. However, students from rural areas often did not have access to instruction in these subjects. Some early members of the Cornell faculty became concerned about the quality of education available to such students and founded Cascadilla School to address this inequity. However, students also pursued athletic activities such as football and crew and created yearbooks to record their activities.
Shortly after the First World War, the school fell on hard financial times. They were forced to sell several buildings and parcels of land including the Cascadilla School Boathouse which still stands and is the center piece of Stewart Park. The building immediately south of the main classroom building once housed the dormitory, a dining hall, and a gymnasium, but now has been remodeled to serve as an apartment building and is privately owned and operated.
In the later part of the 20th century, Headmaster Maxwell Kendall began to accept female students, created a board of trustees for the school, made Cascadilla independent of (although still affiliated with) Cornell University, obtained accreditation from the New York State Board of Regents, obtained not-for-profit status, and marketed the school to international students with great success.
His son, John Kendall, former History and Math teacher at the school later took over as Headmaster and successfully opened the school up to students who were looking for an accelerated approach to their education. The accelerated program allows students to earn one unit of credit in one semester. In 1999 John Kendall's wife, Patricia Kendall, officially became the Dean of Students and in 2001 she took over as Headmistress, a position in which she serves to this day.
Between 40 and 60 students from ten different countries are guided by a faculty of twelve teachers, many of whom hold advanced degrees. Typically, Cascadilla School students go on to four year colleges such as Binghamton University, Georgetown University, and New York University.Approximately 3,750 students have attended the Cascadilla School since 1876.
Cascadilla offers its students four different athletic programs:
- Hermann Biggs, physician and pioneer in the field of public health (Student, 1879)
- Charles Brady King, first person in Detroit to design, build and drive a self-propelled automobile, 3 months before Henry Ford built his automobile.
- John Lyon Collyer, CEO, president, and Chairman of the Board of the B. F. Goodrich Company and Chairman of the Cornell University Board of Trustees (Class of 1913)
- Adolph Coors II, son of brewer Adolph Coors and the second President of Coors Brewing (Class of 1903)
- Robert James Eidlitz, prominent New York architect and builder (Student, 1880–81)
- Jervis Langdon, nephew of the famous American author, Mark Twain (Class of 1893)
- John Maines, winner of the Pulitzer Gold Medal for Public Service Journalism in 2013 (Class of 1974)
- John M. Olin, leading industrialist, entrepreneur, conservationist, philanthropist, and scientist and son of Franklin W. Olin (Class of 1909)
- Spencer Truman Olin, industrialist (executive of the Olin Corporation) and philanthropist (Class of 1917)
- Henry Schoellkopf, Cornell and Harvard football player and later head coach of the Cornell Big Red football team from 1907 to 1908.
- William Thomas Tracy, designer in the U.S. of large theme parks, iconic American funhouses and realistic “dark rides” for outdoor amusement parks in the 1950s and 1960s (Student, 1934-35)
- Walter Wanger, influential Hollywood film producer, movie executive, and personality during Hollywood’s Golden Era (Class of 1912)