Lake Forest Academy

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Lake Forest Academy
LakeForestAcademy seal white.png
Many heads, many hearts, and many hands.
Lake Forest, Illinois
United States
Coordinates 42°14′57″N 87°53′31″W / 42.2492°N 87.8920°W / 42.2492; -87.8920Coordinates: 42°14′57″N 87°53′31″W / 42.2492°N 87.8920°W / 42.2492; -87.8920
Type Private, Boarding/Day
Established 1857
Head of School John Strudwick
Faculty 60 teachers
Enrollment 391 students
195 boarding
196 day (2008/09)
Average class size 12 students
Student to teacher ratio 7:1
Campus size 150 acres (0.61 km2)
Color(s) Black and orange
Athletics 25 interscholastic sports[1]
Mascot Caxy the Frog

Lake Forest Academy is a highly selective college preparatory boarding and day school for grades 9 through 12 located on the North Shore in Lake Forest, Illinois, United States. As of the 2008–2009 school year, students at Lake Forest Academy come from 20 states and 28 countries. The current Head of School is Dr. John Strudwick, a former teacher at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts.[2] The school is accredited by the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS),[3] Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS),[4] and Secondary School Admission Test Board (SSATB).[5]


The Academy (known as "LFA") was founded in 1857 as a Presbyterian boys preparatory school. Its founding was part of the creation of Lake Forest, Illinois. The Young Ladies' Seminary at Ferry Hall, later simplified to Ferry Hall School, was founded in 1869, and was considered a sister school. Both schools proceeded with their separate missions until the early 1970s, at which point the schools began to coordinate their efforts. A merger of the schools to form the coeducational Lake Forest Academy-Ferry Hall School took place in 1974. Later, the school's name officially became Lake Forest Academy. Lake Forest College was a third component of the original founders' design and opened its doors later although it uses the Academy's founding date as its own. It has no formal relationship with the original schools.[6]


The Formal Gardens

Lake Forest Academy is situated on a wooded 150-acre (0.61 km²) campus, which includes a small lake. There are 30 plus buildings on campus, including Reid Hall (formerly the estate of Chicago meat entrepreneur J. Ogden Armour), Corbin Academic Center, Hutchinson Commons (the dining hall), five dormitories and several faculty housing buildings. The Cressey Center for the Arts (formerly the Fine & Performing Arts Center, or FPAC) is the site for all-school meetings, concerts and student theatrical productions; the Reyes Family Science Center; and a new student union building is presently close to being completed.

LFA has a variety of athletic facilities, including the David O. MacKenzie '50 Ice Arena, a swimming pool, the Glore Memorial Gymnasium, the James P. Fitzsimmons Athletic Wing, the Crown Fitness & Wellness Center, tennis courts, all-weather track (new as of 2005), and five full-sized playing fields for football, field hockey, and soccer.

Approximately three-quarters of the faculty of Lake Forest Academy live on campus.


Lake Forest Academy houses its approximately 200 boarding students in five different campus dormitories. The dorms are single-sex and are of varying size.

Ferry Hall Dormitory[edit]

Ferry Hall Dormitory was completed in the winter of 2012, and the first girls moved into their rooms in February of that year.

Named in honor of Ferry Hall School, and taking design elements from that campus, Ferry Hall Dormitory is the first building to be built on the campus of Lake Forest Academy for girls. With 36 beds, Ferry, as it has come to be known by students is the newest dormitory and is located across the field hockey field from Atlass Hall, forming a quad with the Crown Fitness and Wellness Center and Reid Hall.

In addition to housing students, Ferry Hall Dormitory is also the home to four faculty apartments.

Atlass Hall[edit]

Atlass Hall

Atlass is the newest boys' dormitory, and located in the center of campus, it is closest to the academic buildings and dining hall. In addition to generously sized rooms and new furniture, Atlass also sports a comfortable lounge area with a television, sofas, and pool table. Atlass is a two-story building that houses 70 boys and four faculty members in apartments on either north or south end of the dorm.

Atlass opened in January, 1999 following a grant from H. Leslie Atlass, Jr., class of 1936, in honor of his father (class of 1912).[7] According to the inscription on the dormitory, Atlass Sr. was a "broadcasting pioneer and innovator."[8] The financial gift was given with the condition that it be used to construct a new boys' dormitory, since Bates House, the previous boys' dormitory constructed in 1948, was in extremely poor condition.

Warner House[edit]

Warner House

Warner House houses about 30 boys and five faculty members; four in the actual structure, and one family in the attached Remsen Cottage.[9] Warner is acknowledged to be the oldest structure on the Lake Forest Academy campus, thought in campus lore to have been a horse stable in the years before the Academy when J. Ogden Armour occupied the campus space. Upon the Academy's relocation to its current physical plant in 1948, the Board of Trustees dedicated the building to Ezra J. Warner, Jr., class of 1895.[10] Warner is located near the football field and with its relatively large number of faculty, has always been a dormitory that epitomizes the strong connection between students and faculty at LFA.

Marshall Field House[edit]

Marshall Field House

Marshall Field House (or simply "Field") is the home to nearly all female boarding students, housing 72 out of 82 girls. Field is older than the Atlass dorm with its first season of housing students in 1965 but Field House is the closest dorm to Hutchinson Commons (the dining area for the Lake Forest Academy residents) and has the most spirit of all of the Academy dormitories.

Marshall Field House was named after Marshall Field, the founder of Marshall Field and Company, the Chicago-based chain of department stores. A substantial donation was made by Field to the Academy, and the Marshall Field House was dedicated to him on October 9, 1965.[11]

At present, Field is planned for major renovation as part of the Academy's expansion plans, as detailed in the Strategic Plan. According to the report, Field will be scaled down to house only 40 girls, and a second new dormitory will be constructed to house 40 others.[12]

McIntosh Cottage[edit]

McIntosh Cottage

McIntosh Cottage (known simply as "Mac") is a unique dormitory, housing only ten girls in five rooms. In addition to the ten student residents, McIntosh houses two faculty members in apartments.[13] McIntosh was named for Arthur T. McIntosh, class of 1896, by his son.[14]


The Academy was formerly a member of the Chicago Independent School League and competed against eight other independent schools in Chicago's suburbs in some sports. The school recently withdrew from this conference and began playing an independent schedule in all sports in 2009–10. The following sports are offered:[15]

Students at LFA may also partake in non-team P.E. activities such as bowling, curling, salsa dance, jogging, lacrosse, water polo, weightlifting, and yoga, as well as a winter/spring musical.

LFA has a very strong athletic tradition that began in 1859 when Elmer E. Ellsworth, a close friend of Abraham Lincoln who already had become well known in the leading eastern cities by organizing military units called Zouaves, was hired to drill the students. Ellsworth was called to Washington by Lincoln who made him a colonel. He was the first officer to give his life for the Union cause in the Civil War. The Academy's drill team had been a pet project of Colonel Ellsworth, so that after the Civil War, when President Lincoln's body was brought through Chicago from Washington to Springfield, it acted as escort and guard of honor from Chicago to the State Capitol.

Because of the Ellsworth experiment, a gymnasium was erected in 1864 and physical training was strongly stressed. In 1876, the LFA baseball team played against Albert Spalding's Chicago White Stockings (later renamed the Cubs) professional team. LFA lost; the score was 31 to 1. In 1888, football was introduced by math and physics instructor William H. ("Little Bill") Williams. He later coached and was president of the University Athletic Association; and he has been called the father of the Western Collegiate Football Association, subsequently named "The Big Ten." The Academy's football tradition was carried on by such legendary coaches as Clarence Herschberger and especially Ralph Jones whose teams during the 1920s stood among the finest in the entire country. He had been the University of Illinois' head basketball coach and its freshman baseball and football coach. For eight years he had achieved great success in the Big Ten and had written the acknowledged standard work on scientific basketball playing. Under his stewardship of LFA's football program during the 1920s, it became more and more difficult for the school to arrange games with secondary schools, and soon nearly the entire schedule was composed of college freshman teams and junior colleges. In the early 1930s when an ex-player of Jones' bought the Chicago Bears, he asked Jones to coach them. He did so with distinction, which included the first NFL championship.

Lake Forest Academy is notable for not being a full member of the Illinois High School Association, the body which governs most sports and competitive activities in Illinois. According to a September 2009 interview with the school's athletic director: "... LFA's athletic philosophy and active recruitment of international students conflict with the IHSA and that the Caxys are not eligible to compete for state championships in any sport. And LFA was not about to change its private-school philosophy (required athletics for every student) to conform to IHSA standards." Kevin Versen, Director of Athletics 2000 - 2012 .[16]



The LFA mascot is the "Caxy", which is ancient Greek for "ribbet" – the croaking sound made by a frog. In the early 1900s, Aristophanes' hit comedy, The Frogs, was the subject of a popular Greek literature class.[17] LFA is believed to be the only school with "Caxys" as a nickname, although a popular athletic cheer at Yale University uses lines from the same Aristophanes play.[18] The cheer dates back to at least 1896, when a student revolt against suspensions of several students led to dozens of students taking the train to Chicago, where upon alighting at Wells Street they wandered the streets and chanted, "Caxy, go wack! Go wack! Go wack! Caxy, go wack! Go wack! Go wack! Hi-O! Hi-O! Paraballoo! 'Cademy! 'Cademy! L.F.U.!!"[19]


Move-Up Day[edit]

Move-Up Day began as a tradition at Ferry Hall in 1906, originally called Ivy Day, commemorating the annual planting of Ivy at the base of Smith Hall.[20] Over time, this tradition evolved into its current form, usually being held the day before Graduation. Departmental awards and speeches are given, and at the end of the ceremony, each class is invited to "move up" and literally take the place that they will occupy the next year: seniors move to sit with the alumni, juniors take the former spots of the seniors, and so on.

All-School Handshake[edit]

At the beginning of each year every student, faculty member, and administrator gathers in the formal gardens and participates in the all school handshake.[21] The entire school arranges themselves in a line around the periphery of the Formal Gardens and the Head of School begins by shaking the person's hand next to him. As he moves down the line the next person shakes his hand, and the next, and the next. The procession behind the Head of School snakes around until every member of the school shakes the hand of everyone else.

Field Day[edit]

Field Day also began at Ferry Hall, starting in the spring of 1903 with "classes competing in races, the high jump, and a five-pound shot put, among other events." Field Day eventually died out in the 1970s as a result of the merger between Ferry Hall and Lake Forest Academy.[22]

The House Cup[edit]

The House Cup Competition was re-established in 2004. The students are divided up into four houses (Bird, Lewis, Sargent, and Welch) and compete in various events throughout the year. The house with the most event points at the end of the year gets their name inscribed on a trophy that is located in Reid Hall, and the colors of their team are used in the student handbook cover for the following year. This is based on the House system which is found in British schools; however unlike British schools, students are not divided up based on what dorm they are in. This is similar to the house system in the Harry Potter series, and as such the students often debate which LFA house corresponds to which Harry Potter house. There is never any consensus on this.


Reid Hall, which houses the English department and a number of administrative offices.

Lake Forest Academy is well-recognized as one of the strongest college preparatory schools in the United States. 100% of graduates attend a 4-year college or university, many attending Ivy League schools, "Little Ivies", and other respected colleges.[23]

From its beginnings, Lake Forest Academy has been seen as one of America's premier schools, especially west of the Alleghenies. Ties to the leading colleges and universities with the Academy date back to its very first graduating class. Innovation has been the school's hallmark particularly under strong headmasters such as William Mather Lewis (later president of George Washington University and thereafter Lafayette College), John Wayne Richards,[24] E. Francis Bowditch[25] (later dean at MIT), and Harold Harlow Corbin Jr.[26] It was Richards' pioneering instructional plan that Time Magazine's inaugural issue featured in its "Education" section (August 18, 1930).

One of the other oft-touted fundamental strengths of the school is the potential for strong relationships formed between students and faculty. Faculty, approximately three-quarters of whom live on campus, also serve as coaches and dorm supervisors. This aspect of the Academy is often promoted by the Admissions Department and others as a feature that sets the school apart from other institutions. Head of School Dr. John Strudwick mentions that "LFA prides itself on its small classes and its Advisory system which both promote a unique and productive relationship between faculty and students."[27]

On film[edit]

The campus has been used as a shooting location for several films, among them: Damien: Omen II, Ordinary People, The Babe, and The Package.[28]

The 1983 film Class took place at a fictional boarding school in Illinois that was thought to be a thinly veiled Lake Forest.

Notable alumni[edit]

See also: Ferry Hall School for alumnae graduating prior to 1972.


Business and law[edit]

Government and public service[edit]

Journalism and letters[edit]


  • Cristopher Moore, class of 1983, computer scientist, mathematician, and physicist.
  • Karl Patterson Schmidt, herpetologist.
  • Paul Starrett, class of 1883, pioneering structural engineer whose NYC based company built the Empire State Building, the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., and many other structures.
  • Charles Thom, microbiologist and mycologist.



  • Robert S. Hartman, logician and philosopher who taught at Lake Forest Academy in the early 1940s
  • James L. Prestini, internationally known sculptor and craftsman; long time University of California (Berkeley) professor; taught at Lake Forest Academy during the 1930s[49]
  • Stephen B. Small, class of 1966, UPI heir kidnapped and buried alive in 1987; his death drew national attention
  • Corwith Cramer (ship), a tall ship named in honor of a former Lake Forest Academy master,Corwith Cramer Jr.[50] (taught at LFA from 1964 to 1971) who along with a Lake Forest Academy alumnus, Edward S. Mac Arthur (class of 1939), of the insurance clan and nephew of playwright Charles MacArthur,[51] founded the Sea Education Association


  1. ^ "Lake Forest Academy ~ Athletic Department". Lake Forest Academy. Retrieved 2009-03-15. 
  2. ^ "Lake Forest Academy – Peterson's In-Depth Description". Peterson's. Retrieved 2008-12-22. 
  3. ^ "Organization Member Information – Lake Forest Academy". NAIS – National Association of Independent Schools. Retrieved 2009-01-01. 
  4. ^ "Directory of Schools". ISACS – Independent Schools Association of the Central States. Retrieved 2009-01-01. 
  5. ^ "SSAT School Locator Service". SSAT – Secondary School Admission Test. Retrieved 2009-01-01. 
  6. ^ "About Us: History". Lake Forest Academy. Retrieved 2007-01-01. 
  7. ^ Atlass Hall, from the official website.
  8. ^ As referenced on the inscription outside Atlass Hall.
  9. ^ Warner House, from the official website.
  10. ^ As referenced on the inscription outside Warner House.
  11. ^ As referenced on the inscription outside Marshall Field House.
  12. ^ "Strategic Plan" (PDF). Lake Forest Academy. 2003-05-03. Retrieved 2007-01-01. 
  13. ^ McIntosh Cottage, from the official website.
  14. ^ As referenced on the inscription outside McIntosh Cottage.
  15. ^ "Team News". Lake Forest Academy. Retrieved 2009-01-01. 
  16. ^ Masterson, Dave (3 September 2009), "Caxys to line up against Mount Carmel", Chicago Sun-Times, retrieved 13 April 2010 
  17. ^ "A Caxy?". Lake Forest Academy Athletics. Retrieved 2007-01-01. 
  18. ^ Schiff, Judith Ann (May 1998). "The Greatest College Cheer". Yale Alumni Magazine. Retrieved 2007-01-01. 
  19. ^ "Revolt at Lake Forest". Chicago Daily Tribune. 4 February 1896. 
  20. ^ Pridmore 102
  21. ^ "News & Calendar". Lake Forest Academy. 2007-08-27. Retrieved 2008-01-17. 
  22. ^ Pridmore 104
  23. ^ "Review of Lake Forest Academy". Boarding School. Retrieved 2006-03-16. LFA graduates currently attend colleges throughout the country, including Harvard, Princeton, Brown, Duke, Dartmouth, Columbia, George Washington, Georgetown, Cornell, St. Andrew's-Scotland, Middlebury and Wesleyan, Northwestern, University of Chicago, UCLA, Williams, as well as many other excellent colleges and universities. 
  24. ^ Education: Big Dick's Plans -Time,9171,789248,00html
  25. ^ Francis Bowditch, 77, Dean and Headmaster--New York Times, February 10, 1990: html
  26. ^ Corbin. Harold H. Corbin, Jr. -tribunedigital-the courant
  27. ^ "A message from Head of School Dr. John Strudwick". Lake Forest Academy. Retrieved 2007-01-01. 
  28. ^ Bernstein, Arnie (1998), Hollywood on Lake Michigan (first ed.), Chicago: Lake Claremont Press, ISBN 0-9642426-2-1, p.245-246 
  29. ^ Vallance, Tom (10 April 2002), "John Agar: Strappingly handsome actor married to Shirley Temple (obituary)", The Independent, retrieved 13 April 2010, Born in Chicago in 1921, Agar was the eldest of four sons of an affluent executive of a meat-packing company. Educated at the Harvard School for Boys and Lake Forest Academy, he excelled in athletics but did not receive good enough grades to attend college. 
  30. ^ "Bix Beiderbecke". PBS. Retrieved 2007-01-01. 
  31. ^ "Biographical Note" (Temple Hoyne Buell Architectural Records,WH1397, Western History Collection). biographical sketch. Denver Public Library. Retrieved 13 April 2010. Temple Hoyne Buell was born in Chicago on September 9, 1895. He grew up in Chicago and attended Lake Forest Academy. 
  32. ^ "Jay Chandrasekhar: Director, actor, writer". biographic sketch. Office of the Clerk of Cook County. 2009. Retrieved 13 April 2010. 
  33. ^ O'Dowd, John (2007). Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye: The Barbara Payton Story. BearManor Media. p. 148. ISBN 1-593-93063-1. 
  34. ^ a b Sweeney, Annie (27 January 1998), "Diversity Apparent In An Unlikely Place", Chicago Tribune, retrieved 14 April 2010, Past students include such luminaries as former U.S. Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird, the late actor McLean Stevenson and Illinois State Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka, who attended Ferry Hall, which merged with LFA in 1974. 
  35. ^ Moore, Matthew Douglas (22 February 2010). "BEARD, CHARLES EDMUND (1900–1982)". biographic sketch. Texas State Historical Association/University of North Texas. Retrieved 13 April 2010. Charles Beard, airline executive, was born in Toledo, Ohio, on November 23, 1900, the son of Hiram Edmund and Mamie (Reiser) Beard. He received his early education at Lake Forest Academy. 
  36. ^ Medcalf, Myron P. (29 March 2006), "James R. Cargill, grandson of firm's founder; The fourth-wealthiest Minnesotan retired from the company in 1989 but still worked on other interests", Star Tribune (Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA), retrieved 13 April 2010, He was born in 1923 in Chicago and raised in Minneapolis. After graduating from Lake Forest Academy in Lake Forest, Ill., … 
  37. ^ Margalit Fox. "Ellmore Patterson, 90, Banker During City's Crisis", New York Times Business Day. November 14, 2004. Karren Chassie and Eileen Fanning, managing editors. Who's Who in Finance and Business, 2004–2005, 34th Edition New Providence,N.J.: Marquis Who's Who, 2004. p. 710.
  38. ^ Moran, Dan (5 February 2007), "Destroyer museum plans could be sinking Waukegan", The News Sun (Waukegan, Illinois), The Conolly is named for World War II Adm. Richard Lansing Conolly, who was born in Waukegan and attended Lake Forest Academy. 
  39. ^ "a.b.c...." Who's Who in America 2011 65th Edition, Vol. 1 + A-L. New Providence, N.J.: Marquis Who's Who. pp. 1003–1004. His biography appears in thirty plus editions of varied Marquis Who's Who publications which are among the numerous other reference works wherein biographical information about him is found that mentions Lake Forest Academy. Crull is a scion of a family that helped establish and/or aided the furtherance of two of the world's largest chemical groups, AkzoNobel and BASF, and other corporations and companies.
  40. ^ "a.b.c...." The Coast Guard Reservist, Vol. V, No. 3, January 1958,p.1. "A. Gilmore Flues '26", Princeton University Alumni Weekly, May 14, 2003. 'a.b.c...." A. Gilmore Flues, Harvard Law Class of '29 died March 1, 2003. Harvard Law Bulletin. Summer 2003. In Memoriam: (scroll down to summer of 2003 of the Harvard Law Bulletin)
  41. ^ The Encyclopedia Americana, 20, New York: The Encyclopedia Americana Corporation, 1919, p. 462, American theologian: b. Bayfield, Wis. 24 Dec. 1863. He was educated at Lake Forest Academy and University ... 
  42. ^ "Princeton Bulletin". Princeton Bulletin 16 June 1944. Princeton University. Retrieved 17 March 2013. 
  43. ^ "Find a Grave--Barney Ross". Retrieved 17 March 2013. 
  44. ^ Andres, Alfred Theodore (1886), History of Chicago, 3, Chicago: The A. T. Andreas Company, p. 578, Charles H. Wacker ... received his education in the graded and high schools of the city, also studying one year at Lake Forest Academy. 
  45. ^ Waterman, Arba Nelson (1908), Historical review of Chicago and Cook county and selected biography, 3, Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, p. 1116, Charles Henry Wacker was born in Chicago ... He attended the public schools of Chicago and the Lake Forest (Ill.) Academy. 
  46. ^ Leonard, John (2001-09-27). "Looking for Mr. Goodbomb". The Nation. Retrieved 2007-01-01. 
  47. ^ There is no "Wikipedia" profile for Peter Baron but there is one for the UK based Russian businessman who never matriculated at LFA but rather at Britain's Taunton School: Peter Baron becomes Pter Baron.
  48. ^ "Northbrook Skater Wins Midwest Title: Neil Blatchford Leads Triumph by Illinois as Field Accounts for 29 Records", Milwaukee Journal, p. 11, 3 February 1964, While Blatchford, a star athlete at Lake Forest (Ill.) academy was winning the ... 
  49. ^
  50. ^ A Hopkins Grammar School homage to Corwith "Corey" Cramer which mentions his time at Lake Forest Academy and his work with "Sandy" Mac Arthur to establish the Sea Education Association is found at
  51. ^ he was the twin brother of Alexander Mac Arthur (Class of 1940), one time chairman of the Illinois Racing Commission(thoroughbred) and son-in-law of Arthur Wirtz: Sources: Marquis Who's Who in the Midwest 1953; LFA-Ferry Hall Alumni Directory of 1982, p.59
  • Arpee, Edward (1944). The History of Lake Forest Academy. Chicago: R.F. Seymour. OCLC 3165440. 
  • Pridmore, Jay; Megan C. McGuire '88; Martha Briggs (1994). Anne Gendler, ed. Many Hearts and Many Hands: The History of Ferry Hall and Lake Forest Academy. William A. Seabright, John A. Scrapes, Dan Grayson, Alan Shortall. Brookfield, Wisconsin: Burton and Mayer. p. 264. ISBN 0-9643350-0-X. OCLC 32152179. 
  • Thompson, Jacqueline (1981). "Eight Sure-Fire Upper Class Indicators: Coed Prep Schools for Patrician Adolescents". The Very Rich Book: America's Supermillionaires and Their Money, Where They Got It, How They Spend It. New York: Morrow. ISBN 0-688-00072-X. OCLC 6707747. 

External links[edit]