McDonogh School

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For schools named "McDonogh High School", see McDonogh High School.

Coordinates: 39°23′40″N 76°46′40″W / 39.39444°N 76.77778°W / 39.39444; -76.77778

McDonogh School
McDonogh School Seal.png
Owings Mills, Maryland
United States
Type Independent School, Boarding
Established 1873
Headmaster Charles W. Britton
Grades K-12
Enrollment 1,298 (2014–15)
Color(s) Orange and Black
Mascot Eagle
Endowment $85 million
Tuition Lower School $24,350; Middle School $25,860; Upper School $27,100; Upper School Five-day Boarding, $36,420 (2014-15)

McDonogh School is a private, coeducational, K-12, college-preparatory school founded in Owings Mills, Maryland, USA in 1873. The school is named after John McDonogh, whose estate originally funded the school. The school now enrolls approximately 1,300 students, between 90 and 100 of whom participate in the Upper School's five-day boarding program.[1] McDonogh employs approximately 177 full-time faculty members, more than 80% of whom hold advanced degrees and 20% of whom live on-campus.[2]

McDonogh is regarded as one of the Baltimore region's most prestigious preparatory schools and has been called a "Power School" by Baltimore magazine.[3] The school's students are frequently recruited by Ivy League and other top ranked colleges and universities.[4] McDonogh's athletic programs have also seen widespread success, particularly in lacrosse, soccer, and wrestling, where the school's teams have been nationally ranked in recent years.

The school is a member of the Association of Independent Maryland Schools.[4]


The school was established near Baltimore, Maryland in 1873 and funded by the estate of John McDonogh, a former Baltimore resident, who died in 1850. The other half of the McDonogh estate was used to fund over 30 public schools in New Orleans, Louisiana, where McDonogh lived and worked.[5]

Documents in the archives of McDonogh School include letters from his former slaves thanking John McDonogh (prior to 1850) for his program giving slaves the opportunity to work to buy their freedom and transportation back to Africa.

McDonogh was established as an all-white, semi-military school for orphan boys, who worked on the farm in exchange for their studies, room, and board. Tuition students arrived in 1922, and daily commuting students in 1927. The first African-American student was admitted in 1959. In 1971, the military traditions of the school were discontinued.[6] The school became coeducational in 1975. Full and partial McDonogh scholarships continue to this day, with $4.5 million in need-based aid awarded for the 2013-2014 school year.[1]

Charlie Britton is currently serving as the 12th head of school. He received this position beginning in 2007, succeeding W. Boulton "Bo" Dixon.[7]


Allan Building McDonogh School.jpg
Allan Building, which houses Upper School classrooms and administrative offices

The campus covers over 800 acres (320 ha) along McDonogh Road south of Owings Mills, Maryland. In the center of the campus, there are separate buildings for the Lower (K–4), Middle (5–8), and Upper (9–12) Schools, a non-denominational chapel, a performing arts center, Tuttle Gallery for student and professional art exhibits, athletic facilities, and housing for some upper school students. The remainder of the school lands include farming fields and woodlands, a horse barn with riding facilities, and a corporate campus.

The chapel houses a 48-bell carillon, one of only two of this size in Maryland.

One of several large ponds on the campus is home to the annual cardboard boat race at the end of the scholastic year for upper schoolers.


The Upper School offers a rigorous college preparatory curriculum which requires that students take courses in English, foreign language, history, mathematics, science, visual and performing arts, and physical education. Honors or Advanced Placement courses are available in all academic departments. Upper School students must also complete a community service requirement. All students perform an academic project independently or in small groups during the final three weeks of their senior year.[8]

Academic and personal integrity is emphasized in the Upper School's Honor Code, which is enforced by a student-run Honor Council. The Honor Code reads:

I will not lie, cheat, or steal. I will respect the rights and well-being of myself and others.[8]

The academic calendar at McDonogh follows a trimester system.


The McDonogh School sports mascot is the Eagle, representative of the American eagle found on the McDonogh School seal. This mascot replaced the "Cadets" in 1972 commensurate with the abandonment of the school's military past.[citation needed]

McDonogh's men's teams compete in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA). Their chief rivals are the Gilman Greyhounds. The Eagles and Greyhounds conclude their respective men's football seasons against each other on the second Saturday in November. This highly competitive match-up is one of Maryland's oldest rivalries, and has been played since the early 1900s. The game typically caps a week of on-campus celebrations and festivities known as "Spirit Week". McDonogh's Wrestling program is currently ranked 3rd nationally in private schools, and since their entrance into MIAA in 1946, they have placed in the top 10, 15 times, 12 of those being in the last 12 years.

McDonogh's women's teams compete in the Independent Athletic Association of Maryland (IAAM). Most men's and women's teams compete in either the "A" or "B" divisions of their respective sports conferences, and it is not unusual for McDonogh's teams to play for simultaneous conference titles in several sports in a single season. Notable past athletes include Pam Shriver, professional tennis player/commentator; Eric King, defensive back for the Tennessee Titans; current Detroit Pistons and former Georgetown Hoyas forward DaJuan Summers; Brandon Erbe, a pitching prospect for the Baltimore Orioles; and current Wide Receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers Darrius Heyward-Bey. McDonogh's men's and women's lacrosse teams are widely considered to be among the elite high school lacrosse programs in the nation, and McDonogh lacrosse alumnae are well represented on NCAA Division I-A, I-AA and III rosters. From 2009 to 2013, the women's varsity lacrosse team won five consecutive IAAM championships. The team received the #2 national ranking in 2009 and the #1 national ranking from 2010 to 2013.

International exchange[edit]

McDonogh School has an international exchange program with Seijo Gakuen High School, Tokyo, Japan. Each year two students from Seijo Gakuen High School attend McDonogh School for a year, and McDonogh students attend Seijo Gakuen High School for two weeks every other year.

The Spanish program at McDonogh conducts a summer immersion program every summer alternating travel to Peru and Spain. In Peru McDonogh students visit various eco-systems, take private Spanish lessons, and live with families in Cuzco. The students also participate in a volunteer program with an Andean School in Chincheros. The three-week trip ends with a three-day stay in the Amazon at a primary forest refuge near Puerto Maldonado. In Spain, students visit Madrid and its environs and then participate in a two-week exchange with Colegio San Agustin in Valladolid, where they live with families and join their student partners who then visit McDonogh School for two weeks the following Fall term.

Every other year the school conducts an exchange with Faust Gymnasium, in Staufen, a town in the Black Forest Region. Up to twenty German language students from McDonogh travel to Germany in late June and early July, and the students from Faust Gymnasium come to stay with their exchange partners for the month of October.

Notable graduates[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b "McDonogh School Fact Sheet 2013-2014". McDonogh School. Retrieved 2013-10-10. 
  2. ^ "Senior Administration". McDonogh School. Retrieved 2013-10-10. 
  3. ^ "Power Schools". Baltimore Magazine. Retrieved 2013-09-29. 
  4. ^ a b "Admission Quick Facts". McDonogh School. 
  5. ^ "The McDonogh Ode,". The Gambit New Orleans. Retrieved 2010-02-23. 
  6. ^ "A Brief History". McDonogh School. 
  7. ^ "McDonogh Announces the Appointment of Charles Britton as 12th Head of School". McDonogh School. Retrieved 2008-10-14. 
  8. ^ a b "Upper School Curriculum". McDonogh School. 
  9. ^ Rousuck, J. Wynn (29 September 1999). "Adkins discovers his home onstage". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 26 September 2015. 
  10. ^ Frederic N. Smalkin, U.S. District Court Judge (Maryland)