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|Headmaster||Charles H. Skipper & Nilhan Çetinyamaç|
251 on scholarship
|Campus||Urban (65 acres / 27 ha)|
|Average SAT scores (2014)||Math: 774
Critical Reading: 652
Robert College of Istanbul (Turkish: İstanbul Özel Amerikan Robert Lisesi or Robert Kolej) is an independent private high school in Turkey. Robert College is a co-educational, boarding school with a 65-acre (26 ha) wooded campus on the European side of Istanbul between the two bridges on the Bosphorus, with the Arnavutköy district to the east, and the upscale Ulus district to the west.
The 150-year-old institution is the oldest American school still in existence in its original location outside the United States. Robert College is accredited by the New York State Association of Independent Schools.
Robert College has a long list of notable alumni, including entrepreneurs, politicians, journalists, artists, two Turkish Prime Ministers, four Bulgarian Prime Ministers, three members of the Turkish cabinet and one Nobel Prize recipient, Orhan Pamuk. The School is a member of the G20 Schools group.
- 1 History
- 2 Academics
- 3 Co-curricular activities
- 3.1 Student Council
- 3.2 Publications
- 3.3 Athletics
- 3.4 Music clubs
- 3.5 Conferences and festivals
- 3.6 Robert College Business Society Conference Series
- 4 Campus
- 5 Tuition and financial aid
- 6 Notable alumni
- 7 Notable faculty (former and current)
- 8 See also
- 9 References and notes
- 10 External links
In 1863, Robert College was founded in Bebek by Christopher Robert, a wealthy American and a philanthropist, and Cyrus Hamlin, a missionary devoted to education. Six years after its foundation, with the permission (Ottoman Turkish: irade) of the Ottoman Sultan, the first campus (at present, it is the South Campus of Boğaziçi University) was built in Bebek at the ridge of Rumelia Fortress, very close to a Bektashi tekke, whose leaders maintained an excellent relationship with the Congregational and Presbyterian founders of Robert College, according to Dr Friedrich Schrader, a German lecturer at Robert College during the 1890s. The first building of the school was named "Hamlin Hall" in memory of Cyrus Hamlin. A few years after the foundation of Robert College, in 1878, Christopher Robert died. According to the article, A Millionaire's Will, published in New York Times (November 27, 1878), Robert left a great portion of his wealth to the College.
A College Catalog was compiled in 1878–1879, giving general information and an outline of the courses of study. Defining the aims of the College the catalog stated: "The object of the College is to give to its students, without distinction of race or religion, a thorough educational equal in all respects to that obtained at a first-class American college and based upon the same general principles."
After Hamlin, Robert College was administrated by George Washburn (1877–1903) and Caleb F. Gates (1903–1932). Though founded at the time of the Ottoman Empire as an institution of higher learning serving the Christian minorities of the Empire as well as foreigners living in Istanbul, the school adopted a strictly secular educational model in accordance with the republican principles of Turkey in 1923. Robert College, in the past had junior high school, high school, and university sections under the names Robert Academy, Robert Yüksek and American College for Girls. Since 1971, the school has functioned only as a "high school" (more comparable to the French lycée in academic rigor) on its Arnavutköy campus (formerly the campus of American College for Girls), yet it retains the title of College. The Bebek campus and academic staff were turned over to the Republic of Turkey for use as Boğaziçi University, the renamed continuation of Robert College's university section, as a public university.
- 1863, September 16: Robert College opened with 31 students at Bebek Seminary School.
- 1922: President C. Gates and Hüseyin Pektaş (the first Muslim graduate and then Vice-President of the college) attended the Conference of Lausanne representing foreign educational institutions in the Ottoman Empire.
- 1932: With Dr. Paul Monroe, joint Presidency system was adapted by Robert College (R.C.) and American College for Girls (ACG). Robert Academy was the preparatory school for Robert College, which had a reputable Engineering School. Instruction was bilingual, in Turkish and English. (Young women who graduated from ACG are ACG Alumni, not R.C. Alumni)
- 1957: Robert College was granted permission to become an institution of higher learning by the Republic of Turkey; Robert College Yuksek provided University-level instruction and is the precursor of current Bosporus University. Robert Academy continued on the Bebek campus as a private high school.
- 1971: Robert College Yüksek" was officially ended on May 18 It was renamed Bogazici University. The merger of American College for Girls and Robert Academy as a co-educational private institution with junior high and high schools, on the Arnavutköy campus was officially confirmed on September 1971. Robert College's Bebek campus was donated to the Republic of Turkey. Boğaziçi University was established as a public university in this campus.
- 1998: With the adoption of the law for eight years of uninterrupted primary education in Turkey (junior high school became part of the primary education), the school no longer accepted students to its junior high school section.
- 2004: The last junior high school students graduated and junior high school section was officially closed. Now, Robert College has Prep, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th grades, and accepts students who have finished compulsory primary education of eight years.
"Robert College stands as a token of the close cooperation between Turkey and the USA. It is an institution which has made important contributions to the cultural life of this country and will continue to play a valuable part in the promotion of culture and education."
List of presidents and heads
"I have come to express America's solidarity with the Turkish people at a time of national tragedy, and to reaffirm our partnership for a common future. We have been friends for a very long time. In 1863, the first American college outside the United States, Robert College, opened its doors to the youth of Turkey. It was the only foreign institution allowed along the Bosphorus, precisely because America had never encroached upon Turkish sovereignty. I'm very proud that Prime Minister Ecevit is an alumnus of Robert College."
Robert College accepts 180 to 220 students each year, who have scored within the top 0.2 percentile in a nationwide examination, which every Turkish student must take in order to study in a high school (secondary education) after they complete their primary education. The school has around 1000 students each academic year.
The faculty have an average of 20 years of teaching experience and the majority have either Turkish or United States citizenship. The school currently has a faculty who are 50% Turkish, and 48% English native speakers (there are faculty from English speaking countries other than the United States). Sixty percent of the full-time faculty hold master's degrees or higher.
Robert College is a five-year high school, with the first year (Prep) being the English immersion year that prepares students for rigorous curriculum, which is mostly in English. English is the language of instruction used in Science, Mathematics, Literature, Physical Education, Art and Music courses. Turkish is the required language of instruction in social sciences and Turkish language/literature.
Main courses typically have 4 or 5 hours of instruction per week, while there are also additional mandatory courses like Religion & Ethics, Philosophy, Traffic & First Aid, P.E., which are only taught 1 or 2 hours per week. To graduate from the school, students have to complete a program averaging 6 main courses per semester, which is designed to prepare them both for matriculation in an American college or university and for study at Turkey’s top universities.
Starting in the fall of 2013, the school adopted a two-week block schedule with four 80-minute blocks (along with a 60-minute lunch) that alternate every day for two weeks. The first block of the day lasts for 90 minutes, with 10 minutes dedicated to the reading of morning announcements. Here is a table showing a sample schedule of a senior in Robert College:
|Week A||Week B|
|08:00-09:30||AP English Lit.||AP Statistics||French 4||Turkish Lit.||Orchestra||French 4||Free||Turkish Lit.||AP English Lit.||Free|
|09:55-11:15||Turkish Lit.||Orchestra||Traffic & First Aid||Turkish History||AP English Lit.||Turkish Lit.||Free||P.E.||Religion & Ethics||Orchestra|
|11:30-12:50||French 4||Turkish History||AP English Lit.||AP Statistics||Free||Turkish History||Orchestra||AP Statistics||French 4||Turkish Lit.|
|13:50-15:10||AP Statistics||P.E.||Free||Orchestra||French 4||AP Statistics||AP English Lit.||Free||Counseling||Turkish History|
General graduation requirements for students include (excluding the Prep year):
- Four years of English Language and Literature,
- At least two years of Mathematics,
- One year each of Biology I, Physics I, and Chemistry I,
- Four years of Turkish Language and Literature,
- Two years of a second foreign language (either French or German),
- One year each of Geography, History, Turkish Republican History, Philosophy and Traffic & Health,
- One year of Art elective,
- At least fifty hours of Community Involvement Project (CIP).
Advanced Placement electives
- AP English Language and Composition
- AP English Literature and Composition
- AP Calculus AB
- AP Calculus BC
- AP Statistics
- AP Computer Science
- AP Physics
- AP Chemistry
- AP Biology
- AP Art History
- AP Studio Art (Drawing)
- AP Photography (2D)
- AP Contemporary Art (3D)
- AP Music Theory
Robert College graduates traditionally continue their education in the United States or Turkey, though in recent years the number of students studying in Canada and United Kingdom increased. Every year approximately 35-40% percent of the graduating class choose to study in the United States, whereas the ones wishing to study in Turkey get placed in a university based on their score on the National Entrance Examination (ÖSS). In 2006, Robert College ranked first in all three sections of ÖSS among the private high schools in Turkey, with 76 out of 132 students taking the exam scoring in the top 0.3% (top 5000). Out of 104 students who chose to study in Turkey, 29 were admitted to Boğaziçi University, which is an overall highest ranking school in Turkey. 56 students chose to continue their education abroad and 36% of these students are attending Ivy League colleges. In 2011, Robert placed 123 graduates in Turkish universities, 21 (40%) of them in Bosphorus University. Another 53 planned to study abroad, 8 (15%) in the Ivy League. Of the 79 students who had applied abroad, 75 were offered admission.
Robert College has a rich history of co-curricular activities and sports, with about 100 student activity clubs as of 2015. Robert College introduced basketball to the Ottoman Empire in 1907. The first Student Council in Ottoman Empire was also formed in 1908 in Robert College.
Student Council is formed of a group of annually elected student governors and a faculty advisor. The elected body is proportional with class size. As well as class representatives, the president, the vice president, the secretary and the treasurer are elected after a period of campaigning. Student Council is responsible for facilitating communications between students, faculty and administration, as well as organizing social activities and fundraising for clubs. Student Council also organizes the largest and oldest high school festival, Fine Arts Festival, in Turkey. The President of the Student Council, representing the student body, makes a speech during the opening, closing, and graduation ceremonies.
- Bosphorous Chronicle: The school's newspaper published monthly.
- Record: The Yearbook.
- Kaleidoscope: The English literature magazine.
- Köprü (The Bridge): The school's Turkish newspaper, published bimonthly. (First published in January 2009)
- Martı (Seagull): Turkish literature journal.
- Oda (Room): Turkish literature journal publishing poems, stories and photos submitted by students.
- Tarih (History): The History Club's annual publication.
- Flag Football
- Table tennis
Robert College Orchestra is one of the largest clubs in school. Orchestra concerts, modern and classical, take place throughout the year and during the Homecoming. Though it has several sections in itself, the music groups below also exist independently:
- A Cappella
- Musical Activities Club
- Composition and Improvisation
- Bass Guitar
Conferences and festivals
Fine Arts Festival (FAF)
Fine Arts Festival is the largest secondary school festival in Turkey. It has been held annually since 1982 by the Robert College Student Council. Each year, more than 2,000 people attend the festival, which is traditionally held in May. Fine Arts Festival is a big event in which many student groups can perform on stage. There are various art exhibitions and dance shows that take place in the festival. Student Council members visit other high schools in Istanbul and advertise for this festive event. People from students come together in this festival to praise art. At the end of the festival, traditionally a very famous musical band or artist performs on stage. An example to this would be Athena who performed several years ago.[when?] The invitation of such accomplished artists is completely realized by the efforts the Student Council. Most of the revenues used to fund this event are raised through food and ticket sales. Food sellers are usually picked by Student Council members and consist of people who have restaurants close to Robert College like "kumpir" sellers in Ortakoy, or Askana etc. This promotes the tight-knit Robert College community spirit.
International Istanbul Youth Forum (IYF)
The International Istanbul Youth Forum is an annually held conference at Robert College. It is the first conference in Turkey that is recognized as a Regional EYP (European Youth Parliament) session. It is being organized every year since 2006 with participants from numerous European countries. Each year, more than 150 participants from all over Europe gather at the RC campus. The conference is organized by the Robert College European Youth Club.
The Ethics Forum is the first to be established at high school level in Turkey. Robert College Ethical Values Club organizes an ethics case study contest at national level among high school students, following their forum. The results are announced at the Ethics Conference near the end of the year. Both events attract more than twenty public and private schools from around Turkey.
Robert College International Model United Nations (RCIMUN)
Robert College International Model United Nations (RCIMUN) is an annual THIMUN-affiliated Model United Nations conference. The conference includes the Security Council of UN and ECOSOC as well as a simulation of the International Criminal Court and a Historical Committee. Approximately 750 students, of which about 42% was from international schools attended the 2012 conference.
Istanbul Gençlik Forumu (IGF)
Istanbul Gençlik Forumu is a national conference where representatives from over 30 high schools from different regions come together to discuss issues regarding the future of Turkey. In 2008, the 5th IGF welcomed over 250 participants. Discussions about international affairs are held in Turkish and each committee is responsible for writing a resolution. Then, at the General Assembly, each resolution is discussed and voted on. It is also the National Selection Conference of EYP Turkey, which is also recognized by the international office of European Youth Parliament. The conference is held annually and is organized by the Robert College European Youth Club.
Turkish Theater Festival (TIFES)
Organized by the Robert College Theater Club, TIFES is one of the major theatrical events at high school level in Turkey. The festival takes place in Robert College campus during the first week of June. Numerous plays are put on stage during the week in Suna Kıraç Hall and famous actors, actresses and playwrights give talks on topics related to theatrical arts.
Junior Achievement Robert College Conference (JARC)
Robert College Junior Achievement Club is hosting this event. About 300 Junior Achievement students from all over Turkey meet each other and share their experiences with others and famous entrepreneurs and artists related to the topics like Risk (2010), Alternative Careers (2009), Creating a Brand (2008). The entertaining workshop about these topics is a didacting icebreaking activity to strengthen the relationship between Junior Achievement students. The nearest conference is in April 2011.
Robert College Business Society Conference Series
Robert College Decision Analysis and Risk Management Conference 2015 (RCDARM)
The conference took place at 13th-14th-15 November. Keynote Speaker was Chris Spetzler of Decision Education Foundation. The conference was noted to be highly successful and future collaborations with the Decision Education Foundation were decided.
The 65-acre (260,000 m2) wooded campus overlooking Bosphorus on the European side of Istanbul is home to historic buildings as well as modern ones, centennial trees and a rich fauna, among which Bosphorus Beetle, an endemic species to this campus, could be counted.
- Gould Hall: This building, the oldest educational building on the campus, is a gift from Helen Gould Shepard, daughter of the famous 19th century Wall Street financier Jay Gould. She donated US$150,000 for the construction, which began in 1911 and was completed in 1914. Today it houses classrooms, the main administrative offices, the library, Heritage Museum and cafeteria as well as Turkish Literature and Social Sciences Departments.
- Woods Hall: Completed in 1914, the building was a partial gift from Mrs. Henry Woods, of Boston, who donated US$58,000, with Helen Gould supplying the remaining US$25,000 required. It was used as a Science Building until 1990, and today is home to the English Prep classrooms and offices.
- Mitchell Hall: Originally home to the school kitchens and dining room, it was a gift from Miss Olivia E. Phelps Stokes, who donated US$100,000. A modest woman, she asked for the building to be named in memory of her friend, Sarah Lindlay Mitchell. Today, the building houses classrooms, the Math Department, the Sait Halman Computer Center, the audio-visual center. The top floor is used for examinations and minor conferences.
- Sage Hall: A gift from Mrs. Margaret Olivia Sage, widow of Russell Sage, a famous 19th century financier and associate of Jay Gould, Sage Hall is one of the few buildings still used for its original purpose. A philanthropist, she donated US$100,000 for the building, built as a dormitory. Today, the building houses the girls' dormitories, infirmary and art studios and a photography studio.
- Bingham Hall: Originally built as a medical school building, financed by William Bingham in memory of his mother, Mary Payne Bingham, the building housed the junior high school section, from 1925 to 1992. Today, it is home to the boys' dormitories, as well as a small conference room, business and administrative offices.
- Feyyaz Berker Hall: Feyyaz Berker Hall, which today houses the science labs and classrooms, as well as the Science Department, was completed in 1990, and named after its largest donor,leading Turkish businessman and Robert College Trustee Feyyaz Berker (Robert College Eng '46 alumnus). The Biology Museum, which has one of the rarest collections in Turkey, has been reopened in the top floor of the building.
- Suna Kıraç Hall: A state-of-the-art theater building completed in 1990, which includes a large stage, make-up rooms, modern sound and lighting system and seatings for 512 people, was named after its largest donor Suna Kıraç (American College for Girls '60 alumnus), a leading Turkish businesswoman and Robert College Trustee.
- Nejat Eczacıbaşı Hall: The modern school gymnasium was opened in 1990 and named after its largest donor, prominent Turkish bio-chemist and businessman Dr. Nejat Eczacıbaşı (Robert College '32 alumnus).
İbrahim Bodur Library
When founded in 1863, Robert College had four students. A sum of $2,120 had been allocated to the library, and Harvard University had donated 200 volumes for the opening of the library. During the 50's and 60's, the college had one of the largest collections in Turkey. (In 1957: 111,598 books and 214 periodicals; the American College for Girls Library 27,163 books and 108 periodicals, according to the Turkiye Kutuphaneleri Rehberi (Guide to Libraries in Turkey) published by the Turkish National Library in that year.) After the foundation of Boğaziçi University, the college donated the majority of its collections to the newly founded university. Today, Robert College has the largest library collection among secondary schools in Turkey. The library houses more than 47,300 books, 190 periodical publications, and two web-based databases. It occupies an area of 700 square meters with a seating capacity of 90, and serves a total of 927 students, as well as all the employees and alumni of the school on second and third floors of Gould Hall.
Other buildings and facilities
- The Rodney B. Wagner Memorial Maze
- Murat Karamancı Student Center (Bubble/Gym)
- Tennis courts
- Faculty housing (Yalı and numerous houses dispersed on campus)
- Rose Garden
- Biology Pond
- The Bridge and the Security
This section only includes the buildings on today's Robert College campus (formerly the campus of American College for Girls); the ones on the former boys campus of Robert College could be found in the Boğaziçi University article.
Tuition and financial aid
Robert College tuition fees for the 2009–2010 academic year  are:
|Day Student||Boarder (5 days)||Boarder (7 days)|
|TRY 25,100||TRY 39,200||TRY 44,400|
The tuition fees are adjusted each year according to the inflation rates in a limited range set by the Ministry of Education. Robert College has been the most expensive private school in Turkey over the years. It is still the most expensive educational institution surpassing the private universities. According to school data, 22% of the students receive financial aid and the allocated funds for financial aid amount to US$3.8 million for the 2007–2008 academic year.
Since the time of the Ottoman Empire, Robert College alumni have played a leading role in numerous fields — from the arts to government administration.
In 1990, three alumni, Nejat Eczacıbaşı, Suna Kıraç and Feyyaz Berker have donated the necessary funds for the construction of the new buildings that are mentioned in the Buildings section. As the costs of the school cannot be met by the tuition fees alone, the Alumni Association organizes an annual giving campaign to cover the costs of the school. Bizimtepe, a cultural and recreational center next to the campus, is an affiliate of the Alumni Association and was founded to raise funds for the school. The Alumni Association publishes RC Quarterly, which reaches 8,000 Robert College alumni around the world by mail.
Notable faculty (former and current)
- Cahit Arf, Mathematician
- Mihri Pektaş, Among the first female members of Turkish Parliament, alumna of American College of Girls
- John Freely, Professor of Physics, author
- Mebrure Gönenç, Among the first female members of Turkish Parliament, alumna of American College of Girls
- Necip Fazıl Kısakürek, Poet, author
- Paul Lange, Conductor of Ottoman Empire's Royal Orchestra, musician, father of US conductor Hans Lange
- Friedrich Schrader, German journalist, author
- Arman Manukyan, Professor of Economy and Accounting
- Karl von Terzaghi, Austrian civil engineer, see Soil mechanics
- Behçet Kemal Çağlar, Poet
- Dave Phillips, Physical Education teacher, played professional basketball for Beşiktaş
- List of Robert College alumni
- Boğaziçi University
- List of high schools in Turkey
- Istanbul International Community School
- Üsküdar American Academy
- Koc School
- American Collegiate Institute
- Tarsus American College
References and notes
- The Turkish education system divides schools into two classes: public or private. According to this classification, Robert College is a private school.
- "Türkiye Geneli En iyi Özel Okullar Taban Puanı" [Best Private High Schools Nationwide, Threshold Scores]. Retrieved 24 March 2007.
- This title is also claimed by the American College of Sofia, founded in 1863.
- Friedrich Schrader in: Robert College, Nord und Süd, November 1919, S. 165–169 (Article in German language)
- "A Millionaire's Will" (PDF). The New York Times. 27 November 1878. Retrieved 22 January 2008.
- "George Washburn". Dictionary of American Biography (fee, via Fairfax County Public Library). New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. 1936. GALE|BT2310001134. Retrieved 2012-02-26. Gale Biography In Context. (subscription required)
- "Gates, Caleb Frank 1857-1946". worldcat.org. Retrieved 20 September 2016.
- "About Robert College". Retrieved 7 February 2012.
- "Chronology of Events". Retrieved 8 February 2007.
- "Story of Robert College" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 June 2007. Retrieved 24 March 2007.
- "The School and Students". Retrieved 8 January. Check date values in:
- "RC'06 University Results". Retrieved 23 March 2007.
- "RC'11 University Results". Robert College. Retrieved 2012-02-26.
- "Fine Arts Festival-Güzel Sanatlar Festivali". Retrieved 8 February 2007.
- "RC Ethical Values Club". Retrieved 23 March 2007.
- "Robert College International Model United Nations". Retrieved 23 February 2011.
- "TIFES IV" (in Turkish). Archived from the original on 2007-10-15. Retrieved 23 March 2007.
- "Robert College Business Society". Robert College Business Society. Retrieved 2015-11-12.
- "About Robert College Library". Retrieved 6 February 2007.
- "Robert College, 1863-1971; Bosphorus University, 1971-Present" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 June 2007. Retrieved 6 February 2007.
- "Okul Ücreti (Tuition)". 2008. Retrieved 28 January 2008.
- "Milliyet (National Daily Milliyet's Online version)". 2006. Retrieved 24 March 2007.
- "FAQ About Annual Giving". 2006. Retrieved 25 March 2007.
- "History of Robert College (Excerpt from Celebrating the Past 1863, Building the Future 1988)". 2006. Retrieved 6 February 2007.
- "RC Quarterly" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 June 2007. Retrieved 14 February 2007.
Books on Robert College
- Ali Neyzi, Alma Mater and the Story of Robert College
- Asya Orhon, Kolejlerin Koleji, Robert Kolej
- Betty Tank, Pushing My Shadow
- Caleb Frank Gates, Not To Me Only, Princeton, 1940.
- Cyrus Hamlin, My Life and Times, Boston, 1893.
- Cyrus Hamlin, Among the Turks
- Eren Yanık, Akvaryum
- Washburn, George (1909). Fifty Years in Constantinople and Recollections of Robert College (1 ed.). Boston & New York: Houghton Mufflin Company. Retrieved 3 April 2016. via Internet Archive
- Hester Donaldson Jenkins, An Educational Ambassador to the Middle East
- John Freely, History of Robert College, Istanbul, YKY, 2000.
- Lynn Scipio, My Thirty Years in Turkey, New Hampshire, Ringde, 1955.
- Mary Mills Patrick, A Bosphorus Adventure, London, 1934.
- Mary Mills Patrick, Under Five Sultans
- May Fincancı, The Story of Robert College Old and New
- Moris Farhi, Young Turk
- Orhan Türker, Mega Revma'dan Arnavutköy'e, Istanbul, 2005
- Stevens Marcia & Malcolm, Against the Devil's Current: Life & Times of C.H.
- Talat S. Halman, Aklın Yolu Bindir, Istanbul, 2003.
- Ugur Ersoy, 1950-55 Erguvan Renkli Yıllar, Istanbul, 2004.
- Robert College
- Robert College Alumni Association
- Robert College Alumni Association of America
- The Student Council
- Fine Arts Festival
- RC Quarterly Robert College Alumni Magazine
- Robert College International Model United Nations Website
- Robert College EYC Website
- about Robert College
- RC Quarterly
- "History of Boğaziçi University". Boğaziçi University. Retrieved 2012-02-27.