Tarsus American College

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Tarsus American College
Tarsus American College logo

TypeIndependent, Boarding
MottoLeaders for Turkey, Leadership for the World
PrincipalAhu Arslan
Head masterEric Trujillo
Color(s)Red, white
Stickler Hall

Tarsus American College or Tarsus American School (official Turkish name: Özel Tarsus Amerikan Lisesi, also known as Tarsus Amerikan Koleji) is a private coeducational high school located in Tarsus, Province of Mersin, Turkey. It is known for the success of its alumni throughout the world.[1] The Economist (1994) noted that Tarsus American School is in the top ten schools in Turkey, due mainly to the success of its graduates.[2] The school maintains a respective fellowship system, in which all students in the school know each other and have strong bonds.

The college was established in 1888. Armenian American reverent Harutiun Jenanian approached philanthropist Elliott Fitch Shepard to build an institution in dedication to Paul of Tarsus. Shepard promised to donate $5,000 a year ($142 thousand in 2019[3]) and contribute a $100,000 ($2.85 million in 2019[3]) trust fund upon his death. Jenanian subsequently founded the school under the name "Jenanian College"; the name later changed to "St. Paul's College".[4]

In its first years, the school had close contact with the American Board Foundation, a charity organization located in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. Alexander Mac Lachlan and presbyterian missionary Harutyun Stephen Cenanyan (25 April 1858, Maraş, Turkey – 25 September 1907, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), a graduate of Union Theological Seminary in New York City, served as the first school administrators until 1891, Thomas Davidson Christie from 1893 to 1920.

Regarding Burke Library alumni records of Union Theological Seminary, dates of Jenanyan's birth and death are given. In addition, the record credited him as founder of St. Paul's Institute.

Education was carried out in the school's first building "Shepard Hall". Mr. Vanderpool, a US citizen, made a large donation in memory of this mother for a much needed building. "Stickler Hall" was once the tallest building in Tarsus with its five stories. Since its construction in 1911 it has been the symbol of Tarsus American College.

The school was called both "St. Paul's Institute at Tarsus" and "Tarsus American College" between 1911 and 1928. Since 1930 the name has been solely Tarsus American College.

Coeducation started in 1979 with 35 girls joining the student body of 506 boys. In 1986, the school graduates its first coed alumni. The same year, the boarding section, available from the preparatory class, was closed until its reopening for boys in 2002.


1888 "St.Paul's Institute at Tarsus " starts its education with eight students. In the first years, it has contact with the American Board Foundation, a charity organization located in Boston, Massachusetts . Between 1888 and 1891 the first school administrators are Alexander Mac Lachlan and Hartune S. Jenanyan. St. Paul 's Institute starts to become familiar, serving the academic needs of Tarsus and its surroundings. 1888-1911 instruction is carried out in the school's first building "Shepard Hall".

1911 Stickler Hall, which is a symbol of TAC today, is added to the campus. The construction of Stickler Hall starts in 1905 by a $10,000 donation from an American citizen, Mr. Vanderpool. "Stickler" got its name from Mrs. Vanderpool's mother. The building, whose construction was completed in 1911, is five stories tall. It was once the tallest building in Tarsus, with a height of 21 meters. Stickler Hall stands out with its high roof reflecting a triangle on every side.

Between the years 1911-1928, the school was known as St. Paul's College and as Tarsus College. The school had to endure difficult times in the First World War, and ultimately was entitled to be a high school / lycée governed by the Turkish Republic in 1928, under an administration led by Mr. Woolworth.

1930 The school graduates its first alumni under the name " Tarsus American College "

1954 "Friendship Hall " building opens.

1960 "Unity Hall " building opens.

1963 Senior year students known as the Legendary Class of 63 refused to participate in their commencement ceremony to receive their diplomas, along with rejection to participate in any social activity, due to a conflict with the School Administration. Their move was supported by the whole student body, and with official permission from the Governor, Class ot 64 organized a march to the Atatürk Monument, the first of its kind in the history of Tarsus, and placed a black wreath to protest the School Administration. Class of 63 and the School Administration came to terms with each other and the School Administration, together with the Class of 63, organized a graduation ceremony in the year 2000.

1979 The school starts co-ed education. Alongside 506 boys, there are 35 girls in the student body.

1983 The school graduates its first coed alumni.

1985 The school graduates its last all boys alumni.

1986 The boarding section, available from the preparatory year, is closed.

1988 "Centennial Hall " construction is completed and opened to service

1989 "Sadık Paşa Konağı" is rented and starts to be used as an annex to the school buildings.

1990 Maynard Hall is added to the school campus.

1997 The renovation of Stickler building, the symbol of the school, begins. After the law of eight years of primary education becomes effective, the middle school section is removed. Meanwhile, a preparatory year is added to the high school / lycée section. The Health and Education Foundation opens the Tarsus SEV Elementary School to fill the gap of a middle school.

1999 Stickler Hall, which was not used for some time, is re-opened for use.

2002 The school re-launches its boarding section for boys.

2003–2004 TAC initiates a four-year high school / lycée program. Today the school provides its students with modern academics through its laboratories, multi-functional sports hall, sports complexes, auditorium and libraries.[5]

2005–present Yadigar Kaya starts working as the school secretary, starting the 1. Yadigar Era.


Tarsus American College offers its students qualified education with options. TAC is authorized to offer the IB Diploma Programme since November 2004, the programme is taught in English.[6]

Student life in TAC[edit]

The academic programs constitute the skeleton of the school's work, but other programs are available. These other programs are:

  • activities in clubs
  • community service
  • sport
  • school trips
  • after-school social activities
  • The Student Council

Activities and Clubs[edit]

Tarsus American College hosts a brotherhood system among students.

Every student from the Prep class to grade 11, is required to take part in a club activity each week. The activity period is the last session on Wednesday afternoon. To oversee the activities of clubs, there is an activity coordinator who oversees the matching of students in clubs at the start of the year and who also helps the administration to monitor attendance of the clubs as well as monitoring the quality of work undertaken by the clubs. He/she is responsible for the reservation and use of the auditorium, for the provision of service buses where necessary and to help guide teachers through the process of getting official approval from the local Ministry of Education Office for trips outside the school.

Club targets could be a production as in a drama club or music club or the publication of a work by students, a writing club or a magazine club or it could include attendance at a certain number of debating conferences or competitions in the case of the Debate Club or Model United Nations and so on.

Attendance to clubs during school time is obligatory. The activities in clubs to be offered in the 2006-2007 academic year are as follows:[7]

  • Basketball
  • ISTA
  • Dance
  • Handball
  • History
  • Computer
  • Model Plane
  • Turkish Drama
  • Science Club
  • The Echo Band
  • English Drama
  • Book Mobile
  • Model United Nations Club
  • Folk Dances
  • Athletics
  • Debate
  • School Newsletter
  • Football
  • Chess
  • Art/Photography
  • Table Tennis
  • Radio
  • Muay Thai

Community service[edit]

Tarsus American College has a tradition of having students take part in community service. Some community service activities undertaken by students fifty years ago have become important local industries and people who have served with distinction the community around the Tarsus American College have gone on to work to form and to work in government agencies concerned with national development projects. All students are expected to take part in community service activities. These community service activities include the following:

  • teaching English to local students
  • supporting a school in a nearby mountain village
  • organizing sports activities for students who do not get the opportunity to do so many sports
  • planting trees
  • visiting senior citizens to keep them company
  • social activities

Each student is expected to take part in activities of their choice for 20 hours to reach a minimum attendance requirement. Students who exceed 35 hours for the year are awarded a merit certificate for their extra service. There is a community service coordinator.[8]


Sport is an important part of the fabric of school. Students have the opportunity to choose sporting activities during the club hours on Wednesday afternoon. The sports clubs on the club afternoon are not limited to school teams. In fact, students from outside the school teams are encouraged to join these clubs for interest, for fitness and for fun.

The school has school teams in various sports.[9]

After school activities[edit]

These activities include sport practice, extra study with teachers, community service projects, drama rehearsals and special events such as musical evenings and the carnival.

School trips[edit]

The school organizes cultural and social service trips within and outside Tarsus.[10] These trips are designed for students to have an experience in recognizing different cultures and to understand the world outside our borders. These trips can be both domestic and international.

Student council[edit]

The college encourages student representation to discuss student welfare and the enrichment of student life. The School Council activities are bound by Ministry rules and within the framework of ministry rules, the school has its own Student Council constitution. The TAC Student Council constitution sets down procedures for the election of the members of the Council and guidelines for how the Council should operate.[11]

Notable alumni[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Tarsus American College#Notable alumni
  2. ^ "Tarsus American School - Turkey Schools - Directory of International and English Schools in Turkey". English-schools.org. 2006-11-03. Retrieved 2014-12-01. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ a b Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Retrieved January 1, 2020.
  4. ^ Jernazian, Ephraim K. (1990). Judgement Unto Truth: Witnessing the Armenian Genocide. Transaction Publishers. p. 22. ISBN 9781412827027. Retrieved October 30, 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20110930064626/http://www.tac.k12.tr/en/genel/default2.aspx?mid2=124&mid1=21. Archived from the original on September 30, 2011. Retrieved February 18, 2016. Missing or empty |title= (help)CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ "International Baccalaureate". Ibo.org. Retrieved 2014-12-01. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20110930064653/http://www.tac.k12.tr/en/genel/default2.aspx?mid2=66&mid1=13. Archived from the original on September 30, 2011. Retrieved February 18, 2016. Missing or empty |title= (help)CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20110930064713/http://www.tac.k12.tr/en/genel/default2.aspx?mid2=67&mid1=13. Archived from the original on September 30, 2011. Retrieved February 18, 2016. Missing or empty |title= (help)CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20110930064729/http://www.tac.k12.tr/en/genel/default2.aspx?mid2=68&mid1=13. Archived from the original on September 30, 2011. Retrieved February 18, 2016. Missing or empty |title= (help)CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  10. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20110930064815/http://www.tac.k12.tr/en/genel/default2.aspx?mid2=70&mid1=13. Archived from the original on September 30, 2011. Retrieved February 18, 2016. Missing or empty |title= (help)CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  11. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20110930064829/http://www.tac.k12.tr/en/genel/default2.aspx?mid2=71&mid1=13. Archived from the original on September 30, 2011. Retrieved February 18, 2016. Missing or empty |title= (help)CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 36°54′50″N 34°53′40″E / 36.91389°N 34.89444°E / 36.91389; 34.89444