Collegiate School (New York City)

Coordinates: 40°47′00″N 73°58′52″W / 40.78333°N 73.98111°W / 40.78333; -73.98111
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Collegiate School
301 Freedom Place South


TypePrivate, day, college prep
MottoLatin: Nisi Dominus Frustra
("Unless God, then in vain")
Dutch: Eendracht maakt macht
("In unity there is strength")
Established1628; 395 years ago (1628)
FounderThe Rev. Jonas Michaelius and the Dutch West India Company
ChairmanJonathan Youngwood ’85
HeadmasterDavid S. Lourie
Faculty104.2 (on an FTE basis)[1]
Number of students656 (2019–2020)[1]
Student to teacher ratio6.3[1]
Color(s)Orange and blue   
NewspaperThe Journal
YearbookThe Dutchman
AffiliationsIvy Prep School League
New York Interschool

Collegiate School is a private school for boys in New York City. It claims to be the oldest school in the United States.[2][3] It is located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and is a member of both the New York Interschool and the Ivy Preparatory School League. In 2020–2021, tuition fees totaled $55,900 per year.[4]


Collegiate was chartered as part of the Reformed Dutch Protestant Church in the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam in 1628 by the Dutch West India Company and the Classis of Amsterdam.[5] Its initial incarnation was a co-ed school located south of Canal Street. The institution's location has changed seventeen times over the last four centuries.[6]

Founding date controversy[edit]

In 1984, Massimo Maglione, a historian and Upper School teacher at Collegiate, discovered a letter that Collegiate's founder—the Reverend Jonas Michaëlius, the first minister of the Dutch Reformed Church in America—had written in 1628 about his efforts to teach the catechism to Indian children. Based on this letter, the school controversially moved up the year of its establishment to 1628.[7][3] While Reverend Jonas Michaëlius did arrive in New Amsterdam in 1628 and may have worked as an educator at that time, Collegiate School was not chartered until 1638.[5]


On February 5, 2013, the Collegiate School board announced plans to move the school to a new facility in New York's Riverside South neighborhood, between West End Avenue and Riverside Boulevard and between West 61st and 62nd Streets. Board Chairman George R. Bason, Jr. '72 said the new 178,000-square-foot school would provide 30% more indoor space and more than six times more outdoor space (16,268 square feet) for its 648 students from kindergarten through 12th grade than the existing lodgings provided. He estimated the new school's construction cost at $125–$135 million.[8] On January 12, 2018, Collegiate officially opened its new location at 301 Freedom Place South.[9]

School seal and mottos[edit]

Collegiate's seal is an adaptation of the coat of arms of William of Orange, who founded the Dutch Republic and the Reformed Church in that country and led the cause of independence and of freedom for the Reformed Church against Philip II of Spain. Included in the school's seal are two mottos: Eendracht Maakt Macht, Dutch for "In unity there is strength", and Nisi Dominus Frustra, Latin for "unless God, then in vain." The History and Symbols Task Force recommended in its June 2020 report that the latter be replaced, owing to its explicitly religious nature and Collegiate's status as a secular institution.[10]


The school mascot in the 1975 yearbook

The school's mascot, generally interpreted as a caricature of Peter Stuyvesant, and often called "Peg Leg Pete" by students, has been the subject of recent controversy because of Stuyvesant's lack of religious tolerance, his vision for New Amsterdam as a slave depot, and his anti-Semitism.[11][12] The school's History and Symbols Task Force, which completed its work in June 2020, concluded in its final report that the mascot be removed and a committee convened to solicit candidates for a replacement.[13] The school's board of trustees voted to adopt the task force's recommendation, among the others in the report.[14] In 2021, new mascots were proposed to and voted upon by the student body and faculty. While the proposed mascots were met with widespread criticism from many senior teachers and the student body, a new mascot was eventually settled upon.


Current campus at 301 Freedom Place
Old Collegiate School campus


From 1892 to 2017, Collegiate occupied several buildings on 77th and 78th Streets on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The former schoolhouse on West 77th Street is, together with the adjoining West End Collegiate Church, an historic landmark in the City of New York.

In 2013, the school announced that it would move to a new location and in January 2018, Collegiate moved into a new facility at 301 Freedom Place South. It consists of an 11-story building (nine stories above ground and two below), with 180,000 square feet (17,000 m2) of classroom, athletics, theater, music, art, library, dining, and administrative space. The school has common areas dedicated to each division that provide space for independent study, social interactions, and divisional activities.

The Lower School is located on floors 2 and 3. The Middle School occupies floors 8 and 9. It has its own Maker Space, along with flexible classrooms, a Middle School Center and large, modern group study spaces. The Upper School is housed on floors 5 and 6. It is larger than the division's previous space and is next to the library. It has flexible classrooms and common areas that promote interaction among students and faculty.

Sciences for all three divisions are on floor 7. Visual arts and music occupy floor 4, with music practice spaces, art studios, and a digital photo lab. On the Lower Level is a 307-seat auditorium and a black-box theater for Collegiate's drama program. Collegiate's athletics are in the Lower Level and include a high school regulation-size gym for the basketball teams. The gym can be partitioned to provide PE classes and practice space simultaneously. An additional gym, the Alumni Gym, can accommodate wrestling competitions and half-court basketball and has a retractable batting cage.

Outdoor space consists of a large roof deck on floor 9 with a large recreation area and a ground-level, 5,000-square-foot courtyard for handball and basketball.[15]


Each grade has around 50 boys. Those who attend Collegiate for all 12 years are nicknamed "Survivors".[citation needed] The school is divided into Lower School (Kindergarten-Grade 4), Middle School (Grades 5–8), and Upper School (Grades 9-12). More than a quarter of Collegiate teachers have a PhD.

The school is private, and it functions under a New York City non-profit statute enacted in the 1940s. Collegiate is controlled by a board of trustees, and the school is administered by a Head of School.[16]


Collegiate School was headed by Lee M. Levison from July 1, 2006, until June 30, 2020. He was preceded by W. Lee Pierson, the interim Head of School after the departure of Kerry P. Brennan in 2004.[17] Levison announced his intention to retire in December 2018, causing the board of trustees to begin a search for his replacement.[18]

On May 31, 2019, the board of trustees unanimously voted to appoint David S. Lourie, Head of the St. Anne's-Belfield School since 2009, as Collegiate's 29th Head of School.[19][18] He began his tenure upon Levison's retirement on July 1, 2020.


In 2007, The Wall Street Journal ranked Collegiate first in the world in terms of percent of the senior class matriculating to eight selective American colleges.[20]

Sports and co-curricular activities[edit]

The school's athletic success has mainly been with the varsity basketball, baseball, track and field, soccer, and cross country teams. The Collegiate soccer team won the NYSAIS state championship in 2010, 2011, and 2012.[21]| The Collegiate varsity basketball team won five straight state championships in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012.[21] The Collegiate cross country team won 25 Ivy League Championships in a row from 1990 to 2014.[21] The Collegiate wrestling team won their first Ivy League and NYSAIS titles in 2022. Collegiate also has a golf and tennis team. Students not participating in a sport take physical education. Yearly fitness tests are administered in the lower and middle schools.

The school has a number of clubs, especially in the Upper School, including The Collegiate Journal. its newspaper operating since 1932; The Dutchman, the yearbook published every year since 1906; and Prufrock. its literary magazine, first published in 1973.[22]

Notable alumni[edit]

Affiliated organizations[edit]


1. ^ The History and Symbols Task Force has recommended that this motto be removed, owing to its explicit religious nature.


  1. ^ a b c d "COLLEGIATE SCHOOL". Private School Universe Survey. National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved February 9, 2023.
  2. ^ "Colligiate's Arithmetic Makes it the Oldest School". The New York Times. May 5, 1985. Retrieved November 29, 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Gifted Parents Help Collegiate School". The New York Times. May 24, 1988. Retrieved November 29, 2016. The concert celebrated what Collegiate calls its 360th anniversary. Which year the school was actually founded - 1628, 1633 or 1638 - has created disputes among the nation's oldest schools that seem as enduring as the schools. In 1984, Collegiate moved its date from 1633 to 1628, because officials discovered a letter written in 1628 by the Rev. Jonas Michealius of the Dutch Reformed Church describing his efforts to teach catechism to Indian children. To Collegiate officials, that sounded as much like a preparatory school as anything operating in early 17th-century America. The change puts Collegiate in the position of marking its 360th anniversary 55 years after it celebrated its 300th anniversary, in 1933. "It was all thrashed out around 1910," the headmaster, Cornelius B. Boocock, told The New York Times in 1933. "The case is now settled."...
  4. ^ "Tuition & Financial Aid at Collegiate School in New York". Retrieved February 16, 2021.
  5. ^ a b "Collegiate School in NY | The Oldest Independent School in the US". Archived from the original on June 14, 2020. Retrieved April 15, 2020.
  6. ^ Anderson, Jenny (February 6, 2013). "School Plans Its 17th Move, but Its First Since 1892". The New York Times. Retrieved June 25, 2022.
  7. ^ "Colligiate's Arithmetic Makes It Oldest School". The New York Times. May 5, 1985. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 15, 2020.
  8. ^ Anderson, Jenny (February 5, 2013). "Collegiate School, New York's Oldest Private School, Plans 17th Move". The New York Times.
  9. ^ "Collegiate School - Private Boys K-12 Day School in NYC". Archived from the original on November 16, 2018. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
  10. ^ "The Report of the History and Symbols Task Force" (PDF). pp. 56–57. Retrieved January 1, 2021.
  11. ^ Otto, Paul, "Peter Stuyvesant." in American National Biography, volume 21, 99–100. New York: Oxford University Press. 1999.
  12. ^ "The Report of the History and Symbols Task Force" (PDF). p. 35. Retrieved January 1, 2021.
  13. ^ "The Report of the History and Symbols Task Force" (PDF). pp. 39–40. Retrieved January 1, 2021.
  14. ^ "History and Symbols Task Force Report Released". Collegiate School. June 18, 2020. Retrieved January 1, 2021.
  15. ^ "Collegiate's New Home | Facts About Our New Home". Archived from the original on November 22, 2016. Retrieved January 8, 2018.
  16. ^ "Collegiate School | All Boys K-12 in NYC | School Facts". collegiate school. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  17. ^ Collegiate School, About Us: History Archived October 19, 2019, at the Wayback Machine, Retrieved October 9, 2019.
  18. ^ a b Collegiate School, Head of School Search, Retrieved October 9, 2019.
  19. ^ St. Anne's-Belfield School, Senior Administration, Retrieved October 9, 2019.
  20. ^ Gamerman, Ellen (November 30, 2007). "How to Get Into Harvard". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved December 29, 2008.
  21. ^ a b c "New York State Association of Independent Schools Past Champions" (PDF).
  22. ^ "Collegiate School History". Archived from the original on October 19, 2019. Retrieved June 14, 2020.
  23. ^ Pat McGilligan (1997). "Backstory 3-Interviews with screenwriters of the 1960s(George Axelrod)". p. 50. Retrieved October 26, 2010.
  24. ^ "He attended the Collegiate School, an elite private prep school for blue-blooded New York City boys, where his two best pals were John F. Kennedy, Jr. and David Duchovny."
  25. ^ "Collegiate Yearbook auction(David Benioff)". Retrieved October 26, 2010.
  26. ^ N.Y.), Collegiate Church School (New York; Dunshee, Henry Webb (February 15, 1883). "History of the School of the Collegiate Reformed Dutch Church in the City of New York, from 1633 to 1883". Print of the Aldine Press. Retrieved February 15, 2019 – via Google Books.
  27. ^ GEORGE P. BRETT IS DEAD AT 91; HEADED MACMILLAN COMPANY, The New York Times, Wolfgang Saxos,
  28. ^ Miriam Jordan (2006). Illegal at Princeton. p. 1. Retrieved October 26, 2010. {{cite book}}: |newspaper= ignored (help)
  29. ^ The Bed-Stuy Bronfman, Joe Pompeo, The Observer
  30. ^ a b c Wikipedia, Source (May 2010). The Collegiate School Alumni. General Books. ISBN 9781155286402.
  31. ^ Peter Bogdanovich (2005). Who the Hell's In it: Conversations with Legendary Actors. Random House. p. 7. ISBN 9780307757838. Retrieved October 26, 2010.
  32. ^ Kluger, Richard, Ashes to Ashes: America's Hundred Year Cigarette War, pg. 137, accessed from Google Books
  33. ^ "Behind the story" (PDF). December 2013. Retrieved July 2, 2023.
  34. ^ a b History of the School of the Collegiate Reformed Dutch Church in the City of New York, Webb Dunshee, page 229, accessed from Google Books
  35. ^ Duchovny, David (March 12, 2011). "What a Good Coach Does". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved February 15, 2019 – via
  36. ^ a b c "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on April 29, 2016. Retrieved June 7, 2018.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  37. ^ Willis, J.; Monush, B. (1998). Screen World 1997. Applause. p. 277. ISBN 978-1-55783-320-4.
  38. ^ Slotnik, Daniel (April 17, 2012). "William Finley, Actor in De Palma Films, Dies at 71". The New York Times. Retrieved October 2, 2021 – via
  39. ^ Economist Edward Glaeser '84 Speaks to Upper School at Adams Lecture:
  40. ^ "Haimovitz studied at the Collegiate School in New York and at the Juilliard School, in the final class of Leonard Rose, after which he continued his cello studies with Ronald Leonard and Yo-Yo Ma."
  41. ^ a b The Dutchman (the Collegiate School yearbook), 1975 edition, page 33
  42. ^ Collegiate Book Fair Festival a Success:
  43. ^ Odd Man Rush (2016), Bill Keenan
  44. ^ Entertainment Books, Delight and the world according to Douglas Kennedy
  45. ^ Heymann, C. David (2008); American Legacy: The Story of John and Caroline Kennedy. Atria Books. ISBN 0743497392, pp. 145-146
  46. ^ "John Kosner head of building one the largest sites online | Meetup".
  47. ^ "Weekly Standard Editor Always Stood Out as a Conservative," The Harvard Crimson, Jacquelyn Newmyer: "After graduating from the private all-male Collegiate School, Kristol headed to Cambridge."
  48. ^ Kickin' Out Old School: Puffed Up Prepsters, Wolf: "Alumni have paid homage to the campus in films including House of D by David Duchovny (class of '77) and The Talent Given Us by Andrew Wagner ('81), as well as the novel Heavy Metal and You by Chris Krovatin ('03)."
  49. ^ Collegiate Book Festival a Great Success
  50. ^ Schad, Joe (January 24, 1999). "A LOOK AT THE LOCALS / McGinnis Tops in Rebounding". Newsday. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
  51. ^ "Did Lil Mabu Get Expelled Or Graduate From College?". June 20, 2023. Retrieved July 2, 2023.
  52. ^ October's Featured Sound Designer: Walter Murch, The Art and Technique of Sound Design, Miguel Isaza: "He went to The Collegiate School, a private preparatory school in Manhattan, from 1949 to 1961."
  53. ^, Columbia University Libraries Oral History Office, "At Collegiate School, which I went into from first grade, in 1918, to last in 1929, as my son did, too, 50 years later."
  54. ^ Winter Convocation Hears Jeffrey L. Orridge '78,
  55. ^ Undocumented: A Dominican Boy's Odyssey from a Homeless Shelter to the Ivy League (2015), Dan-el Padilla Peralta
  56. ^ "Book Festival kicks off with Authors Night". Collegiate School. October 28, 2013. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
  57. ^ a b "Ben Rhodes - The Washington Post". The Washington Post.
  58. ^ Callens, Johan, Double Binds: Existentialist Inspiration, Page 1, accessed from Google Books
  59. ^ Lohrer, Fred E. "John A. Roebling, II (1867-1952), Builder of the Red Hill Estate (1929-1941), Lake Placid, Florida" Archived April 2, 2018, at the Wayback Machine, Archbold Biological Station, October 2, 2006, last updated July 17, 2017. Accessed October 24, 2018.
  60. ^ Archived June 12, 2018, at the Wayback Machine, "Romero was first introduced to acting while attending Collegiate and Riverdale Country schools, where he starred in a stage production of The Merchant of Venice."
  61. ^ Phull, Hardeep (January 17, 2015). "6 things to know about breakout star Mark Ronson". Retrieved February 15, 2019.
  62. ^ Ivory Tower documentary puts a spotlight on the student loan crisis, Mark Stucker:
  63. ^ Meet The Man Behind Key & Peele's 'Keanu, Complex Magazine, Eric Abbriss'
  64. ^ Santa Fe Chamber Music, Artist Spotlight: Actor John Rubinstein:
  65. ^ Oppenheimer, Jerry (February 27, 2013). "JFK's heir apparent". Retrieved February 15, 2019.
  66. ^ Matushka Juliana Ossorguine Schmemann, Orthodox Church in America
  67. ^ "The Collegiate School Alumni: Peter Bogdanovich, Wallace Shawn, John F. Kennedy, JR., Jason Beghe, Mark Ronson, Bill Kristol, David Duchovny - broché - Achat Livre | fnac".
  68. ^ Miss Stuart Weds Michael Shnayerson, The New York Times: The bridegroom... graduated from the Collegiate School and Dartmouth College."
  69. ^ "Notable New Yorkers". Retrieved February 15, 2019.
  70. ^ a b c Miller, Tom (December 27, 2016). "Daytonian in Manhattan: The Collegiate School -- 241-243 West 77th Street". Retrieved February 15, 2019.
  71. ^ Kickin' Out Old School: Puffed Up Prepsters Warily Eye Collegiate's Modern Move, Jonah Wolf, The Observer, '"I will always remember the school's red door and the tumult of running up its narrow stairs to English class," New York Times national editor Sam Sifton ('84) wrote in an email. "I still have nightmares where I awaken in one of those classrooms at the start of a test I didn't know was coming."'
  72. ^ "Board Members". Viggle. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
  73. ^ :"Vivek is a magna cum laude graduate of both the Wharton School of Business and the University of Pennsylvania's College of Arts and Sciences, and a cum laude graduate of the Collegiate School in New York City."
  74. ^ Spring Convocation Features Luis Ubinas '81:
  75. ^ Biographical Dictionary of American Business Leaders, John N. Ingham
  76. ^ "CITY INTELLIGENCE". The New York Times. October 27, 1859. p. 4. ProQuest 91489327.
  77. ^ Kickin' Out Old School: Puffed Up Prepsters Warily Eye Collegiate's Modern Move, Jonah Wolf, The Observer: "Alumni have paid homage to the campus in films including House of D by David Duchovny (class of '77) and The Talent Given Us by Andrew Wagner ('81), as well as the novel Heavy Metal and You by Chris Krovatin ('03).
  78. ^ Rhodes, Gary D. (2001). White Zombie: Anatomy of a Horror Film. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company. p. 84. ISBN 978-0-7864-2762-8. Retrieved December 4, 2017.
  79. ^ Wolfe, Alexandra (April 29, 2005). "Paul Weitz Revisits His Teenage Wasteland with the Play Privilege - Nymag". New York Magazine. Retrieved July 2, 2023.
  80. ^[permanent dead link], "New York City native, graduate of Collegiate School, Amherst College and Roosevelt University. Married to Cornelia Grumman, dad of Blair and Eliot. National columnist, U.S. News & World Report. Former chief media writer, The Poynter Institute.
  81. ^ "An American Boy Lost in Japan". The Daily Rind. December 18, 2012. Archived from the original on August 28, 2018. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
  82. ^ "J. Peder Zane and Granata". Retrieved February 15, 2019.[permanent dead link]

External links[edit]

40°47′00″N 73°58′52″W / 40.78333°N 73.98111°W / 40.78333; -73.98111