University School

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University School
US logo.jpg
Responsibility, Loyalty, Consideration
Hunting Valley, Ohio, (Cuyahoga County)
United States
Coordinates 41°29′10″N 81°25′42″W / 41.48611°N 81.42833°W / 41.48611; -81.42833Coordinates: 41°29′10″N 81°25′42″W / 41.48611°N 81.42833°W / 41.48611; -81.42833 (Upper School Campus) and 41°28′56″N 81°31′57″W / 41.48222°N 81.53250°W / 41.48222; -81.53250 (Lower School Campus)
Type Private, Day, College-prep
Religious affiliation(s) Non-sectarian
Established 1890
Founder Mr. Newton Anderson
Headmaster Mr. Benjamin I. Rein
Faculty 142 (full time)
Grades K-12
Gender Boys
Enrollment 455 Middle/Lower
407 Upper
862 Total
Average class size 14.789
Student to teacher ratio 8:1
Campus Suburban
Campus size 297 acres (1.20 km2)
Upper: 264 acres (1.07 km2)
Lower: 33 acres (0.13 km2)
Color(s) Maroon and Black[1]         
Song Hail, University!
Athletics 13 interscholastic sports
Athletics conference Premier Athletic Conference[1]
Mascot Prescott Prepper
Team name Preppers[1]
Accreditation National Association of Independent Schools[2]
Average SAT scores 618 critical reading
636 math[3]
Endowment US$84 million (2015)
Annual tuition $20,560-$31,760
Director of Athletics Mr. John Ptacek[1]

University School, commonly referred to as US, is an all-boys K-12 school with two campus locations in the Greater Cleveland area. The campus located in Shaker Heights serves kindergarten through eighth grade students, while the campus in Hunting Valley serves grades ninth through twelfth grade students.

University School is a founding member of the International Boys' Schools Coalition and a member of the Center for the Study of Boys' and Girls' Lives and Cleveland Council of Independent Schools.

History and Headmasters[edit]

In 1890 the founding Headmaster of the school, Newton M. Anderson, established University School. The school's first building was erected on 10 acres (40,000 m2) at the corner of Hough Avenue and East 71st Street in Cleveland.[4]

At the turn of the century, Headmaster George D. Pettee led the entire student body to the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York, in 1901.[4][5] A few years later in 1908 Headmaster Harry S. Peters led University School during two World Wars, the Great Depression and, in 1926, to the 36-acre (150,000 m2) campus in Shaker Heights. He was the longest-tenured headmaster in University School history; however, ended up leaving the school in 1947.[4] That same year Headmaster Harold L. Cruikshank oversaw the building of the Hanna Wing on the Shaker Campus and guided the school through the end of World War II to the beginning of the 1960s.

Under the leadership of McKinley, the Upper School moved, in 1970, from Shaker Heights to nearly 200 acres (0.81 km2) of meadows and woodland in Hunting Valley. Tragedy struck the school in 1966 when a junior student was attacked and had his long hair cut off by upperclassmen; he dropped out of the School and later committed suicide.[6][7] The school drastically changed its disciplinary policies thereafter.

In 1988, Headmaster Richard A. Hawley, an author and educator, became the sixth headmaster of US.[8] With the support of the US community, Conway Hall on the Shaker Campus and the William S. Kilroy '43 Field House in Hunting Valley were built during Dr. Hawley's tenure.[4]

After Dr. Hawley’s departure from the school in 2005, Stephen S. Murray became the seventh headmaster for University School. He led the School in the fundraising and construction of a nearly $100 million, 52,000 square-foot academic wing, which features spacious classrooms and interactive technology. Extensive renovation of the original classroom building has allowed for a state-of-the-art facilities for the visual and performing arts.

After it was announced in August 2014 that Headmaster Stephen Murray would leave US to become the 13th Head Master of The Lawrenceville School in New Jersey, Benjamin I. Rein of the Collegiate School (Richmond, Virginia) assumed the position of Headmaster in mid-2015.

House System[edit]

University School has a House system, similar to that of the British tradition. Every student is assigned to one of ten houses, which integrates students from all grades and provides a structure for the boys to connect between grades with each other for companionship and support. Houses participate in community service activities and spirited athletic competitions. Every year, younger and older boys compete in Founders’ Day, a tradition that celebrates the school’s founding in 1890.[4] Houses are organized to encourage greater interaction between students, especially students at separate campuses and in different grades. As such, the House System is a large part of student life at University School. House meetings occur regularly at the Upper School, in which faculty and students may plan activities and community service projects such as the annual Thanksgiving food drive. Each House elects a prefect from the senior class who acts as the House leader.

Houses are typically named after former Headmasters or notable alumni donors, and each House has a color to represent it. The numbers, names, and colors of Houses, however, have changed over the years.

The current House names are: Anderson (maroon); Cruikshank (white); Goodwillie (navy blue); Hawley (purple); McCarraher (orange); McKinley (royal blue); Peters (red); Pettee (black); Murray (gray); and Sanders (yellow). Prior to the fall of 2015, there was a house called Pickands (green). Upon the departure of headmaster Steve S. Murray, a commemorative house was created as a replacement. The new house is called Murray and its color is gray.

Clubs and Activities[edit]

The special programs and activities offered by University School reflect student interests. If sufficient peer interest is present, a student may initiate a club or activity by gaining the support of a faculty sponsor.

Shaker Heights Campus (Grades K - 8)[edit]

  • Center for Excellence: provides support and enrichment opportunities for students.
  • Junior Pembroke Society. This group offers a safe space for African American-boys of the lower campus to express themselves without the feeling of being judged by their classmates.
  • Junior Research Fellows Program. Through the Junior Research Fellows Program, middle school boys pursue research on topics of particular interest. Younger boys at US can also participate in Junior Model United Nations, Mock Trial, National Geographic Bee, Math Olympiad, Junior Great Books, and Kids' Philosophy Slam.
  • Clubs. US offers a variety of clubs such as the Civil War Club, Chess Club, Cribbage Club, Entrepreneur Club, Flight Club, Maple Sugaring Club, Rocketry Club and Balsa Tower Construction Club. Fifth and sixth graders can participate in the Intramural Basketball League, which is coached and officiated by eighth grade boys.
  • Community Service. Students are involved in community service throughout the year to learn the importance of making a difference in others' lives. Boys raise funds for "Harvest for Hunger", participate in a school wide Thanksgiving food drive, and collect clothing and toys for needy families and for an orphanage in Honduras. Also, they prepare and deliver soup to a Cleveland soup kitchen and provide help.
  • Space Shuttle Simulations. The virtual space science facility allows boys to experience what it is like to live and work in space. The facility features a space shuttle simulator, a mission control area, a module of the International Space Station, and a flight simulator.

Hunting Valley Campus (Grades 9 - 12)[edit]

  • Academic Challenge. Interscholastic competitions in academic subjects ranging from history, science, and math to arts and literature.
  • Anderson Scholars Program. Enables students to pursue a passion with structure, rigor, and depth. Students concentrate in science or entrepreneurship.
  • Anime Club. A club for students interested in Japanese anime.
  • Aurelian Society. Promotes community service at agencies and organizations outside US.
  • Cadmean Society. Students help at events such as athletic contests, plays, and open houses and often provide leadership for school-wide service projects.
  • Davey Fellowships in Creative Writing. Enables boys of special literary promise to undertake extensive projects in fiction, drama, journalism, and poetry writing.
  • Dinosaur Club. Enables boys with a passion for the study of dinosaurs to meet and discuss the history.
  • Entrepreneur Club. University School’s Entrepreneur Institute was founded in 2006 to help students learn entrepreneurial skills, provide opportunities to experience entrepreneurship, connect to other Northeast Ohio students and entrepreneur organizations, and encourage them to return to Northeast Ohio to pursue careers. Many educators and schools across the region have benefited from the programs, materials and advice provided by the Institute. Some examples of programs within this Institute include the Morgan Apprenticeship Program, Anderson Scholars Program, and the Veale Youth Entrepreneurship Forum.[9]
  • Film Society. A club for students interested in enjoying and studying cinema.
  • Investment Committee I Stock Market Challenge. Students learn about publicly traded companies and investment strategies through weekly meetings with an experienced stock market analyst and participate in a stock market competition.
  • Latin Club. The school's Latin Club functions as a local chapter of both the Ohio Junior Classical League (OJCL)[10] and National Junior Classical League (NJCL).[11]
  • LoPresti Board. Students engage in community service, learn the institutional skills necessary for philanthropy, raise funds to support their philanthropic goals, and solicit and make grants to help those in need.
  • Mabian (Yearbook). The school yearbook derives its name from the school colors (maroon and black) and has been published every year since 1919.[citation needed]
  • Mock Trial. Students practice for and participate in this statewide organization that helps them learn about the United States' trial system.
  • Multi-Cultural Organization. Students of the school can participate in different affinity groups to discuss issues of diversity in the school and in society. It includes the Pembroke Society (for African-American students), the L'Chaim Society (for Jewish students), the Asian Platform (for Asian-American students), the Middle East Platform (for Middle Eastern-American and North African-American students) and the Gay-Straight Alliance (for LGBTQ and Ally students). Additionally, there are general meetings for students that are not members of a particular affinity group. Every year, there are diversity assemblies and diversity days, with the focus on topics such as religion, gender identification, sexual orientation, socioeconomics, and other forms of diversity; the topics change from year to year.
  • Outdoor Projects. Students can elect to work in the school's Outdoor Projects Program, which operates a nature trail, a full-fledged fish hatchery, a trout farm, a maple-syrup industry, and several foresting and erosion control projects.[citation needed]
  • Record. Presents the best literary work of the school's Writing Forum.
  • Robotics Club. Club which meets weekly and builds, programs, and competes robots.
  • Science Olympiad. Team which participates in events in the Science Olympiad competition.
  • Speech and Debate. Members learn Lincoln-Douglas, Public Forum and Student Congress debate and compete with other schools throughout northern Ohio, and around the country. In 2010, the Public Forum debate team won the NSDA national championship. Both the Lincoln Douglas and Public Forum debate teams have won the OHSSL state championship on multiple occasions.
  • Strnad Fellowships. Involves projects of original research beginning at the end of the junior year that are presented to the student body at the end of the next school year.
  • Student Life Research Committee (SLRC). This selective committee pertains of students who design and implement research of student life at the school. The SLRC is most notable for being directly partnered with the Center for the Study of Boys' and Girls' Lives (CSBGL), which is located in the Ivy League Graduate School of Education at University of Pennsylvania.
  • US News. Founded in 1898, the US News is the oldest school newspaper in Ohio and is published once a month.[citation needed]
  • USPN. A product of the Strnad fellowship program in 2013, USPN provides students, faculty, and alumni with live play-by-play coverage of certain sporting events.


  • The University School Journal is published two times a year for the alumni, parents and friends of the school.
  • The US News is published monthly by students. Founded in 1898, the US News is the oldest school newspaper in Ohio.[4] In 2014, the US News became digital.
  • The Record, released annually, is a compilation of the artistic and literary achievement of University School boys including poetry, short stories, photography, and more recently, drawing.
  • The Mabian is the Upper School's yearbook published every year since 1919. The first three letters of the name "Mabian" come from the school's colors, Maroon And Black, and "...ian" means "of the" - "of the maroon and black."[citation needed]
  • The Tower is the Lower/Middle School counterpart of The Mabian.


US offers an art program for its boys that helps each student to grow and mature in their artistic pursuits. To participate in many of these programs, the freshmen at the upper school usually take Intro to the Arts, exposing them to fine arts, music, and drama. (This class is required to go into the next fine arts or drama levels, unless the student auditions for the Glee Club and is accepted.) At the lower school, all students are required to take some form of art class; different offerings are available to different grades.

Fine Arts[edit]

At both campuses, the school offers a variety of fine arts courses, including painting and drawing and additional graphic design courses. Woodworking is also highly popular at the upper school. Many students qualify for local, statewide and national art competitions.


The school's most famous performing staple is its Glee Club. The US Glee Club sings multiple times throughout the year in assemblies, concerts, graduation, and also throughout the city of Cleveland, collaborating with ensembles such as Choral Arts: Cleveland, the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus and other surrounding schools. In the past, the choir has toured throughout North America and Europe, performing in various concert halls and churches throughout the world. The US Glee Club sings a variety of music, including traditional men's chorus pieces, and arrangements by contemporary composers.

The US Males is an a capella ensemble for students of the Glee Club who show high-performing potential. These students perform more frequently than the Glee Club at sporting events and gatherings for school officials, alumni, and parents. This primarily student-run ensemble sings pop tunes, such as Rolling in the Deep by Adele, but also classics like All My Loving by The Beatles.

The US Chamber Orchestra consists of a variety of instruments and plays a variety of music, from Vivaldi to Gershwin. Every school year, the orchestra has multiple collaborations, usually with Hathaway Brown in March and with the Glee Club in December and in May.

The school does not offer traditional band like most high schools, however the jazz ensembles are outlets for the boys to pursue further instrumental expression. The jazz program consists of the 1 O'clock Ensemble (the performing and touring group for advanced students) and the 2 O'clock Ensemble (for students in training). In March 2011, the touring ensemble had its second tour to New Orleans (commonly referred to as NOLA by students of the program).

One smaller one-semester ensemble is the Guitar Ensemble. This class helps students to gain a stronger sense of the guitar and the work involved in being a band. The boys perform for the school and in venues throughout Cleveland. They usually continue as a band independently from the school curriculum.

The lower school also offers programs for students similar to the Upper Campus, including a 3-5 grade choir, a 6-8 grade choir, a chamber orchestra, a jazz ensemble, and additional music classes for students. These classes include instrumentation, music theory, and music technology, in which students learn to be accomplished musicians.


Every year, the drama department at US puts on a fall play and spring musical in collaboration with students from surrounding schools. The middle school offers drama starting in 6th grade and all students can participate. Students from surrounding schools also can participate.


Traditionally has a rivalry with Western Reserve Academy, with the football games being the highlight of each schools season throughout the 20th century starting with the first 1895 meeting.[12]

US fields varsity teams in thirteen sports, five in the winter season and four in each the fall and the spring seasons: football, soccer, cross country and golf in the fall, ice hockey, wrestling, swimming, squash, and basketball in the winter, and in the spring, lacrosse, tennis, track and field, and baseball.

University School competes in the Premier Athletic Conference (PAC), 8-team conference. The cross country, wrestling, basketball, track and field and baseball teams began competing in this conference in 2009. Football began its PAC schedule in the fall of 2011.[13]

The 81,000-square-foot (7,500 m2) Kilroy Field House at the Hunting Valley Campus is a multi-purpose indoor practice facility featuring two basketball courts, three squash courts, a 200-meter cantilevered indoor track, and practice areas for track events. The complex also includes a fitness center equipped with the latest in weight training and aerobic equipment.

Wrestling rooms, a gymnasium and 25-yard indoor swimming pool with a separate diving well complete the indoor facilities at the Hunting Valley Campus. Outdoors, there is a football stadium and a new turf football field, an all-weather track, four soccer and other practice fields, two baseball diamonds, and seven tennis courts.

The physical education facilities at the Shaker Campus include a football field, 400-meter track, three baseball fields, two soccer fields, eight tennis courts, a double-size gymnasium, wrestling room, a four-lane, 25-meter indoor swimming pool, and a rock climbing wall.

In 2013, University School's student-created and student-led sports broadcasting network, USPN, started streaming live coverage of the school's football, soccer, basketball, hockey, lacrosse and baseball games.

In 2014, University School's squash team won the Division IV national championship at the U.S. High School Team Squash Championships in Philledelphia, PA.[14]

Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) State Championships[edit]

  • Golf: 1990, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2008[13] University School currently holds the record for DII Lowest Score (Hunting Valley University School 289-275) - 564 set in 2003 on the OSU Gray.[15]
  • Hockey: 2003, 2009[13] Cleveland Baron Cup Champion 2010-2011, 2009–2010, 2008–2009, 2006–2007, 2005–2006, 1983-1984
  • Wrestling: Individual State Champions[13] Harrison Hightower 09-10 (152), 08-09 (140), 07-08 (130), Brad Wukie 2009-2010 (160), Dennis Roche 2005-2006 (112), Adam Kriwinsky 2004-2005 (112), Chris Tripp 2003–2004 (145)
  • Swimming: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012[13] Note: Boys Division II Swimming and Diving was added in the 2008-2009 school year.
  • Diving: 2013, 2014

Boys Division II Swimming - Records[edit]

Records at the OHSAA.[13]

Event Time Name Location Year
200 Yard Medley Relay 1:31.67 Kevin Stang, Korey Schneider, Russell Stack, Andrew Malone Canton 2011
200 Yard Freestyle 1.38.64 Ian Stewart-Bates Canton 2009
100 Yard Freestyle 0:45.44 Tyler Bailey Canton 2009
100 Yard Breaststroke 0:55.54 Andrew Malone Canton 2011
400 Yard Freestyle Relay 3:06.70 Tyler Bailey, Ben Stewart-Bates, Nicholas Crane, Ian Stewart-Bates Canton 2009

Other State Championships[edit]

Notable Alumni[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d OHSAA. "Ohio High School Athletic Association member directory". Retrieved 2010-02-17. 
  2. ^ "NAIS". 
  3. ^ "University School: Quick Facts". University School. Retrieved October 29, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f Hawley, Richard (1990). Hail, University. ISBN 0-929940-01-6. 
  5. ^ Clotfelter, Charles T. (2004). After Brown: The Rise and Retreat of School Desegregation. Princeton University Press. 
  6. ^ Shlachter, Barry (May 19, 2012). "Bullying incident still resonates years later: Barry Shlachter". The Plain Dealer. 
  7. ^ Shlachter, Barry (May 16, 2012). "High school bullying incident becomes a lesson in double standards". Star-Telegram. 
  8. ^ Hawley, Richard (1990). Hail, University. p. 29. ISBN 0-929940-01-6. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Executive Board Pre-File Application". - June 2007. Internet Archive: Wayback Machine. 2010. Archived from the original on June 17, 2007. Retrieved August 16, 2010. 
  11. ^ "OJCL Constitution". - July 2002. Internet Archive: Wayback Machine. 2010. Archived from the original on July 21, 2002. Retrieved August 16, 2010. ... by paying both OJCL annual chapter dues and any annual chapter membership dues required by NJCL. 
  12. ^ Reserve Record US vs. WRA. (PDF)  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  13. ^ a b c d e f OHSAA. "Ohio High School Athletic Association Fall Release Oct 6, 2003". Retrieved 2006-12-31. 
  14. ^ "University School wins Division IV national squash championship -". Retrieved 2015-10-24. 
  15. ^ OHSAA. "Ohio High School Athletic Association Web site". Retrieved 2006-12-31. 
  16. ^ OTCA. "Ohio Tennis Coaches' Association Web site". Retrieved 2007-03-08. 

External links[edit]