Westminster School (Connecticut)
995 Hopmeadow St
|Type||Private, Boarding, Day|
|Motto||Virtute et Numine|
(Grit and Grace)
|Established||1888 (Dobbs Ferry, NY)|
1900 (Simsbury, CT)
|Founder||William Lee Cushing|
|Head of school||William V. N. Philip|
|Student to teacher ratio||5:1|
|Campus size||210 acres|
|Color(s)||Black and Gold|
|Athletics conference||Founders League|
Westminster School is a private, coeducational college-preparatory, boarding and day school located in Simsbury, Connecticut accepting around 20% of applicants. The total student population is approximately 400, and includes pupils from 25 US states and 30 countries.. It is also a member of the Founders League, an athletic league comprising ten college preparatory boarding schools in Connecticut and one in New York .
Westminster School was founded in 1888 as a boys' school by William Lee Cushing, a graduate of Yale University . Girls were first admitted to the school in 1971. Like many boarding schools, Westminster faced difficult times in the 1970s as it competed for a shrinking pool of boarding students. When Donald Werner retired in 1993, after serving as Headmaster for 21 years, he was succeeded by Graham Cole. During the Cole years, enrollment for the school grew from 340 to 385 students, with 88 faculty .
Significant building projects undertaken include:
- Edge House. Designed by Westminster alumnus Graham Gund and built in 1996, Edge House houses 33 students and three faculty families .
- Kohn Squash Pavilion. Completed in the Spring of 2000, The Squash Pavilion contains eight squash courts around a stepped viewing area with natural light from skylights above. The team rooms, locker rooms, and other support spaces are located on a second floor mezzanine overlooking the viewing area and squash courts below .
- Sherwin Health & Athletic Center. Completed in 2003, the Sherwin Health & Athletic Center, the Hibbard Aquatic Center and the Health & Counseling Center is a multipurpose building. The Aquatic Center contains an eight lane competition pool with support facilities and a viewing area on the mezzanine floor .
- Armour Academic Center. This 85,000-square-foot Center houses the Humanities, Math and Science departments, library, and administration. Building features include a centrally located atrium, two-story library, classrooms and laboratories, 120-seat lecture hall, planetarium, faculty and administrative offices, and a variety of lounge spaces .
With Cole's retirement in 2010, Westminster appointed William V.N. Philip as its eighth Headmaster. Philip ascended to the top job after a 26-year career at Westminster as a teacher, coach, dormitory parent, college counselor, and most recently Associate and Assistant Headmaster .
Faculty and staff
|Sport||Season||Boys/Girls||Competitive||Practice and Game Facilities|
|Cross Country||Fall||B/G||Yes||Campus trails|
|Field Hockey||Fall||G||Yes||Hovey Field (lighted turf) and Sawyer Field|
|Soccer||Fall||B/G||Yes||Harrison, Michelini, Wilbraham and Tate Fields|
|Water Polo||Fall||B||Yes||Hibbard Aquatic Center|
|Basketball||Winter||B/G||Yes||Pettee and New Gymnasiums|
|Ice Hockey||Winter||B/G||Yes||Jackson Hockey Rink|
|Squash||Winter||B/G||Yes||Kohn Squash Pavilion|
|Swimming and Diving||Winter||B/G||Yes||Hibbard Aquatic Center|
|Baseball||Spring||B||Yes||Osborn Baseball Field|
|Golf||Spring||B/G||Yes||Hopmeadow Country Club and Simsbury Farms Golf Course|
|Lacrosse||Spring||B/G||Yes||Hovey Field (lighted turf), Harrison and Wilbraham Fields|
|Softball||Spring||G||Yes||Softball Field and Observatory Field|
|Tennis||Spring||B/G||Yes||Briggs, Gow and Haynes Tennis Courts|
|Track and Field||Spring||B/G||Yes||Brooks Family Track|
A student tradition, dating as far back as the 1920s, is stickball, a game in which teams made up of dormitory floors and day student teams compete in a baseball-like game on the quad and athletic fields in late spring. Each floor makes its own bat, usually a hockey or lacrosse stick that has been cut, or a wooden dowel of a large diameter. Generally the stickball "season" will culminate in a single-elimination tournament to crown the Hill Stickball champion.
Each year the theater program stages three productions in the Werner Centennial Theater: one dramatic production spanning the varied genre of Western theater, a musical production, and the student-directed performances, which offer advanced students the opportunity to direct. Each of these productions offers many opportunities for student involvement and leadership, both on stage and backstage.
Situated at the northeastern corner of the campus’s central quadrangle, Centennial Center was upgraded in 1988 into a 30,000 square-foot building including a two-story lobby, a 400-seat, multi-use Shakespearean-style theater, music and dance studios and rehearsal room, dressing rooms, a scene shop/laboratory and other production support spaces. Particular to the “courtyard” theater form, all 400 seats are within 40 feet of the front of the stage, and there is built-in flexibility for both audience size and style of production.
Dormitories and Student Life
Seventy percent of the student body at Westminster School lives on campus in one of the seven dormitories, supervised by Westminster faculty.
Academic and Arts Facilities
|Armour Academic Center||houses Armstrong Atrium, Baxter Gallery, Cole Library, Davis Center for Science & Mathematics, Gitterman Student Lounge, Offield Center for the Humanities, Class of 1957 Planetarium, Sejong Lecture Hall, “Martlet’s Nest” school store|
|Hamilton Art Studios||Studio art and architecture classrooms|
|Werner Centennial Center & Theater||Proscenium theater, dance studios, band/music rooms, practice rooms, and scene and prop shop
Other on-campus facilities
- Andrews Memorial Chapel (built 1962)
Notable alumni include:
- Lake Bell '97, actress
- Eric Boguniecki, NHL Hockey player
- Ethan Brooks '91, NFL Football player
- Joy Bryant '92, actress
- William S. Beinecke, ‘32, Namesake of Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
- Tommy Cross '08, Boston Bruins 2nd round draft pick and currently with the Columbus Blue Jackets
- David Doubilet '65, National Geographic photographer
- Jack Du Brul, writer
- Andrew Firestone '94, The Bachelor TV series
- Peter Fonda, actor
- Bryan Nash Gill, '80, artist
- Graham Gund '59, architect
- Alec Musser, actor
- Ben Smith '06, NHL Hockey player
- John V. Tunney '52, former United States Senator and Representative from the state of California
- Wellesley Wild '90, writer and executive producer of Family Guy
- Bertil Hille
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- "Sherwin Health & Academic Center" Gund Partnership, Hibbard Aquatic Center, Sherwin Health & Athletic Center and Kohn Squash Pavilion
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- Leslie, Jacques. "John Tunney, Kennedy's Friend In Muskie's Corner". Retrieved 2018-11-22.
- "John Tunney Obituary".
- Rinker Buck. Enrollment Shift Could Burden Farmington Valley Towns: From Private to Public Schools. Hartford Courant, 25 Mar 2009.
- The True Life: Westminster School 1989-2013 by Charles E. Griffith III
- Westminster School Viewbook: A Guide to Westminster School
- Westminster School Ski History http://www.nelsap.org/ct/westminster.html
- Investigation Finds Sexual Misconduct By Former Westminster School Headmaster