Hotchkiss School

The Hotchkiss School
11 Interlaken Road


United States
Coordinates41°56′43″N 73°26′23″W / 41.94528°N 73.43972°W / 41.94528; -73.43972
TypePrivate, day and boarding
MottoMoniti Meliora Sequamur
(Guided by each other, let us seek better paths)
Religious affiliation(s)Nonsectarian
Established1891 (132 years ago) (1891)
CEEB code070335
Head of schoolCraig W. Bradley
Grades9–12, post-graduate
GenderCo-educational (since 1974)
Campus size827 acres (3 km2)
Campus typeRural
Color(s)Yale blue and white
Athletics19 interscholastic sports
RivalsTaft School
NewspaperThe Record
YearbookThe Mischianza
Endowment$606.1 million (June 2021)
Annual tuition$68,370 (boarding)
$58,110 (day)
AffiliationEight Schools Association
Ten Schools Admissions Organization
G20 Schools (founding member)
Founders League
New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (NEPSAC)
New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)
The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS)
Global Education Benchmark Group (GEBG)
Round Square
Green Schools Alliance

The Hotchkiss School is a private, coeducational prep and boarding school in Lakeville, Connecticut, United States. Hotchkiss is a member of the Eight Schools Association and Ten Schools Admissions Organization, competing in the Founders League and New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (NEPSAC). Historically, it was a founding member of the G20 Schools group (not to be confused with the G20 Summit), before six schools left ahead of the renaming to G30 Schools.


Postcard circa 1905

In 1891, Maria Harrison Bissell Hotchkiss, with guidance from Yale president Timothy Dwight V, founded the school to prepare young men for Yale University. In 1892, The Hotchkiss School opened its doors to 50 male boarding students for $600. Hotchkiss's endowment also precipitated scholarship aid to deserving students. In 1974, the school became coeducational.

Number-one rule

George Van Santvoord (g. 1908, Yale 1912), a headmaster hailed as the Duke with an honorary dorm, claimed there was only one school rule: "Be a gentleman." In 1954, Time recognized in "Education: The Duke Steps Down", that "of all U.S. prep schools, few, if any, can beat the standards Hotchkiss has set."

International relations and diversity

Maria Hotchkiss was uninterested in establishing "a school for the pampered sons of rich gentlemen". The school has enrolled international students since 1896. In 1928, the school joined the English-Speaking Union and established the International Schoolboy Exchange. Established by the class of 1948, the Fund for Global Understanding enables student participation in summer service projects across the world. In 1953, Hotchkiss alumnus Eugene Van Voorhis (g. 1951, Yale '55, Yale Law ‘58) incorporated the Ulysses S. Grant Foundation program to assist minority New Haven students with boarding school admission, with Hotchkiss formally participating in addition to other recruitment initiatives from the 1960s onward, such as A Better Chance (ABC), Greater Opportunity (GO) summer program for inner-city students, and Prep for Prep to foster minority leaders.

The school has a 43% diverse student body (21% international students), offers a School Year Abroad program, and is a member of the Global Education Benchmark Group (GEBG), Round Square, and Confucius Institute International Division (Hanban). In 2010, Hotchkiss partnered with Peking University High School to establish its study abroad, international division called Dalton Academy.

Women admitted in 1974

in September 1974, 88 young women entered Hotchkiss as preps, lower-mids, upper-mids, and seniors. Since that beginning of coeducation the student body has grown to approximately a 50–50 gender balance in the student body.

Faculty sexual misconduct

In 2015, a male student sued the school, alleging that he had been raped and sexually harassed in "an environment of well-known and tolerated sexual assaults, sexually violent hazing, and pedophilia." He said his dormitory master and instructor had drugged him and lured him to his quarters where he was raped.

As a result of this complaint and others, the school's law firm interviewed more than 150 people and reviewed more than 200,000 pages of documents. They released a report in 2018, stating that seven former faculty members had abused students for years, yet school administrators took no action after receiving complaints.

A former headmaster who had been serving on the board of trustees resigned after cooperating with investigators. Board of trustee representatives said the information would be turned over to law enforcement officials.


Operating on a semester schedule, Hotchkiss offers a classical education, 224 courses, several foreign languages and study-abroad programs. In 1991, the New York Times recognized Hotchkiss' summer program as a "Summer School for the Very Ambitious." The Deerfield Scroll has claimed that "many consider The Hotchkiss School to be the leader in environmental awareness among the top prep schools in the country."

In 2007, The Wall Street Journal stated that Hotchkiss, compared to Choate and Deerfield Academy, had more students accepted at Harvard, Princeton, and six other universities, excluding Yale.



Hotchkiss fields 19 interscholastic sports teams that compete in the Founders League, Eight Schools Athletic Council, New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (NEPSAC), and Interscholastic Sailing Association's New England Schools Sailing Association (NESSA) district. Its colors are Yale Blue and white, with the mascot being the bearcat.

In 1933, Samuel Gottscho photographed the Hotchkiss baseball team, which appears in the Library of Congress' Gottscho-Schleisner Collection.

Hotchkiss–Taft rivalry

Hotchkiss and Taft School (also in Litchfield County) have a long-standing rivalry. On the final Saturday of the fall sport season, the two schools compete against each other in every sport. Similar boarding school traditions include the Andover–Exeter rivalry and Choate–Deerfield rivalry.


Hotchkiss offers more than 65 clubs, including The Record, a biweekly, student-run newspaper circulated on campus and among alumni, The Mischianza yearbook, BaHSA, a club celebrating the culture and rich history of Black and Hispanic members of the Hotchkiss community, the Hotchkiss Chorus music ensemble, and extensive service organizations such as the St. Luke's Society. Other notable organizations include Calliope, the all-girls a cappella group; Bluenotes, the all-boys a cappella group; the Hotchkiss Speech and Debate Team; and Food for Thought, the school's philosophy club. The school also hosts an annual student-run film festival, The Hotchkiss Film Festival, that attracts student filmmakers from all over the world to compete for prizes and a scholarship.


Main Building, academic and social center of Hotchkiss

The school overlooks the Berkshires on a rural, 827 acres (3 km2) campus featuring 12 single-sex dorms and one all-gender dorm, two lakes, a nine-hole golf course, and one forest. The Main Building serves as the academic and social center, featuring 30 SmartBoard classrooms, the Edsel Ford Memorial Library with 87,000-volumes occupying 25,000 square feet, and dining halls.

An EPA Green Power Partner and Green Schools Ally, Hotchkiss requires all campus buildings to acquire LEED certification and was renovated to achieve the second highest, LEED Gold certification in 2008 and use 34% green power (ranked eighth largest, green K–12 school in 2009 by EPA), while upholding the Georgian architecture tradition from Bruce Price, Cass Gilbert, and Delano and Aldrich. The school renovation project earned Robert A.M. Stern Architects the 2010 Palladio Award, with Paul Rudolph and Butler Rogers Basket contributing elements of modern architecture.

Esther Eastman Music Center(2021)

Art facilities

In 2005, Hotchkiss opened the 715-seat Esther Eastman Music Center, equipped with a handmade Fazioli F308 piano, 12 Steinway pianos, 12 practice rooms, 3 ensemble practice rooms, a WKIS radio station, and Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) lab. Hotchkiss also has a 615-seat proscenium theater called Walker Auditorium.

Athletic facilities

In 2002, Hotchkiss opened the Forrest E. Mars Jr. Athletic Center, a 212,000 square-foot athletic center with multi-purpose playing surfaces, elevated indoor exercise track, rinks, natatorium with 10-lane pool and separate diving well, basketball court, wrestling room, suash courts, indoor tennis courts, and a fitness center.

The Hotchkiss Golf Course is a nine-hole golf course of approximately 3,000 yards, designed by Seth Raynor in 1924 and rated by Golf Digest as one of the 25 best nine-hole courses in America. Hotchkiss also has the Baker Complex, including synthetic Sprole Field and many tracks, courts, and fields; three ponds; and extensive hiking trails.

Notable alumni

Notable faculty

In popular culture

  • In 1947, Time made a piece of Hotchkiss graffiti famous by publishing it twice: "In Lakeville, Conn., someone penciled in the Hotchkiss School lavatory: "Schuyler van Kilroy 3rd was here," a humorous variation of the popular expression "Kilroy was here."
  • Archibald MacLeish's last interview (1982) in American Heritage magazine disclosed, "God, how I did not like Hotchkiss!"

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