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Rutgers Preparatory School (also known as Rutgers Prep or RPS) is a private, coeducational, college preparatory day school established in 1766. The school educates students in pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade, located on a 41-acre (0.17 km2) campus along the banks of the Delaware and Raritan Canal in the Somerset section of Franklin Township, in Somerset County, New Jersey, United States. Established in 1766, Rutgers Preparatory School is the oldest independent school in the state of New Jersey and the 16th-oldest in the country.

Rutgers Preparatory School
Rutgers Preparatory School logo.svg
Rutgers Preparatory School is located in Somerset County, New Jersey
Rutgers Preparatory School
Rutgers Preparatory School
Rutgers Preparatory School is located in New Jersey
Rutgers Preparatory School
Rutgers Preparatory School
Rutgers Preparatory School is located in the United States
Rutgers Preparatory School
Rutgers Preparatory School
1345 Easton Avenue


United States
Coordinates40°31′30″N 74°29′47″W / 40.525135°N 74.49627°W / 40.525135; -74.49627Coordinates: 40°31′30″N 74°29′47″W / 40.525135°N 74.49627°W / 40.525135; -74.49627
TypeIndependent, Day
MottoSevera res est verum gaudium
"Hard work is true joy"
HeadmasterDr. Steven Loy
Faculty87.0 FTEs[1]
Enrollment606 (as of 2015-16, plus 34 in PreK)[1]
Average class size19
Student to teacher ratio7.0:1[1]
Campus41 acres (0.17 km2)
Color(s)     Maroon and
Athletics21 interscholastic sports
Athletics conferenceSkyland Conference
Team nameArgonauts[2]
AccreditationNew Jersey Independent Schools Athletic Association
NewspaperThe Argo
YearbookYe Dial
Endowment$43.5 million[citation needed]
Budget$22,000,000[citation needed]
Tuition$40,875 (2019-20 for grades 8-12)[3]

As of the 2015-16 school year, the school had an enrollment of 606 students (plus 34 in PreK) and 87.0 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 7.0:1. The school's student body was 43.2% White, 36.5% Asian, 17.3% Black, 3.0% Hispanic.[1] Tuition for the 2017-18 school year for grades 8-12 was set at $37,300.[3] The school does not publicly release endowment figures, however IRS filings indicate close to $60 million in investable assets alone.[citation needed]

The school has a frequently cited student honor code, and requires its students to complete ten hours of community service each school year in order to advance to the next grade level. The vast majority of students take Advanced Placement courses, and the academic environment at the school is highly competitive. Rutgers Preparatory School is a member of the New Jersey Association of Independent Schools.[4]



Now known as Alexander Johnston Hall of Rutgers University, this was the original building of Rutgers Preparatory School in New Brunswick

Rutgers Preparatory School is the oldest independent preparatory school in the state of New Jersey.[5] Founded as the Queen's College Grammar School, it was established on November 10, 1766 under the same charter that founded Queen's College (now Rutgers University). It was originally located in New Brunswick.

Instruction began on August 15, 1768, under the school's first master Caleb Cooper, a graduate of the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University). In those early years, instruction of students was carried on in various taverns and boarding houses in New Brunswick. From 1809 to 1830, the grammar school shared the Old Queens building with Queens College (after 1825, Rutgers College) and the New Brunswick Theological Seminary.

In 1825, the trustees renamed the college and grammar school after Colonel Henry Rutgers, whose donation allowed the college to reopen after years of financial difficulties. In 1830, the Rutgers College Grammar School moved to a building designed and constructed by local architect and builder Nicholas Wyckoff, at the corner of College Avenue and Somerset Street. From 1829 until 1963, the school operated at this location. The building is now known as Alexander Johnston Hall, and is the second-oldest surviving building on the Rutgers University campus. The Grammar School also included an Elementary School division (now called the Lower School) that was located in its own building nearby on College Avenue.

Though officially nondenominational, the school's original mission was to train young men for the ministry, and its curriculum focused on theology and classical studies. Over the course of the 19th century, however, more modern options were added. During the Progressive Era, Rutgers Preparatory School was among the first schools in the nation to institute a curriculum involving the laboratory sciences, student publications, and community service. Progressive-minded headmasters like Eliot R. Payson (served 1891-1908), Myron T. Scudder (1908-1911) and William P. Kelly (1911-1934) consistently supported the implementation of new educational ideas and methods.

Rutgers Preparatory School opened its doors to international students in the 19th century. In the 1860s, as the Japanese Empire embarked on the reforms of the Meiji Era, several young men from prominent Japanese families enrolled at the school. Notable among them was Matsukata Kōjirō, class of 1884, who later became president of the Kawasaki Dockyard Company and whose art collection served as the nucleus of Japan's National Museum of Western Art. Japanese students continued to attend Rutgers Prep through the early 20th century. Several students from various other regions, particularly Latin America, were also drawn to the school in those years.

Rutgers Prep's lower grades (i.e., 8th grade and below) became coeducational in the 1890s, and have remained so ever since. Coeducation was allowed in the Upper School from 1892 to 1912, during which time some 93 girls were graduated.[6] Coeducation lapsed after 1912, but in 1923 Headmaster William Kelly announced plans to open a girls' school that would operate "as an allied department of the Preparatory School." Seven girls were enrolled, but a lack of support from the community forced Kelly to abandon his plans after only one year.[7]

Staff of the Argo, c. 1903. Joyce Kilmer is in the back row center.

Rutgers Preparatory School became fully and permanently coeducational in 1951. That same year, it disbanded its football team and ended its boarding program to become a day school. A shakeup of its faculty resulted in the hiring of several young, highly talented teachers and coaches, most of whom would remain at the school for decades. Notable among them were French teachers Al Gaggini and Helene Spratford, science teacher Gus Daviet, history teacher Frank Sperduto, and athletic director Dick O'Connell. In 1953, Dr. David M. Heinlein became Headmaster. One of his priorities was to increase the economic, ethnic, and gender diversity of the school's students and faculty.

In 1956, as Rutgers University became the State University of New Jersey, the university's Board of Trustees decided to divest itself of the preparatory school. The school created its own Board of Trustees and Parents Association, and began looking for a new campus outside of New Brunswick. In early 1958, Rutgers Prep purchased the Wells Estate (also known as Elm Farm) in nearby Somerset. The Wells family was eager to sell the property to the school partly because Elm Farm had originally been the home of Abraham Beach, one of Queens College Grammar School's co-founders in the 1760s.[8] By the end of 1958, Rutgers University and Rutgers Preparatory School had officially separated from one another. Rutgers Prep's Lower School began operating at Elm Farm that fall. The Upper School remained in its old quarters in New Brunswick until 1963, when a new upper school building, constructed with the assistance of the Colgate-Palmolive Company, opened at Elm Farm. Since 1963, all divisions of the school have been located on the same campus.

The school expanded rapidly in its new setting. A field house was built in 1968, and, shortly afterward, a center for early childhood education. During the 1960s, the school's curriculum, athletic program, and extracurricular offerings all expanded dramatically.

Despite the economic downturn of the mid-1970s, Rutgers Prep continued to grow. It added a Middle School and a larger library in 1974. Athletic Director O'Connell introduced and vigorously promoted an athletic program for the school's female population. By the end of the 1970s, the school was much larger and more diverse than it had been a generation earlier.

In November 1983, an electrical fire destroyed a large part of the Upper School building. Classes were held in trailers while a new, larger, and more modern Upper School was built. The new building, which is still in use, opened in 1985. During the 1980s, Rutgers Preparatory School also aggressively supported the application of technology to education, creating a computer science department and encouraging computer literacy in all grades.

In 1992, Dr. Steven Loy became headmaster and embarked on a series of campus expansions funded by a capital campaign. The new construction included a second gymnasium, an art studio, a music building, and a new library shared by all three school divisions. The campus was also fully wired for Internet access.


Rutgers Preparatory School offers three levels of education: a Lower School serving pre-kindergarten to grade five, a Middle School offering grades six to eight and an Upper School offering traditional secondary level education from grades nine to twelve. Students are required to complete twenty course credits in order to graduate, accumulating a minimum of five credits per year, and are to take courses based in a traditional liberal arts curriculum that spans across several academic departments (English, History, Mathematics, Science, World Languages, Art, Computers, Music, and Drama).

The school offers a wide variety of AP (Advanced Placement) courses, which are the high school equivalent of a college-level course. Additionally, the School offers five language courses: Spanish, French, Latin, Japanese, and Arabic. Rutgers Preparatory School has also partnered with the Waksman Institute of Microbiology at Rutgers University, and by participating in its Waksman Student Scholars Program (WSSP), Upper School students are able to participate in, and contribute to, an authentic research project in molecular biology and bioinformatics.[9]

Each student in the Upper School is required to perform a minimum of ten hours of community service during each academic year as a condition for advancing to the next grade level and for graduation. This community-service obligation may be fulfilled either through volunteer work with a non-profit organization, through a charity, or through a service that in some way benefits the school community (tutoring, etc.). In addition, at least five of these hours must be completed outside the school campus.


The school has a 100% college admissions rate. A majority of the students are given offers of admission to selective public and private universities in the Northeast and throughout the country.[10]

Institutional awards and recognitionEdit

Rutgers Preparatory School is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools and was recognized in 1992 as a National Blue Ribbon School Award of Excellence by the United States Department of Education.[11]

The School received its most recent accreditation from the New Jersey Association of Independent Schools (NJAIS) in 2012.[12]

The school's delegation was awarded first place in the 2010 Euro Challenge, an international high school economics competition.[13]

In 2014, Rutgers Preparatory School received the Franklin Township Organization Environmental Stewardship Award, in recognition of contributions to the environment of Franklin Township, including participation in the "Rutgers Green Purchasing" and "River-Friendly School Certification" programs, recent construction of a new LEED certified building, new energy management installations, and development of an effective composting and recycling program.

Rutgers Preparatory School is the only school in New Jersey to be a member of the Council of International Schools. It is also the only high school in the world to be granted Non-governmental Organization (NGO) status by the United Nations.[14]


The 41-acre (170,000 m2) campus is located in Somerset, New Jersey directly on the Delaware and Raritan Canal and the Raritan River. The historic Elm Farm house, built in the mid-18th century, was the home of local minister Abraham Beach, one of the co-founders of the school. Elm Farm was the country estate of the Wells family during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The school purchased it in 1958. Elm Farm now houses administrative offices and several classrooms. The campus includes three full-size athletic fields, a FieldTurf synthetic turf field, a softball field, and a full size baseball field. The "Field House" currently features two full size gyms, male and female locker rooms with showers, a wrestling room, a fitness center, and the offices of the athletic administration and trainer. In addition to the Early Childhood Education Center, and Lower, Middle, and Upper School buildings, an art studio was constructed in 1992 and a new music building was constructed in 2001.

In 2009, the school broke ground on a multimillion-dollar, multi-phased endeavor that includes an expansion of the system of roads and parking on the campus, a widening of Easton Avenue, the addition of new athletic fields and tennis courts, and the construction of an entirely new complex. The first phase of the new complex, which was completed for the 2011-2012 school year, houses the dining commons and several new classrooms on the first floor. The second floor of this new building was completed in Fall 2012, and includes several more upper school classrooms as well as a state-of-the-art all-division room and other multi-use spaces. This new facility is LEED certified.


Students in Lower School partake in music class twice a week for 30 minutes. Once in Middle School, all students still take a daily music class, and are offered the choice of choir, band, and/or orchestra. Once in the Upper School, students may elect to partake in music, either in vocal or instrumental ensembles. The school also offers a music theory and composition class.

"Jazz Band" (Grades 8-12) and "Madrigal Singers" (Grades 9-12) are auditioned musical ensembles offered as out-of-school activities for more advanced students. Winter and spring music concerts take place annually at various locations.

Since the late 1990s, the Rutgers Preparatory School Madrigal Singers have been attending the New Jersey American Choral Directors Association High School Choral Festival, and have regularly received ratings of "Superior." In 2000, 2008 and 2019, the Madrigal Singers performed at Carnegie Hall. In 2013 and 2014 flute players from the School's Music Department performed at Carnegie Hall with Sir James Galway.


The Rutgers Prep Argonauts[2] compete as a member school in the Skyland Conference, which is composed of public and private high schools covering Hunterdon County, Somerset County and Warren County and operates under the auspices of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA).[15] The athletic program fields 44 high school and middle school teams, including 15 varsity athletic teams. Boys' teams include soccer, basketball, baseball, tennis, lacrosse, wrestling, and cross country. Girls' teams consist of: soccer, basketball, softball, volleyball, cross country, tennis and lacrosse. Additionally, the school has two co-ed teams: golf and swimming. Rutgers Prep is a member of the NJSIAA Non-Public B, NJISAA Prep B, and Skyland Conferences.

NJSIAA state championships
State titles
  • Boys Cross Country – 1990, 1996
  • Girls Cross Country – 1997, 2002
  • Boys Basketball – 1956, 1972, 1979, 1981, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1991, 2005, 2009, 2011, 2012
  • Girls Basketball – 1992, 1997, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012
  • Volleyball – 1992, 2002, 2005, 2011
  • Wrestling – 1993, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2009
  • Swimming – 1991, 2001
  • Boys Lacrosse – 1988, 1989, 1990, 2009, 2010, 2013
  • Girls Lacrosse – 1986, 1999, 2002
  • Golf – 1987
  • Baseball – 1988, 2011, 2012
  • Softball – 1988, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010
  • Boys Tennis – 2001, 2002, 2004
  • Girls Tennis – 2000
  • Girls Soccer – 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008

NJSIAA Sectional Championships

  • Baseball – 2013

Somerset County Championships

  • Boys Tennis – 2001
  • Boys Basketball - 1979, 1981, 1983
  • Girls Basketball – 2004, 2008, 2011

Patriot Conference Championships

  • Boys Cross Country – 1986, 1990, 1995, 1996
  • Girls Cross Country – 1996, 1997, 1998
  • Boys Lacrosse – 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010
  • Girls Soccer - 2004, 2006
  • Boys Basketball – 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1992, 1995, 2004, 2005, 2009
  • Girls Basketball – 1997, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009
  • Volleyball – 1992, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009
  • Wrestling – 1994, 1995, 1996,1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007
  • Golf – 1996, 1998, 2010
  • Boys Tennis – 2001, 2003, 2004
  • Baseball – 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008
  • Softball – 2000, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010

In recent years, student-athletes have been awarded individual honors including:

  • All-American
  • All-State
  • All-Metro Region
  • All- Prep B
  • All- Prep
  • All-Somerset County
  • All-Area
  • All-Non-Public
  • Player of the Year
  • All-Skyland Conference

Student publicationsEdit

  • The Argo — Award-winning monthly newspaper
  • Excelsior — biannual literary magazine
  • Ye Dial — school yearbook

Notable alumniEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d School data for Rutgers Preparatory School, National Center for Education Statistics. Accessed October 20, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c Rutgers Prep School, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed February 2, 2017.
  3. ^ a b Tuition and Value, Rutgers Preparatory School. Accessed July 15, 2019.
  4. ^ Rutgeres Preparatory School, New Jersey Association of Independent Schools. Accessed February 2, 2017.
  5. ^ Sahn, Michelle. "Students helping students is the norm at Rp", Home News Tribune, November 18, 2004. Accessed October 21, 2007. "The young people involved in these projects, as well as a host of others, are among the 710 students who attend Rutgers Preparatory School, the oldest independent school in the state."
  6. ^ Sperduto, Frank (1967). A History of Rutgers Preparatory School, vol. 1. Somerset, NJ: Rutgers Preparatory School. p. 99.
  7. ^ Sperduto, Frank (1967). A History of Rutgers Preparatory School, vol. 1. Somerset, NJ: Rutgers Preparatory School. pp. 124–126.
  8. ^ Cohen, Timothy (2016). A History of Rutgers Preparatory School, Vol. II. Rutgers Preparatory School.
  9. ^ "High School Outreach | Waksman Institute of Microbiology". 2011-11-09.
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-12-10. Retrieved 2014-12-10.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ Blue Ribbon Schools Program: Schools Recognized 1982-1983 through 1999-2002 (PDF), United States Department of Education. Accessed May 11, 2006.
  12. ^ List of Member Schools, New Jersey Association of Independent Schools. Accessed November 5, 2017.
  13. ^ Prizes, Euro Challenge. Accessed November 5, 2017.
  14. ^ "United Nations Maintenance Page".
  15. ^ League & Conference Affiliations 2016-2017 Archived 2012-11-09 at the Wayback Machine, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed January 10, 2017.
  16. ^ History of the NJSIAA Baseball Championships, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed February 2, 2017.
  17. ^ History of the NJSIAA Boys' Lacrosse Championships, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed February 1, 2017.
  18. ^ Miller, Steven. "A 6-foot-11 girl basketball player takes Philly by storm", The Philadelphia Inquirer, January 15, 2011. Accessed February 9, 2011. "So when the 6-foot-11 high school junior plays Saturday at Philadelphia University and Sunday at Upper Dublin High, she expects the same reactions from her opponents that she had from her teammates when she enrolled at Rutgers Prep less than two years ago."
  19. ^ "Más de 50 libros escribió el extinto escritor Jesús Arango Cano", Colombia para, February 10, 2015. Accessed November 5, 2017. "u bachillerato lo hizo en el Rutgers Preparatory School, en New Bronswick, Nueva Jersy. Luego obtuvo el título de doctor en Economía en la Universidad de California, y más tarde el de Relaciones Internacionales en la Universidad de Columbia, en Nueva York."
  20. ^ James Bishop, Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Accessed September 1, 2007.
  21. ^ William Henry Steele Demarest, 1906-1924, Rutgers University Library. Accessed February 9, 2011. "He moved to New Brunswick in 1865, graduated from the Rutgers Grammar School in 1879 and immediately entered Rutgers College."
  22. ^ Fred A. Hartley Jr., Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Accessed February 9, 2011.
  23. ^ Staff. "Robert Wood 'Johnson, 74, Dies; Chairman of Johnson & Johnson; Founder's Son Led Company Until 1963 - No. 2 Man on War Production Board", The New York Times, January 31, 1968. Accessed February 9, 2011. "The youngster was graduated from the Lawrenceville School and Rutgers Preparatory School and received private tutoring but did not attend college."
  24. ^ Staff. "Stanley Kamel, Los Angeles, Calif.", Home News Tribune, April 12, 2008. Accessed February 9, 2011. "He attended Rutgers Preparatory School and was a graduate of Boston University School of Fine Arts, in 1965."
  25. ^ Selected Poetry of Aline Kilmer (1888-1941) Archived 2007-03-11 at the Wayback Machine, Representative Poetry Online, University of Toronto. Accessed February 9, 2011. "Aline Murray Kilmer was born August 1, 1888, in Norfolk, Virginia, educated at Rutgers Prep School and the Vail-Deane School in Elizabeth, New Jersey."
  26. ^ Sgt. Joyce Kilmer Triangle, New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. Accessed February 9, 2011. "Born on December 6, 1886, in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and educated at Rutgers Preparatory School, Kilmer attended both Rutgers University and Columbia University before earning his degree from Columbia in 1908."
  27. ^ Lawler, Sylvia. "Bill Cosby's Rudy Meets A Golden Girl", The Morning Call, December 20, 1987. Accessed February 9, 2011. "She doesn't take a lot of offers of personal appearances because The Cosby Show already takes time out of her school week, and this third- grader loves her school work at Rutgers Preparatory in Somerset, NJ."
  28. ^ Leroy Lins, Peach Basket Society. Accessed June 28, 2019.
  29. ^ Kojiro Matsukata, Class of 1889 Football Team Archived 2011-07-19 at the Wayback Machine, Rutgers University Community Repository. Accessed February 9, 2011. "Kojiro Matsukata son of Count Matsukata, entered Rutgers College in 1885 through the Rutgers College Grammar School."
  30. ^ Staff. "Franklin Gril Will Swim For U.S. Olympic Team", The Franklin News-Record, August 17, 1972. Accessed November 23, 2017. "Judy Melick of Franklin Township will represent the United States in the XX Olympiad in Munich, Germany next month.... The talented honor June graduate of Rutgers Prep School gained the right to represent the U.S. in the Olympics when she finished second in the 100-meter race in the Olympic Trials in Chicago, Ill. on Aug 5."
  31. ^ Staff. "RAGS to REELS, Max Raab made a fortune in the garment business, then switched to movies such as A Clockwork Orange. His Rittenhouse Square will debut Saturday.", The Philadelphia Inquirer, April 3, 2005. Accessed February 9, 2011. "Max attended Germantown High briefly before winning a work-study scholarship to Rutgers Prep."
  32. ^ Haney, Jeff. "Rutgers Prep tabs four for school's Hall of Fame", Franklin Focus, March 12, 1993. Accessed November 12, 2017. "Marc Turtletaub; Class of 1963 - Turtletaub also served as captain of the Prep basketball team and was high-scoring frontcourt player as a junior and senior.... Turtletaub is currently president and CEO of The Money Store, with his office in Sacramento, Calif."
  33. ^ Constance H Williams, Pennsylvania State Senate. Accessed November 5, 2017. "Constance H. Williams (D), born in 1944, in Long Branch, N.J., daughter of Norma and the late Leon Hess; Rutgers Prep. Sch., 1962"

External linksEdit