The Governor's Academy

The Governor's Academy is an independent school north of Boston located on 456 acres (1.85 km2) in the village of Byfield, Massachusetts, United States (town of Newbury), 33 miles (53 km) north of Boston. The academy enrolls approximately 412 students in grades nine through twelve, 70% of whom are boarders. The school was established in 1763 and is the oldest continuously operating independent boarding school in the United States.[4]

The Governor's Academy
1 Elm Street


Coordinates42°45′00″N 70°53′54″W / 42.75000°N 70.89833°W / 42.75000; -70.89833
Former nameGovernor Dummer Academy
TypePrivate, boarding
MottoNon sibi sed aliis
(Not for self, but for others)
Established1763; 260 years ago (1763)
HeadmasterPeter H. Quimby
Average class size12[3]
Student to teacher ratio5:1[1]
Campus size456 acres (1.85 km2)
Color(s)Cardinal and white   
Athletics conferenceIndependent School League
RivalBrooks School
Endowment$170 million
TuitionBoarding: $65,800, Day: $52,300 in 2020–2021[2]

History edit

Mansion House, formerly the residence of founding benefactor William Dummer

The school was founded two years after the death of William Dummer, who funded it in his will. Dummer had been lieutenant governor and acting governor of Massachusetts for many years, and led the colony through a difficult period in the earlier 18th century: fighting off forays by French and Indians during what became known as Dummer's War in the 1720s. He also served as an early overseer of Harvard College. He was from a prominent colonial family with his brother Jeremiah Dummer having been a principal founding benefactor of the College of New Haven, which later became Yale University. As the Boston Latin School only accepted students from the city of Boston, the need arose for schools in more outlying areas to prepare students for college—the only ones existing at that time in New England being Harvard and Yale; Brown and Dartmouth were founded a few years afterward. In that context, the Dummer Charity School or Dummer Grammar School commenced operation in 1763 pursuant to the will of Governor Dummer with Samuel Moody as its first headmaster. In 1782, the Dummer school was officially incorporated as the Dummer Academy,[5] whose graduates in this era comprised approximately 25% of the undergraduate student body at Harvard. Most children in this era were home-schooled with pre-college education ending around the age of 14, with youths thereafter going on to college or entering the workforce. Thus most college freshmen tended to be the age of high school freshmen today.

As was the custom, the curriculum in this era focused primarily on the study of Scripture, basic math and English and, most importantly, instruction in Latin, Greek, and the Classics. The curriculum broadened over time as the requirements of college admission expanded. Although the academy initially operated in a one-room schoolhouse which still stands to this day, it had access to the grand mansion of the late governor, which remains a central fixture on the campus as the headmaster's residence. Over time other structures were built and the faculty and curriculum expanded so that by the time of the school's centennial in 1863, the Dummer Academy had grown into a well known 19th-century prep school that catered mostly to children from affluent families who aspired to the Ivy League. By the turn of the 20th century, however, the school had fallen on hard times, with enrollment and income down, as the school struggled under the shadow of Andover and Exeter, and other schools that had grown to become very well known and prestigious. It was in this context that Dr. Charles Ingham became headmaster in 1908, launching great efforts to revive the academy. As a result, Dummer Academy became stabilized and began to again thrive as a premier New England prep school that sent over a third of its graduates to Ivy League colleges during that period. Upon Dr. Ingham's retirement in 1930, Edward "Ted" Eames became headmaster, a post he held for 30 years. Early in Master Eames' tenure, the name of the school was changed to the Governor Dummer Academy, a title it retained until 2006.

With some exceptions, the school primarily was open only to boys until coeducation was established in 1972.

Name change edit

In December 2005, the board of trustees voted to change the name of the academy to "The Governor's Academy" amid concerns that the name "Dummer" was deterring prospective students from applying. An example of a possible negative connotation of the name was when the principal of Triton Regional High School (Massachusetts), also located on Elm Street in Byfield, in the years before the name change, in public statements at Triton, would humorously refer to "the Dummer school down the road". Legally the name remains "Governor Dummer Academy" doing business as "The Governor's Academy." When founded, the academy was named "Dummer Charity School." Subsequently, the name was changed to "Dummer Academy," which name it was known by for a century and a half.

The decision to change met with resistance from some students and alumni, and attracted media attention from around the country. Those who promoted the change saw it as one of a number of ways to expand the geographic representation and the overall appeal of the school, especially to those who were not familiar with the school or its history. The name change took effect on July 1, 2006.[1] In 2010-2011, the Academy set records for admissions inquiries, interviews and applications, thus supporting the decision that the name change would enhance institutional marketing efforts.

Notable alumni edit

References edit

  1. ^ "GOV View Book". Archived from the original on 2014-12-28. Retrieved 2014-12-28.
  2. ^[dead link]
  3. ^ "The Governor's Academy: At a Glance". Archived from the original on 2014-12-28. Retrieved 2014-12-28.
  4. ^ "The Governor?s Academy - About us". Archived from the original on 2007-07-09.
  5. ^ George Adams (1853). "Education in Massachusetts: Incorporated Academies". Massachusetts Register. Boston: Printed by Damrell and Moore.
  6. ^ Governor's boasts strong ties to Korea,
  7. ^ "F.T. Crowe Dead, Built 19 U.S. Dams", New York Times, February 28, 1946
  8. ^ "This Quiet Walton Heir Is An Uber Education Policy Wonk - Inside Philanthropy: Fundraising Intelligence - Inside Philanthropy". 14 February 2014. Retrieved 28 June 2015.

Further reading edit

External links edit