The Lawrenceville School is a coeducational, independent preparatory boarding school for grades 9–12 located on 700 acres (2.8 km2) in the historic community of Lawrenceville, in Lawrence Township, New Jersey, U.S., five miles (8 km) southwest of Princeton.

Lawrenceville is a member of the Eight Schools Association, begun informally in 1973–74 and formalized in 2006. Lawrenceville is also a member of the Ten Schools Admissions Organization, founded in 1966. There is a seven-school overlap of membership between the two groups. Lawrenceville is additionally a member of the G20 Schools group. The school has been accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Secondary Schools since 1928.

As of the 2009-10 school year, the school had an enrollment of 809 students and 96.8 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 8.4. Students came from 33 states and 33 countries. As of January 2011, its endowment stood at $275 million. Lawrenceville received 1,778 formal applications for entrance in fall 2009, of which 245 were enrolled.


One of the oldest prep schools in the U.S., Lawrenceville was founded in 1810 as the Maidenhead Academy by Presbyterian clergyman Isaac Van Arsdale Brown with money primarily acquired from the opium trade (1784–1861). As early as 1828, the school attracted students from Cuba and England, as well as from the Choctaw Nations. It went by several subsequent names, including the Lawrenceville Classical and Commercial High School, the Lawrenceville Academy, and the Lawrenceville Classical Academy, before the school's current name, "The Lawrenceville School," was set during its refounding in 1883. An 18-acre (73,000 m2) area of the campus built then, including numerous buildings, has been designated a U.S. National Historic Landmark District, known as Lawrenceville School National Historic Landmark. A newer portion of the campus, not intruding into that district, was built in the 1920s.

In 1951, a group of educators from three of the elite prep schools in the United States (Lawrenceville, Phillips Academy, and Phillips Exeter Academy) and three of the country's most prestigious colleges (Harvard University, Princeton University, and Yale University) convened to examine the best use of the final two years of high school and the first two years of college. This committee published a final report, General Education in School and College, through Harvard University Press in 1952, which subsequently led to the establishment of the Advanced Placement program (the AP Exams).

Lawrenceville was featured in a number of novels by Owen Johnson, class of 1895, notably The Prodigious Hickey, The Tennessee Shad, and The Varmint (1910). The Varmint, which recounts the school years of the fictional character Dink Stover, was made into the 1950 motion picture The Happy Years which starred Leo G. Carroll and Dean Stockwell and was filmed on the Lawrenceville campus. A 1992 PBS miniseries was based on his Lawrenceville tales.

In 1959, Fidel Castro spoke at the school in the Edith Memorial Chapel. Recent speakers have included boxer Muhammad Ali, former president of Honduras and alumnus Ricardo Maduro, first female President of Ireland Mary Robinson, playwright Edward Albee, legal scholar Derrick Bell, poet Billy Collins, playwright Christopher Durang, historians Niall Ferguson and David Hackett Fischer, the Rev. Peter J. Gomes, poet Seamus Heaney, political analyst Ariana Huffington, novelist Chang-rae Lee, photographer Andres Serrano, poet Mark Strand, writer Andrew Sullivan, politician Lowell Weicker, ambassador Pierre-Richard Prosper, philosopher Cornel West, physicist Brian Greene, actor Chevy Chase, TV show host Jon Stewart, Noble Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus and Medal of Honor recipient Jack H. Jacobs.

Among Lawrenceville's prominent teachers over the years have been Thornton Wilder, a three-time Pulitzer Prize winning author, who taught French at the School in the 1920s; R. Inslee Clark, Jr., who revolutionized Ivy League admissions at Yale in the 1960s; and Thomas H. Johnson, a widely-published authority on Emily Dickinson. Faculty members have gone on to head institutions such as the Horace Mann School, Phillips Exeter Academy, the Groton School, Pacific Ridge School, Milton Academy, Westminster School, the Peddie School, Riverdale Country School, Governor Dummer Academy, and the American College of Sofia (Bulgaria).

Lawrenceville was all-male for much of its nearly 200-year history, until the board of trustees voted to make the School coeducational in 1985. The first girls were admitted in 1987. In 1999, the student body elected a female president, Alexandra Petrone; in 2003, Elizabeth Duffy was appointed the School's first female head master; and in 2005, Sasha-Mae Eccleston, Lawrenceville Class of 2002 and Brown University Class of 2006, became Lawrenceville's first alumna to win a Rhodes Scholarship.

Historic Landmark

The Lawrenceville School National Historic Landmark is a 17.74-acre (71,800 m2) historic district on the campus of the Lawrenceville School. This portion, the old campus area built in 1894-1895, was designed in a collaboration between the landscape designer Frederick Law Olmsted and the architects Peabody & Stearns. A new campus area, built in the 1920's, does not intrude and is not included in the district.

The district was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1986. It is included in the Lawrence Township Historic District, created in 1972.

Geography and setting

The Lawrenceville School sits across U.S. Route 206 or Main Street, from the center of Lawrenceville. The village has historically been active as a commercial center for students. The Jigger Shop was for decades one of the most popular student hang-outs, with a soda fountain and the school bookstore. The school assumed ownership of the store in the 1970s and after a 1990 fire, the Jigger shop moved from Main Street to an on-campus location. The village's pizza parlor TJ's remains a popular on-campus spot for students. The cafe Fedora's and the Maidenhead bagel shop also serve as popular hang out locations for students.

The school includes a golf course, and owns much of the land to its east, which is covenanted as Green Space under New Jersey state law.

Lawrenceville sits midway between Trenton and Princeton, and has a strong historical connection to Princeton University.

Residential life

Among Lawrenceville's most distinctive features is its house system common to British boarding schools. Students reside in three distinct groups of houses (or dorms), where they live with faculty members in a family-like setting: the Lower School, the Circle and Crescent Houses, and the Upper School. The Second Form, ninth grade, resides in two buildings, one for boys (Raymond) and one for girls (Dawes) The Third and Fourth Forms, tenth and eleventh-grade, live in either the Circle (for boys) or the Crescent (for girls) Houses. The "Circle Houses" are named for their location on a landscaped circle designed by the 19th-century landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, who is most famous for designing New York City's Central Park. The Circle is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a National Historic Landmark. The "Crescent Houses" are named after the crescent-shaped lane on which they are situated. Circle/Crescent houses, which field intramural sports teams, have their own traditions, and participate in friendly competition for inter-house awards.

The Circle houses are Kennedy, Hamill House, Dickinson, Woodhull, Griswold and Cleve. The Crescent houses are McClellan, Stanley, Stephens, Kirby, and Carter (opened recently for the 2010 - 2011 school year). The Fifth Form (twelfth grade) lives in separate dormitories off the Circle. These houses are : Upper (divided into Upper West and Upper East), Kinnan and Haskell (for boys) and McPherson and Reynolds (for the girls). Fifth Formers also have the opportunity to apply to be a prefect in their Circle, Crescent, or Lower House, serving a role similar to resident assistants in colleges in helping to plan events, mentor incoming students, and serve as an advisor in certain times as well.

Unique to Lawrenceville is also the Honor System in place at the school. Each House selects its own Honor Representative, who, in addition to the Vice President of Honor and Discipline and the Dean of Students, form the Honor Council of the School. If a student is found to have lied, cheated, stolen, or to have broken two of the School's Major rules, he will be subject to a Discipline Committee hearing, which will recommend a course of action to the Headmaster.


The Harkness table is a hallmark of the School. In the Harkness method, teachers and students engage in Socratic, give-and-take discussions around large, wooden oval tables, which take the place of individual desks. Classes meet four times per week in one 50-minute and three 55-minute blocs. Most classes also meet for an additional period of time following one of the 55-minute slots: either an "X" period (an additional 40 minutes) which is used by lab courses (such as science or art) or a "Y" period (an additional 25 minutes).

Additionally, the school incorporates "consultation" periods into its schedule. During these periods, students have the option to consult with their teachers regarding their individual course questions. During an academic week, there are four "consultation" periods (on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings) of 40 minutes.

Upon graduation, seniors have the opportunity to be inducted into the Cum Laude Society based on academic achievement in the Fourth and Fifth Form years, with roughly 20% of seniors being awarded the honor.

Each year awards are given to members of each form for their unique contributions to Lawrenceville, including but not limited to the Beverly Anderson Prize for Excellence and Scholarship (II Form), the Reuben T. Carlson Scholarship (III Form), the Semans Family Merit Scholarship (IV Form), and the Trustees Cup, Brainard Prize, and the School Valedictorian (V Form).


For many years, Lawrenceville served as a feeder school for Princeton University. It continues to send many of its student to some of the country's top universities, including but not limited to Stanford University, Yale University, Harvard University, MIT, Georgetown University, Duke University, Johns Hopkins University, University of Pennsylvania, Dartmouth College, Columbia University, Northwestern University, Vanderbilt University and the University of Chicago. In the past few years, graduates have also joined the University of Virginia's Jefferson Scholars Foundation, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Morehead-Cain Scholarship, Duke's Robertson Scholars Program, and the Presidential Scholars Program.


Lawrenceville's arch-rival in the Mid-Atlantic Prep League is The Hill School of Pottstown, Pennsylvania. On the first or second weekend of November during "Hill Weekend," the two schools celebrate the nation's third oldest high school football rivalry and fifth oldest school rivalry in the nation, dating back to 1887. Also famous is the annual golf competition for the Crooked Stick, similar in format to the Ryder Cup.

Lawrenceville competes with other schools in baseball, basketball, crew, cross-country, fencing, field hockey, football, golf, hockey, indoor and outdoor track, lacrosse, soccer, softball, squash, swimming, tennis, volleyball, water polo, and wrestling. In addition, the School offers a variety of intramural sports, including Ultimate (sport) for the girls' Crescent Houses and 8-man tackle football for boys' Circle Houses. The athletic directors of Lawrenceville and the other members of the Eight Schools Association compose the Eight Schools Athletic Council, which organizes sports events and tournaments among ESA schools.

Lawrenceville's House Football League is the oldest active football league in America. Teams compete against each other to battle for the pride of their house. Traditions abound, including the yearly rivalry game between the Hamill and Kennedy houses referred to as "The Crutch Game," first played in 1947. The game is fought for the possession of a historical crutch made of wood. The games also include Woodhull against Griswold for a broken muffler ("The Muffler",) and Dickinson versus Cleve for the "Pride of the Circle".

A bit of Lawrenceville football lore is recounted in the book Football Days, Memories of the Game and of the Men Behind the Ball by William H. Edwards, a graduate of Lawrenceville. The book describes the author's time as a member of the Lawrenceville football team, and paints a vivid picture of "the vital power of the collegial spirit."

Notable Recent Interscholastic Achievements:

In the Spring of 2010, the Lawrenceville Boy's Varsity Crew won the MAPL league by beating out Peddie, Hun, and Blair, placed first at the USRowing Mid-atlantic youth championship, then went on to place 13th at the USRowing Youth Nationals held at Lake Harsha, Ohio by winning the C Level Final; multiple members of this crew either went on to race for the United States Jr. National Team or the United States Jr. National development team. In the Fall of 2010, the Lawrenceville Boy's Varsity Crew won the Head of the Christina Regatta in Delaware then later in the season placed 14th in a field of 75 at the Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston, Massachusetts.

In the spring of 2008, the Lawrenceville Boy's and Girl's Varsity Track & Field team completed its season undefeated, placing first in the NJISSAA and MAPL leagues.

On November 6, 2005, the Lawrenceville Varsity Field Hockey team defeated Stuart Country Day School 2-1 to capture their third straight Prep A State Championship. On November 5, 2006, the Field Hockey team defeated Stuart Country Day School 1-0 to capture their fourth straight Prep A State Championship. In 2007 they tied rival Stuart Country Day School for a shared victory in their 5th straight Prep A State Championship with a 2-2 tie on a late Lawrenceville goal.

On February 12, 2006, the Lawrenceville Varsity Boys' Squash team won the National Championship for the third year in a row.

On May 18, 2006, the Lawrenceville Varsity Baseball Team won the New Jersey State Prep A Championship over Peddie School in a double header (14-0 and 6-1), marking their second state championship in three years.

In 2006, Lawrenceville graduate Joakim Noah competed as a member of the University of Florida Gators' back-to-back NCAA-championship winning basketball team in 2006 and 2007. Noah was voted the most outstanding player of the Final Four in 2006. Noah now plays for the NBA's Chicago Bulls.


On Lawrenceville's 700-acre (2.8 km2) campus are thirty-four major buildings, including the Bunn Library (with space for 100,000 volumes). Peabody and Stearns designed the original campus of the school, which included Memorial Hall (renamed Woods Memorial Hall in January 2010), a gymnasium, the headmaster’s house and five cottage-style residences, and provided future plans for the chapel.

Opened in 1996, the Bunn Library offers more than 60,000 books, computer research facilities, an electronic classroom, study areas and an archives. Other campus highlights include a 56,000-square-foot (5,200 m2) science building (opened in spring 1998), a visual arts center (opened in fall 1998), a history center (reopened in fall 1999), and a music center (opened in fall 2000).

In the main arena of the Edward J. Lavino Field House are a permanent banked 200-meter track and three tennis/basketball/volleyball courts. Two additional hardwood basketball courts, a six-lane swimming pool, an indoor ice-hockey rink, a wrestling room, two fitness centers with full-time strength and conditioning coaches, and a training-wellness facility are housed in the wings of the building as well as a new squash court facility, hosting ten new internationally zoned courts, which opened in 2003.

The four Crescent House Dorms, designed by Short and Ford Architects, of Princeton, NJ, were opened in 1986, with a 5th house opening in 2010. The Circle, declared a national historic landmark by the U.S. government, was designed by Frederick law Olmstead, the famous architect who is famous for his designing of Central Park in New York and the campus of Stanford University to name a few.

Lawrenceville has eighteen athletics fields, a nine-hole golf course, twelve outdoor tennis courts, a ¼-mile all-weather track, a boathouse, and a ropes and mountaineering course. During the summer, Lawrenceville is a popular site for sports-specific camps for youths, as well as several academic programs for students and teachers, including the prestigious New Jersey Scholars Program.

Lawrenceville is currently developing what will rank among the largest solar farms in New Jersey on its acreage which will consist of 25,000 solar panels on a sloped 30 acre site and is expected to provide the school with more than 90% of its energy needs.


Lawrenceville athletics compete in the Mid-Atlantic Prep League.

Lawrenceville is a member of a group of leading American secondary schools, the Eight Schools Association, begun informally in 1973–74 and formalized at a 2006 meeting at Lawrenceville. At that meeting, Choate headmaster Edward Shanahan was appointed first president, Lawrenceville's Elizabeth Duffy was named first vice president, and former Lawrenceville chief financial officer William Bardel was hired as executive assistant. Shanahan was succeeded in 2009 by Duffy, and Bardel was succeeded by former Hotchkiss head Robert Mattoon. The member schools are Lawrenceville, Choate Rosemary Hall (known as Choate), Deerfield Academy, Hotchkiss School, Northfield Mount Hermon, Phillips Academy (known as Andover), Phillips Exeter Academy (known as Exeter), and St. Paul's School.

Lawrenceville is also a member of the Ten Schools Admissions Organization, established in 1966 and comprising Lawrenceville, Choate, Deerfield, Hotchkiss, Andover, Exeter, St. Paul's, Taft School, Loomis Chaffee, and The Hill School.

Lawrenceville is affiliated with The Island School – Cape Eleuthera, The Bahamas

Notable Lawrentians

The following are some notable alumni of the Lawrenceville School.

  • George Akerlof '58 – Nobel Laureate for Economics.
  • Walter Gresham Andrews '08 - United States House of Representatives from New York (1889–1943).
  • Dewey F. Bartlett '38 – Former Governor of Oklahoma
  • Prince Turki bin Faisal al-Saud – Saudi Arabia's ambassador to United States.
  • Garth Ancier – President of the WB Network.
  • David Baird, Jr. 1899 – U.S. Senator from New Jersey.
  • Dierks Bentley '93 – Country Music Singer.
  • Barton Biggs '51 – Former Morgan Stanley Chief Global Strategist and current money manager running Traxis Partners.
  • George H. Brown c. 1828 – represented New Jersey's 4th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives from 1853 to 1855.
  • Frederick Buechner '46 – Novelist.
  • Fox Butterfield '57 – Pulitzer Prize-winning Journalist for The New York Times.
  • Jay Carney '83 – 29th White House Press Secretary, former TIME Washington Bureau Chief and former White House correspondent.
  • Charles Chaplin, Jr. – Son of Charlie Chaplin.
  • John Cobb Cooper – American jurist and airline executive.
  • Merian C. Cooper '11 – film director King Kong (1933 film)
  • Richard Dean – Fashion and advertising photographer, model, and former player in Canadian Football League.
  • William Adams Delano – architect.
  • Christopher DeMuth '64 – President of the American Enterprise Institute.
  • Michael Eisner '60 – Former CEO of The Walt Disney Company.
  • Maurice Ferre – Former Mayor of the city of Miami (1973–1985). Currently a fellow at Princeton University.
  • Major Sir Hamish Forbes, Bt, MBE, MC 1916–2007 Champion of Gaelic Culture – POW decorated for numerous escape attempts.
  • Malcolm Forbes – Publisher of Forbes magazine.
  • Clint Frank '34 – Winner of the 1937 Heisman Trophy and Maxwell Award. Team Captain and All-American football player at Yale University.
  • Charles Fried – Harvard Law School professor and former United States Solicitor General.
  • George Gallup – Pollster
  • Robert F. Goheen '36 – The 16th President of Princeton University and former U.S. Ambassador to India
  • Stuart Goldfarb '72, former President and Chief Executive Officer of BMG Music Service, Columbia House, Book of the Month Club, Literary Guild, Doubleday Book Club; former Executive VP, NBC.
  • Peter Johnson Gulick 1822 – Pioneer Protestant missionary to Hawaii (1828–74) with the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, patriarch of the missionary-rich (1820s to 1960s) Gulick clan, co-founder of Princeton University's Philadelphian Society of Nassau Hall (1825–1930, spiritual parent to today's Princeton Evangelical Fellowship)
  • John Gutfreund – Former CEO of Salomon Brothers
  • Randolph Apperson Hearst '34 – Former chairman of The Hearst Corporation and son of William Randolph Hearst
  • Lydia Hearst-Shaw – model, daughter of Patricia Hearst
  • Armond Hill '72, former NBA player, current assistant coach for the Boston Celtics.
  • Richard Halliburton – Author, adventurer
  • Owen Johnson 1895 – Author of the Lawrenceville Stories
  • Butler Lampson – Renowned computer scientist and 1992 ACM Turing Award winner
  • Aldo Leopold 1905 – Father of Ecology, author of A Sand County Almanac
  • Huey Lewis '67- Musician.
  • Ricardo Maduro '63 – Former President of Honduras
  • Reginald Marsh – Painter
  • William Masters – Human sexuality researcher and co-founder of the Masters & Johnson Institute
  • Harold McGraw, Jr. '36 – Former CEO of The McGraw Hill Companies, Inc.
  • James Merrill '43 – Poet.
  • Dennis Michie – First football head coach at Army, namesake of Michie Stadium
  • Clement Woodnutt Miller, U.S. Representative from California.
  • Paul Moravec, Jr – 2004 Pulitzer Prize for Music-winning composer
  • Tinsley Mortimer (born 1976), socialite.
  • Joakim Noah '04 (born 1985), basketball player for Chicago Bulls.
  • Jarvis Offutt – American World War I aviator, namesake of Offutt Air Force Base
  • Charles Smith Olden – 19th Governor of New Jersey, from 1860–1863.
  • Joel Parker – 20th Governor of New Jersey, from 1863–1866 and 1871–1874.
  • Rodman M. Price (1816–1894), represented New Jersey's 5th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives from 1851 to 1853, and served as the 17th Governor of New Jersey, from 1854–1857.
  • Laurence Rickels famous theorist and philosopher, known for his work on vampires, the devil, technology and science fiction
  • Bob Ryan '64- Boston Globe sportswriter and ESPN analyst/contributor
  • Paul Schmidtberger '82, author of Design Flaws of the Human Condition
  • Gene Scott '56 – Tennis player, founder of Tennis Week magazine
  • Hugh L. Scott 1869 – Former U.S. Army Chief of Staff and Superintendent of West Point
  • Cotter Smith '68 – actor
  • Sheridan Snyder '54 – Biotechnology entrepreneur and philanthropist
  • William H. Stovall '13 (1895–1970), American World War I flying ace and World War II veteran, businessman.
  • Brandon Tartikoff '66 – Former NBC programming chief.
  • James Brainerd Taylor 1823 – Second Great Awakening evangelist, cousin of famed 18th-century Protestant missionary David Brainerd, primary founder of Princeton University's Philadelphian Society of Nassau Hall (1825–1930, spiritual parent to today's Princeton Evangelical Fellowship), see
  • Taki Theodoracopulos – International journalist.
  • Seth Waugh '76 – CEO, Deutsche Bank Americas
  • Lowell Weicker '49 – Governor of Connecticut and United States Senator.
  • Meredith Whitney '88 – Former research analyst at Oppenheimer.
  • James Harvie Wilkinson III – United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit and oft-mentioned prospective Supreme Court of the United States nominee
  • Welly Yang '90 – actor


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