Collegiate School (New York City)

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Collegiate School
Collegiate School logo.png
301 Freedom Place South


TypePrivate, day, college prep
MottoLatin: Nisi Dominus Frustra
("Unless God, then in vain")
Dutch: Eendracht maakt macht
("In unity there is strength")
FounderThe Rev. Jonas Michaelius and the Dutch West India Company
ChairmanJonathan Youngwood ’85
HeadmasterLee M. Levison
Number of students660
Color(s)Orange and blue         
NewspaperThe Journal
YearbookThe Dutchman
AffiliationsIvy Prep School League
New York Interschool

Collegiate School is an independent school for boys in New York City. It claims to be the oldest school in the United States. [1][2] It is located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and is a member of both the New York Interschool and the Ivy Preparatory School League, it is ranked one of the best private schools in the United States.[3]


Collegiate was founded in the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam in 1628 by the Dutch West India Company and the Classis of Amsterdam, its initial incarnation was a co-ed school located south of Canal Street. The institution's location has changed 16 times over the last four centuries.

Founding date[edit]

Collegiate states it is the oldest school of any kind in the United States.[1] Prior to 1984, the common belief was that the school had been founded in 1638, placing it two years later than the founding of Harvard University and three years after the founding date of Boston Latin School. Massimo Maglione, a historian and Upper School teacher at Collegiate, conducted research into the accuracy of this date and discovered a letter that Collegiate's founder—the Reverend Jonas Michaëlius, the first minister of the Dutch Reformed Church in America—had written in 1628 about his efforts to teach the catechism to Indian children. Based on this evidence, the school in 1984 officially moved up its founding to 1628.[2]


On February 5, 2013, the Collegiate School board announced relocation plans for the institution; the school acquired land for a new facility, situated between West End Avenue and Riverside Boulevard and between West 61st and 62nd Streets in New York's Riverside South neighborhood. Board Chairman George R. Bason, Jr. '72 said the new 178,000-square-foot school would provide 30% more indoor space and over 600% more outdoor space (16,268 square feet) for its 648 students from kindergarten through 12th grade than the existing lodgings provided. He estimated the new school's construction cost at $125–$135 million.[4] On January 12, 2018, Collegiate officially opened its new location at 301 Freedom Place South.[5]

School seal and mottos[edit]

Collegiate's official seal is an adaptation of the coat of arms of William of Orange, who was the founder of the Dutch Republic and of the Reformed Church in that country and led the cause of independence and of freedom for the Reformed Church against Philip II of Spain. Included in the school's seal are two mottos: Eendracht Maakt Macht, Dutch for "In unity there is strength", and Nisi Dominus Frustra, Latin for "unless God, then in vain."


Current campus at 301 Freedom Place
Old Collegiate School campus


From 1892-2017, Collegiate resided at several buildings on 77th and 78th Streets on the Upper West Side of Manhattan; the former schoolhouse on West 77th Street is, together with the adjoining West End Collegiate Church, an historic landmark in the City of New York.

In 2013, the school announced that it would be moving to a new location and in January 2018, Collegiate moved into a new facility at 301 Freedom Place South, it consists of an 11-story building (nine stories above ground and two below ground), with 180,000 square feet of classroom, athletics, theater, music, art, library, dining, and administrative space. The school features common areas dedicated to each division that provide space for independent study, social interactions, and divisional activities.

The Lower School is located on floors 2 and 3; the Middle School occupies floors 8 and 9. It has its own Maker Space, along with flexible classrooms, a Middle School Center and large, modern group study spaces; the Upper School is housed on floors 5 and 6. It is significantly larger than the division's previous space and is adjacent to the library, it features flexible classrooms and common areas that promote interaction among students and faculty.

Sciences for all three divisions are consolidated onto floor 7. Visual arts and music occupy floor 4, complete with music practice spaces, art studios, and a digital photo lab. Additionally, on the Lower Level, performing arts benefit from a 307-seat auditorium and a black-box theater, both of which support Collegiate's drama program. Collegiate's athletics are housed in the Lower Level and include a high school regulation-size gym that supports the basketball teams; the gym can be partitioned to provide PE classes and practice space simultaneously. An additional gym, the Alumni Gym, can accommodate regulation wrestling competitions and half-court basketball and features a retractable batting cage.

Outdoor space consists of a large roof deck on floor 9 with a large recreation area and a ground-level, 5,000-square-foot courtyard that allows for handball and basketball.[6]


Each grade has around 50 boys, who attend Collegiate for the full course of study, thirteen years (these students are nicknamed "Survivors"); the school is divided into Lower School (Kindergarten-Grade 4), Middle School (Grades 5-8), and Upper School (Grades 9-12). More than a quarter of Collegiate teachers hold a Ph.D.

The school is private, and it functions under a New York City non-profit statute enacted in the 1940s. Collegiate is controlled by a Board of Trustees, and the school is administered by a headmaster.[7]


Collegiate School is currently headed by Lee M. Levison, who has held the title of Head of School since July 1, 2006, he was preceded by W. Lee Pierson, the interim Head of School following the departure of Kerry P. Brennan in 2004.[8] Levison announced his intention to retire in December 2018, effective June 30th, 2020, causing The Board of Trustees to immediately commence a search for his replacement.[9]

On May 31, 2019, the Board of Trustees unanimously voted to appoint David S. Lourie, Head of the St. Anne's-Belfield School since 2009, as Collegiate's 29th Head of School.[10][11] He will begin his tenure upon Levison's retirement in July 2020.


In 2007, The Wall Street Journal ranked Collegiate number one in the world in terms of percent of the senior class matriculating to eight selective American colleges.[12] A 2019-20 survey concluded that Collegiate was the 3rd best boys school in the country, the 4th best K-12 school in the country, and the 13th best private high school in the country.[13]

Sports and co-curricular activities[edit]

The school's athletic success has mainly been with the varsity basketball, baseball, track and field, soccer, and cross country teams; the Collegiate soccer team won the NYSAIS state championship in 2010, 2011, and 2012. The Collegiate varsity basketball team won five straight state championships in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012; the Collegiate cross country team won 25 Ivy League Championships in a row from 1990–2014. Collegiate also has wrestling and tennis teams. Students not participating in a sport take physical education. Yearly fitness tests are administered in the lower and middle schools.

The school has a number of clubs, especially in the Upper School.

Notable alumni[edit]

Affiliated organizations[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Colligiate's Arithmetic Makes it the Oldest School". The New York Times. May 5, 1985. Retrieved November 29, 2016.
  2. ^ a b "Gifted Parents Help Collegiate School". The New York Times. May 24, 1988. Retrieved November 29, 2016. The concert celebrated what Collegiate calls its 360th anniversary. Which year the school was actually founded - 1628, 1633 or 1638 - has created disputes among the nation's oldest schools that seem as enduring as the schools. In 1984, Collegiate moved its date from 1633 to 1628, because officials discovered a letter written in 1628 by the Rev. Jonas Michealius of the Dutch Reformed Church describing his efforts to teach catechism to Indian children. To Collegiate officials, that sounded as much like a preparatory school as anything operating in early 17th-century America; the change puts Collegiate in the position of marking its 360th anniversary 55 years after it celebrated its 300th anniversary, in 1933. "It was all thrashed out around 1910," the headmaster, Cornelius B. Boocock, told The New York Times in 1933. "The case is now settled."...
  3. ^ Nolan, Caroline (March 1, 2016). "The top 25 private high schools in the U.S." TheStreet. Retrieved October 23, 2018.
  4. ^ Anderson, Jenny (February 5, 2013). "Collegiate School, New York's Oldest Private School, Plans 17th Move". The New York Times.
  5. ^ "Collegiate School - Private Boys K-12 Day School in NYC". Retrieved February 15, 2019.
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Collegiate School | All Boys K-12 in NYC | School Facts". collegiate school. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  8. ^ Collegiate School, About Us: History, Retrieved October 9, 2019.
  9. ^ Collegiate School, Head of School Search, Retrieved October 9, 2019.
  10. ^ St. Anne's-Belfield School, Senior Administration, Retrieved October 9, 2019.
  11. ^ Collegiate School, Head of School Search, Retrieved October 9, 2019.
  12. ^ Gamerman, Ellen (November 30, 2007). "How to Get Into Harvard". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved December 29, 2008.
  13. ^ "2020 Collegiate School Rankings".
  14. ^ Pat McGilligan (1997). "Backstory 3-Interviews with screenwriters of the 1960s(George Axelrod)". p. 50. Retrieved October 26, 2010.
  15. ^ Jason Beghe's Life After Scientology: 'I Was in a Cult', Marlow Stern, "He attended the Collegiate School, an elite private prep school for blue-blooded New York City boys, where his two best pals were John F. Kennedy, Jr. and David Duchovny."
  16. ^ "Collegiate Yearbook auction(David Benioff)". Retrieved October 26, 2010.
  17. ^ N.Y.), Collegiate Church School (New York; Dunshee, Henry Webb (February 15, 1883). "History of the School of the Collegiate Reformed Dutch Church in the City of New York, from 1633 to 1883". Print of the Aldine Press. Retrieved February 15, 2019 – via Google Books.
  18. ^ GEORGE P. BRETT IS DEAD AT 91; HEADED MACMILLAN COMPANY, The New York Times, Wolfgang Saxos,
  19. ^ Peter Bogdanovich (2005). Who the Hell's In it: Conversations with Legendary Actors. Random House. p. 7. ISBN 9780307757838. Retrieved October 26, 2010.
  20. ^ The Bed-Stuy Bronfman, Joe Pompeo, The Observer
  21. ^ a b c Wikipedia, Source (May 2010). The Collegiate School Alumni. ISBN 9781155286402.
  22. ^ Kluger, Richard, Ashes to Ashes: America's Hundred Year Cigarette War, pg. 137, accessed from Google Books
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  24. ^ a b History of the School of the Collegiate Reformed Dutch Church in the City of New York, Webb Dunshee, page 229, accessed from Google Books
  25. ^ Duchovny, David (March 12, 2011). "What a Good Coach Does". Retrieved February 15, 2019 – via
  26. ^ a b c
  27. ^ Screen World 1997, Google Books :
  28. ^ Economist Edward Glaeser '84 Speaks to Upper School at Adams Lecture:
  29. ^ "Haimovitz studied at the Collegiate School in New York and at the Juilliard School, in the final class of Leonard Rose, after which he continued his cello studies with Ronald Leonard and Yo-Yo Ma."
  30. ^ Collegiate Book Fair Festival a Success:
  31. ^ Odd Man Rush (2016), Bill Keenan
  32. ^ Entertainment Books, Delight and the world according to Douglas Kennedy
  33. ^ Heymann, C. David (2008); American Legacy: The Story of John and Caroline Kennedy. Atria Books. ISBN 0743497392, pp. 145-146
  34. ^
  35. ^ "Weekly Standard Editor Always Stood Out as a Conservative," The Harvard Crimson, Jacquelyn Newmyer: "After graduating from the private all-male Collegiate School, Kristol headed to Cambridge."
  36. ^ Kickin' Out Old School: Puffed Up Prepsters, Wolf: "Alumni have paid homage to the campus in films including House of D by David Duchovny (class of '77) and The Talent Given Us by Andrew Wagner ('81), as well as the novel Heavy Metal and You by Chris Krovatin ('03)."
  37. ^ Collegiate Book Festival a Great Success
  38. ^ January 24, Joe Schad; Pm, 1999 7:00. "A LOOK AT THE LOCALS / McGinnis Tops in Rebounding". Newsday. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
  39. ^ October's Featured Sound Designer: Walter Murch, The Art and Technique of Sound Design, Miguel Isaza: "He went to The Collegiate School, a private preparatory school in Manhattan, from 1949 to 1961."
  40. ^, Columbia University Libraries Oral History Office, "At Collegiate School, which I went into from first grade, in 1918, to last in 1929, as my son did, too, 50 years later."
  41. ^ Winter Convocation Hears Jeffrey L. Orridge '78,
  42. ^ Undocumented: A Dominican Boy's Odyssey from a Homeless Shelter to the Ivy League (2015), Dan-el Padilla Peralta
  43. ^ "Book Festival kicks off with Authors Night". Collegiate School. October 28, 2013. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
  44. ^ a b
  45. ^ Callens, Johan, Double Binds: Existentialist Inspiration, Page 1, accessed from Google Books
  46. ^ Lohrer, Fred E. "John A. Roebling, II (1867-1952), Builder of the Red Hill Estate (1929-1941), Lake Placid, Florida", Archbold Biological Station, October 2, 2006, last updated July 17, 2017. Accessed October 24, 2018.
  47. ^, "Romero was first introduced to acting while attending Collegiate and Riverdale Country schools, where he starred in a stage production of The Merchant of Venice."
  48. ^ Phull, Hardeep (January 17, 2015). "6 things to know about breakout star Mark Ronson". Retrieved February 15, 2019.
  49. ^ Ivory Tower documentary puts a spotlight on the student loan crisis, Mark Stucker:
  50. ^ Meet The Man Behind Key & Peele's 'Keanu, Complex Magazine, Eric Abbriss'
  51. ^ Santa Fe Chamber Music, Artist Spotlight: Actor John Rubinstein:
  52. ^ Oppenheimer, Jerry (February 27, 2013). "JFK's heir apparent". Retrieved February 15, 2019.
  53. ^ Matushka Juliana Ossorguine Schmemann, Orthodox Church in America
  54. ^
  55. ^ Miss Stuart Weds Michael Shnayerson, The New York Times: The bridegroom... graduated from the Collegiate School and Dartmouth College."
  56. ^ "Notable New Yorkers". Retrieved February 15, 2019.
  57. ^ a b Miller, Tom (December 27, 2016). "Daytonian in Manhattan: The Collegiate School -- 241-243 West 77th Street". Retrieved February 15, 2019.
  58. ^ Kickin' Out Old School: Puffed Up Prepsters Warily Eye Collegiate's Modern Move, Jonah Wolf, The Observer, '"I will always remember the school's red door and the tumult of running up its narrow stairs to English class," New York Times national editor Sam Sifton ('84) wrote in an email. "I still have nightmares where I awaken in one of those classrooms at the start of a test I didn't know was coming."'
  59. ^ "Board Members". Viggle. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
  60. ^ :"Vivek is a magna cum laude graduate of both the Wharton School of Business and the University of Pennsylvania's College of Arts and Sciences, and a cum laude graduate of the Collegiate School in New York City."
  61. ^ Spring Convocation Features Luis Ubinas '81:
  62. ^ Biographical Dictionary of American Business Leaders, John N. Ingham
  63. ^
  64. ^ Kickin' Out Old School: Puffed Up Prepsters Warily Eye Collegiate's Modern Move, Jonah Wolf, The Observer: "Alumni have paid homage to the campus in films including House of D by David Duchovny (class of '77) and The Talent Given Us by Andrew Wagner ('81), as well as the novel Heavy Metal and You by Chris Krovatin ('03).
  65. ^ Rhodes, Gary D. (2001). White Zombie: Anatomy of a Horror Film. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company. p. 84. ISBN 978-0-7864-2762-8. Retrieved December 4, 2017.
  66. ^ Money Changes Everything, New York Magazine
  67. ^ "An American Boy Lost in Japan". The Daily Rind. December 18, 2012. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
  68. ^, "New York City native, graduate of Collegiate School, Amherst College and Roosevelt University. Married to Cornelia Grumman, dad of Blair and Eliot. National columnist, U.S. News & World Report. Former chief media writer, The Poynter Institute.
  69. ^ Miller, Tom (December 27, 2016). "Daytonian in Manhattan: The Collegiate School -- 241-243 West 77th Street". Retrieved February 15, 2019.
  70. ^ "J. Peder Zane and Granata". Retrieved February 15, 2019.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°47′00″N 73°58′52″W / 40.78333°N 73.98111°W / 40.78333; -73.98111