Westminster School is a private, coeducationalcollege-preparatory, boarding and day school located in Simsbury, Connecticut accepting around 20% of applicants. Students come to Williams Hill from 25 states and 30 countries, serving a total student population of approximately 400 pupils . It is also a member of the Founders League, an athletic league comprising ten college preparatory boarding schools in Connecticut and one in New York .
Gund House, on the campus of Westminster School, is a student and faculty residence.
Westminster School was founded in 1888 as a boys' school by William Lee Cushing, a graduate of Yale University. Girls were first admitted to the school in 1971. Like many boarding schools, Westminster faced difficult times in the 1970s as it competed for a shrinking pool of boarding students. When Donald Werner retired in 1993, after serving as Headmaster for 21 years, he was succeeded by Graham Cole. During the Cole years, enrollment for the school grew from 340 to 385 students, with 88 faculty .
Significant building projects undertaken include:
Edge House. Designed by Westminster alumnus Graham Gund and built in 1996, Edge House houses 33 students and three faculty families .
Kohn Squash Pavilion. Completed in the Spring of 2000, The Squash Pavilion contains eight squash courts around a stepped viewing area with natural light from skylights above. The team rooms, locker rooms, and other support spaces are located on a second floor mezzanine overlooking the viewing area and squash courts below .
Sherwin Health & Athletic Center. Completed in 2003, the Sherwin Health & Athletic Center, the Hibbard Aquatic Center and the Health & Counseling Center is a multipurpose building. The Aquatic Center contains an eight lane competition pool with support facilities and a viewing area on the mezzanine floor .
Armour Academic Center. This 85,000-square-foot Center houses the Humanities, Math and Science departments, library, and administration. Building features include a centrally located atrium, two-story library, classrooms and laboratories, 120-seat lecture hall, planetarium, faculty and administrative offices, and a variety of lounge spaces .
With Cole's retirement in 2010, Westminster appointed William V.N. Philip as its eighth Headmaster. Philip ascended to the top job after a 26-year career at Westminster as a teacher, coach, dormitory parent, college counselor, and most recently Associate and Assistant Headmaster .
Faculty and staff
William Lee Cushing (1888–1920), first headmaster and school founder
Lemuel Gardner Pettee (1920–1922), school faculty member for over 50 years and namesake of one of the school's gymnasiums
Raymond McOrmond (1922–1936), namesake of a faculty home
Arthur Milliken (1936–1956)
Francis Keyes (1956–1970), namesake of the Admission and Development building
Donald H. Werner (1970–1993), namesake of the Centennial Center, home to most of the arts on campus
W. Graham Cole, Jr. (1993–2010), namesake of the school's library
A student tradition, dating as far back as the 1920s, is stickball, a game in which teams made up of dormitory floors and day student teams compete in a baseball-like game on the quad and athletic fields in late spring. Each floor makes its own bat, usually a hockey or lacrosse stick that has been cut, or a wooden dowel of a large diameter. Generally the stickball "season" will culminate in a single-elimination tournament to crown the Hill Stickball champion.
Each year the theater program stages three productions in the Werner Centennial Theater: one dramatic production spanning the varied genre of Western theater, a musical production, and the student-directed performances, which offer advanced students the opportunity to direct. Each of these productions offers many opportunities for student involvement and leadership, both on stage and backstage.
Situated at the northeastern corner of the campus’s central quadrangle, Centennial Center was upgraded in 1988 into a 30,000 square-foot building including a two-story lobby, a 400-seat, multi-use Shakespearean-style theater, music and dance studios and rehearsal room, dressing rooms, a scene shop/laboratory and other production support spaces. Particular to the “courtyard” theater form, all 400 seats are within 40 feet of the front of the stage, and there is built-in flexibility for both audience size and style of production.