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|995 Hopmeadow St, Simsbury, CT 06070|
|Type||Private, Boarding, Day|
Virtute Et Numine |
(Grit and Grace)
|Headmaster||William V. N. Philip|
|Color(s)||Black and Gold|
Westminster School was founded by William Lee Cushing in 1888 as a boys' school in Dobbs Ferry, New York.
In 1900, as enrollment increased, Cushing moved the school to its current location in Simsbury, Connecticut. The land had been donated through a trustee of the school, Arthur M. Dodge, a member of an old Hartford family. Williams Hill, the new site, offered more than 230 acres (0.93 km2) with views of the Farmington River. It also provided train service for students to New York and Boston.
A graduate of Yale University and a firm believer in the traditional form of English boarding school education, Cushing was strongly influenced by the Reverend Edward Thring, headmaster of Uppingham School in England.
In the early 1970s, Westminster School opened its doors to day students, and in 1971, girls were admitted to the school (first as day students and then, in 1977, as boarding students). 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 included:
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.
All Westminster students participate in an afternoon program during each term of the school year. The emphasis is on athletics; however, the afternoon commitment can include drama, stagecraft, dance, community service or another independent study project. The afternoon program is designed to encourage Westminster core values: community, character, balance and involvement.
Westminster's sports and recreation facilities include 35 acres of playing fields, 14 tennis courts, a 400-meter synthetic track, eight international squash courts, an indoor hockey rink, a new lighted synthetic turf field, baseball and softball fields, basketball courts and a state-of-the-art aquatic center that includes an eight-lane, 25-yard swimming and diving pool, a well-equipped fitness room and our professionally staffed health center.
|Swimming and Diving||Winter||B/G||Yes|
|Track and Field||Spring||B/G||Yes|
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.
Theater has always been an integral part of the Westminster experience, dating back to when Headmaster Cushing's son wrote and directed productions each winter before he launched a career as a Broadway producer. The theater program at Westminster offers students the opportunity to experience all aspects of theatrical performance and production in the theoretical setting of the classroom and the practical arena of department productions.
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.
As Westminster prepared to mark its centennial, the school decided to address its demand for expanded and technically improved dance, music and theater facilities. Situated in a prominent location at the northeastern corner of the campus’s central quadrangle, Centennial Center consciously brings the performing arts into the physical and academic mainstream of campus life. The 30,000 square-foot building includes a two-story lobby, a 400-seat, multiuse Shakespearian-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.
Academic / Arts facilities
Other on-campus facilities
Notable alumni include: