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Encyclopedia > Hotchkiss School

The Hotchkiss School is an independent, American college preparatory boarding school located in Lakeville, Connecticut. Founded in 1891, the school enrolls 567 students in grades 9 through 12 and a small number of postgraduates. Students at Hotchkiss come from across the United States and 26 foreign countries. The current head of school is Robert "Skip" Mattoon, though he has announced that the 2006-2007 school year will be his last. The new Head of School has been announced to be Malcolm McKenzie. Hotchkiss is part of an organization known as The Ten Schools Admissions Organization. This organization was founded more than forty years ago on the basis of a number of common goals and traditions. The school is also a member of Round Square, an international association of schools. A boarding school is a school where some or all students not only study but also live, amongst their peers but away from their home and family. ... Lakeville, Connecticut is a village in Salisbury in Litchfield County, Connecticut, on Lake Wononskopomuc. ... The Ten Schools Admissions Organization is a group formed more than forty years ago by prep schools in New England and the Mid-Atlantic on the basis of a number of common goals and traditions. ... Round Square The Round Square Conference of Schools is a worldwide association of schools whose students share a commitment, beyond academic excellence, to personal development and responsibility through service, challenge, adventure and international understanding. ...

Main Building
Main Building


Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (3072x2048, 3599 KB) Summary Photograph taken by student Adrien Delessert, September 2004 Licensing This image is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike License v. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (3072x2048, 3599 KB) Summary Photograph taken by student Adrien Delessert, September 2004 Licensing This image is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike License v. ...


The Hotchkiss School was founded in 1891 by Maria Bissell Hotchkiss with the encouragement of Yale University president Timothy Dwight V. Maria Hotchkiss was the widow of Benjamin B. Hotchkiss, who founded the French arms company Hotchkiss et Cie, made famous by the use of its machine guns in World War I [1]. Maria originally had aspirations for the school to serve underprivileged students, and the original charter provided some scholarship for local farm-boys. 1891 (MDCCCXCI) was a common year starting on Thursday (see link for calendar). ... Maria Bissell Hotchkiss was the wife of U.S. engineer Benjamin B. Hotchkiss. ... Yale redirects here. ... Timothy Dwight V (1828 - 1916) was President of Yale University from 1886 through 1899. ... Benjamin Berkeley Hotchkiss (1826–February 14, 1885) was one of the leading American ordnance engineers of his day. ... The Hotchkiss Revolving Cannon picture published 1874 Hotchkiss was a French arms and car company established by American engineer Benjamin B. Hotchkiss, who was born in Watertown Connecticut. ...

Campus and facilities

The school is located in a rural setting in 545 acres (2 km²) of woodland near two lakes. Hotchkiss also has an endowment of over $365 million.

Academic facilities

Most classes are held in the "Main Building", a three story building at the center of campus, containing most of the classrooms, which is interconnected with the dining hall, chapel, library, auditorium and music building. Science classes are held in laboratory classrooms in the separate "Science Building", which is divided into floors for physics, chemistry and biology.

The Edsel Ford library, connected to the main building, holds 80,000+ volumes, along with many computer workstations.

Esther Eastman Music Center

2005 saw the completion of Hotchkiss' brand new music center. The building is constructed from wood and glass and has views over the Litchfield Hills. Elfers Hall seats 700 and has excellent acoustics. The school has equipped the hall with a handmade Fazioli piano. There are also many practice rooms, three class teaching rooms, and a music technology studio. The Litchfield Hills is a region of the state of Connecticut located in the northwestern corner of the state; it is a term that is semi-contiguous with the boundaries of Litchfield County, for which it is named. ... Fazioli is a piano manufacturing company founded in 1978 in Sacile, Italy by Paolo Fazioli and a small team of his friends. ... A grand piano, with the lid up. ... Music technology is a wide ranging field. ...

Athletic facilities

Outdoor facilities include climbing walls and a nine-hole golf course created by designer Seth Raynor. An adjacent lake, Wononscopomuc, has a boat house and is used for sailing. There are also many fields, providing playing grounds for the football, soccer, field hockey, baseball and softball teams. Sailing at sunset Wooden sailing boat Sailing is the skillful art of controlling the motion of a sailing ship or sailboat, across a body of water. ... Look up Football in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Football is a ball game played between two teams of eleven players, each attempting to win by scoring more goals than their opponent. ... A game of field hockey in progress Field hockey is a popular sport for men and women in many countries around the world. ... A view of the playing field at Busch Stadium II St. ... JulieSoftball is a team sport in which a ball, eleven to twelve inches (or rarely, 16 inches) (28 to 30. ...

The athletic complex, known as the "MAC", an acronym for the Forrest E. Mars Jr. '49 Athletic Center, houses an olympic-size ten lane pool, eight squash courts, two ice hockey rinks, two basketball courts, a wrestling room, a fitness center/weight room, three indoor tennis courts and two paddle tennis courts.

Dormitories and other facilities

There are ten dormitories on campus, five for boys (Tinker, Coy, Dana, Memorial, and Van Santvoord) and five for girls (Bissell, Buehler, Watson, Garland, and Wieler). Rooms vary in size, from singles to the occasional triple. Ground was broken in 2005 for two new dorms, one each for girls and boys. A typical American college dorm room A dormitory or dorm is a place to sleep. ...

The dining hall and snack bar provide food. Three meals a day are served buffet-style in the dining hall. A salad bar, deli bar and dessert bar are provided in addition to the hot entrees. Meals at the dining hall are included in the tuition. The snack bar is open when the dining hall is not, and provides snack-type food, but costs money, payable by debit card, one of the main forms of currency exchange at the school.


In the 2005-2006 school year, the school had 567 students from 33 states and 18 countries. The students are divided into grades 9 through 12, known as "Preps" (Grade 9), "Lower-Mids" (Grade 10), "Upper-Mids" (Grade 11), and "Seniors" (Grade 12).

Only boys are expected to adhere to a formal dress code each class day. Girls have guidelines on combining top layers with pants or skirts, whereas boys are required to wear a blazer, khakis and a tie. The dress code is relaxed during the winter and late spring months, to accommodate for the weather. Students are also bound by a "no-chance" drugs and alcohol policy, as clearly defined in the school's rulebook, "BluePrints."


Currently, Hotchkiss has 127 faculty, a 5:1 student-to-faculty ratio. 68% of the faculty have graduate degrees, and a number have doctorates in their respective fields. The majority of the Hotchkiss faculty live on campus, in both private houses scattered across the grounds, or in apartments in the dorms. Each floor of each dorm has at least one faculty apartment.

Extracurricular activities


Hotchkiss currently fields 17 interscholastic sports teams and the school is a member of the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council and the Inter-Scholastic Sailing Association. Historically strong athletic programs include the Girls Field Hockey team and the Boys Hockey team. Hotchkiss Field Hockey has won 8 New England championships, including four consecutive from 2002-2005. The New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (NEPSAC) was founded in 1942 as an organization of athletic directors from preparatory schools in New England. ... The Inter-Scholastic Sailing Association (ISSA) is the organization that serves as the governing authority for all sailing competition between both public and private secondary schools throughout the United States. ...

Sports results can be found on the student run website www.Hgoblue.com.


Hotchkiss students run a number of clubs, ranging from The Record, a student run newspaper, the Human Rights Initiative, to BaHSA, the Black and Hispanic Student Alliance, the Gay/Straight Alliance, to HPU (Hotchkiss Political Union) and SEA (Students for Environment Action). The Hotchkiss Debate Team competes at the national and international level. During the Spring Recess 2006, Hotchkiss hosted the World Individual Debating and Public Speaking Championship. The Record, Hotchkiss' school newspaper, is published on a semi-weekly basis. Clubs are student run, though most have faculty advisors, and many of them receive a budget from the school, to provide for their various needs. The World Individual Debating and Public Speaking Championship is a high-profile annual English-language debating tournament for high school level teams representing different countries. ...

Notable alumni

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Hotchkiss in print

  • The school is mentioned several times in F. Scott Fitzgerald's This Side of Paradise and in his short story Six of One.
  • In the book Primary Colors by Joe Klein, later turned into a film, the principal character Henry Burton was educated at Hotchkiss, and is frequently referred to as 'Hotchkiss'.
  • In Jeffrey Archer's novel Sons of Fortune, protagonist Fletcher Davenport is a Hotchkiss alumnus.
  • In Tom Wolfe's novel, I Am Charlotte Simmons, the son of a minor character attends the school.
  • There is a passing reference to the school in Bret Easton Ellis's American Psycho.
  • The school is mentioned in Natalie Krinsky's book, Chloe Does Yale
  • The school is mentioned in Richard Rodriguez's memoir "Brown: The Last Discovery of America."
  • In John McPhee's profile of alumnus Thomas Hoving ("A Roomful of Hovings"), Hoving is quoted as saying: "'The thought of being locked up there for weeks and weeks–I used to sweat with the horror of it. If you see your life in terms of weather, Hotchkiss was overcast and threatening. Trees were green there in my last year, because it was my last year.'"
  • In Can't Take It With You: The Art of Making and Giving Money, alumnus and supporter Lewis B. Cullman writes, "Like most New England boarding schools of the time, Hotchkiss was built around the concept of rugged, manly Christianity. Living conditions were Spartan; trips home, rare...There was a Hotchkiss way to do everything." On page 41 he wrote of "the virulent anti-Semitism of Hotchkiss back then" and added, "as with all minorities, our status made us vulnerable."
  • Hotchkiss alumnus Julian Houston, a judge in Massachusetts, wrote the novel New Boy, which recounts the story of Rob Garrett, the first African-American student at the fictional Draper School, which strongly resembles Hotchkiss. (According to a Boston Globe article (March 26, 2006) the author said of his own time at Hotchkiss, "'I was miserable there.'")
  • For the school's centenary, Ernest Kolowrat was commissioned to pen a doorstop called Hotchkiss: A Chronicle of an American School (ISBN 1-56131-058-1).
  • Alumnus, former Librarian of Congress, and Poet Laureate Archibald MacLeish said in a 1982 interview "God, how I did not like Hotchkiss!" ("America Was Promises", American Heritage Magazine, vol. 32, issue 5)
  • In Hotchkiss in the Fifties: Myths and Realities (George Mason University's History News Network, 11/29/2004), alumnus and New Left Historian Jesse Lemisch writes of the various forms of bigotry he witnessed at Hotchkiss. A disabled student was "stigmatized and physically beaten here." He goes on to write, "...anti-semitism was deep in the history and culture of the place." He quotes alumnus Lewis Lapham (editor of Harper's' Magazine): "'Hotchkiss, like Yale, like Harvard, is about setting wealth to music' [Kolowrat, p. 546]. Basically and in reality [continues Lemisch], it seems to me that Hotchkiss greases the wheels of capitalism." Jean Olsen, the wife of a Hotchkiss headmaster, suspected that the school was "by far the most male-oriented, chauvinistic school in the country" (see Kolowrat, pp. 379-380).

Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald (September 24, 1896 – December 21, 1940) was an Irish American Jazz Age novelist and short story writer. ... This Side of Paradise is the debut novel of F. Scott Fitzgerald. ... Primary Colors, a 1996 novel by Anonymous (later revealed by Donald Foster to be journalist Joe Klein), is a roman à clef about U.S. President Bill Clintons first presidential campaign in 1992. ... Joe Klein (b. ... Jeffrey Howard Archer, Baron Archer of Weston-super-Mare (born 15 April 1940) is an English author,and former politician. ... Sons of Fortune is a tale of two brothers, Fletcher Davenport and Nat Cartwright, who are separated at birth. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... I Am Charlotte Simmons I Am Charlotte Simmons is a 2004 novel by Tom Wolfe, concerning sexual and status relationships at the fictional Dupont University, closely modeled after Duke University and Stanford University. ... Bret Easton Ellis (born March 7, 1964 in Los Angeles, California) is an American author. ... American Psycho is a 1991 novel by Bret Easton Ellis; it is a first person narrative describing episodes in the life of a wealthy young Manhattanite and self-proclaimed serial killer. ...


Information resources independent from the school itself. Links to independent school organizations and accreditation services.

External links

  Results from FactBites:
The Hotchkiss School - Peterson's In-Depth Description (2068 words)
The Hotchkiss School was founded by Maria Bissell Hotchkiss in 1891 at the urging of President Timothy Dwight of Yale.
The Hotchkiss School’s Statement of Goals and Purposes is as follows: The School is a community based on trust, mutual respect, and compassion, and it holds all members of the community accountable for upholding these values.
The day-to-day life at Hotchkiss is governed by several important principles: concern for others, respect for all members of the community, and understanding and adherence to the rules as stated in the Hotchkiss School Handbook.
CEI: Resources - Press Releases (743 words)
Hotchkiss School CFO John Tuke said, "A strong commitment to the environment is an important aspect of our teaching and community life here at the school.
Hotchkiss' purchase will help the environment by avoiding the generation of 4,028 pounds of sulfur dioxide (which causes acid rain); 1,584 pounds of nitrogen oxides (which leads to haze and ozone problems); and 810,492 pounds of carbon dioxide (which leads to global warming).
Every Hotchkiss student has a recycling bin in his or her room; the 540-acre campus is being sub-metered to encourage reduced consumption of energy; and significant success in composting and recycling of various kinds of materials already has been recorded.
  More results at FactBites »



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