Westminster School (Connecticut)

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Westminster School
Westminster School's Seal.png
995 Hopmeadow St

TypePrivate, Boarding, Day
MottoVirtute et Numine
(Grit and Grace)
Established1888 (Dobbs Ferry, NY)
1900 (Simsbury, CT)
FounderWilliam Lee Cushing
CEEB code070680
Head of schoolWilliam V. N. Philip
Student to teacher ratio5:1
Campus size210 acres
Color(s)Black and Gold
Athletics conferenceFounders League
MascotThe Martlet
Tuition$62,475 Boarding, $47,225 Day

Westminster School is a private, coeducational college-preparatory, boarding and day school located in Simsbury, Connecticut accepting around 20% of applicants. The total student population is approximately 400, and includes pupils from 25 US states and 30 countries.[1] 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.[2]


Westminster Student Housing, Gund House
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.[3] 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.[4]

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.[5]
  • 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.[6]
  • 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.[7]
  • 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.[8][9]

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.[10]

Faculty and staff


Student activities


Sport Season Boys/Girls Competitive Practice and Game Facilities
Cross Country Fall B/G Yes Campus trails
Field Hockey Fall G Yes Hovey Field (lighted turf) and Sawyer Field
Soccer Fall B/G Yes Harrison, Michelini, Wilbraham and Tate Fields
Water Polo Fall B Yes Hibbard Aquatic Center
Basketball Winter B/G Yes Pettee and New Gymnasiums
Ice Hockey Winter B/G Yes Jackson Hockey Rink
Squash Winter B/G Yes Kohn Squash Pavilion
Swimming and Diving Winter B/G Yes Hibbard Aquatic Center
Baseball Spring B Yes Osborn Baseball Field
Golf Spring B/G Yes Hopmeadow Country Club and Simsbury Farms Golf Course
Lacrosse Spring B/G Yes Hovey Field (lighted turf), Harrison and Wilbraham Fields
Softball Spring G Yes Softball Field and Observatory Field
Tennis Spring B/G Yes Briggs, Gow and Haynes Tennis Courts
Track and Field Spring B/G Yes Brooks Family Track

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.[15] 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.[16][17]

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.[18]

Campus facilities

Dormitories and Student Life[19]

Seventy percent of the student body at Westminster School lives on campus in one of the seven dormitories, supervised by Westminster faculty.

Academic and Arts Facilities

Armour Academic Center houses Armstrong Atrium, Baxter Gallery, Cole Library, Davis Center for Science & Mathematics, Gitterman Student Lounge, Offield Center for the Humanities, Class of 1957 Planetarium, Sejong Lecture Hall, “Martlet’s Nest” school store
Barnes-Bristow Observatory
Hamilton Art Studios Studio art and architecture classrooms
Werner Centennial Center & Theater Proscenium theater, dance studios, band/music rooms, practice rooms, and scene and prop shop

Other on-campus facilities[20]

  • Andrews Memorial Chapel (built 1962)

Notable alumni

Notable alumni include:


  1. ^ "Westminster School Profile (2018-19) | Simsbury, CT". Private School Review. Retrieved 2018-11-20.
  2. ^ "Founders League". www.thefoundersleague.org. Retrieved 2018-10-16.
  3. ^ "Westminster School - The Association of Boarding Schools - TABS". www.boardingschools.com. Retrieved 2018-11-20.
  4. ^ "Westminster Facts & Stats, At a Glance | Westminster School". www.westminster-school.org. Retrieved 2018-11-20.
  5. ^ "Simsbury Prep School Gets Gift Of $27 Million" (Web article). The Hartford Courant. September 21, 1996.
  6. ^ "The Athletic and Wellness Complex at Westminster School". www.gundpartnership.com. Retrieved 2018-11-20.
  7. ^ "Sherwin Health & Academic Center" Gund Partnership, Hibbard Aquatic Center, Sherwin Health & Athletic Center and Kohn Squash Pavilion
  8. ^ "Armour Academic Center" Gund Partnership, Armour Academic Center, Westminster School
  9. ^ "Westminster School Concludes 125th Anniversary Celebration with Dedication of Two New Residence Halls". Simsbury, CT Patch. 2013-09-28. Retrieved 2018-11-20.
  10. ^ "Tales of the Headmasters Philip". Retrieved 2018-11-20.
  11. ^ FEDERICO, HILLARY. "Simsbury's Westminster School Celebrates 125 Years". Courant Community. Retrieved 2018-11-20.
  12. ^ Francis Keyes, a Headmaster at Westminster School, Dies. New York Times, Dec 13, 1981; p.54.
  13. ^ Buck, Rinker. "The Westminster School Names New Headmaster". The Hartford Courant. Hartford Courant. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
  14. ^ "A Biography of Board Member William V.N. Philip". National Network of Schools in Partnership. National Network of Schools in Partnership. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
  15. ^ Baron, Peter (15 January 2010). "A Guided Tour of Westminster School". Admissions Quest. Admissions Quest. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
  16. ^ "Westminster School ~ Theater". Westminster-school.org. Retrieved 2013-11-17.
  17. ^ "Westminster School Drama Association to Present "Urinetown: The Musical"". Simsbury, CT Patch. 2017-01-23. Retrieved 2018-11-20.
  18. ^ "Centennial Performing Arts Center, Westminster School". Gund Partnership. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
  19. ^ "Campus Tour | Westminster School | Westminster School". www.westminster-school.org. Retrieved 2018-11-19.
  20. ^ Spencer, Nancy (Fall 2018). "Campus Map" (PDF). Westminster School Press: 1.
  21. ^ "Self-Effacing William Acquavella, Who Struck Art's Biggest Deal". The New York Times. 10 May 1990. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  22. ^ Philip, B. (2018). Westminster School Fall Magazine 2018. Westminster School Press. pp. Class Notes.
  23. ^ "William "Bill" Sperry Beinecke". Cape Cod Chronicle. Retrieved 2018-11-17.
  24. ^ "Directors and Staff |". prospect-hill.org. Retrieved 2018-11-17.
  25. ^ Vidani, Peter. "WILLIAM BEINECKE- 96". Old New York Stories. Retrieved 2018-11-17.
  26. ^ Smith, Harrison (17 July 2020). "Patrick Ellis, popular D.C. gospel broadcaster, dies at 77 of coronavirus complications". Washington Post. Retrieved 23 July 2020.
  27. ^ Courant, Hartford. "81 GRADUATE FROM WESTMINSTER SCHOOL". courant.com. Retrieved 2018-11-22.
  28. ^ "Bryan Nash Gill – The Cornwall Library". cornwalllibrary.org. Retrieved 2018-11-22.
  29. ^ "ANN SWAIN LANDRETH, EXECUTIVE, WED". Retrieved 2018-11-22.
  30. ^ Writers, RACHEL GOTTLIEB and VAN ALDEN FERGUSON; Courant Staff. "SIMSBURY PREP SCHOOL GETS GIFT OF $27 MILLION". courant.com. Retrieved 2018-11-22.
  31. ^ Fitts, John (16 July 2013). "Avon's Ben Smith Brings Hockey's Famed Stanley Cup to Westminster School". Avon Patch. Patch. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
  32. ^ Leslie, Jacques. "John Tunney, Kennedy's Friend In Muskie's Corner". Retrieved 2018-11-22.
  33. ^ "Gene Tunney Obituary - CA | Press Democrat".

Further reading

External links

Coordinates: 41°53′13″N 72°47′48″W / 41.8869°N 72.7968°W / 41.8869; -72.7968