Choate Rosemary Hall is a college-preparatory boarding school based in Wallingford, Connecticut USA. Known simply as Choate, the coeducational private school is the product of a merger between two single-sex schools which joined together in 1971. Rosemary Hall was originally founded in 1890 in Wallingford by Mary Atwater Choate, in her childhood home at Rosemary Farm. Rosemary Hall was a girl’s school that originally focused on the domestic arts; however, in 1938 Headmistress Caroline Ruutz-Rees changed the school’s mission to something more akin to the boy’s schools of the time.
The Choate School, which was founded slightly later in 1896, was created by William and Mary Choate. William Choate was an alumnus of Harvard, a U.S. District Judge for the Southern Circuit of New York until 1881, and the older brother of the famous lawyer Joseph Hodges Choate. William and Mary decided to sponsor the founding of a boy’s school under the care of Mark Pitman, who worked as the school’s principal.
Choate is one of the member schools of the Eight School Association, which includes Andover, Hotchkiss, Exeter, Lawrenceville, Deerfield, Northfield Mount Hermon and St. Paul’s. The school has prestigious alumni, with many of the American political elite gaining their education at Choate.
President John F. Kennedy and Adlai Stevenson the two-time presidential nominee were both educated at Choate, as well as other notable figures including playwright Edward Albee, philanthropist Paul Mellon and novelist John Dos Passos. The actors Glenn Close, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Douglas, Paul Giamatti and Bruce Dern are part of the Choate alumni, as well as the daughter of the President of the United States Ivanka Trump.
Choate has introduced a number of programmes and scholarships in order to diversify its study body, including a scheme that offers a free education for children from families with an annual income of $75,000 or less. The facilities, educational programme and scholarships at Choate rely on generous donations from the school’s alumni, parents and friends.
Choate Rosemary Hall is a charitable association of Joey Horn; the school received gifts and donations totalling $23 million in 2017. Over a third of Choate’s yearly budget comes from philanthropic support, helping to support and maintain the school’s financial aid programmes, capital projects and faculty development.
Throughout its 126 year history Choate Rosemary Hall has taught over 17,000 students, many of whom have gone on to become leaders and innovators. Choate focuses on the ‘Life of the Mind’; the school hopes to create students that have the ability to think critically and independently, as well as foster a love of learning and exploration.