Hotchkiss School

The Hotchkiss School
Moniti Meliora Sequamur After instruction, let us move on to pursue higher things
Lakeville, Connecticut,
Type Independent, Boarding
Established 1891
Opened {
Principal {
Head of school Malcolm McKenzie
Faculty 151,[1] 113.8 (on FTE basis)[2]
Years Offered {
Number of students {
Average class size 12 students
Student:teacher ratio 4:1[1]
Education System {
Classes offered {
Campuses {
Campus Rural,
Athletics 19 interscholastic sports
Mascot Bucky the Bearcat
National ranking {
Average SAT scores 2013  (2005)
Endowment $430 million[3]
(2005) Graduates {

The Hotchkiss School is an independent, coeducational American college preparatory boarding school located in Lakeville, Connecticut. Founded in 1891, the school enrolls students in grades 9 through 12 and a small number of postgraduates. Students at Hotchkiss come from across the United States and 37 foreign countries.[1]

Hotchkiss is a member of the Eight Schools Association, begun informally in 1973-74 and formalized in 2006. Hotchkiss is also a member of the Ten Schools Admissions Organization, founded in 1966. There is a seven-school overlap of membership between the two groups.[4] Hotchkiss is additionally a member of the G20 Schools group.

As of the 2005-06 school year, the school had an enrollment of 595 students and 151 classroom teachers, for a student-teacher ratio of 4-1.[1] Hotchkiss has one of the lowest admissions rates in the country with only 20% of students who applied being accepted.[5]



Maria H. (Bissell) Hotchkiss founded the school in 1891 to prepare young men for Yale University.[6] Maria originally had aspirations for the school to serve underprivileged students, and the original charter provided some scholarships, and reserved space for academically gifted Lakeville boys (regardless of family income). 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 This led to a nickname for the school, "son of a gun".[7]

The current Head of School is Malcolm McKenzie, former principal at Atlantic College in Wales. McKenzie is a Rhodes Scholar, and holds a degree in linguistics from University of Oxford.[8]

Arts facilities

2005 saw the completion of Hotchkiss' Esther Eastman Music Center. Elfers Hall seats 715 people. The school has equipped the hall with a handmade Fazioli piano, 12 Steinway pianos, 12 practice rooms, 3 ensemble practice rooms, the WKIS radio station, and a Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) lab.[9]

Athletic facilities

Indoor facilities
  • Field House - multi-purpose playing surfaces with an elevated indoor exercise track
  • Ice Hockey Rinks (two) - Dwyer Rink (Olympic), Schmidt Rink (NHL)
  • Natatorium - 10-lane pool with a separate diving well
  • Fowle Gymnasium (hardwood basketball court)
  • Wrestling/Multi-Purpose Room
  • Squash Courts (eight)
  • Ford Indoor Tennis Courts (three)
  • Chandler Fitness Center
  • Boat House (sailing)
  • Training Rooms
  • Locker Rooms and Shower Facilities
Outdoor facilities
  • Nine-hole golf course (designed by Seth Raynor)
  • All-weather track
  • Outdoor tennis courts (twenty)
  • Paddle tennis courts (two)
  • Field hockey, soccer, lacrosse, and softball fields
  • Climbing walls
  • Football stadium
  • Baseball stadium
  • Lake Wononscopomuc (sailing)
  • Three ponds and extensive hiking trails on a wooded campus

The athletic complex contains a 35-meter ten-lane pool, indoor jogging track, eight squash courts, two ice hockey rinks, a fitness center/weight room, two basketball courts, a wrestling room, three indoor tennis courts, and two paddle tennis courts.[10]

Boarding and general facilities

Hotchkiss has twelve dormitories on campus, six for boys (Tinker, Edelman, Coy, Dana, Watson, and Wieler) and six for girls (Bissell, Buehler, Flinn, Memorial, Garland, and Van Santvoord). Rooms vary in size, from singles to the occasional triple.[11]


Hotchkiss currently fields 17 interscholastic sports teams. The school is a member of the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council and the Interscholastic Sailing Association.[12] The athletic directors of Hotchkiss and the other members of the Eight Schools Association compose the Eight Schools Athletic Council, which organizes sports events and tournaments among ESA schools.[13] Historically strong athletic programs include the girls' field hockey team, the girls' volleyball team, the boys' hockey team, the boys' lacrosse team, and the boys' track and field team. Hotchkiss's field hockey team has won thirteen New England championships, including ten consecutively from 2002–2010. In 2010, the team defeated Phillips Academy Andover 1-0 in overtime in the semifinals, and defeated Greenwich Academy in strokes in the finals.[14] Hotchkiss's volleyball has won seven New England Championships including the 2007 New England Volleyball Championships.[15] The boys' track and field team was undefeated in regular season meets from 2005 to 2009. During this five year span, they placed in the top three at Founder's and NEPSTA Championships each year and won both titles in 2007[16] and in 2009.[17] In the 2008 fall athletic season, Hotchkiss became the first school to win four New England Championships in one fall season. The four championships were a seventh straight in field hockey, a second straight in volleyball, a first in soccer, and a second in football.


Hotchkiss students run a number of clubs,[18] including The Record, a biweekly, student-run newspaper; the Human Rights Initiative; WKIS Radio Station; BaHSA, the Black and Hispanic Student Alliance; the Gay/Straight Alliance; HotchkissTV; Hotchkiss Under God; The Whipping Post (Hotchkiss's satire publication); the Writing Block (a creative writing publication); the Chinese Club; Hotchkiss Republicans; Hotchkiss Democrats; Hotchkiss Libertarians; the Hotchkiss Political Union; Science Club; and SEA (Students for Environment Awareness); and the yearbook (called the Mischianza). 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.

Round Square

Hotchkiss is one of four U.S. schools in Round Square, a global conference of more than 50 secondary schools. Students have the option to go on an exchange for a semester to another participating school, or they may meet other Round Square students while working together on a project in an area of need. Hotchkiss has recently hosted students from Australia, Germany, South Africa, and India.

Notable alumni

Hotchkiss has a history of captains of industry in attendance, such as:

Within the fields of the arts, science, and technology, Hotchkiss alumni include:

Professional athlete alumni include National Hockey League players Matt Herr, now retired, and Torrey Mitchell, currently playing for the San Jose Sharks. Ducky Pond, the last Yale alumnus to be head football coach at Yale University, was a Hotchkiss alumnus. Hotchkiss also has a strong literary tradition; alumni authors include Pulitzer Prize winner and Poet Laureate Archibald MacLeish and Pulitzer Prize Winner John Hersey. Hotchkiss has also produced 25 known members of Skull and Bones, a secret society at Yale.

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.[19]
  • 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".[20]
  • In Jeffrey Archer's novel Sons of Fortune, protagonist Fletcher Davenport is a Hotchkiss alumnus.[21]
  • Hotchkiss is mentioned in Elizabeth Wurtzel's 1994 book Prozac Nation.
  • For the school's centenary, Ernest Kolowrat was commissioned to write Hotchkiss: A Chronicle of an American School (ISBN 1-56131-058-1).[22]
  • The Hotchkiss School: A Portrait was published by the school in 1966 (Wertenbaker & Basserman, p. 113).[23]
  • Prominent alumnus, Librarian of Congress, and poet Archibald MacLeish refers to Hotchkiss in a 1982 interview in American Heritage magazine. He mentioned not liking his time at the school.[24]
  • Barney Penniman plans to go to Hotchkiss in the young-adult fiction book Through the Hidden Door.[25]


  1. a b c d
  2. The Hotchkiss School, National Center for Education Statistics. Accessed June 24, 2008.
  3. Fabrikant, Geraldine (2008-01-26). . The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-10-16. 
  4. Taylor Smith, "History of the Association," The Phillipian, February 14, 2008
  5. Review Rankings for Hotchkiss Accessed .
  6. The Hotchkiss School History and Traditions, The Hotchkiss School. Accessed July 21, 2008.
  7. See Wertenbaker and Basserman, The Hotchkiss School, 1966, p. 68.
  8. Interview with Malcom McKenzie, The Hotchkiss School. Accessed July 21, 2008.
  9. The Hotchkiss School Academic Resources. Accessed March 12, 2009.
  11. Dorms, The Hotchkiss School. Accessed July 22, 2008.
  12. Sports, Hotchkiss School. Accessed July 22, 2008.
  13., dated May 2, 2010;, dated May 3, 2009;, dated April 11, 2007
  14., Hotchkiss School. Accessed February 10, 2009
  15. Sports Records, Hotchkiss School. Accessed July 22, 2008.
  16. Varsity Track and Field, Hotchkiss School. Accessed 19 May 2009.
  17.", Hotchkiss School. Accessed August 25, 2008.
  18. Student Life, Hotchkiss School. Accessed July 22, 2008.
  20. History Unfolding retrieved 1-19-08
  22. retrieved on 1-19-08
  23. Amazon Hotchkiss Portrait retrieved 1-19-08.
  24. Robert Cownley (interviewing Archibald MacLeish), "America Was Promises" (August/September 1982), American Heritage Magazine, vol. 33, issue 5.
  25., "", Preview of Through the Hidden Door, retrieved on 4-25-10.