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The Hotchkiss School is an independent, coeducational Americanmarker college preparatory boarding school located in Lakeville, Connecticutmarker. 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 31 foreign countries.

Hotchkiss is part of an organization known as the Ten Schools Admissions Organization. This organization was founded in 1966 on the basis of a number of common goals and traditions. The School is a member of the G20 Schools group. Hotchkiss has one of the lowest admissions rates in the country with only 20% of students who applied being accepted – in comparison, the larger Phillips Exeter Academymarker has recently admitted 25% of its applicants.

As of the 2005-06 school year, the school had an enrollment of 567 students and 113.8 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student-teacher ratio of 5.0.


Postcard from about 1905
Maria Bissell Hotchkiss founded the school in 1891 to prepare young men for Yale Universitymarker. Maria originally had aspirations for the school to serve underprivileged students, and the original charter provided some scholarship for local farm-boys. 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 [51346]. This led to a nickname for the school, "son of a gun".

The current head of school is Malcolm McKenzie, former principal at Atlantic Collegemarker in Walesmarker. McKenzie is a Rhodes Scholar, and holds a degree in linguistics from University of Oxfordmarker.

Campus and facilities

Arts facilities

2005 saw the completion of Hotchkiss' Esther Eastman Music Center. Elfers Hall seats 715 and has excellent acoustics. 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.

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.

Boarding and general facilities

Main building

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 occasionaltriple.

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, pasta bar, cereal bar, soup bar and dessert bar are provided in addition to hot entrees. Meals at the dining hall are included in the tuition. Usually the snack bar is open when the dining hall is not.


Hotchkiss currently fields 17 interscholastic sports teams and the school is a member of the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council and the Interscholastic Sailing Association. 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 ten New England championships, including seven consecutively from 2002–2008. Hotchkiss's volleyball has won seven New Englandmarker Championships including the 2007 New Englandmarker Volleyball Championships. The boys' track and field team has been undefeated in regular season meets since at least 2005. They placed in the top three at Founder's and NEPSTA Championships each year and won both titles in 2007 and in 2009. 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, including The Record, a bimonthly, 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; the Hotchkiss Political Union; and SEA (Students for Environment Awareness). 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 Universitymarker, 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 Bonesmarker, 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.
  • 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.
  • For the school's centenary, Ernest Kolowrat was commissioned to write Hotchkiss: A Chronicle of an American School (ISBN 1-56131-058-1).
  • The Hotchkiss School: A Portrait was published by the school in 1966 (Wertenbaker & Basserman, p. 113).
  • 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.


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