Choate Rosemary Hall

The Choate School and Rosemary Hall's Paul Mellon Center for the Arts in Wallingford and its designer, I. M. Pei & Partners have won an American Institute of Architect's 1974 Honor Award. The AIA jury commented: " An elegantly detailed assemblage of volumes, this building meets the specific requirements of arts centers while acting as a gateway between two preparatory school campuses." The structure is situated between the Choate and Rosemary Hall campuses. (Courant File Photo / March 30, 2010)

CHOATE ROSEMARY HALL – WALLINGFORD

ORIGINS: Choate Rosemary Hall is the result of merging two single-sex schools, both founded in part by the same woman and both originally located on the same property.

In 1890, Mary Atwater Choate founded a school for girls and hired an English woman, Caroline Ruutz-Rees, to be the headmistress. Named Rosemary Hall after the Atwater family's farm in Wallingford, the school's main building was one of the houses on the farm property. In 1900, the school moved from Wallingford to Greenwich, where it remained until 1971.

In 1896, Mary Atwater Choate founded another school along with her husband, Judge William Gardner Choate. The Choate School for boys, also on the Atwater family farm in Wallingford, was launched under the stewardship of Mark Pitman, Choate's first headmaster. After Pitman's death in 1905, and an interim headmaster, Choate would be led for the next 66 years by the father and son tandem of George St. John (1908-1947) and Seymour St. John (1947-1973).

In 1971 Rosemary Hall moved back to Wallingford to a campus built adjacent to Choate. In 1973, Charles Dey was hired as president of both schools and began the unification process.

DID YOU KNOW: Choate Rosemary has two I.M. Pei-designed buildings, the Paul Mellon Arts Center, dedicated in 1972, and the Carl C. Icahn Center for Science, dedicated in 1989.

FAMOUS ALUMNI: President John F. Kennedy (class of '35, and voted "most likely to succeed" by classmates), Adlai Stevenson, Paul Mellon, John Dos Passos, Edward Albee, Michael Douglas, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Glenn Close.