History

The Peddie Story.

Peddie School was founded in 1864 as the Hightstown Female Seminary, a Baptist preparatory school. Later that year, boys were admitted, and the school began a series of name changes. In 1872, the school took its current name in honor of philanthropist and politician Thomas B. Peddie (1808-89), who gave the school a $25,000 gift.

Peddie School remained coed until 1908, when it was decided, for social and economic reasons, to admit boys only. This standard was reversed in the early 1970s, when girls were readmitted. The school is now coeducational and nondenominational.

Wilson Hall (1866-1978) served all the school's needs until 1889, when additional land was acquired and more buildings erected. Peddie's longest-serving head of school, Roger W. Swetland (1898-1934), drew up the master plan to create the central grassy mall.

Gifts from Ambassador Walter H. Annenberg '27 were used for the construction of two libraries, dormitories, and an athletic center, among other projects. The school has grown to include 57 buildings on a 280-acre campus.

In 1993, Annenberg gave $100 million to Peddie, which provided an endowed fund for financial aid, enabling students from every walk of life to receive a Peddie education. The ambassador died in 2002, just after giving the cornerstone gift for the construction of The Walter and Leonore Annenberg Science Center, which was completed in fall 2005.

Since 1864

1864

Hightstown Female Seminary founded

1865

School's name changed to New Jersey Classical and Scientific Institute

1869

Main building dedicated (later named Wilson Hall)

1870

The Chronicle, Peddie's alumni magazine, launched

1872

Thomas B. Peddie gifted $25,000 to the school, which was renamed Peddie Institute in his honor

1878

School goes bankrupt with debts totaling $29,278
 

1889

Last year that the valedictory address is given in Latin

1898

Roger W. Swetland becomes ninth headmaster

1903

First annual football game against Blair Academy

1904

First football victory over Blair

 

1908

School stops admitting girls

1912

Coleman House erected

1916

Former President William H. Taft speaks at Commencement

1917

Of 502 Peddie graduates who served in WWI, 16 are killed
 

1918

First football victory over Lawrenceville Prep in a series begun in 1895

1919

Cum Laude chapter started

 

1923

Name changed to The Peddie School

1925

First classes held in Memorial Hall

1927

Walter H. Annenberg graduates and makes his first gift to Peddie: $17,000 for a new cinder track on the athletic field

1928

Austen Colgate Hall opens

 

1934

Dr. Wilbour E. Saunders becomes 10th headmaster
 

1936

Larry Kelley '33 wins Heisman trophy at Yale

1937

Gold Key Society established
 

1945

Of the 1,891 Peddie graduates who served in WWII, 63 are killed

1949

Dr. Carrol O. Morong appointed 11th head of school

1951

Ayer Memorial Chapel dedicated

1957

Annenberg Library opens; Dr. Martin Luther King speaks in chapel
 

1964

Albert L. Kerr installed as 12th head of school. School centennial; Caspersen Science Building dedicated
 

1967

Masters House opens
 

1970

Female day students admitted, paving the way for full coeducation, Longstreet canteen seized in student protest
 

1972

Athletic center opens

1976

Finn M.W. Caspersen '59 elected chairman of Peddie Board of Trustees

1977

F. Edward Potter Jr. becomes 13th headmaster

1978

Wilson Hall razed

1983

Annenberg makes $12 million gift to Peddie
 

1984

Former President Gerald Ford speaks at Commencement

1988

Annenberg makes $10 million gift to Peddie; Edward Potter dies unexpectedly; Anne Seltzer becomes first female head of school (interim)

1989

Thomas A. DeGray installed as Peddie's 14th head of school
 

1992

Potter Dorms dedicated
 

1993

New Annenberg Library opens; historic $100 million gift for endowment presented by Annenberg

1995

More than 800 Peddie alums, parents, and friends gather at the Metropolitan Museum of Art to celebrate launch of The Next Step capital campaign

1996

Caspersen Campus Center opens

1998

First year of laptop program

 

1999

Ground broken for new dorms, faculty housing, and health center; $1 million annual fund goal announced
 

2001

DeGray retires; John Green takes over as 15th head of school

2002

Fund-raising campaign launched to construct new science center; Lee and Walter Annenberg donate cornerstone gift of $7 million

 

2003

100th football game played against Blair Academy
 

2004

Groundbreaking for Walter and Leonore Annenberg Science Center
 

2005

Dedication of Walter and Leonore Annenberg Science Center, school name changed to Peddie School and new logo created

2006

School launches Peddie Summer Science Institute; Caspersen History House dedicated in September
 

2009

New Peddie aquatic center opened
 

2010

Re-opening of renovated Ian H. Graham '50 Athletic Center

2013

Green retires; Peter Quinn installed as 16th head of school. Peddie celebrates its 150th anniversary
 

2016

Kaye and Green Dormitories open

2015

DIgital Fabrication Laboratory opens its doors

Heads of School


150 Faces of Peddie

The 150 Faces of Peddie shares compelling and entertaining stories of individuals, that taken collectively represent the history of Peddie and the faces that shaped it.

150 Faces of Peddie cover

150 Faces of Peddie

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