Mission & History

In 1660, Edward Hopkins, the second governor of the Connecticut Colony, established our nation’s first charitable trust to found Hopkins Grammar School on the New Haven Green. The School began with a dedication to the “breeding up of hopeful youths. . . for the public service of the country in future times.” More than three centuries later, Hopkins School continues to fulfill its original mission, and “hopeful”— connoting both the promise and the expectation of future good— remains the word that defines our educational approach and animates our aspirations.

Today, Hopkins is a traditional, independent, coeducational day school of 710 students in grades 7–12. Located on a 108-acre campus overlooking New Haven, the School takes pride in its distinguished faculty and a dedicated staff. We define ourselves as a community of civility and learning, one that educates students from diverse backgrounds to a full measure of their talents and humanity. Together, we seek to:

  • develop in our young people the habits of mind of scholars as the foundation for a lifelong love of learning
  • foster the courage to live and think as distinct individuals who embrace their responsibilities in the larger world
  • expose every student to the deep satisfaction that derives from service to others
  • enlarge the educational experience to include the creative joy and aesthetic sensibility of the artist, and the vitality and competitive spirit of the athlete
  • provide, through the School’s advisers, the wisdom and goodwill necessary to guide our young people to confident self-reliance
  • nurture the development of character essential to leading a rich and purposeful life
These tenets are made manifest in the daily life of the School and in the hopes and ambitions we share as an educational community. Taken as a whole, these values provide us both definition and direction as we strive to fulfill Hopkins’ mission. It is our strong belief that Hopkins remains true to our founder’s purpose and that the School is a contemporary realization of these centuries-old ideals.

Hopkins School Over the Years

Hopkins Grammar School was founded in 1660 in a one-room building on the New Haven Green. The school settled in its present location on a hill overlooking the city in 1926. When The Day School (founded in 1907) and the Prospect Hill School (founded in 1930) merged in 1960, the combined institution, Day Prospect Hill, became a strong center for the education of the area's young women. In 1972 Hopkins Grammar and Day Prospect Hill merged, creating a new coed school that perpetuates the best traditions of its predecessors.

Hopkins is committed to fostering those qualities that come from a liberal education: learning how to learn, how to think clearly, how to express ideas effectively, and how to work independently. Today, as throughout the school's history, students learn that knowledge should be tempered by ethical judgment, consideration for others, and esthetic sensibility; that curiosity and love of learning are essential ingredients in academic achievement and college preparation; and that intelligence and training carry with them the obligation to serve others.

For further historical information about Hopkins School, please contact Thom Peters, School Archivist.

Notable Heads of School

List of 8 items.

  • Jeremiah Peck

    1660–1662
    Hopkins Grammar School
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  • Hawley Olmstead

    1839–1849
    Hopkins Grammar School
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  • James M. Whiton

    1854–1864
    Hopkins Grammar School
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  • Katherine Glendinning

    1907–1916
    The Day School
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  • George B. Lovell

    1916–1953
    Hopkins Grammar School
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  • Mary Brewster Thompson

    1939–1952
    Prospect Hill School
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  • F. Allen Sherk

    1953–1974
    Hopkins Grammar School
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  • Barbara Masters Riley

    2001–2016
    Hopkins School
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