Worcester Academy is an elite private preparatory school located in Worcester, Massachusetts.
Founded in 1834 as the Worcester County Manual Labor High School, it did not change its name until 1847. The school moved to its current location on Union Hill in Worcester in 1869. Worcester Academy was all-male from its founding until 1856, and again from 1890 to 1974. It has been coeducational since.
The school's motto is "Mηδεν εισιτω κακoν," loosely translated to "Achieve the Honorable." Worcester Academy is considered to be one of the most prestigious schools in the United States. Several beautiful brick buildings are listed on the national historic register including the Kingsley Laboratories, Walker Hall, Adams Hall, and Dexter Hall. One of the most famous and remarkable architectural buildings on the campus is the Lewis J. Warner Memorial Theater, a gift from Warner Brothers Studio President Harry Warner. He generously donated this building in memory of his son Lewis '28, who died shortly after graduating from the academy.
Arctic explorer Donald B. MacMillan was a member of the faculty from 1903 to 1908, when he joined Admiral Peary in his effort to reach the North Pole. (He actually donated a canoe from the expedition to the academy. It now sits on the rafters in the Megaron).
Worcester is a member of the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council, and has had more of its alumni become Harvard Football captains than any other high school in the United States.. Its main athletic rivals include Phillips Exeter Academy, Phillips Academy Andover, Deerfield Academy, Cushing Academy, Lawrence Academy, Governor Dummer Academy, and Milton Academy.
Notable alumni of Worcester Academy include:
Eli Thayer 1840, founder of the Oread Institute and the New England Emigrant Aid Society
Royal C. Taft, 1872, Governor of Rhode Island
Edward Davis Jones 1873, co-founder of Dow Jones
John Hope, 1890, Educator and founder of Atlanta University
Gilbert Hovey Grosvenor 1893, founder and first editor of National Geographic magazine
Ernest Manley Hopkins, 1896, President of Dartmouth College
Clarence Dillon 1904, co-founder of investment bank Dillon, Read and Company, father of C. Douglas Dillon
Charles E. Merrill 1904, co-founder of Merrill Lynch
Cole Porter 1909, Broadway composer
Willis Goldbeck, 1910, movie producer and writer
Lou Little, 1912, College football coach
General Norman D. Cota 1915, World War II hero
Tony Hulman 1920, Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner
Charles Starrett, 1922, actor who played the Durango Kid
Arthur Kennedy, 1930, stage and screen actor.
Ned Harkness, 1939, college and professional hockey coach
Lewis Wilson, 1939, the first Batman in the movies
Abbie Hoffman 1955, 1960s radical
William Toomey 1957, gold-medal winning decathlete in the 1968 Olympics
Tom Holland, 1962, film director
Rep. Jim McGovern 1977, U.S. Congressman
In addition, many student-athletes attend Worcester Academy solely for their senior year, or for a single postgraduate year, to increase their exposure to college coaches or to improve their academic standing. Notable student-athletes include:
Mark Fidrych 1974
Rick Carlisle 1979
Jarrett Jack 2002
Craig Smith 2002