The Governor's Academy

The Governor's Academy (formerly Governor Dummer Academy) is a co-educational, independent boarding preparatory school for grades 9–12 located on 450 acres (1.8 km2) in the village of Byfield, Massachusetts, United States (town of Newbury), 33 miles (53 km) north of Boston. The Academy enrolls approximately 400 students in grades nine through twelve, 70% of whom are boarders. The school was established in 1763 and is the oldest continuously operating independent boarding school in the United States.[4]

The Governor's Academy
1 Elm Street


Coordinates42°45′00″N 70°53′54″W
Former nameGovernor Dummer Academy
TypePrivate, boarding
MottoNon sibi sed aliis
(Not for self, but for others)
HeadmasterPeter H. Quimby '69, Ph.D.
Average class size12[1]
Student to teacher ratio5:1[2]
Campus size450 acres (1.8 km2)
Color(s)Cardinal and White         
Athletics conferenceIndependent School League
RivalBrooks School
Endowment$70 million
TuitionBoarding: $61,500, Day: $49,000 in 2018-2019[3]


The school was founded two years after the death of William Dummer, who funded it in his will. Dummer had been lieutenant governor and acting governor of Massachusetts for many years, and led the colony through a difficult period in the earlier 18th century: fighting off forays by French and Indians during what became known as Dummer's War in the 1720s. He also served as an early overseer of Harvard College. He was from a prominent colonial family with his brother Jeremiah Dummer having been a principal founding benefactor of the College of New Haven which later became Yale University. As the Boston Latin School only accepted students from the city of Boston, the need arose for schools in more outlying areas to prepare students for college—the only ones existing at that time in New England being Harvard and Yale; Brown and Dartmouth were founded a few years afterward. In that context, the Dummer Charity School or Dummer Grammar School commenced operation in 1763 pursuant to the will of Governor Dummer with Samuel Moody as its first headmaster. In 1782, the Dummer school was officially incorporated as the Dummer Academy,[5] whose graduates in this era comprised approximately 25% of the undergraduate student body at Harvard. Most children in this era were home-schooled with pre-college education ending around the age of 14, with youths thereafter going on to college or entering the workforce. Thus most college freshmen tended to be the age of high school freshmen today.

As was the custom, the curriculum in this era focused primarily on the study of Scripture, basic math and English and, most importantly, instruction in Latin, Greek, and the Classics. The curriculum broadened over time as the requirements of college admission expanded. Although the academy initially operated in a one-room schoolhouse which still stands to this day, it had access to the grand mansion of the late governor, that remains a central fixture on the campus as the headmaster's residence. Over time other structures were built and the faculty and curriculum expanded so that by the time of the school's centennial in 1863, the Dummer Academy had grown into a well known 19th century prep school that catered mostly to children from affluent families who aspired to the Ivy League. By the turn of the 20th century, however, the school had fallen on hard times, with enrollment and income down, as the school struggled under the shadow of Exeter, Andover, and other schools that had grown to become very well known and prestigious. It was in this context that Dr. Charles Ingham became headmaster in 1908, launching great efforts to revive the Academy. As a result, Dummer Academy became stabilized, and began to again thrive as a premier New England prep school that sent over a third of its graduates to Ivy League colleges during that period. Upon Dr. Ingham's retirement in 1930, Edward "Ted" Eames became headmaster, a post he held for 30 years. Early in Master Eames' tenure, the name of the school was changed to the Governor Dummer Academy, a title it retained until 2006.

With some exceptions, the school primarily was open only to boys until coeducation was established in 1972.

Name change

In December 2005, the Board of Trustees voted to change the name of the Academy to "The Governor's Academy" amid concerns that the name "Dummer" was deterring prospective students from applying. Legally the name remains "Governor Dummer Academy" doing business as "The Governor's Academy." When founded, the Academy was named "Dummer Charity School." Subsequently, the name was changed to "Dummer Academy," which name it was known by for a century and a half.

The decision to change met with resistance from some students and alumni, and attracted media attention from around the country. Those who promoted the change saw it as one of a number of ways to expand the geographic representation and the overall appeal of the school, especially to those who were not familiar with the school or its history. The name change took effect on July 1, 2006. In 2010-2011, the Academy set records for admissions inquiries, interviews and applications, thus supporting the decision that the name change would enhance institutional marketing efforts.


Students study in small classes, with a student-to-teacher ratio of 5-1. Advanced Placement courses are offered in nearly 22 subjects, from mathematics and science to art, foreign languages, English and history. Foreign language classes are offered in Chinese, French, Spanish, German and Latin. Eighty-five percent of faculty live on campus and serve as dorm parents and coaches as well as classroom teachers. More than 70% have advanced degrees, with several having earned terminal degrees in science, law, education and medicine.


The Academy boasts a long and storied athletics tradition and is a member of the Independent School League. The school fields 23 varsity teams and 47 interscholastic teams. There are three levels of interscholastic competition offered at The Governor's Academy: varsity, junior varsity, and thirds. Governor's regularly and fiercely competes with its rival Brooks School and typical wins.

  • 2002 - Boys' Lacrosse ISL Co-Champions
  • 2004 - Football ISL Champs
  • 2005 - Football ISL Champs
  • 2006 - Boys' Lacrosse ISL Tri-Champions
  • 2006 - Girls' Soccer ISL Champions
  • 2006 - Softball ISL Champions
  • 2007 - Boys' Lacrosse ISL Co-Champions
  • 2008 - Girls' Ice Hockey New England Champions
  • 2008 - Boys' Lacrosse ISL Champions (undefeated)
  • 2008 - Girls' Softball ISL Champions
  • 2008 - Golf ISL Champions
  • 2008 - Girls' Cross Country ISL and New England Champions
  • 2009 - Girls' Ice Hockey New England Champions
  • 2009 - Boys' lacrosse Tri-ISL Champions
  • 2009 - Field Hockey New England Champions
  • 2009 - Girls' Cross Country New England Champions
  • 2010 - Girls' Ice Hockey New England Champions
  • 2011 - Girls' Ice Hockey New England Champions
  • 2011 - Boys' Lacrosse ISL Champions (undefeated)
  • 2011 - Girls' Softball ISL Champions
  • 2011 - Football ISL/New England Champions (undefeated)
  • 2011 - Girls' Soccer New England "Class B" Champions
  • 2012 - Boys' Lacrosse Co-ISL Champions
  • 2012 - Girls' Softball ISL Co-Champions
  • 2012 - Football ISL/New England Champions (undefeated)
  • 2012 - Girls' Soccer ISL/New England Champions (undefeated)
  • 2013 - Boys' Baseball ISL Co-Champions
  • 2013 - Girls' Softball ISL Champions (undefeated)
  • 2013 - Football ISL Co-Champions/New England Champions
  • 2014 - Football ISL Co-Champions
  • 2015 - Girls' Field Hockey New England Champions
  • 2015 - Girls' Softball ISL Champions (undefeated)
  • 2015 - Boys' Lacrosse Co-ISL Champions
  • 2016 - Girls' Field Hockey ISL Champions
  • 2016 - Girls' Softball ISL Champions (undefeated)
  • 2016 - Boys' Baseball ISL Co-Champions
  • 2017 - Girls' Field Hockey ISL Champions
  • 2017 - Girls' Field Hockey New England Champion
  • 2018 - Boys' Lacrosse Co-ISL Champions


Programs in visual and performing arts are offered in the Kaiser Art Center and the Wilkie Performing Arts Center. Kaiser has studios for photography and film, ceramics, drawing, painting and design. Wilkie has a 500-seat auditorium/theater, a black box, an art gallery, and a complete workshop for technical theater. The Academy has performed exceedingly well in recent Boston Globe Scholastic Art Awards competitions, ranking first in total awards in 2010 and second in 2011. In 2012, Academy students won 39 awards in the competition in 4 different art disciplines: ceramics, studio art, photography and film. Governor's artists won 15 Gold Keys, 10 Silver Keys, and 14 Honorable Mentions, making the Academy the most winning independent school in Massachusetts.


Every member of the school signs a book, located in The Little Red School House, upon arrival. This tradition dates back to the school's early years under the first Headmaster, Samuel Moody. After commencement, every member of the graduating class jumps over the mansion house wall.

Notable alumni


Further reading

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