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Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School
Columbia Grammar and Preparatory Seal.jpg
Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School is located in Manhattan
Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School
Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School
Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School is located in New York City
Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School
Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School
Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School is located in New York
Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School
Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School
Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School is located in the United States
Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School
Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School
5 West 93rd Street


United States
Coordinates40°47′25″N 73°58′01″W / 40.790244°N 73.966893°W / 40.790244; -73.966893
TypePrivate, Day, College-Prep
Established1764; 256 years ago (1764)
HeadmasterWilliam Donohue
Student to teacher ratio5.7:1
Campus typeUrban
Color(s)Columbia Blue and White          
Athletics conferenceNYSAISAA
Team nameLions
AffiliationsNew York Interschool
4 West 93rd
4 West 93rd

Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School ("Columbia Grammar", "Columbia Prep", "CGPS", "Columbia") is the oldest nonsectarian private school in the United States, located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan (5 West 93rd Street), in New York City, New York. It was founded in 1764 by what is now Columbia University in order to properly prepare incoming freshmen in the fields of English, Greek, and Latin grammar.[1] By 1865, the school had grown substantially and was no longer connected to the university.[2]

The school was originally known as The Grammar School of King's College (King's College was the original name of Columbia University). The school changed its name concurrently with the university during the American Revolution to Columbia Grammar School, and added the word "preparatory" in 1969. While "grammar" and "preparatory" have differing connotations, the entire school is known by its full name.

The school has existed in several locations over the centuries. In 1907, the school moved to its current location on 93rd Street, off Central Park West. It originally consisted of one building, and expanded by adding five brownstones through the merger of the adjacent Leonard School for Girls in 1956. A building across the street was built in 1984, followed by two more in 1997 and 2001. An administration building was added to the school in 2009. In the past 20 years, the size of the graduating class has more than doubled from approximately 45 to approximately 125.


Columbia Grammar School was founded in 1764, just ten years after the founding of King's College (later Columbia University).[1] Originally established as a boys' preparatory school for the college, it functioned for one hundred years under the direct auspices of the college.

One of the most illustrious headmasters during that period was Dr. Charles Anthon, one of America's earliest and most distinguished classical scholars. During his tenure the Grammar School provided over half the students to Columbia College's freshman class.

In 1864, when Dr. Anthon retired as headmaster, the trustees of Columbia College terminated their relationship with the Grammar School and the school became a proprietary institution,[2] only achieving its nonprofit status in 1941.[3]

In 1937, the Leonard School for Girls was founded, using several interconnected brownstones on West 94th Street (now part of the lower school). The school joined with the Grammar School in 1956 to become a coed institution.[4]

As the 13th headmaster in the school's long history, Dr. Richard J. Soghoian (1981-2017) guided the physical expansion of the school from its 1906 home at 5 West 93rd Street to the present complex, which totals 215,000 square feet with 14 buildings between 92nd and 94th streets.

In 2017, Dr. Richard Soghoian, who held the position of headmaster since 1981 retired.[5] As of the 2017 school year, the new headmaster is Dr. William Donohue. Dr. Stanley Seidman was the Grammar School director until his retirement in 2010; the current Grammar School director is Sarah McLean. Joanie Dean is the current Prep School director. The school serves grades Pre-kindergarten to 12 and offers a college preparatory curriculum.


Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School is a fully independent, non-sectarian school governed by a board of trustees composed of alumni and parents. The school is accredited by the New York State Association of Independent Schools, the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, and the New York State Board of Regents.

The school is a member of the Independent School Admissions Association of Greater New York (ISAAGNY).[6]


5 West 93rd Street
5 West 93rd Street
94th Street Brownstones
94th Street Brownstones

The school began its expansion in 1984 with the construction of a new Preparatory School at 4 West 93rd, containing a full-sized gymnasium, three science labs, state-of-the art computer lab, library, three music studios, and nine classrooms.

Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School greatly expanded its physical plant after 1985. Three new buildings and a fully renovated brownstone have, together with the existing buildings, added academic facilities as well as two new theaters, several computer labs, a variety of art studios and space for a growing music program. The Grammar School is located in a series of five interconnecting brownstones on 94th Street just off Central Park, and the 1905 Columbia Grammar School building at 5 West 93rd Street. In addition to classrooms, these house two libraries, two art studios, a gymnasium, swimming pool, two music studios, a science lab, a computer lab, and the Grammar School cafeteria.[7]

In 1996, 36 West 93rd Street was completed, adding 42,500 square feet (3,950 m2) of space to the physical plant. This building, which goes through from 93rd to 92nd Street, has two computer labs, five art studios, library, science labs, and classrooms for grades 5 and 6, a fully equipped theater, and a large cafeteria.

In September 2001 a major addition was added onto the high school containing yet another full-sized gym, a state-of-the-art theater, and three floors of classrooms and science labs. Five new classrooms were also added.[8]

Since then, many brownstones have been added, one entirely for offices, and one building dedicated to the arts. A walkway has been built behind the multiple brownstones to make them easier to navigate. In 2009, CGPS purchased several new brownstones, one entirely for the kindergarten, another for a science building, and one for administrative offices. The Prep School also added a new level to its library.

The new CGPS Middle School opened its doors to students in grades 5, 6 and 7 on Thursday, September 8, 2016. Two floors were added to the existing 36 West 93rd Street building to create a 6th and 7th floor solely for these grades, while the remainder of the building has been renovated. The ground floor now features an expansive yoga and dance studio; the existing Prep School cafeteria has been renovated and a second floor cafeteria was added specifically for Middle School students. New art studios as well as a new library, three science labs, a rooftop play yard and twelve classrooms have been added to the building. The HVAC system has been updated and the building is fully handicap-accessible.


  • Matthew Cushing (1764-1772)[9]
  • Alexander Leslie (1772-1776)[9]
  • William Cochran (1784-1788)[9]
  • Joseph Nelson (1788-1828)[9]
  • John D. Ogilby (1828–1830)[9]
  • Dr. Charles Anthon (1830-1864)[9]
  • George W. Bacon (1864-1869)[9]
  • Richard S. Bacon (1864-1892)[9]
  • Benjamin H. Campbell (1869-1920)[9]
  • George A. Kohut (1920-1933)[9]
  • Frederic A. Alden (1920-1956), Headmaster emeritus (1956-1964)[9]
  • James W. Stern (1956-1980)
  • Dr. Richard Soghoian (1981-2017)
  • Dr. William Donohue (2018-present)

Student Government

Student Government is a student-run organization that brings the community together and creates ways to express school spirit. Every year, four Officers (Secretary, Treasurer, two Co-Presidents) are elected by the entire prep school. Two to three Grade Representatives are also elected by their grade to work in Student Government through the school year. Student Government plans school-wide assemblies, organizes bake sales and merchandise sales throughout the year in order to raise money for charity, designs school apparel, and takes note on students’ concerns, discussing them with the faculty in order to make student life the best it can be.

Athletic Championships

Columbia Prep athletics teams participate in the New York City Athletic League (NYCAL).

Cross Country

  • Boys League Championships: 1991, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2015
  • Girls League Championships: 1991, 1994, 1995, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2017


  • Boys League Championships: 1987, 1991, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012
  • Boys League Tournament Championships: 1997, 2002, 2005, 2009, 2010, 2012
  • Girls League Championships: 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
  • Girls League Tournament Championships: 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018


  • Boys League Championships: 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2016
  • Boys League Tournament Championships: 2003, 2004, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2014, 2015, 2016
  • Girls League Championships: 1988, 1990, 1993, 2017
  • Girls League Tournament Champions: 2016, 2017


  • League Championships: 1992, 2000, 2003, 2011, 2015
  • League Tournament Championships: 2011


  • Boys League Championships: 1990, 1995, 1997, 2001, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2020
  • Boys League Tournament Championships: 1995, 1997, 2001, 2006, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
  • Girls League Championships: 1988, 1994, 2001, 2012, 2016, 2017, 2018
  • Girls League Tournament Championships: 1995, 2001, 2015, 2016, 2018

Ice Hockey

  • Boys League Championships: 2016
  • Boys League Tournament Championships: 2012, 2016, 2017


  • Boys League Championships: 2017, 2018, 2019
  • Boys League Tournament Championships: 2017, 2019
  • Girls League Championships: 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017
  • Girls League Tournament Championships: 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016


  • League Championships: 1988, 1989, 1990, 1992, 1993, 1996, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017
  • League Tournament Championships: 1988, 1989, 1990, 1992, 1993, 2005, 2006, 2008 2012, 2013, 2014


  • League Championships: 2001, 2004, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
  • Tournament Championships: 2004, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016


  • League Championships: 1997, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2013, 2017, 2018
  • Tournament Championships: 2004, 2017, 2018

Track & Field

  • Boys League Championships: 1990, 1991, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2014, 2018, 2019
  • Girls League Championships: 2001, 2002, 2011

Graduation Requirements

In order for a student to graduate from CGPS, the following requirements must be fulfilled between 9th and 12th grades:

  • 8 semesters of English (Students must take at least one course in American Literature, World Literature, and Pre-Twentieth Century Literature during their junior and senior years)
  • 8 semesters of History
  • 6 semesters of Mathematics
  • 6 semesters of Science
  • 6 semesters of World Language
  • 6 semesters of Physical Education
  • 1 semester of Art
  • 1 semester of Arts History (Students can choose between the following courses: Western Art History, Global Art History, Music History, and The History of American Musical Theater)
  • 1 semester of Technology

Students must also complete 60 hours of Community Service.


Notable Teachers


  1. ^ a b Sullivan, McDonald and Dixon, Ross, Columbia Grammar School 1764–1964: A Historical Log. 1965, p. 1.
  2. ^ a b Sullivan, McDonald and Dixon, Ross, Columbia Grammar School 1764–1964: A Historical Log. 1965, p. 31.
  3. ^ Sullivan, McDonald and Dixon, Ross, "Columbia Grammar School 1764–1964, A Historical Log". 1965, p. 52
  4. ^ "History | Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School".
  5. ^ Goldman, Victoria, "The Manhattan Family Guide to Private Schools, 6th Edition", Soho Press, 2010, p. 187
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-01-06. Retrieved 2013-02-17.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-10-30. Retrieved 2011-11-02.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ "Our Campus" Archived 2011-10-30 at the Wayback Machine – Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School website
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Sullivan, McDonald and Dixon, Ross, "Columbia Grammar School 1764–1964, A Historical Log". 1965, p. 10
  10. ^ "Family tree of John Vernou". Geneanet.
  11. ^ "How Did I Get Here? Peter Gelb" – via
  12. ^ "Harry Guggenheim Dead; Newsday Founder Was 80". January 23, 1971 – via
  13. ^ Sullivan, McDonald and Dixon, Ross, "Columbia Grammar School 1764–1964, A Historical Log". 1965, p. 40
  14. ^ "Sam A. Lewisohn, 1884-1951". Stamford, Conn. : The Overbrook Press. July 11, 1951 – via Internet Archive.
  15. ^ Sullivan, McDonald and Dixon, Ross, "Columbia Grammar School 1764–1964, A Historical Log". 1965, p. 8
  16. ^ Menze, Jill, "The Postelles Go Indie for Long-Delayed Debut Album", Billboard magazine, June 10, 2011
  17. ^ "Ruppert Park Highlights : NYC Parks".
  18. ^ "Stephen Shore Biography, Life & Quotes". The Art Story.
  19. ^ "Alumni Highlights | Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School".
  20. ^ Sullivan, McDonald and Dixon, Ross, "Columbia Grammar School 1764–1964, A Historical Log". 1965, p. 19
  21. ^ "Dwight TOWNSEND, Congress, NY". InfoPlease.
  22. ^ "Eugene Paul Ullman Roughton Gallery".
  23. ^ "The United States Chess Federation - "See, there was this bird..." Grade Nationals 2008".
  24. ^ Martin, Douglas (August 10, 2003). "Albert Field Is Dead at 86; Archivist of Dalís and Fakes" – via
  25. ^ "Andrew Lippa - Biography — JewAge".
  26. ^ "Giving Back With Chess: Charity Chess Champs Set for May 21". US Chess. April 27, 2017.
  27. ^ "Fensterheim '76 Visits Professor Terban | Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School".
  28. ^

External links

This page was last edited on 7 April 2020, at 04:41
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