Deerfield Academy

Deerfield Academy
Deerfield Seal.png
Be Worthy of Your Heritage
Deerfield, MA, U.S.
Type Independent, boarding
Religious affiliation(s) none
Established 1797
Head of School Margarita O'Byrne Curtis
Faculty 110
Enrollment 600 total
520 boarding
80 day
Average class size 12 students
Student to teacher ratio 6:1
Campus Rural, 280 acres
127 buildings
Color(s) Hunter Green & White         
Athletics 20 Interscholastic Sports
Mascot Big Green

homepage =

Rival Choate Rosemary Hall
Average SAT scores 1880 - 2200
Main school building

Deerfield Academy is an independent, coeducational boarding school in Deerfield, Massachusetts, United States. It is a four-year college-preparatory school with approximately 600 students and about 100 faculty, all of whom live on or near campus.

Deerfield is a member of the Eight Schools Association (ESA), begun informally in 1973-74 and formalized in 2006, and of the Ten Schools Admissions Organization, founded in 1966. There is a seven-school overlap of membership between the two groups.[1] Deerfield is additionally a member of the G20 Schools group.

In 2007 Deerfield's endowment was valued at US$415 million, or roughly $680,000 per student. Fees were around $33,000 for day students and $45,000 for boarders in 2010-2011.[2]



Deerfield was never affiliated with a religion, but attendance at Congregationalist Church services was required of boarding students until the 1970s, and school meetings included the singing of Christian hymns.[citation needed]

Deerfield Academy was founded in 1797 when Massachusetts Governor Samuel Adams granted a charter to found a school in the town of Deerfield. It began to educate students in 1799.[3] The academy quickly established itself as one of the finest schools in the new republic, drawing boys from prominent families across New England. The school produced influential men that occupied many congressional and gubernatorial seats in New England. By the end of the 19th century, the shifting trends in industrialization had left rural Deerfield behind. The economic hardships of the times impoverished local farmers and drove them away to the wealthy cities. The board of trustees was considering closing the Academy, as there only remained nine students. These were the school's darkest times. With little support from local farmers and a dire economic situation, the 100-year-old school was on the brink of collapse.

In the early twentieth century, Deerfield's fortunes rose with the appointment of Frank Boyden as Headmaster. He quickly re-organized the school and provided it with a sound financial basis. He recruited students actively from local farms and towns, promising the parents that their boys would be successful. Boyden had great confidence in the value of athletics as a component of education. He often played on the varsity squads when there was a lack of players. He attracted and trained many teachers who would become masters and keep long loyalties to the academy. The prestige enjoyed by the school today is a direct result of the foundations he laid over seven decades, including training scores of men as teachers and headmasters in their own right. His success would not have been possible without the support and assistance of his wife, Helen Childs Boyden. After 66 years of service, Frank Boyden retired in 1968. Boyden's long career and legacy at Deerfield are reviewed in The Headmaster (1966), by Deerfield alumnus John McPhee.[4][5]

In 1989, the Academy re-established co-education, which Boyden had discontinued in 1943.[6]

Eric Widmer '57 served as headmaster from 1994 to 2006. He stepped down in June 2006 and soon after assumed the position of Founding Headmaster at King's Academy in Madaba, Jordan, a school inspired in part by HM King Abdullah II's Deerfield years in the 1980s.[4][7][8] It opened in the fall of 2007.

The current Head of School, Dr. Margarita O'Byrne Curtis, previously Dean of Studies at Phillips Andover, is the first woman to hold the position.[9]

The Koch Center for Mathematics, Science, and Technology, named after David H. Koch, opened in 2007, and is Gold LEED certified.[10] The building was designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill.[11]


A favorite tradition of Deerfield students takes place on the Sunday of commencement at the end of the year; the night when the graduating senior class has left campus. The Deerfield students gather on the lower fields and celebrate the school, as well as the coming year, with a bonfire. This event is also the place of the debut of the new Captain Deerfield.

Also traditional are the events the night before "Choate Day"; the final day of the fall athletics season when arch rivals Deerfield and Choate play each other in every sport, at every level. In the Main Auditorium, the Deerfield Cheerleaders put on various skits mocking the other schools that Deerfield plays. Also included are speeches by Mr. Morsman, the spirit of Deerfield, Captain Deerfield,the step team, and the Head Cheerleader. Also, in the athletic building the seal of Deerfield Academy is surrounded by students so the members of the Choate teams will not step on it. After the events in the Main Auditorium are finished, the students rush down to the lower fields, where they are awaited by a bonfire, at the top of which rests a burning "C" (Choate). Captain Deerfield, the cheer leaders, and the Varsity Sports teams captains rile up the students with many Deerfield chants.

Co-curricular activities

Students are required to participate in a co-curricular activity each semester. Some options include competitive or intramural sports, community service, dance, school play, yearbook, and many more. In addition, many students are involved in at least one of the more than 50 student-run clubs or organizations.[12]


Deerfield athletic teams compete with boarding schools and other private schools throughout New England, including Berwick Academy, Phillips Andover, Phillips Exeter Academy, Cushing Academy, Choate Rosemary Hall, Loomis Chaffee, Suffield Academy, Kent School, Tabor Academy, Taft School, Brewster Academy, Salisbury School, Berkshire School, Brunswick School, Williston Northampton School, Hotchkiss School, Avon Old Farms, Northfield Mount Hermon, and Hopkins School. The athletic directors of Deerfield and the other members of the Eight Schools Association compose the Eight Schools Athletic Council, which organizes sports events and tournaments among ESA schools.[13] Deerfield is also a member of the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (NEPSAC).

Traditionally, the Academy's athletic rival is Choate Rosemary Hall. The Fall athletics season culminates with Choate Day, which features matches with Choate at every level of every fall sport.

Fall Sports

Winter Sports

Spring Sports

Around 2010 Deerfield Academy's lacrosse program had success, and was a perennial contender for the New England title along with rival Salisbury School. In 2009 Salisbury defeated Deerfield 7-6, resulting in a shared New England Championship title. In 2010, Salisbury defeated Deerfield 9-6. Salisbury went on to win the New England title. However, in 2011, Deerfield beat Salisbury 11-7 in the penultimate game of their season. Deerfield went on to beat Exeter in the last game of their season, securing both an undefeated season and the New England title. They secured the ranking of number one in the state of Massachusetts, and a ranking of number three in the nation. Deerfield The School's golf, and men's water polo and swimming are strong. In 2008 Deerfield held the New England Prep School Championship title for men's swimming, men's water polo, and golf.

Deerfield Academy Press

The Deerfield Academy Press was founded in May 1997 with the publication of Deerfield 1797-1997: A Pictorial History of the Academy, the first written history of the school. The mission of the Press is to stimulate and nurture interest in creative and academic writing and to provide a formal outlet for student writings in English, history, and foreign languages.


  • Deerfield 1797-1997: A Pictorial History of the Academy, Andrea and Robert Moorhead, editors
  • The Headmaster's Series, focusing on the history of the school and current topics in international education
  • The Art & Poetry Series, including poetry broadsides, exhibition catalogues, faculty poetry, and special student projects
  • The Academy Series, featuring three annual student publications

See also

Portal icon Massachusetts portal
Portal icon Schools portal
  • Heads of Deerfield Academy
  • List of notable Deerfield alumni


  1. ^ Taylor Smith, "History of the Association," The Phillipian, February 14, 2008
  2. ^ Tuition Academy Web page. Updated 2010-03-16.
  3. ^ "School History". Archived from the original on 2007-12-15. Retrieved 2008-01-30. 
  4. ^ a b "School History". Archived from the original on 2007-12-15. Retrieved 2008-01-30. 
  5. ^ "The Headmaster". Retrieved 2008-01-30. 
  6. ^ Gold, Allan R. (1988-02-01). "Deerfield Journal; 'Deerfield Boy' Is Wary Of Life After Girls". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-01-30. 
  7. ^ "Great Expectations". 2006. Retrieved 2008-01-30. [dead link]
  8. ^ "U.S.-style boarding school planting roots in Jordan". 2006. Retrieved 2008-01-30. 
  9. ^ "Deerfield Appoints Andover Dean as First Woman Head". 2006. Archived from the original on 2008-05-17. Retrieved 2008-01-30. 
  10. ^ LEED Buildings in NE
  11. ^ "Deerfield Academy - Koch Center for Science, Math & Technology Project Page".
  12. ^ "Deerfield at a Glance". Archived from the original on 2007-12-14. Retrieved 2008-01-30. 
  13. ^, dated May 2, 2010;, dated May 3, 2009;, dated April 11, 2007
  • Cooke, Brian P. Frank Boyden of Deerfield: The Vision and Politics of an Educational Idealist. Lanham, Md.: Madison Books (1994)
  • Cookson, Peter W. Preparing For Power: America's Elite Boarding Schools (1985) (ISBN 0-465-06268-7)
  • McLachlan, James. American Boarding Schools A Historical Study (1970)
  • McPhee, John. The Headmaster: Frank L. Boyden (1966) ISBN 0-374-51496-8
  • Moorhead, Andrea D. and Moorhead, Robert K. Deerfield, 1797-1997: A Pictorial History of the Academy (1997) (ISBN 0-9632800-1-5)

External links

Coordinates: 42°32′47.19″N 72°36′19.06″W / 42.5464417°N 72.6052944°W / 42.5464417; -72.6052944

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