St. Mark's School of Texas

name = St. Mark's School of Texas

established = 1906
motto = Excellence
type = Private, Non-sectarian
head_name = Headmaster
head = Arnold Holtburger
city = Dallas
state = Texas
country = USA
campus = 40 acres
faculty = 125
students = 833 boys
mascot = Lion
free_label = Athletics
free = 17 sports
website = []
coordinates = coord|32.890363|-96.800762|type:landmark

The St. Mark's School of Texas is a nonsectarian preparatory day school for boys located in Dallas, Texas, USA. The School offers grades 1-12.


St. Mark's was created in 1950 by a group of Dallas businessmen. The original name was to have been St. James's, but St. Mark's was chosen because the lion associated with St. Mark was deemed a more suitable mascot than the lamb typically linked with St. James.

St. Mark's was developed from three preceding private schools: The Terrill School (1906–44), Texas Country Day School (1933–50), and The Cathedral School (1944–50). The School traces its earliest history to Mr. Terrill's school, which is considered the city's first effort to create a private school that could rival its East Coast counterparts. The Terrill School served as a base for the foundation of The Cathedral School.

St. Mark's was founded as a merger of the nonsectarian Texas Country Day School and the Episcopally-associated The Cathedral School. To solve the religious question, St. Mark's was founded as a nonsectarian school with the agreement that Chapel services would be Episcopalian, led by an ordained Episcopal minister. The School officially opened as St. Mark's School of Texas in 1953. The Hockaday School for Girls, founded in 1913, became the sister school to St. Mark's.

The School today

Historically, the School was fairly homogeneous and geared towards the sons of doctors, lawyers, and affluent businessmen. St. Mark's has since made significant gains in terms of financial aid and minority recruitment. Approximately 18% of students were involved with the financial aid program at St. Mark's as of 2005-2006.

On its forty acre-campus are an array of buildings, most of which are named after well-known Dallas families. Texas Instruments' co-founders Cecil H. Green and Eugene McDermott [] donated a math and science quadrangle, the main library, the greenhouse, the planetarium and the observatory. Shortly after those buildings' completion in the 1960s, "Time" magazine called St. Mark's the "best-equipped day school in the country."

In more recent years, The Roosevelt family contributed a carillon, installed in early 2005, Ralph Rogers [] provided the natatorium, the Lamar Hunt family donated a football stadium, completed in the fall of 2005, and Tom Hicks, the owner of MLB's Texas Rangers the NHL's Dallas Stars, and Liverpool FC, funded a new gymnasium. Its arts facilities are also impressive.

In 2007-08, the School executed the large-scale Centennial Project. Initiating funding was a $10 million donation from the Crow family. The products of the Project were two new state-of-the-art academic buildings: Centennial Hall, housing the Math, English, History, and Administrative Departments, and Robert K. Hoffman '65 Center, housing the Language, Debate, Journalism, and College Counseling programs, in addition to the Student Store and Senior Lounge. The new buildings opened in June 2008 to serve the School in full capacity starting in the fall of 2008. The Project also included demolition of the School's oldest and most revered building, Davis Hall, as well as the Math Building, part of the McDermott-Green Math-Science Quadrangle. Although the largest phases of the Centennial Project (preparation, construction, and demolition) are completed, the School has yet to officially announce the overall completion of the Project. In a December 12, 2007-published PDF from the School's Development Office, an extended campus development plan approved by the City of Dallas shows further construction, specifically an addition to the north side of the Fine Arts Building and a small addition to the Science Building in part of the area occupied by the former Math Building. [] The School has yet to officially announce further construction; these additions may not be built for several years if at all.

St. Mark's has long resisted efforts towards coeducation, though there are several courses that students can take with Hockaday students at that campus. The school has a long tradition of outdoor activities throughout the Middle and Upper Schools, known as the Wilderness Program. Each Middle School class has a camping trip every year. The Wilderness Program culminates in a 10-day backpacking trip in the Pecos Wilderness of New Mexico. The trip occurs in early-mid August before boys enter the 9th grade and is considered a "rite of passage" into the Upper School. Faculty, alumni, and current Upper School students, known as sherpas, lead the trip in small groups. The school's uniform has remained unchanged for decades: gray shorts or pants with white oxford shirts for grades 1-11 (blue oxford shirts for seniors).


Its 833 students, frequently known as Marksmen, are spread across first through twelfth grade. Lower School classes average about 15 boys, and the School's overall student/faculty ratio is 8:1. Eighty percent of the 125 faculty members have advanced degrees (beyond a bachelor's), and 25% have been at St. Mark's for more than twenty years. There are twelve endowed teaching positions, including nine endowed chairs. St. Mark's offers 36 Upper School clubs and academic teams, a list of which can be found [ here.] St. Mark's students have long been nationally prominent in policy debate. The school also hosts (but does not compete in) one of the largest debate tournaments in the nation, the St. Mark's Heart of Texas Invitational.

The median SAT Reasoning Test scores for the graduating Class of 2008 were: critical reading, 680; math, 710; and writing, 670. [] . The most commonly attended colleges by 1997-2007 graduates were []
University of Texas at Austin, Stanford University, Emory University, Vanderbilt University, Northwestern University, Southern Methodist University, Duke University, University of Pennsylvania, Harvard University,
Texas A&M University, Princeton University, University of Southern California and Yale University.


Extracurricular activities and sports are an integral part of campus life. The School's sports teams compete against similarly-sized private schools in the Southwest Preparatory Conference [] . The School competes in 17 varsity sports: American football, Basketball, Soccer, Baseball, Lacrosse, Wrestling, Crew, Water Polo, Swimming, Cross Country, Track and Field, Golf, Tennis, Hockey (though not an official school sport), Volleyball, Cheerleading, and Fencing. Certain teams—such as swimming, wrestling, golf, and tennis—compete against the largest schools in the state. The wrestling team annually sends athletes to compete at the national championships, and the longtime wrestling coach, Rick Ortega, was recently inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. Other teams, such as crew, water polo, lacrosse, ice hockey, and fencing, are played at St. Mark's but are not widely followed within the state of Texas.

Awards and honors

The Upper School newspaper "The Remarker", literary magazine "The Marque", and the yearbook "Marksmen" win national awards nearly every year. In both 2005 and 2006, St. Mark's was the only school in the country in which each of its three publications was a finalist for the Crown awards, given annually by Columbia University [] . No other school has placed three finalists in one year for at least fifteen years. The Remarker has also won the prestigious Pacemaker award.

The photography program, though only established during the 1990s, was named, in both 2007 and 2008, as the top high school photography program in the state of Texas by the ATPI (Association for Texas Photography Instructors). St. Marks students are often the winners of top photography honors at city, state, and national competitions. Many of the other teams are similarly prominent in academic contests involving math, robotics, science, and languages.

Notable alumni

* Richard Bass, 1946. Owner, Snowbird Ski Resort. Mountain climber. []
* George Bayoud, 1973. Real Estate Investor, Politician. []
* William Clarkson, 1966. President, The Westminster Schools []
* Kurt Eichenwald, 1979. Journalist. [" [ Reporter Biography: Kurt Eichenwald] ." "The New York Times". Accessed October 11, 2008.]
* Robert Hoffman, 1965. Co-Founder, National Lampoon. Businessman. Namesake of new Hoffman Center building. []
* David Hudgins, 1983. Television writer and producer. []
* Clark Hunt, 1983. CEO, Kansas City Chiefs. [" [ Clark Hunt, Chairman of the Board, Kansas City Chiefs] ." "Kansas City Chiefs". Accessed October 11, 2008.]
* David Laney, 1967. Chairman, Amtrak. []
* Michael R. Levy, 1964. Founder and Publisher, Texas Monthly [Lieber, Dave (C'79). " [ Don’t Mess with Texas Monthly] ." "University of Pennsylvania". Accessed October 11, 2008.]
* Rhett Miller, 1989. Musician, Old 97's. [" [ Dallas Solo's Practice Helps Him Perfect His Music Label] ." "Texas Lawyer". October 20, 2005.]
* Steve Miller, 1961. Musician. []
* H. Ross Perot, Jr., 1977. Executive Chairman, Perot Systems, Real Estate Developer. []
* Eric Miller Reeves, 1982. Politician, Businessman []
* Boz Scaggs, 1962. Musician. []
* Douglas St. Clair Smith, 1971, aka Ivan Stang . Minister and founder of the satirical Church of the SubGenius. []
* Alan Stern, 1975, NASA Associate Administrator for Science Mission Directorate.
* Mark A. Stern, 1977. Professor and Chair, Department of Mathematics, Duke University. []
* Kalen Thornton, 2000. Linebacker, Dallas Cowboys. []
* Michael Weiss, jazz pianist, composer. Attended 1st - 7th grade. []
* Luke Wilson, 1990. Actor. []


External links

* [ St. Mark's School of Texas website]
* [ Admission Office]
* [ Peterson's Guide to Private Schools]
* [ St. Mark's Course Listing]

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