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St. Mark's School

St. Mark’s School is a coeducational, Episcopal, preparatory school, situated on 250 acres (1.0 km2) in Southborough, Massachusetts, 25 miles (40 km) from Boston. It was founded in 1865 as an all-boys school by Joseph Burnett, a wealthy native of Southborough who developed and marketed the world-famous Burnett Vanilla Extract. Girls have attended since the 1970s. St. Mark's is a member of the Independent School League, and the second-oldest of the five elite prep schools collectively termed St. Grottlesex.

The school's 65 teachers lead 325 boarding and day students through a rigorous curriculum and a full program of co-curricular activities. Class size averages 10, with a student-faculty ratio of 5:1. Each department offers honors and advanced placement sections (numbering 24 in total, more than any other school in the Independent School League).

(St. Marks's had) four different headmasters in its first seventeen years of existence, followed by the appointment of William E. Peck in 1882. Peck was a controversial headmaster, often in conflict with the trustees, until 1894, when he resigned and founded Pomfret School, taking a number of students and teachers with him. It wasn't until the inspired appointment of Headmaster William Greenough Thayer (who had taught for five years at slightly younger rival Groton School) in 1894 that St. Mark's began to experience stability. Thayer led the school until 1930, bringing it out of its initial financial difficulties, expanding the campus infrastructure dramatically, and eventually retiring just as the school faced the challenges of the Crash of 1929 and its impact on the student body. St. Mark's – and Thayer – were national institutions by the time of his departure from the school. News of his pending retirement was reported by Time Magazine in 1929 as an event of national significance, which to the nation's social elite it then was. [ Time Magazine, "Twill" December 2, 1929]

Notable Alumni