About KUA

History

Established in 1813, Kimball Union Academy is one of the nation’s oldest boarding schools. Built on an impressive history, the Academy has maintained a forward-thinking approach to educating both men and women from its earliest days.
In the nineteenth century, Kimball Union was a co-educational school, its social life integrated with the village of Meriden, where many students traveled from their local family farms. While our current students come from countries around the world, we still value our community of young men and women living and learning together in our historic village home.

Through its first century, moral character and classical values of both the local and national culture helped to form the basis of our honor code and course curriculum. As the years progressed, the arts blossomed in the extended Meriden community, including the Cornish Arts Colony, and simultaneously at the school. Kimball Union is near the Augustus Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site just up the road, and our campus is framed by an inspirational natural landscape, often represented in the neo-classical work of Maxfield Parrish.

Kimball Union has always maintained a close relationship to the community, and specifically with nearby Dartmouth College, to provide the best environment for learning into the twenty-first century. Frequent guest lecturers, coursework, and access to cultural events connect modern day students with the college. A shared history includes many alumni in common, most notably, famed biologist and educator, E.E. Just, for whom our environmental center is named.

There is no doubt that Kimball Union has come a long way from its beginnings in 1813. But one thing has not changed; we still offer the best in contemporary education. From a predominantly locally based student body to a school with no international constraints, from forty years as a single-sex institution to a return to coeducation in the mid-seventies, from seven students to three hundred and forty, we have grown and flourished over two hundred years of history. Grounded by our mission, Kimball Union Academy has the experience of centuries.

KUA at a Glance


Kimball Union
Founded:1813
Location: 1300-acre campus in Meriden, NH - 13 miles from Dartmouth College
Type: Co-ed Boarding School; and Day School
Grades: 9-12 and PG
Size: 340 students; 24% international; 75% boarding
 
Academics
Rigor: Honors and Advanced Placement courses in all disciplines, Scholar Programs
Average class size: 12 students
Notable: 130 individual courses, Writing Across the Curriculum, Integrated Advising Program
Faculty
Ratio: 7:1 students to faculty
Education: 70% hold advanced degrees
Accessible: 75% live on campus
Committed: 33 faculty have worked at KUA for 10 or more years

 
Arts
Facilities: Theatre with state of the art technology, dance studio, practice rooms, digital media lab, and ceramics studio
Breadth: all students participate in performing and visual arts
Depth: Art Scholar program, Ensembles, and advanced placement courses
Athletics
Facilities: ice rink, 40,000 sq ft indoor turf, outdoor turf, 8 playing fields, gymnasium, fitness center, tennis courts, locker rooms and training facility
Opponents: Lakes Region Athletic League, New England Private School Athletic Conference (NEPSAC)
Breadth: all students participate in athletics
Depth: 20 Varsity teams, numerous league championships each year


Timeline

List of 55 items.

  • 1811

    John Foord of Piermont, NH, travels to Scotland for theological study. Inspired by a “popular institution, affording gratuitous instruction to candidates for the Christian ministry, in indigent circumstances”, he quickly writes home urging his friends to establish a similar institution.
  • 1812

    A Council of New England Churches convenes in Windsor, VT, and adopts a constitution “making the new Seminary an academy, whose object should be…To assist in the education of poor and pious young men for the gospel ministry; and such others as may be admitted by the trustees, subject to pay tuition.”

    Daniel Kimball, a church delegate, offers $6,000 at once and the bulk of his estate, estimated at $32,000, at his death if the Academy were located in Meriden.
  • 1813

    The Charter, granted by the General Court of New Hampshire, is signed by Governor J. T. Gilman and Union Academy, named for the union of churches, is born.
  • 1815

    The First Academy building, largely built by Daniel Kimball’s own hands on his land, is dedicated on the Hilltop on January 9. Classes begin the next day with the first principal, Otis Hutchins, and seven pupils in attendance.
  • 1816

    Six men become the first graduates of Union Academy. Four women completed the course requirements, but do not receive graduating certificates.
  • 1817

    Daniel Kimball dies and his name is added to Union Academy in honor of his great generosity.
  • 1824

    The First Academy building, including the library, burns to the ground.
  • 1825

    A Second Academy, built of brick, opens on The Hilltop.
  • 1835

    Cyrus S. Richards, class of 1831, is appointed 4th principal on the day of his graduation from Dartmouth College. During his 36-year tenure, the Academy grows from 50 to sometimes over 300 students and the Academy becomes known throughout New England and beyond for its “high standard of scholarship.”
  • 1839

    Hannah Kimball bequeaths $10,000 for the establishment of a female Seminary. The trustees and Principal Richards convince her to unite the two schools, “… and to erect the new building as an addition to the old one.”
  • 1840

    The Third Academy opens in the autumn with “a regularly organized Female Department” and the “immediate care of the young ladies will be committed to a Lady Principal,” but all under the leadership of Principal Richards.
  • 1842

    The Ladies Department consists of 154 students, up from 16 females in 1837.
  • 1863

    Asa Dodge Smith, class of 1826, becomes President of Dartmouth College (1863-1877).
  • 1874

    Trustees consider moving the Academy closer to a railway town with a larger population in order to increase enrollment.
  • 1886

    Boston Alumni Associate begins.
  • 1890

    Attendance drops to 50 students with the rise of public high schools and tuition costs. A former teacher proposes the “One Hundred Dollar Plan” whereby a student pays only $100 for room, board, fuel, lights and full tuition rights and in exchange? “works cheerfully for one hour each day in the school's kitchen or vegetable garden.”
  • 1891

    The Third Academy catches fire and burns to the ground. The library and other valuables are saved, but “the familiar sweet-toned bell had rung its last call,” the Academy reports.
  • 1892

    The New Academy is dedicated and named Baxter Hall, in honor of Dr. Edward K. Baxter, class of 1858, who contributed liberally to the building fund.
  • 1892

    The Bird Village Inn, a large wooden structure, is built and later named Dexter Richards Hall in honor of another great supporter of the Academy.
  • 1893

    William Jewett Tucker, class of 1857, is elected President of Dartmouth College (1893-1909, emeritus 1909-1926).
  • 1903

    Ernest Everett Just, famed African American biologist, graduates from Kimball Union.
  • 1905

    Charles A. Tracy, class of 1893, is elected 12th headmaster (1905-1935).
  • 1910

    Bryant Hall, a gift of John D. Bryant, class of 1846, is dedicated.
  • 1913

    Kimball Union celebrates its 100th anniversary featuring the Pageant of Meriden performed on Pageant Hill (Potato Patch). It was written and directed by famed pageant author William Chauncey Langdon of New York City.
  • 1913

    Francis Chamberlin Hall Farm is given to the Academy by Trustee Alfred S. Hall, class of 1869, in memory of his son.
  • 1914

    Charles Lewis Silver Memorial Gymnasium, dedicated in June, is a gift from Henry Mann Silver, class of 1867, in memory of his brother.
  • 1921

    Baxter Hall is renovated. One of two towers is removed.
  • 1924

    Barnes Library, now the admissions building, is dedicated.
  • 1935

    William R. Brewster, class of 1914, is elected 13th headmaster (1935-1952). Coeducation is phased out as school becomes an all boys’ institution following a trend for single sex schools.
  • 1936

    The new Dexter Richards Hall is rebuilt of brick. Faculty and students work on school farm providing food during the Great Depression and World War II.
  • 1952

    Frederick E. Carver is elected 14th headmaster (1952-1969)
  • 1955

    Alumni Gym opens with first basketball game played in February.
  • 1957

    Charles Ransom Miller, class of 1867, Editor-in-Chief of the New York Times, family’s bequest of $1 million dollars is announced.
  • 1963

    Kimball Union celebrates its 150th anniversary with dedication of four new buildings including Miller Student Center, Densmore Hall, and Tracy Cottage.
  • 1966

    Fitch Science Hall is dedicated in memory of its benefactors, Dr. Emory Fitch, class of 1899, former trustee and school physician, and his wife Marietta.
  • 1968

    Munro House is purchased as the new headmaster’s home.
  • 1969

    John P. Cotton is elected 15th headmaster (1969-1974).
  • 1974

    Thomas M. Mikula is elected 16th headmaster (1974-1989). Coeducation reinstated.
  • 1978

    “Kimball Union Looks Ahead”, $2.25 Million Capital Campaign is launched.
  • 1980

    Elizabeth Dorr Coffin Library, a gift in honor of their mother by David ‘44 and Dexter ‘41 Coffin, is dedicated.
  • 1985

    “The $10 Million Campaign for Kimball Union” begins. Mikula Hall is built and named at Reunion ‘89 in honor of the headmaster.
  • 1988

    Whittemore Athletic Center, named for benefactor Fred Whittemore ’49, and Akerstrom Arena, honoring KUA hockey coach George Akerstrom, are dedicated.
  • 1989

    Timothy Knox is elected 17th headmaster (1989-2003).
  • 1990

    The Flickinger Arts Center, a gift from the Flickinger Family, opens with The Mikado as its first theatre performance.
  • 1999

    Fitch Science Hall is renovated with the addition of the E.E. Just Environmental Science Center wing. A new Dining Commons opens on the Quad.
  • 2003

    Michael J. Schafer is appointed Head of School.
  • 2004

    Bishop Alumni House, named for faculty members Stephen and Joan Bishop, is dedicated.
  • 2006

    Pope Field is dedicated. Lower athletic fields complex completed.
  • 2007

    KUA receives it largest gift from anonymous donors - $5 million.
  • 2008

    New Campus Center below dining commons is dedicated.
  • 2009

    $38 million IMPACT comprehensive campaign is announced.
  • 2010

    Miller Bicentennial Hall is dedicated.
  • 2011

    Construction on "The Barn," KUA's indoor field house begins.
  • 2013

    KUA celebrates its Bicentennial and raises over $45 million in the IMPACT Campaign
  • 2017

    The Kurth House, a new girls’ dormitory and faculty residence is dedicated.

TRANSLATE

Kimball Union Academy

603-469-2000  · 603-469-2040 (fax)  · info@kua.org
Founded in 1813, Kimball Union Academy is one of the oldest private boarding high schools in New Hampshire and the country. KUA blends the best of the New England boarding tradition with an innovative, modern educational program for a diverse group of day and boarding students from across the country and around the world. Located in Meriden, New Hampshire in the heart of the Upper Valley, Kimball Union is minutes from Dartmouth College and has direct access to Boston and New York.