The Pingry School’s mission is to foster in students a lifelong commitment to intellectual exploration, individual growth, and social responsibility by inspiring and supporting them to strive for academic and personal excellence within an ethical framework that places the highest value on honor and respect for others.
Dr. John Francis Pingry's founding motto: "Maxima reverentia pueris debetur" -- "Greatest respect is due students."
Our vision is to prepare students to be global citizens and leaders of the 21st century. By setting and holding the highest expectations, we seek to graduate young men and women who consistently demonstrate honor and character in all aspects of their lives, who as teammates and leaders navigate easily and effectively in our diverse world, who continuously challenge themselves intellectually and morally, and who are committed to ensuring that those who follow them, both at Pingry and in the world, will themselves have unprecedented opportunities.
Dr. John Francis Pingry founded The Pingry School in Elizabeth, N.J. in 1861 to provide students with a classical education, and he emphasized strong moral development and a commitment to service. Three decades later, the school relocated to a larger campus in Elizabeth, and, in 1953, it moved again to Hillside. Two milestones occurred during the 1970s: Pingry merged with the Short Hills Country Day School in 1974, and the first female students graduated in 1976. Then, in 1983, at the suggestion of a Trustee, Pingry’s Middle and Upper Schools moved to the current location in Basking Ridge, near the intersection of two major highways, to position itself for New Jersey’s future population growth.
A fundamental component of the school’s ethos, the Honor Code represents the embodiment of Dr. Pingry’s original principles of honorable behavior and serves as the moral guidepost for every member of the Pingry community.
Faculty and Staff
The Pingry School employs over 240 faculty and staff. Approximately 70 percent of the faculty hold master’s degrees, and 18 faculty members hold doctorates. Average tenure is 13 years.
The student body represents over 100 towns in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Pingry enrolls 1,117 students from diverse backgrounds in Kindergarten through Grade 12, with class sizes of 16 in the Lower School (Kindergarten-Grade 5), an average class size of 14 in the Middle School (Grades 6-8), and an average class size of 13 in the Upper School (Grades 9-12). The genders are balanced (52 percent male, 48 percent female), and 46 percent of the student body are students of color.
The Pingry School complies with all applicable laws regarding discrimination and does not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, sexual orientation, or national or ethnic origin in the administration of its educational policies, admissions, financial aid, and other school programs.
Pingry is situated on two spacious campuses in central New Jersey that are easily accessible from major highways. The Short Hills Campus houses the Lower School (Kindergarten-Grade 5), while the 200-acre Basking Ridge Campus is home to the Middle and Upper Schools (Grades 6-12). Of special note, Grade 6 moved from Short Hills to Basking Ridge in 2007 when Pingry opened the 29,000 square-foot Carol and Park B. Smith ’50 Middle School for Grades 6-8.
Facilities include state-of-the-art classrooms, science laboratories, computer labs, and multimedia libraries. The Hostetter Arts Center, which opened in 2003, houses the 234-seat Macrae Theater; studios for dance, pottery, drawing, and painting classes; rehearsal space for drama and music; and two art galleries. The 732-seat Hauser Auditorium is used for assemblies and other special events, including Commencement. The 60-seat Attic Theater is also used for dramatic performances.
Eighty percent of Upper School students participate in Pingry’s arts programs, encompassing fine arts, drama, and music. Any student may also audition for the annual Fall Play and Winter Musical; along with these two productions, students participate in dramatic presentations throughout the school year, such as DramaFest, the Drama IV Spring Play, the Middle School Musical, and plays and musicals at the Lower School. The music department’s two largest annual concerts are the All-School Festival in December and the Antoine du Bourg Spring Festival Concert.
Physical Education and Athletics
The athletics program emphasizes sportsmanship and offers every student the opportunity to play on a team. Approximately 89 percent of Upper School students participate in a variety of sports on 55 varsity and junior varsity boys and girls teams.
The Pingry School has an all-weather synthetic turf field; several sport-specific fields for football, soccer, field hockey, lacrosse, baseball, and softball; a 400-meter all-weather track; 12 tennis courts; and a cross-country course that laps the 200-acre campus. Indoor facilities include two basketball gymnasiums; a six-lane 25-meter pool; a wrestling room; a fencing room; and a state-of-the-art strength and fitness center staffed by two strength coaches.
College Admissions Record
Year after year, Pingry students are admitted to the nation’s finest colleges and universities, with the highest current enrollment (10 or more graduates) at the following schools, based on the Classes of 2012-2015:
University of Pennsylvania (21)
Bucknell University (20)
Lehigh University (20)
Princeton University (17)
Cornell University (16)
Harvard University (16)
Vanderbilt University (16)
Tufts University (15)
Dartmouth College (13)
Columbia University (12)
Georgetown University (12)
New York University (12)
Yale University (12)
Boston College (11)
Carnegie Mellon University (10)
Hamilton College (10)
Northwestern University (10)
In the Class of 2015, 35 students were named National Merit Commended Students, and 10 students were National Merit Scholarship Finalists.
On average, the Pingry Admission Offices receive 4-5 applications for each opening. The Admission Office accepts applications for multiple entry points: Kindergarten (32 openings), Grade 2 (16 openings), Grade 4 (16 openings), Grade 6 (25-30 openings) and Grade 9 (45-50 openings). Applications are also welcomed for Grades 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 10, and 11, but spaces are only available through attrition.
Financial Aid Policy
An important element of Pingry’s long-term strategic goals is the commitment to building a sufficient financial aid endowment to ensure that every student who is admitted to Pingry can afford to enroll, and that each student who attends Pingry can, regardless of family resources, participate in the full breadth of the Pingry experience. Over $4.6 million are awarded annually to families with students in Kindergarten through Grade 12. Financial aid is funded by endowment income restricted for such purposes, along with other designated and unrestricted giving. The Pingry School does not offer academic, artistic, or athletic scholarships.
The Pingry School is accredited by the New Jersey Association of Independent Schools (NJAIS).
Since the school’s founding, alumni, parents and friends have contributed to over 100 endowed funds. Pingry’s endowment fund is invested in a diversified portfolio that promotes the school’s long-term financial independence. As of June 30, 2015, the endowment fund was approximately $87.1 million. Pingry uses a conservative spending formula of three percent of the market value of the school’s investment portfolio annually.
The Pingry Fund
All members of the Pingry community, including members of the Senior Class, are invited to participate in The Pingry Fund each year to supplement the school’s budgets for operations and financial aid. This year, The Pingry Fund’s goal is $2.8 million.