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Pingry’s Varsity Baseball team knew it could have a great season. It just needed a catcher first

Mission & History



The mission of The Pingry School 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.

Our School mission is exemplified on campus on a daily basis—from teachers who motivate their students to achieve more than they thought was possible, to the thoughtful discussions of classmates asking how they can support one of their peers. Our mission is also essential to realizing our vision: preparing students to be global citizens and leaders in the 21st century. In preparing our students to succeed in the future, we focus on four key pillars:

These four pillars, and our Honor Code that underlies them, continue to reinforce the goals and values set forth by Pingry's founder, Dr. John Francis Pingry, over 150 years ago. Learn more about Pingry's rich history below, or through a curated view of our archive.




Our Founding

Over 160 years ago, Dr. John Francis Pingry founded a school with a broad vision and roots that extended well beyond academics. Beginning with a commitment to classical education, Dr. Pingry envisioned an institution that would not only foster intellectual vigor, but also instill in its students a sense of honor, strength of character, and a commitment to service both to the nation and the world.

Dr. Pingry was the first in a long line of strong and steady school leaders that continues to this day. Below are the Heads of School — previously called Headmasters — who have guided Pingry through the years:

  • John F. Pingry (1861-1892)
  • William H. Corbin (1892-1897)
  • Frank H. Robson (1897-1899)
  • Walter R. Marsh (1899-1907)
  • S. Archibald Smith (1907-1915)
  • David Magie (1915-1917)
  • C. Mitchell Froelicher (1917-1920)
  • C. Bertram Newton (1920-1936)
  • E. Laurence Springer (1936-1961)
  • Charles B. Atwater '31 (1961-1970)
  • H. Westcott Cunningham '38 (1970-1980)
  • David C. Wilson '59 (1980-1987)
  • John Hanly (1987-2000)
  • John L. Neiswender (2000-2005)
  • Nathaniel E. Conard (2005-2019)
  • Matt Levinson (2019-2022)
  • Timothy Lear '92 (2022-Present)


Dr. Pingry founded the school in Elizabeth, New Jersey, in 1861 to provide both scholastic training and moral education for boys. By exposing them to the rigors of a strict classical education, Dr. Pingry imparted the mental discipline they needed to meet the challenges of their future life.

With firm adherence to these highest of academic, personal, and social values, he established a standard for private education that has defined The Pingry School’s legacy throughout its history. Today, more than ever, that standard and heritage continue to shape our mission for the future.


Parker Road campus opening
Not long after formally tendering his letter of resignation, Dr. Pingry had the honor and gratification of laying the cornerstone for the school's new Parker Road Campus—located in Elizabeth, like the Mechanic Street schoolhouse and the Westminster Avenue property preceding it—on November 15, 1892. By April 1893, classes were being held on the new three-acre campus, under the leadership of Headmaster William H. "Pa" Corbin, Yale football hero.

U.S. Congressman Charles N. Fowler, who ultimately served 26 years as president of the Board of Trustees, was responsible for the plan that relocated the campus to a much larger site, constructed a new $10,000 (budgeted) facility, and appointed Corbin to succeed Dr. Pingry as headmaster. During the 1893-1894 school year—the first full year at the Parker Road location—enrollment jumped from 74 to 100, primarily due to the addition of the preparatory department, which admitted boys between the ages of nine and 14.


The honor code
In 1926, Pingry’s students took the commitment to integrity to an even higher level by establishing an official Honor Code for the School. The students themselves were responsible for making the Honor Code an integral part of daily life at Pingry.

In 1949, the faculty adopted the Honor Code as well. Over the years, the Honor Code has continued to embody Dr. Pingry’s original values and focus on character.


Move to hillside campus
Prior to World War II, it was evident to the Board of Trustees that the Parker Road Campus was not adequately meeting the needs of an ever-growing Pingry. The cessation of wartime hostilities and expanding enrollment reinforced the urgency of these needs. Facilities were in sore need of repair and maintenance, and the student body was increasing in size.

Property was selected just across the city line in Hillside, less than a mile from the old school property. Ground was broken on June 20, 1951 for a new campus spanning 26 acres. The entire student body (450 boys at the time) helped with the move in January, 1953. In 1955, maximum enrollment was fixed at 500 students.

But expansion was not just about the numbers. The move to Hillside was a significant step in Pingry's transformation into a larger, more cosmopolitan institution. A transportation web that included chartered buses, faculty-driven station wagons, and trains began to connect Pingry to a widening radius of towns in New Jersey. Pingry followed the country day philosophy of fully involving students in academics, sports, and after-school activities while returning them home in time for dinner.


Short hills campus merger
Another new chapter for Pingry occurred in the 1970s, when the School merged with Short Hills Country Day School, creating a dedicated elementary school campus.

With the new school structure, primary school classes took place at the Short Hills Campus, and Middle and Upper School classes took place at the Hillside Campus.


transition to coeducation
Another major change occurring this same year was the official welcoming of female students, as the girls from the Short Hills Country Day School (which was co-ed) became Pingry students following the merger of the two schools. With the start of the 1974-1975 school year, The Pingry School began considering both boys and girls in all grades for admission, and by September 1974, 101 new girls were enrolled at Pingry.

The School made its best efforts to accommodate a strong athletics program for its female students. Field hockey, track, basketball, tennis, softball, and co-ed swimming were all available to them in their first year.

Group of girls sitting on lawn during orientation


Another long-anticipated move took place in 1983, when Forms I through VI moved to an even more expansive campus in Martinsville. An idea envisioned by Trustee Bill Beinecke and communicated to then-Chair of Pingry's Board of Trustees, Bob Parsons, the nearly 200-acre new campus in Bernards Township provided space for state-of-the-art facilities, including an almost 25 percent larger school building, more open classrooms, playing fields, tennis courts, two indoor gymnasiums, a large auditorium, and on-site swimming pool.

The Martinsville Campus was officially dedicated in May 1984 to Fred Bartenstein, Jr., Chair of the Board of Trustees and a major force behind the move. The school building's modern architecture mirrored the very forward-thinking philosophy that inspired its relocation: by moving 20 miles west, toward the future intersections of Interstates 78 and 287, Pingry was accessible to a growing population of potential students in towns like Summit, Short Hills, Madison, Morristown, and Bernardsville, among other areas.


building the Hostetter arts center
Hostetter Arts Center (HAC), considered a significant feature of Headmaster John Hanly's legacy, had a two-fold purpose: bolstering the arts facilities on campus and creating additional space for the rest of the school.

It opened to rave reviews, providing state-of-the-art spaces for music, drama, dance, and the visual arts, responding to the needs of a dramatically enlarged student body that was enrolling in art electives in force!


the carol and park b. smith '50 Middle School
In 2007, a new facility, The Carol and Park B. Smith ’50 Middle School, was constructed on the Martinsville Campus, providing Middle School students with their own dedicated classrooms and community space.

Grade 6 students also moved from the Short Hills Campus to the Martinsville Campus to join their Middle School peers.


Beinecke House is Dedicated

A new home for Pingry’s Head of School was made possible by Honorary Trustee William S. Beinecke ’31, whose foresight, generosity, and leadership had also helped to make the Bernards Township Campus a reality nearly 30 years earlier. The Head had previously lived in a house on the Short Hills Campus.

Beinecke House is one of the greenest homes in the country and is U.S. Green Building Council LEED Certified. Every detail was considered for its long-term sustainability. Read more in Design NJ.

Photo of front of Beinecke House, with part of circular driveway


Martinsville Campus Becomes Basking Ridge

In 2013, the Martinsville Campus made another move of sorts. . . Pingry’s Martinsville P.O. box was exchanged for a numbered street address in Basking Ridge.

Although the change did not require a physical move of the campus, it did change the official name of the campus, allowing visitors—and mail!—to find their way to Pingry more easily.


Beginning in the winter of 2014, a top-to-bottom renovation of all but the gymnasium and music wing on the Short Hills Campus began. The majority of construction occurred over just seven weeks during the summer of 2015. Renovations of the gym and music rooms followed a year later, in the summer of 2016.

The newly-designed campus reflects cutting-edge improvements in educational spaces. Among many other upgrades, large commons areas encourage collaboration and moveable furniture allows for both group and individual work to occur beyond the confines of the classroom.


COMPLETION of Miller A. Bugliari ’52 Athletics Center
One of the more significant projects that resulted from Pingry’s largest capital campaign to date—the Blueprint for the Future Campaignthis 44,000-square-foot multi-sport athletics facility honors Pingry’s most senior faculty member and beloved coach, mentor, and friend.

The state-of-the-art facility includes eight squash courts, a strength and conditioning center, and an expansive flexible-use space for athletes to perform running and agility drills. The facility is also home to Pingry's Athletics Hall of Fame.



On Friday, August 27, 2021, The Pingry School acquired the 83-acre campus of the Purnell School, which shut its doors after the 2020-21 school year. Located in the rolling hills of Somerset County, New Jersey, Pingry's Pottersville Campus represents a place where students can safely take risks, be intellectually brave, handle setbacks, stick with tasks, and create differentiated and individualized pathways. It features several community and collaboration spaces, classrooms and labs, an indoor athletic facility, a performing arts building, a community “quad”, a ropes course, and state-of-the-art athletic fields. The Pottersville Campus accelerates the work of the 2018 Strategic Plan, including a cost-effective and time-efficient realization of components of our long-term campus buildings and grounds plan, and allows us to accomplish the student-centered aspirations this plan sets forth.

The newly-designed campus reflects cutting-edge improvements in educational spaces. Among many other upgrades, large commons areas encourage collaboration and moveable furniture allows for both group and individual work to occur beyond the confines of the classroom.