School History Timeline

1950
12 East 89th Street Purchased
The 1919 townhouse, designed by the prominent society architects Delano and Aldrich, was selected to house the new school. Its location in the heart of Manhattan's Carnegie Hill, near Central Park and the Metropolitan Museum of Art made it ideal for an educational institution.
1951
February 5 - Saint David's Opened
On the school's first day, a single teacher Miss Jacqueline Murphy, welcomed four students. Today, Saint David's has 120 faculty and 400 students.
1952
First Headmaster Thomas Herlihy Appointed
Through an exciting and adventurous first year, full of the surprises endemic to the opening of any new school, Mr. Herlihy was a steadfast guiding presence.
1953
Second Headmaster David Hume Appointed
Appointed Headmaster at age 25, David Hume served the school for 37 years, setting the direction and tone of the school and helping to create our most honored traditions. His tenure was also marked by steady growth in enrollment and physical space, including the purchase of the adjacent Suydam Cutting House, at 14 East 89th Street, as well as Buildings 16, 18 and 22.
1956
Parents Association Formed
The active body of parents, comprising officers and committees that impact nearly every aspect of school life, from community service, to communications, to fundraising, mounted its first benefit in 1956. An annual tradition, this benefit supports school programs, and is made possible by the hard work of parent volunteers.
1957
January 19 - First Issue of Canticle Published
The student-run newspaper was originally a photo-offset publication; today it is produced digitally and distributed as an e-book. Student reporters can be found with cameras and notepads, covering all of the exciting events at the school.
Chapel Organ and Stained Glass Windows Donated by Hearst Family
The seventeenth century organ and sixteenth century stained glass windows, that depict the legend of Mary Magdelene, greet boys to this day during Chapel, when boys gather daily for prayer and reflection.
1958
June 4 - First Commencement Held
David Hume handed diplomas to the eight graduates of Saint David's Class of 1958. The ceremony was held in the school's backyard and included an address by Gregory Smith. Today's commencements are held at nearby St. Thomas More.
1963
16 East 89th St. Purchased
In need of more space, the growing school purchased the third Cutting house at 16 East 89th Street, which provided space for an expanded science lab, small gym, enlarged art room, and music room.
1969
First Advent Service of Lessons and Carols Held
Now an annual tradition that heralds the Christmas Season at Saint David's, Lessons and Carols includes readings from scripture and the singing of carols by the school's Glee Club and Chamber Singers. It is funded by an endowment, The Mary Necarsulmer Fund for Lessons and Carols.
1972
18 and 22 East 89th St. Purchased
The school purchased this contiguous residence hotel, known as Graham House, with the intent to one day, when resources and programmatic need arose, expand into the space.
1973
First Science Lab Added
Today Saint David's has dedicated labs for the lower, middle, and upper grades.
1977
Library and Art Room Added
The size of the library doubled and a new art studio provided much needed space and work area for pottery.
1983
Saint David's Philharmonic Ensemble Established
Today, the Ensemble includes boys in Grades Three through Eight who have recorded their performances and regularly play in venues such as Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center.
1987
First Mozart Celebration Held
In accordance with the school's aesthetic pillar, each year the boys and faculty celebrate Mozart's birthday with a week-long winter Music and Art Festival that includes the Winter Concert and Faculty Mozart Party.
1990
David Hume Retirement
At the time of Mr. Hume's retirement, after 37 years as headmaster, Saint David's had increased its enrollment to several hundred students, and added the three stately townhouses which now comprise our school.
1992
Fourth Headmaster Dr. Donald T. Maiocco Appointed
Dr. Maiocco's 12-year tenure was marked by a vigorous expansion of the school's facilities, and a purposeful reshaping of the school's faculty, curriculum and traditions. A proponent of the classical ideal of balance, he began the Eighth Grade Humanities Program - a multidisciplinary course that is a cornerstone of the Saint David's humanities curriculum, concentrating on art history research skills and rhetoric. The springtime Italian Study Tour and the Nightingale-Bamford Lectures on Art originated with Dr. Maiocco.
1994
New Lower School Library Built
As part of the First Horizon campaign, Saint David's added a Lower School Library, computer room, and pottery studios.
Humanities Italian Study Tour Established
The eighth grade’s 10-day spring study tour to Rome, Assisi, and Florence provides the boys the opportunity to experience in situ the art, architecture, and history they study throughout the year in humanities.
1995
Saint David's Sports Complex on Ninety-fourth Street Purchased
As part of the Second Horizon, the school acquired the former Dalton gymnasium at 213 East 94th Street. With a single stroke, Saint David's quadrupled the size and dramatically upgraded the quality of its athletic facilities: the facility houses two full size basketball courts, a fitness center, locker rooms, offices, and a laundry facility. It is the site of the annual Faculty vs. Parents basketball game.
2001
Golden Jubilee Celebrated
The school celebrated its 50th anniversary with a special benefit for the entire Saint David's community, a mural of David commemorating the anniversary year, and the publication of a history book, "That They Be Good Men: Fifty Years at Saint David's School." Concomitant with the celebration of this milestone in the school's history, Saint David's embarked on a $6 million campaign to ensure that the school's facilities continued to provide students with an optimal learning environment. Dr. Maiocco spoke of the school creating new pathways that honored an illustrious past and bright future.
2002
Golden Jubilee Expansion Completed
The Golden Jubilee Campaign resulted in a new Science Suite, Library/Media Center, Eighth Grade Classrooms, Woodworking Shop, Smith Reception Room, Front Lobby, and an Expanded Dining Hall/Auditorium; The Restoration of the Hearst stained glass windows also took place during this year.
2003
Dr. Maiocco Retirement
Dr. Maiocco retired after 12 years as the school’s Headmaster at the end of the 2003-2004 academic year. Throughout his tenure, he emphasized the classical tradition of balance, the importance of comportment, and respect for the aesthetic in all aspects of life.
2004
Fifth Headmaster Dr. P. David O'Halloran Appointed
Dr. O'Halloran's tenure has continued to honor the traditions and mission so important to Saint David's history while moving the school forward with deliberate, purposeful change through concurrent Faculty and Curriculum Initiatives, and a strategic plan to reimagine, redesign, and renovate school program space.
2005
School-wide Curriculum Initiative Begun
The Curriculum Initiative involved a deep and critical examination of all aspects of the curriculum based on a question posed by Headmaster O'Halloran to all faculty: "What do we want our boys to know, to do, and to value?" As a result, curriculum has achieved vertical integration and horizontal coordination. A Comprehensive Writing Program was developed, there are more opportunities for interdisciplinary learning, as well as increased out-of-the-classroom and virtual learning experiences.
2006
Faculty Initiative Launched
The Faculty Initiative has enhanced the compensation and revolutionized the professional development and evaluation of our faculty, encouraging and empowering them to grow and lead through professional development opportunities and continuous mentoring.
Expansion: Fifth Floor Music Suite
The Fifth Floor Music Suite created a music classroom, rehearsal space for the Philharmonic Ensemble, and dedicated space for instrumental instruction.
2007
Fiftieth Commencement Celebrated; Sixth Floor Art Suite Built
As Saint David’s celebrated its 50th graduating class, the Art Suite provided a large dedicated space in two rooms that supports boys' immersion into the visual arts and exposure to the works of master artists - an outgrowth of the Curriculum Initiative.
2008
Saint David's School Hymnal Published
Boys use the Saint David’s Hymnal, published by the school, each day in Chapel as do alumni when they return for Chapels at special events. The hymnal features those hymns traditionally sung at the school.
Expansion: Lower, Middle, and Upper School Science Labs and Prep Room
As a result of the Curriculum Initiative’s focus on increasing instruction in science, dedicated science labs were built to support active, hands-on scientific inquiry and experimentation throughout a boy’s tenure.
School-wide Spanish Program Rollout Initiated
As part of the Curriculum Initiative, Spanish immersion classes began to be incorporated throughout all grades.
2011
Sixtieth Anniversary Celebrated
1,000 members of Saint David's community gathered for a Celebratory Mass at St. Ignatius Loyola. The Mass was the culmination of several anniversary initiatives which included the publication of "The Timeless Boy: Saint David's School at 60" and the launch of our project to build a school in Ethiopia as a fitting way to give back and contribute to the greater good.
Continuing Our Best Traditions Campaign Concluded
The school’s largest endowment campaign to date raised $20.5 million to support the attraction and retention of exceptional teachers and increase the socioeconomic diversity of the student body. As a result, the endowment now exceeds $52 million.
Spain Summer Study Introduced
Rising eighth graders have the opportunity to spend part of their summer with their teachers at a university in Salamanca, Spain, where they are immersed in their study of Spanish language and culture.
2012
Sixth Grade Overnight Trip to Washington, D.C. Initiated
In conjunction with a Curriculum Initiative goal to provide increased experiential learning opportunities, the Sixth Grade now embarks on a three-day visit to the nation's capital each April, where the boys and their teachers experience our government in action.
Horizons at Saint David's Launched
Consistent with our mission’s imperative to contribute to the greater good, the school launched a six-week summer academic program for boys from four schools in Harlem. The program aims to prevent the academic slide that can occur during the summer.
First Orchestra Launched
An orchestra was established to provide boys in Grades One through Three the opportunity to play together and perform for an audience.
2013
Partnerships with DNALC and Gilder Lehrman Institute Initiated
The school partnered with the DNA Learning Center of Cold Spring Harbor and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History for hands-on collaborative learning about DNA in science and the importance of primary source documents in history.
Spanish Language Program Rollout Completed
The Spanish Immersion Program now offers boys in grades Pre-K through Eight the opportunity to gain proficiency in the Spanish language. Spanish culture and history also are incorporated into the program.
Plans for Adaptive Reuse and Expansion of Graham House Initiated
The project, to provide programmatic space in the contiguous building, will fulfill a four-decade dream of the school, contributing to a more efficient, dynamic, and enjoyable educational environment.
2014
Saint David's Kalina School in Ethiopia Opened
The multi-year community action initiative to build a school in Ethiopia involved fundraising efforts spearheaded by the Classes of 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014. Construction completed on the K through Grade Four school in Tigray, Ethiopia, which officially opened in 2014.
2015
Partnership with American Museum of Natural History: Hayden Planetarium
In a first-of-its-kind partnership, Saint David's blends English, astronomy and technology curricula into an interdisciplinary unit: "The Digital Universe." Boys access research-grade tools and the deep discipline expertise of the museum’s educators and astronomers to identify, research, and present a high-tech Planetarium Presentation.
Addition of Early Childhood Care and Development block to Saint David's Kalina School in Tigray, Ethiopia
The ECCD block consists of two classrooms and two additional resource rooms.
2016
Groundbreaking and Demolition of Graham House
Groundbreaking ceremonies in June were followed by demolition of the rear of Graham House during the summer. Highlights of the renovation, consolidation and expansion project include a performing arts center, a middle school gymnasium, and a STEAM suite.
Partnership with Guggenheim
The school entered into a partnership with the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum for art study units in Grades Two, Seven and Eighth.
Partnership with Daniel's Music Foundation
Sixth Grade volunteers join the headmaster for a series of shared music classes at DMF. The partnership promotes awareness of difference through the common bond of music.
2017
Topping Off of Expansion/Consolidation Project
The school celebrated the topping off of the expansion and consolidation project with a morning hardhat tour for early supporters, trustees, and contractors.
Partnership with Manhattan Children's Center
Second graders collaborate with children from MCC, a school on the Upper West Side that provides treatment and education to children with autism.