It's easy for the students at Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford, Conn., to feel privileged when their school can boast a U.S. president among its alumni and a campus art gallery designed by world-renowned architect I.M. Pei.
Starting next fall, however, the school's world of crew races, Japanese classes, and study-abroad programs will open up to 18 less-advantaged students who will enroll there thanks to a $3.8 million gift from the foundation of Carl C. Icahn, a former chairman of Trans World Airlines Inc.
The program seeks to open Choate's campus--which graduated President John F. Kennedy and Adlai E. Stevenson, a founder of the United Nations and Democratic presidential nominee--to freshman students from low-income families who otherwise would probably never consider a boarding school, let alone one with a $20,800 annual price tag.
"They will be faced with all kinds of situations they've never been involved with before," said Charlotte Murphy, a spokeswoman for the school. "This program really lets us take some risks with kids, but it's a calculated risk."
In addition to full scholarships for tuition, supplies, and room and board, the students will receive support from adult and student mentors and a summer orientation to help assure that they succeed at the academically high-powered school.
The program will help 72 students enroll in the 220-student high school in the next four years.
Choate also gives out about $3 million in aid each year--mostly to students from middle-income families.
Mr. Icahn grew up in the Queens borough of New York City and attended public schools. His son is a senior at Choate Rosemary Hall.
Another leading New England boarding school, meanwhile, is seeking to broaden understanding of gender issues.
The Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass., last week opened the Brace Center for Gender Studies, which is said to be the first such institute at a secondary school.
The center is named for Donna Brace Ogilvie, a 1930 graduate of the all-girl Abbot Academy that merged with Phillips to form a coeducational school. Ms. Ogilvie's gift, the amount of which school officials won't disclose, helped start the institute. It has given stipends to 13 of the school's instructors so they can carry out gender-issue-related projects.
The center was born from research suggesting that girls often
receive less attention than boys in school. Phillips Academy enrolls
1,190 student in grades 9-12.
--JEFF ARCHER [email protected]