St. Margaret’s-McTernan School:
In 1972, with the merger of St. Margaret’s and the McTernan School, the former boarding department and church affiliation became defunct and boys were introduced on the Chase Parkway campus.
Clayton Spencer, the first headmaster of the newly formed co-ed day school, faced a number of major decisions. Priorities included modifying buildings, expanding athletic facilities and raising funds to make the changes possible. The McTernan School campus was sold in 1972 and the Board of Trustees of the new school launched a fund drive that produced nearly one million dollars. The Goss Field House was dedicated in 1979 to honor George A. Goss, Jr. ’34 for his leadership and support at this critical time in the School’s history.
By 1977, the School was gaining traction as enrollment grew and finances stabilized.
Mr. Hugh Slattery succeeded Mr. Spencer as headmaster in 1977. During his tenure, the physical plant was enlarged and athletic facilities were enhanced with three additional playing fields and the completion of the Kellogg Tennis Center. Simultaneously, the arts, both visual and performing, became a more important part of the St. Margaret’s-McTernan experience.
The “Framework for Excellence” capital campaign that was established under Mr. Slattery raised over two million dollars in endowment funds. Faculty salaries, financial aid and additional money to maintain high standards for the physical plant were priorities.
The strong tradition of academic excellence for which the School had become known was reinforced by a commitment to technology and computers as aids for teaching and learning.
Mr. James F. Adams, the 1990 successor to Mr. Slattery, established warm relationships with students of all ages. Mr. Adams rarely missed an opportunity to cheer on the Highlander teams if his schedule allowed it. He is remembered for establishing the tradition of hosting a winter holiday story hour in the Kingsbury Library and for bringing together students, parents, faculty and administrators to build the playground between the Lower School and the Arts Center.
During his tenure, money was raised to equip, furnish and staff the Computer Center in Centennial Library. In 1995, these facilities were expanded with the creation of a Multimedia Center made possible through a generous donation from the Parents’ Association.
In 1996, strategic planning helped chart the course for the future.
Under the leadership of Head of School Margaret W. Field, small subcommittees composed of alumni, parents, faculty and others explored every aspect of the School’s operations including finances, fund raising, curriculum, physical plant, marketing, and the role of the School in the community.
The number of Advanced Placement (AP) courses available to students in the Upper School was increased. The summer program expanded and flourished; in addition to academic and enrichment classes, sports camps in soccer and basketball attracted many young people. A prekindergarten program was implemented to address the changing needs of families. In the fall of 1995, four-year-olds became part of the student body; in 1996, the program expanded to include three-year-olds. By 2001, a successful “Cornerstone Campaign” resulted in an expansion and renovations of the Lower School building.
Our History is the Foundation for Our Future
When the merger was announced in 1972, our School’s name was meant to commemorate the equal union of two distinguished institutions. As the combined School grew, however, the name proved to be a source of confusion.
In November 2003, just months after the arrival of new headmaster John D. Fixx, and based on the recommendation of a report called the Long Range Strategic Vision, the Board of Trustees created a School Name Committee and appointed Trustee Judith Kellogg Rowley ’53 as its Chair. During the next year and a half the committee engaged in an exhaustive and inclusive process which resulted in our new name: Chase Collegiate School.
As the School Name Committee report concluded: “…We have a wonderfully varied past, yet we have just one future. …It has taken us 140 years to get here, but we are all going forward together. In adopting a new name, we are not turning our backs on our long and distinguished history. We are doing what our predecessors had the courage to do many times in the past; taking a bold step at a critical moment to ensure that we can continue to fulfill our mission and give our students the best possible education. … Go, Chase!”