About

Mission & Values

Mission Statement

The Westminster community inspires young men and women of promise to cultivate a passion for learning, explore and develop diverse talents in a balanced program, to reach well beyond the ordinary, to live with intelligence and character, and to commit to a life of service beyond self.

Grit & Grace, More Than a Motto

These words define and distinguish Westminster School. They represent a tradition, a culture, an attitude, an aspiration, a way of life for our students and faculty, an advantage for our graduates.
 
Grit characterizes the effort students make to meet our high expectations for academic work, athletics, and community involvement. Grace speaks to the way they negotiate these responsibilities with generosity of spirit, good manners and respect for all. The unique and powerful combination of grit and grace is what makes Westminster people successful, not only here, but also later in life. 
 
Derived from our motto virtute et numine, "grit and grace" encapsulates in one phrase our culture, our promise, a commitment to ourselves and others. Westminster students and faculty strive for excellence – and humility, personal success – and service to others, lofty goals – and common human decency. Blending the ethics of grace with the competition and effort of grit, Westminster encourages its students to test the boundaries of their abilities, to try something new, and to win and lose with grace.
 
Where grit and grace come together, where excellence meets opportunity, almost anything is possible.

History

Westminster School was founded by William Lee Cushing in 1888 as a boys’ school in Dobbs Ferry, New York. A graduate of Yale, and a firm believer in the traditional form of English boarding school education, Mr. Cushing was strongly influenced by the Reverend Edward Thring, headmaster of Uppingham School in England. Thring believed in “education as training for life.” 
 
Mr. Cushing’s formula for education was endorsed by many in the emerging influential American families, who sent their sons to Westminster, including John Hay, Advisor to Abraham Lincoln and Secretary of State to Presidents William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt.

List of 3 items.

  • The Move to Simsbury

    In 1900, as enrollment increased, Mr. Cushing moved the school to its current location in Simsbury, Connecticut. The move to Simsbury provided more land, which had been donated through a trustee of the school, Arthur M. Dodge, a member of an old Hartford family. Williams Hill, the site of the school, offered more than 230 acres, with commanding views of the Farmington River. The Simsbury location also provided train service for students to New York and Boston, a boon to families from those areas.
     
    Mr. Cushing remained as headmaster until his death in 1921. Along with his educational philosophy, he also left the school its inspiring motto. The Cushing family coat of arms bears the Latin motto virtute et numine (“by human righteousness and Divine grace”), which is translated liberally as “grit and grace.”
  • The Modern Era

    In the early 1970s, Westminster School opened its doors to day students and also became a leader among independent schools in active recruitment of minority students. In 1972, girls were admitted for the first time as day students, and in 1977 as boarding students.

    As the school celebrated its first century in 1988, it saw a significant enhancement to the arts program with the completion of Werner Centennial Center, named for its long serving sixth headmaster, Donald H. Werner.

    In 1996, Walter E. Edge, Jr., a member of the Class of 1935, bequeathed $30 million, the largest benefaction to the School in its history, allowing for, among other things, the construction of Edge House.
  • Distinguished Alumni, Leading in Careers and Service

    Westminster graduates have gone on to achieve eminent positions in industry, the military, government, social services, the arts and athletics, thanks to the outstanding teachers and headmasters who followed in the tradition of William Cushing’s teaching ideals: “performing daily tasks cheerfully, fostering an ambition to learn lessons well, playing fair in sports, being clean in thought and word, and cleaving to that which is good.”

Our Core Values

List of 4 items.

  • Community

    Westminster is a small, caring, cohesive, residential community firmly committed to the "common good."
  • Character

    In addition to prizing intellect, Westminster insists upon and fosters integrity, high ethical standards, leadership, mutual respect, tolerance and teamwork.
  • Balance

    Westminster maintains, through high expectations and a structured environment, a balance among challenging academic, athletic, artistic and extracurricular programs.
  • Involvement

    Westminster believes that students learn best through active participation in all aspects of school life.
Westminster School was founded by William Lee Cushing in 1888 as a boys’ school in Dobbs Ferry, New York. A graduate of Yale, and a firm believer in the traditional form of English boarding school education, Mr. Cushing was strongly influenced by the Reverend Edward Thring, headmaster of Uppingham School in England. Thring believed in “education as training for life.”

Contact Us

995 Hopmeadow Street
Simsbury, Connecticut 06070

P. (860) 408-3000
F. (860) 408 3001
Notice of Nondiscriminatory Policy as to Students
Westminster admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the School; and Westminster does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered program.
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