Sarah Porter came from an illustrious and learned Farmington family. She received the most advanced education available to a young woman of her status at that time in part because her father, a well-established Congregational Church minister, was committed to her schooling. Her family had a long-standing relationship with Yale University. Her brother, Noah Porter, was a former president at Yale, and Sarah was tutored by Yale professors. She became a life-long scholar eventually mastering four languages, and even learned Hebrew in her eighties.
Sarah had only 18 students her first year of Miss Porter’s School, but she continued to gain prominence with the support of a progressive group of Farmington fathers. By the 1880s, Miss Porter’s was a nationally well-respected school that boasted nearly 100 young women as students.
In the 19th century, Miss Porter’s School curriculum included Latin, French and German, spelling, and reading. Miss Porter’s girls also learned arithmetic, trigonometry, history and geography, as well as chemistry, physiology, botany, geology and astronomy.
To ensure that her students were well-rounded, Miss Porter emphasized excellence in the more traditional academic subjects, as well as the arts, a tradition that continues at our school today. She also required her students to exercise regularly — a notable idea for the time. She encouraged participation in sports such as tennis, horseback riding, and baseball.
After Sarah Porter’s death in 1900, management of the school remained in the hands of her family. Her nephew Robert Porter Keep, his wife Elizabeth Hale Keep, and their son Robert Porter Keep Jr. ran the school from 1904 until 1943. Miss Porter’s School was then incorporated as a non-profit institution.
Miss Porter’s School continues Sarah Porter’s mission of educating young women to shape the world in which they live. We provide our students access to an exceptional academic program, extraordinary opportunities for travel and global education, a premier arts curriculum, an array of competitive sports teams, and many community service opportunities. Our graduates are prepared to become the leaders of the future. Yet, Miss Porter’s School remains a place where these future leaders are supported by a connected community of faculty and students. For Porter’s students, Farmington is home.
Miss Porter’s School campus is part of the Town of Farmington’s Historic District in Connecticut, and the land on which we sit has a rich and remarkable history.
Originally inhabited by the indigenous Tunxis tribe, colonists migrated to the area around 1634. The Tunxis people were pushed off their land over the course of a century. As a result, there were only a handful of Tunxis people still living in the Farmington area when Sarah Porter founded the school in 1843.
A few years before Miss Porter’s opened, the African Mendis people were abducted from their home country of Sierra Leone for future enslavement in Cuba. They staged a successful revolt on the ship La Amistad and eventually were forced to defend their freedom through a historic court case in New Haven, Connecticut. After winning the case, they stayed for a time in Farmington where they worked with abolitionists to raise money for their journey home to Sierra Leone. Two of the homes where the Mendis stayed are a part of our school campus today. The Samuel Deming House now serves as Alumni and Development offices. Deming Store — formerly known as Your Village Store — now houses Miss Porter’s faculty and is affectionately called Jiggs.
Previous to Sarah Porter opening the school and then throughout the early years of the school’s founding, Farmington was a stop on the Underground Railroad. Today, certain areas of our campus are a part of the Farmington Freedom Trail.
Since the founding of Miss Porter’s School, our alumnae — fondly known as Ancients — have made contributions to their communities and beyond. These are just some of the notable Ancients who have shaped a changing world.
Adia Benson Gundry ’05, executive producer, Prime Publishing, LLC; FBS Faculty, The Food Business School
Holly Davis ’05, marketing manager, Silver Oven Studios
Jacqueline Sofia ’05, Fulbright Scholar Award recipient
Katie Golden ’03, director of clinical research, Massachusetts General Hospital
Emily Costello Jacobs ’02, United Technologies, Global Mobility HR
Caroline Gottlieb ’02, producer, NBC’s Today Show
Nell Tivnan ’02, art director, Lady Gaga concert tour
Allison Clarke ’01, director of corporate partnerships, City Year New York
Sana Hussain Khan ’00, special assistant, Office of the Ass’t. Administrator, U.S. Agency for International Development
Megan Stevenson ’00, product marketing manager, Google Maps
Leah M. Wright-Riguer ’99, assistant professor, Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government
Shakira Ramos Crespo ’98, fleet manager, Asia Pacific, Pratt & Whitney
Christina L. Alexander ’97, founding member of Anat Kah, a non-profit promoting community participation, social investment and sustainable development in the Mayan Riviera
Erin Tubridy Gates ’97, founder and principal designer of Erin Gates Design; author and editor of the design blog Elements of Style
Elizabeth Olear ’97, clinical researcher at Yale University School of Medicine
Naomi Uchida ’97, senior manager, retail finance at Coach
Lisa Johnson ’95, director, business technology, asset management at Credit Suisse
Victoria Keelan Henley ’95, radio host, Sirius XM
Chrishaunda Lee ’94, managing director, True Colors Theater Company
Heather Lynch McAuliffe ’94, vice president of public relations, J. Crew
Yun K. Chung ’93, director, chief administrative officer, Citigroup
Crystal A. Dickinson-Dirden ’93, professor of theater/drama, Spelman College
Keri Ferenc-Nelson ’93, environmental specialist, Sarasota County
Alisha Tlumacki Lumea ’92, founder, Cocoa Vino chocolate company
Melissa Pathay ’92, photographic services archivist at Ralph Lauren
Amy M. Woodford, D.V.M. ’90, owner, Woodford Equine Clinic, Inc.
Mary Claire Pitocchelli Espenkotter ’90, attorney, U.S. Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit
Karen Staib ’90, partner at Shipman & Goodwin LLP, Hartford Business Journal’s 40 Under Forty Award Recipient
Beverley Sutherland Kumar ’88, project manager, product innovation at HBO
Anita Bhatt ’87, chief financial officer and treasurer of the Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund
Gregg Renfrew ’86, founder and chief executive officer of Beautycounter
Lyda Ely ’83, owner, Little Goat Productions
Darcy Mauro ’83, president, consumer division at Sawgrass Technology
M’Lou Arnett ’82, chief operating officer at Scerene Healthcare, Inc.
Martine Costello ’82, vice president at Goldman Sachs Asset Management
Stephanie Cabot ’81, literary agent, The Gernert Company
Mary Weaver Renner ’81, owner and chief executive officer of Laser Plus
Annie Selke ’81, founder, The Annie Selke Companies (Dash & Albert, Pine Cone Hill, and Annie Selke Home);author of Fresh American Spaces
Ariel M. Zwang ’81, former White House fellow, chief executive officer, Safe Horizon
Jennifer Bard ’80, dean, College of Law at University of Cincinnati
Susannah Grant ’80, director and Academy Award-nominated screenwriter for Erin Brockovich
Patricia Pinto Monteforte ’79, executive vice president and general manager, Clinical Development at INC Research
Sarah Blake ’78, New York Times best-selling author of The Postmistress
Analisa N. Torres ’77, Federal District Court Judge, Southern District of New York
Anna McDonnell ’76, founder and executive director at 5 for Fairness
India Howell ’75, founder and director, Rift Valley Children’s Fund, Tanzania
Sandy Erickson Golinkin ’73, former vice president and publisher of Lucky magazine.
Julie Lewis ’73, Emmy Award-winning independent film editor.
Elizabeth E. May ’72, leader, Green Party of Canada
Dr. Glenda Newell-Harris ’71, Physician, media spokesperson, and published author
Maureen Dennis Kelly ’70, Superior Court Justice, Superior Court of New Haven, Connecticut
Deborah Merrill-Sands ’70, dean, University of New Hampshire
Katharine Walling ’70, vice president, communications at United Way of New York City
Liz Blake ’69, senior vice president and general counsel for Habitat for Humanity International
Heidi Ettinger ’69, Tony Award-winning set designer for The Secret Garden
Tracy Gary ’69, president and founder of Inspired Legacies
Alexandra O. Hughes ’69, opera singer, San Francisco Opera Company
Eliza Kimball ’69, chief of political affairs at United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad
Katherine Nouri Hughes ’67, author, The Mapmaker’s Daughter
Dr. Tina Shapleigh Schmid ’66, co-founder of Transition Systems Inc. and former president, Business Solutions Group at Eclipsys Corporation
Dr. Louise Stevenson ’66, professor of history and American studies, Franklin & Marshall College; Sarah Porter scholar and author
Victoria Mudd ’64, documentary filmmaker, won Academy Award for Broken Rainbow
Milbrey Rennie Taylor ’64, Emmy Award-winning television producer (three for CBS news coverage, six for Sunday Morning) and a Peabody Award winner.
Louise Vietor Oliver ’62, former ambassador, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
Rebecca Miller Harvey ’59, co-founder of Crabtree and Evelyn, Ltd.
Elizabeth Bartholet ’58, Harvard Law School professor and author
Agnes Gund ’56, founding trustee of the Agnes Gund Foundation, president emerita of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and chairman of its International Council
Barbara Babcock ’55, Emmy-award winning actress for Hill Street Blues, starred in Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman
Edith Kunhardt Davis ’55, author and illustrator of children’s books
Laura Rockefeller Chasin ’54, founded the Public Conversations Project to foster “constructive conversation where there is conflict driven by differences.”
Katharine Daniels Kane ’52, deputy mayor of Boston, 1975-83
Elizabeth Cushman Putnam ’51, founder and president, Student Conservation Program, recipient of the Presidential Citizens’ Medal
Lillian McKim Pulitzer Rousseau ’49, founder of Lilly Pulitzer, Inc., author of Essentially Lilly: A Guide to Colorful Entertaining and Essentially Lilly: A Guide to Colorful Holidays
Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis ’47, First Lady of the United States and editor, Doubleday & Co.
Letitia Baldrige Hollensteiner ’43, author, White House aide, public relations expert
Ellen Violett ’41, television scriptwriter, Emmy Award-nominee for The Experiment and Go Ask Alice
Anne Cox Chambers ’38, former Ambassador to Belgium
Gene Tierney Lee ’38, movie actress
Helen Coley Nauts ’25, founder of the Cancer Research Institute, won the National Institute of Social Sciences’ Gold Medal for Distinguished Service to Humanity
Ruth Hanna McCormick 1897, first woman to run for the U.S. Senate
Dr. Alice Hamilton 1888, first woman faculty member of Harvard University Medical School and founder of the field of industrial medicine
Theodate Pope Riddle 1888, architect of Westover School; founder and architect of Avon Old Farms School
Edith Hamilton 1886, classical scholar, author of The Greek Way and The Roman Way
Grace Hoadley Dodge 1873, established Columbia University Teachers’ College
Eliza Talcott 1852, co-founder of Kobe College, the oldest college for women in Japan
Teaching an interdisciplinary curriculum means we educators need to think of ourselves differently, as well.…read more