For the second year in a row, Phillips Exeter Academy, located in Exeter, New Hampshire, topped our list of the 50 most elite boarding schools in America.
The school touts the highest endowment of any boarding school in the country with $1.15 billion and is one of the most selective schools out there, accepting a mere 19% of applicants per year.
Exeter’s eliteness is bolstered by its impressive roster of notable alumni, which includes 19 US senators, two tech founders, and a US president.
Known for pioneering the Harkness teaching method, Exeter holds all of its classes seminar-style, with students gathered around circular tables. Through this strategy, pupils come to class prepared and ready to discuss, and engage with the material on a deeper level than could be achieved through traditional lectures, according to the school.
Here are a handful of Exeter’s most notable alumni:
- Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook. Since dropping out of Harvard to work on Facebook full-time in 2004, Zuckerberg has grown the social network into a $300 billion company.
- Franklin Pierce, the 14th president of the United States. In 1854, Pierce signed the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which mandated that settlers themselves could decide if slavery was allowed or not within a territory’s borders. The controversial bill overturned the Missouri Compromise and angered anti-slavery activists, helping to pave the way for the Civil War.
- Gore Vidal, author and TV personality. A prolific writer, Vidal wrote 25 novels throughout his life, as well as memoirs, plays, TV shows, and a flood of essays.
- Dan Brown, best-selling author of “The Da Vinci Code.” Brown’s also been recognised for his other novels, including “Angels and Demons” and “Inferno.”
- Win Butler, founder and lead singer of rock band Arcade Fire. Butler’s younger brother, Will, is also a member of the band, as well as a fellow Exeter alum.
- Roxane Gay, author of “An Untamed State” and “Bad Feminist.” Gay’s work has also appeared in The New York Times, Slate, and The Guardian, among others.
- Tom Steyer, billionaire hedge fund manager who founded and ran Farallon Capital Management for 26 years. Steyer sold his stake in the company in 2012 and now focuses on politics and environmental issues.
- John Irving, author and screenwriter, known for “The World According to Garp” and “The Cider House Rules.” In 2000, Irving won an Academy Award for best adapted screenplay for “The Cider House Rules.”
- Adam D’Angelo, cofounder of Quora. Friends with Zuckerberg since their days at Exeter, D’Angelo served as Facebook’s Chief Technology Officer until 2010, when he quit to build Quora.
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