One-hundred-and-seventy-five years ago in 1839, Episcopal opened its 80-acre campus just west of the colonial port of Alexandria, Va., to 35 eager young men. Since then, the School has not only survived but flourished in the face of 175 years of historic obstacles: the Civil War, two world wars, the Great Depression, and sweeping social movements, to name only a few. Throughout our history we have steadfastly maintained clarity of purpose, preparing young people to become discerning individuals with the intellectual and moral courage to lead principled lives of leadership and service to others.
Just one year after its opening, Episcopal's student body tripled in size to accommodate more than 100 boys, and continued to grow until the Civil War. Immediately following the Federal occupation of Alexandria in 1861, the School was closed. Some 500 students served as soldiers in the war. For the next five years, the EHS buildings were part of a large hospital for Federal troops.
The School reopened in 1866. Under the direction of Launcelot Minor Blackford (Principal, 1870-1913), the School initiated a modern academic curriculum and pioneered interscholastic team sports in the South, including football, baseball, and track. Recognizing the need to improve its facilities, the School also undertook an aggressive building program that formed the foundation for the present-day campus.
During the same time, Episcopal instituted its Honor Code, one of the oldest among secondary schools. A committee of students and faculty members promotes understanding of the code and handles violations. The Honor Code has served as a foundation of the EHS community since its inception.
In 1991, Episcopal began a transition to coeducation by enrolling its first 48 girls. In 1993, the first coeducational class graduated. Today, the School has an enrollment of 435 students, 50 percent of whom are girls.
Episcopal has many accomplished alumni among its ranks, including Rhodes Scholars, Pulitzer Prize winners, Wall Street financiers, college presidents, actors, musicians, clergymen, and statesmen, including congressmen, governors, and ambassadors.
Contact the EHS Archivist with questions or information about historical donations.