Gilman's next century School centennial: Challenge of educating more generations of leaders.

October 18, 1997

ALUMNI converging on Gilman School's centennial homecoming this weekend look in vain for the Lower School. It consists of portable classrooms behind the original building. Where it was, a foundation exists upon which a larger Lower School will rise, with one more classroom per grade level to reduce class size for the current enrollment, along with other improvements.

Baltimore's best-known independent school is not merely celebrating a century of survival with self-congratulations. It is planning aggressively to play as important a role in its next century as in its last.

What has been seen as a bastion of male white dominance was created by the vision and energy of a woman. It has a student body one-fourth minorities, a faculty one-third female and shared classes with two neighboring girls' schools. With those qualifications, it remains an elite school for boys.

Since the first 32 students appeared at the Homewood mansion for classes of the Country School for Boys, in September 1897, it has turned out an incredible proportion of the Baltimore region's and the nation's leadership. It moved to Roland Avenue in 1910, and was renamed to honor the president of Johns Hopkins, Daniel Coit Gilman, whose crucial support helped make Anne Galbraith Carey's vision a reality. "Country" dropped out in 1951. It is, plainly and simply, Gilman School.

From pre-kindergarten to senior year, it has 970 boys on 64 acres of buildings and fields. These it generously makes available to community groups.

The decisions of Gilman and neighboring private schools to reinvest at their present sites have helped to preserve the adjoining neighborhoods, a plus that few major American cities enjoy. It draws students on scholarship from beyond the homes of the privileged. It develops the talents of all to the fullest and prepares them for the toughest colleges to which they can aspire. The loyalty of alumni is fierce.

Gilman School has rolled with the punches and changed with the times. It has led in providing enrichment courses for Baltimore City public school children. It requires community service. It stresses physical along with intellectual education.

Thanks to a splendid faculty, Gilman's greatest contribution is excellent education, a challenge for those privileged to receive it, a model for others providing it, a bright stone in the greater mosaic of Baltimore.

Pub Date: 10/18/97

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