Founded in 1911 in Lakewood, New Jersey, The Ethel Walker School’s first student body consisted of just 10 girls.
The School quickly outgrew its first home and was moved in 1917 to its present site on the former Phelps-Dodge estate in Simsbury, Connecticut. In 1991, Walker’s added the Middle School for grades six through eight, extending Ethel Walker’s vision to benefit girls during these formative years. Ethel Walker was a Bryn Mawr graduate whose vision of a changing world for women inspired her to create a school where young women would receive a rigorous preparation for college and create the foundation for lifelong learning and intellectual curiosity. This commitment to a challenging academic program strongly resonates among today’s faculty and remains central to the Walker’s mission.
Ethel Walker was very active in the life of the School. She attended every Commencement since the first in 1913 until her death in 1965 at the age of 94. Bryn Mawr College awarded a citation to Ethel Walker in 1960: “A woman of wit and vigor, a great lover of the outdoors, she has always emphasized strongly the necessity of the development of character as well as of brains. She chose Nullas Horas Nisi Aureas as her school’s motto, which means, “None but golden hours.” Lively as always and deeply admired by all who knew her, she has made many hours golden for her alumnae and for those privileged to share in the life and the work of her school.
The School celebrated 100 years in 2011 and in celebration, launched “It’s Walker’s Time!”, a $50 million capital campaign to keep pace with the changing needs of educating girls for the 21st century.