A Lawrenceville education builds on a tradition of intellectual and civic engagement and prepares students to be responsible leaders in the 21st century.

Our Academic Philosophy

Ever since James Cameron Mackenzie championed the House system in the 1890s and Edward Harkness and Allan Heely implemented discussion-based, Harkness teaching in the 1930s, a Lawrenceville education has been marked by close faculty-student interactions and deep intellectual engagement. Lawrenceville faculty members are expert in their disciplines and translate that expertise into rich learning experiences for their students. They work closely with students to help them discover and develop their intellectual passions and think critically and creatively about the world around them and about the challenges and opportunities before them.

Academic advisors—faculty members associated with or living in the Houses—help students choose their course load. These consultations focus on the overall degree of difficulty of the schedule, concerns about adjusting to the rigors of the School’s curriculum, and commitments to athletic or extracurricular activities. In addition to traditional academic courses, Lawrenceville students are required to meet other important educational obligations, including the following:

List of 3 items.

  • Community Service

    Part of becoming an educated citizen means knowing how to contribute to society in order to make the world a better place to live. Therefore, students fulfill a 40-hour community service requirement for graduation. Students often find that the hours they spend in community service are among their most fulfilling activities at the School. The Community Service Program is staffed with a director who coordinates relationships with local social outreach organizations to create both on- and off-campus service projects. Transportation is provided for students involved in off-campus service projects.
  • Humanities

    Employing literature, history, art, and religion, this Second Form course enables students to learn how these disciplines interact and have a critical impact on the human condition. Students will look at a wide variety of cultures and epochs (Greco-Roman, India, and China) and develop skills in writing, grammar, reading, visual interpretation, computer literacy, and library research. In this foundational course of study, attention is given to developing the necessary skills and habits of mind to take full advantage of the Harkness Table. The Harkness Table has been a feature of the Lawrenceville classroom for over seventy years, but learning through discussion rather than lecture is a new experience for many students.
  • Personal Development Seminar

    As a residential community, Lawrenceville takes seriously the concerns and challenges facing adolescents, and therefore requires Third and Second Formers to take a multi-week seminar designed to help them discuss issues ranging from friendship to sexuality to substance abuse to stress—with the goal of helping them make healthy decisions.


An essential component to student growth and learning at Lawrenceville is the feedback they receive from their teachers, both in person and in writing.  Full academic reports are sent home at the end of each trimester; interim reports are sent in the middle of each trimester. Reports include comments and grades from each teacher, indicating the student’s accomplishment, effort, and attitude. Interim reports are brief evaluations of the student’s academic situation at mid-term without specific grades. In addition to the formal reporting system in the middle and at the end of each term, teachers relay information about a student’s academic progress, both good and bad, to the adviser, Head of House and the Academic Dean through reports called Academic Memos, sent at the discretion of each teacher throughout the term.

Department Chairs

List of 10 members.

  • Photo of Erik Chaput, Ph.D. H'20

    Erik Chaput, Ph.D. H'20 

    Co-Chair of the Interdisciplinary Studies Program
  • Photo of Melissa Clore H'02

    Melissa Clore H'02 

    Chair of the Mathematics Department
  • Photo of Brian Daniell H'89 '06

    Brian Daniell H'89 '06 

    Chair of the Visual Arts Department
  • Photo of Marisa Hedges

    Marisa Hedges 

    Chair of the History Department
  • Photo of Brian Jacobs, Ph.D.

    Brian Jacobs, Ph.D.  

    Chair of the Language Department; French Teacher; Faculty Interviewer
  • Photo of Miranda Christoffersen P'14 '18

    Miranda Christoffersen P'14 '18 

    Chair of the English Department
  • Photo of Julie Mellor

    Julie Mellor 

    Co-Chair of the Interdisciplinary Studies Program
  • Photo of Keith Roeckle

    Keith Roeckle 

    Chair of Performing Arts
  • Photo of Ilana Saxe

    Ilana Saxe 

    Chair of the Science Department
  • Photo of Jason VonWachenfeldt, Ph.D.

    Jason VonWachenfeldt, Ph.D.  

    Chair of the Religion and Philosophy Department
Through House and Harkness, Lawrenceville challenges a diverse community of promising young people to lead lives of learning, integrity, and high purpose.  Our mission is to inspire the best in each to seek the best for all.