Chatham Hall celebrated the 125th anniversary of the school’s founding on Sunday, February 24, 2019.
The Charter Day was recognized with a chapel service featuring a history of the school, remarks from Rector, Suzanne Walker Buck, and hymns performed by St. Mary’s Choir. Prominent members of the local community were in attendance, including Chatham Mayor, Hon. William Pace, 16th District of Virginia House of Delegates Representative, Hon. Les Adams, and Bishop Pro-Tempore for the Diocese of Southern Virginia, The Right Rev. James Magness, each of whom read resolutions on behalf of their respective governing bodies in recognition of this momentous anniversary. Members of Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Chatham, Virginia also joined the students and faculty of Chatham Hall in the celebration.
Speaking on the occasion, Rector Buck praised the enduring legacy of Chatham Hall and shared her excitement for the future, saying "We take pause to celebrate 125 years of Chatham Hall's rich and distinguished history, but this is only a pause, as we embrace the opportunities of a brilliant future." School Archivist, Dr. Bill Black, prepared a thorough timeline tracing the history of the institution, beginning with the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia granting a charter for the girls’ school in 1894–known then as Chatham Female Episcopal Institute–through the modern day. This timeline was read aloud by current students, as classmates recreated the iconic Chatham Hall Rectory sign, depicting a student’s growth from her first days as a freshman through her commencement. Director of Music, Michelle Cressida-Bliss, and the St. Mary’s Choir led the gathered assemblage in singing the alma mater, followed by the Reverend Rebecca Crites, Priest-In-Charge at Emmanuel Episcopal Church, offering prayers on behalf of the school. Over 100 alumnae and friends of Chatham Hall joined the celebration via Livestream, with Charter Day parties throughout the country, including New York, Kentucky, Tennessee, Texas, North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. The festivities on campus ended with a celebratory dinner in Yardley Dining Hall, culminating with the more than 250 guests in attendance singing “Happy Birthday” to Chatham Hall.
An all girls boarding and day school in Southern Virginia, Chatham Hall prepares girls for college and for productive lives. Our innovative academic program offers Advanced Placement courses, global study and travel, as well as project based learning. Our athletic teams regularly compete at the State level and our exceptional riding program is nationally recognized. We foster the intellect and character of each student and, through our Honor Code, live in a community of trust. Grounded in its Episcopal heritage, the school welcomes students of all faiths and backgrounds.