Residential Life


Much of your residential experience at the Academy will occur in one of seven modern dormitories. Boys are housed in Main Hall, Keil Hall, or Tippetts Hall. Girls reside in Culbertson House, South Cottage, Swank Hall, or Fowle Hall.

New students are assigned roommates and housing for their first year. Returning students and their chosen roommates enter a housing lottery each spring to determine their dorms for the next year. Housed on every floor are dorm faculty as well as prefects—student leaders who assist the dorm dean and dorm faculty in managing the dorm.

All dorm rooms are air-conditioned and furnished with beds, dressers, and desks, as well as voice and data outlets (and wi-fi). Learn how to prep your dorm room for your first year by checking out our list of what to bring.

The dormitory common rooms are comfortable places to gather for activities and group study. Catch an episode of your favorite TV show or make a study snack in the kitchenette.

Add clean, carpeted hallways and private shower areas, and you’ve found your home away from home!

Boys’ Dorms

List of 3 items.

  • Main Hall

    • It’s known as “Old Main.”
    • It was built in 1837.
    • It was the original building on the Mercersburg campus, used for all school purposes—dormitory, classrooms, dining hall, school store, and even as a place of worship.
    • It burned to the ground on January 9, 1927, and was rebuilt in 1928.
    • It houses 66 boys.
    • Jackie Sweeney is the dormitory dean.
    • Hall bowling and other dorm sports are regular activities here.
    • Former residents include actor Jimmy Stewart ’28, Admiral Joel T. Boone (1909), Olympic gold medalist Richard Saeger ’82, Olympic gold medalist James Meredith (1912), and Rhodes Scholar Robert N. Cunningham Jr. ’21.
  • Tippetts Hall

    • It was built in 1960.
    • It’s the largest of the boys’ dorms.
    • It houses 82 boys in double and a few triple rooms.
    • It’s home to eight faculty members, including dorm dean Laura Patterson.
    • It’s the only dorm with its own beach.
    • Former residents include 1984 Olympic gold medalist Betsy Mitchell ’83.
  • Keil Hall

    • It was built in 1900.
    • It houses 41 boys, mostly upperclassmen.
    • It’s home to three faculty families, and the dorm dean is Carl Stensland.
    • The first floor houses the spectacular Edwards Room, which features Tiffany stained-glass windows.
    • It contained the school dining room until 1967.
    • Rutledge Hall (which is connected to the back of Keil) was built as the original kitchen wing for the dining room.
    • It was the reading room of the Swank Library until 1992.
    • Walter Farley ’35 wrote the first chapter of The Black Stallion while living here.

Girls’ Dorms

List of 4 items.

  • Culbertson House

    • It’s a converted home that opened as a dorm in 1986.
    • It’s the smallest dorm on campus.
    • It houses 10 students (and, depending on enrollment from year to year, can house girls or boys).
    • It’s home to one faculty family, and the dorm dean is Kristi Magalhães.
  • Fowle Hall

    • It was built in 1971.
    • It’s the largest girls’ dorm on campus.
    • 101 girls live here.
    • It has seven faculty apartments; Emily Parsons is the dormitory dean.
    • Many regard Fowle Hall’s common room as the nicest one on campus.
    • It is the former home of Academy Award winner Benicio Del Toro ’85.
  • South Cottage

    • It was built in 1839.
    • It’s one of the original three buildings on campus.
    • It is now the oldest dormitory that is still in use.
    • It was used during the Civil War as a hospital for soldiers wounded in the Battle of Gettysburg.
    • It houses 36 girls in 18 double rooms.
    • It’s home to two faculty families; Shelley Swope is the dormitory dean.
    • Former residents include Rhodes Scholars Cresson Kearney ’33, Edward F. D’Arms ’21, Dudley L. Harley ’27, James M. Tunnell ’28, and Olympic gold medalist William Carr ’29.
  • Swank Hall

    • It was constructed in 1896 as the Main Hall Annex.
    • It burned to the ground in 1927 and was rebuilt in 1928.
    • Three faculty members live here, and the dorm dean is Doonie Brewer.
    • It wins the prize for most versatile building on campus: it was a dining hall, an academic building, an assembly hall, a library, and a boys’ dorm before becoming a girls’ dorm in 1995.
    • Former residents include Nobel Prize winner Burton Richter ’48 and Olympic gold medalist Melvin Stewart ’88.
Founded in 1893 in the heart of Pennsylvania and the Mid-Atlantic, Mercersburg is a private, coed, college preparatory boarding school with approximately 435 students (15 percent are day), grades 9-12 and postgraduate.
We offer 170 courses, including AP and Honors, more than $7 million in financial aid, 26 varsity sports, and a state-of-the-art performing and visual arts center.
Located 90 minutes from Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, and within easy driving distance of New York City, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh.
100 Academy Drive, Mercersburg, PA 17236
GPS Address: 10951 Buchanan Trail West, Mercersburg, PA 17236