John Burroughs School

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John Burroughs School (JBS) is a private, non-sectarian preparatory school with nearly 600 students in grades 7-12. Its 47.5-acre (192,000 m²) campus is located in Ladue, an affluent suburb of St. Louis. The school is named for U.S. naturalist and philosopher John Burroughs. It was founded in 1923.


John Burroughs is widely recognized as one of St. Louis' premier preparatory schools.

The faculty includes about 73 full-timers and 29 part-timers; the headmaster is Keith E. Shahan.

Class sizes number roughly one hundred, and the vast majority go on to four-year colleges, including a substantial number to Ivy League schools. The school's website claims more than 6,000 living alumni. Admission is based on school records, recommendations, entrance examination results, and a personal interview. The primary admission level is grade seven, but applicants are considered for grades eight through twelve as openings permit.

In 2006, according to the site, tuition and fees cost $17,775. The school budget was about $14 million, of which about 15 percent came from the $43 million endowment and nearly $1.65 million in gifts. The school disbursed $1.5 million in financial aid; about 20 percent of the students received grants, loans, or both.

The school is accredited by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS).

It has an athletic rivalry with nearby Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School. John Burroughs also holds a cross-state rivalry with The Pembroke Hill School in Kansas City. The varsity sports teams are named the "John Burroughs Bombers."

Notable Alumni

  • William S. Burroughs (Class of 1931, did not graduate): novelist, Naked Lunch.
  • Sarah Clarke, '89: actress, 24.
  • Leo Drey, '35: timber magnate, conservationist, philanthropist. Was Missouri's largest private landholder until 2004, when his $180 million gift of land to a conservation foundation made him the U.S.'s sixth-most generous benefactor.
  • Joe Edwards, '64: owner, Blueberry Hill restaurant and bar in University City.
  • Edward T. Foote II: president, University of Miami (1981-2001); helped design St. Louis' desegregation plans.
  • Heather Goldenhersh, '91: actress, nominated for a Tony (Featured Actress in a Play) for her role as Sister James in Doubt.
  • Martha Gellhorn: combat journalist, novelist, and Ernest Hemingway's third wife. He dedicated For Whom The Bell Tolls (1940) to her.
  • John Hartford, '68: Grammy-winning folk musician, Gentle On My Mind.
  • Walter L. Metcalfe Jr., '56: lawyer; chairman of Bryan Cave, one of the world's 35 largest law firms; chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  • Gordon Philpott, '51: chief of surgery, Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis; professor emeritus of surgery, Washington University medical school.
  • Jane Smiley, '67: Pulitzer Prize-winning (1992) novelist, A Thousand Acres.
  • John Stix, '38: theatre-movie-television director (1983's "Family Business"), Juilliard professor, Actor's Studio member.
  • Thomas H. Stix, '42: Plasma physics pioneer (wrote 1962's seminal The Theory of Plasma Waves), Princeton professor.
  • Katie Wheeler: New Hampshire state senator in the 1990s.

External Links