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Our Illustrious History

Dwight’s legacy of innovation and personalized learning dates back to 1872. We’re proud of our long and rich history as a premier independent school, landmark New York City educational institution, and pioneering global network of schools.

Dwight was designed to prepare graduates for admission to prestigious universities, and our namesake is Yale’s twelfth president, Timothy Dwight V, who said of our School in 1888:

"I cannot doubt that those who enjoy the advantages of your institution will be well prepared for their subsequent studies and their college life."

For over 150 years, our visionary leaders have transformed the educational landscape, while our esteemed alumni have left their mark on our world.

Here are just some of many notable moments from Dwight’s remarkable history. For the enthusiastic historian, explore our timeline for a comprehensive read.

Dwight Firsts

Students at Dwight School London's campus outside smiling

The first independent school in the U.S. to establish an international campus in London in 1972; today, Dwight School London is ranked as one of the UK’s leading IB World Schools

Students working on computers in Lower School

The first school in New York City authorized to offer the IB Primary Years Program in 1998 

Middle school boys focused on group work

The first IB K-12 school authorized to offer the Middle Years Program in 2000

Overhead campus view

The first school to create a joint diploma program in China with Beijing’s Capital Normal High School in 2009

Exterior playground photo of Seoul campus

The only school selected from over 120 applicants by the Seoul Municipal Government to open a model IB World School in Seoul in 2012 — the first IB continuum school in Seoul

Girls working in science lab at Dwight Global's STEAM weekend

One of only six schools selected from over 3,700 worldwide to pilot online education for the IB in 2013, with Dwight School London being another; from this foundation, Dwight Global Online School was founded in 2014, which today is ranked #2 best online high school in the U.S. by Newsweek

Smiling boy working in classroom

The first school in the Americas authorized to offer the comprehensive IB curriculum from preschool to grade 12, with the addition of the newly created Career-related Program in 2014

Blue sky exterior shot of Shanghai QIbao Dwight High School campus

The first non-profit, independent, Sino-foreign collaborative high school, the Shanghai Qibao Dwight High School, to open in 2014; today, it’s ranked #2 best international school in Shanghai and #5 in China

Softball batter waiting for a pitch

The first school in the U.S. to be accredited by the World Federation of Sport in 2018

Blue sky shot of Dwight School Dubai campus. with palm trees

The first American-based Pre-K through 12 school to open in Dubai in 2018

Students walking outside  on campus in Dubai

Dwight School Dubai and the Knowledge and Human Development Authority sign a first-ever educational license to launch innovative online and blended learning models in Dubai in 2019 

Graduating students watching Graduation

Dwight Global Online School is one of only two schools worldwide to pilot the delivery of the comprehensive Diploma Program online for the IB in 2022