The founder of Phillips Exeter Academy defined its mission more than two centuries ago. "Above all," John Phillips stated, "it is expected that the attention of instructors to the disposition of the minds and morals of the youth under their charge will exceed every other care; well considering that though goodness without knowledge is weak and feeble, yet knowledge without goodness is dangerous, and that both united form the noblest character, and lay the surest foundation of usefulness to mankind."
Exeter today continues the commitment to unite knowledge and goodness. It seeks students who combine proven academic ability, intellectual curiosity, and tenacity with decency and good character. At the Academy, exacting inquiry and thoughtful discourse foster the life of the mind, instruction and activity promote fitness and health, and the daily interactions of a residential school nurture integrity, empathy, and kindness. Because learning and growth at Exeter arise from each individual's engagement with others, the richness of education here requires diversity in all its dimensions; students and faculty value the differences they bring to the community they share.
The challenges that students meet at Exeter and the support they receive have a common purpose: to stimulate their development as individuals and as members of society. Exeter seeks to graduate young people whose creativity and independence of thought sustain their continuing inquiry and reflection, whose interest in others and the world around them surpasses their self-concern, and whose passion for learning impels them beyond what they already know.