Principal's Welcome

Principal Lisa MacFarlane '66 (Hon.); P'09, P'13

Before I became the 15th principal instructor at Phillips Exeter Academy, I was an Exeter parent. Getting to know the Academy community as the mother of two daughters who loved their time here was an honor and a privilege. Through their eyes, and through my own, I experienced the bounty of Exeter: accomplished faculty who care deeply about their students, and about the subjects they teach; talented students from across America and around the globe; a motto and mission that engender compassion and respect; and a rich, meritocratic tradition of valuing effort and ability above all else.

So, have my views of Exeter changed since I joined this community as its principal? Absolutely. Having now lived and learned here for more than a year — yes, I am a student of Exeter, too — I feel even more strongly that the Academy is a place of endless possibility and potential, a crucible of student-centered learning where young people from all walks of life are welcome and encouraged to pursue their dreams, and a proving ground for those who will change our world for the better.

All of this happens on an historic and beautiful New Hampshire campus where instructors are so committed to their students’ learning and growth that they sign on not just to be their teachers, but also to be their coaches, club advisers, and dormitory parents. At Exeter, we know learning happens — in fact, we actively encourage it to happen — beyond our classrooms, laboratories, studios, and performance spaces. Through this, our students come to see critical connections and to transform knowledge into action.

The best way to get a sense of Exeter is to come visit us. Here you will find students who are eager to show you around and to share their own experiences of the Academy with you. Here you will meet teachers who are talented and energetic and expert at guiding students to learn from each other around our Harkness tables. Here you will get a sense of just how much we value curiosity and discourse. Here you will experience how fun, fulfilling, and life-changing residential learning can be.

Exeter in action is a beautiful and inspiring sight. I thought so when my daughters attended, and now that I am daily surrounded by Exeter’s remarkable students, faculty, and staff, those sentiments are even stronger. So, please come see us, and do so one day soon. We will save a place at the table just for you.