Mission & History



Lake Forest Academy strives to embody in its practices and to cultivate in its students excellence of character, scholarship, citizenship, and responsibility.

Character encompasses respect for others and their beliefs, dedication to honesty in every sphere of life, realization of moral clarity and conviction, and pursuit of virtue and value in life.

Scholarship encompasses acquisition of knowledge, development of critical thinking, enthusiasm for discovery and learning, and exercise of a powerful imagination.

Citizenship encompasses appreciation of diversity and multiculturalism, involvement in the LFA community, participation in service to others, and commitment to global awareness and understanding.

Responsibility encompasses development of self-reliance, ability to seek guidance, dedication to cooperation and teamwork, and action based upon informed decisions.



Lake Forest Academy (LFA) was established in 1857 as the boys’ preparatory department of Lind University (later renamed Lake Forest University). The girls’ preparatory department was added in 1869; it was called the “Young Ladies’ Seminary at Ferry Hall” until 1887 when it became known simply as Ferry Hall. In 1925, LFA and Ferry Hall legally separated from Lake Forest College, becoming independent secondary educational institutions. In 1974, LFA and Ferry Hall merged into one coeducational independent school called Lake Forest Academy - Ferry Hall. In 1988, the school dropped the name “Ferry Hall” and continued as Lake Forest Academy.

LFA was originally located on the campus of Lake Forest College, but in 1946, a fire destroyed the main Academy building. The school purchased the former estate of J. Ogden Armour and converted it into a school campus. During the 1950s and 1960s, the LFA campus expanded with the additions of the Glore Memorial Gymnasium, Marshall Field House dormitory, and Corbin Academic Center. Further campus improvements in the 1980s and 1990s included Hutchinson Commons, Keller Chapel, MacKenzie Ice Rink, Wetzel-Shoellhorn Track, and Atlass Hall dormitory.

In 2001, Dr. John Strudwick came on board as Head of School and oversaw the construction and enhancement of additional buildings: The Cressey Center for the Arts (2001), West Village faculty homes (2006), Fitzsimmons Athletic wing (2009), Crown Fitness and Wellness Center (2010), Ferry Hall (2012), Reyes Family Science Center (2013), Corbin Academic Center (2014), Korhumel Wing (2014), and JC Cowart Student Center (2016). After 18 years of service Dr. Strudwick retired in June 2019.

LFA's current Head of School is José De Jesús who began his official duties on July 1, 2019.

Full Timeline Here