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 at LFA and oversaw continued improvements to 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), and Korhumel Wing (2014).
Funds raised from the Spring Gala in 2015 went towards improving the lighting, sound, and production capabilities of The Cressey Center for the Arts. The Student Union underwent construction during the 2015-2016 school year and opened in August of 2016. Looking toward the future, LFA is committed to promoting global pluralism and preparing its students with 21st century skills.
The Academy upholds many of the traditions established throughout the school's 157-year history:
All-School Handshake - Members of the LFA community line up in the Formal Gardens to shake the hands of everyone on campus on the first day of school.
House Cup Competitions - Students and faculty compete to win House points for their respective houses (Bird, Lewis, Sargent, Welch).
Ferry Hall Day - The anniversary of the opening of Ferry Hall
LFA Charter Day - The anniversary of the opening of LFA
Service Learning Day - The entire LFA community participates in a day of service in April to pack food at food banks, cut invasive plants at forest preserves, visit senior citizens, organize books for children, and more.
Move-Up Day - Move-Up Day takes place the day before graduation. Awards are given out to outstanding students and each class "moves up" to commemorate their new roles. Seniors move from their seats to the alumni section, juniors take the senior seats, sophomores take the junior seats, and freshmen move to the sophomore section. Incoming freshmen are also presented and join the current LFA students.