By Emma Smith ’22
When you are a new student, finding your way around campus can be a challenging task. There are 34 buildings on campus, and out of that, 10 are dorms. The dorms are scattered throughout the campus. Some have classrooms below and have faculty housing in between. Each dorm varies in history, meaning, size, rooms, number of residents, residential advisors (an RA), and dorm parents. An RA is an upperclassman who lives in a dorm, typically with a lower grade, to help lead and organize smooth residing in the dorms.
The first dorm that you see on the right when you enter campus through the upper gate is the freshman boys’ dorm. Teddy dorm is named after Edward “Teddy” Ebersol who tragically passed away in an airplane crash in Colorado over his first Thanksgiving break away from The Gunnery, in 2004. His parents decided to fund a dorm in their son’s honor in 2005.
The freshman girls’ dorm, Graham, is located between Emerson and Bourne on the side drive. Graham House is the most newly constructed dorm and is named after the school’s first female Head of School, Susan G. Graham. The dorm houses 23 students and first came underuse in 2016.
Memorial, the sophomore boys’ dorm is located above McCutcheon and the Upper Gym across Route 47. It was built in 1953 and extended in 1985 to add the new health center which we use today.
Emerson Dorm is the main dorm for sophomore girls and is located in front of Graham House on the entry drive. It was donated by William M. Emerson in 1968, in honor of his three sons. The rest of the sophomore girls live in Browne Dorm, which is right above the dining hall, accessible by going through the Student Center.
All junior boys live in Bourne. Bourne Dorm is part of the administrative building and is the biggest dorm on campus. The building contains the Admissions Office, the College Counseling office and the business and technology offices underneath. Bourne dorm was once the home to Frederick Gunn. It was formerly a girl’s dorm and is one of the oldest buildings on campus having been bought by Mr. Gunn in 1849. It was sold again in 1879 to E.H. Van Ingen. When he died in 1922, he sold the house to Alfred Bourne. It became Gunnery property again when headmaster Ogden Miller repurchased it in 1958.
The junior girls all live in a dorm named Gibson which is located on the quad and was built in 1927. Gibson was constructed to hold administrative offices as well as dormitory rooms and in 1972, the infamous Stray Shot was soldered by Dean Norman Lemcke in the wall in front of Gibson.
The majority of senior boys live in Gunn Dorm. Gunn is a quad dorm next to Tisch Schoolhouse, with the Senior Rock right in its front yard. Gunn was originally The Gunnery’s main building and an old schoolhouse. Gunn was built in 1928 and renovated in the 1990s. The remaining part of the senior boys live in Brinsmade, formerly a sophomore boys dorm, named after Mr. Gunn’s wife, Abigail Brinsmade. Brinsmade was built in 1925 by Hamilton Gibson who planned to increase The Gunnery’s enrollment. He wanted to veer the school away from Route 47 and build more in the area near the quad. Brinsmade was built as a dormitory, classrooms, post office, and dining hall. Brinsmade now holds dorms upstairs with math classrooms and the academic help office downstairs.
Most senior girls live in Van Sinderen, referred to as Van. The dorm was constructed as an infirmary in 1929 and is the fourth dorm is located just off the quad up on the hill. The dorm was dedicated in the 1930s to a family who had contributed to help build all of the quad dorms. Adrian Van Sinderen, son of the founder of Southern New England Telephone, was Chairman of the Trustees while Hamilton Gibson was headmaster. Van primarily became a dorm in the 1950s.
In each dorm, there is a Head RA who lives in the dorm full time. They are normally an upperclassman with experience on campus who are willing to help you find your way. They are there for anyone in the dorm to come and talk to or if they need help. When interviewing Drew Sutherland ‘21 about his experience living in different dorms on The Gunnery Campus he said things like, “…” This is Drew’s second year attending The Gunnery and he lived in Bourne last year and is now the RA in Teddy House. He talked about his different experiences in the different dorms describing Bourne as “larger and more spread out, while Teddy is very compact.” He tells how he came to The Gunnery last year and how he was surprised to be in such a big room, “I entered the Gunnery on orientation day to find out that I had not one, not two, not three, but FOUR roommates. This was very daunting to younger me.” He talked about how great it is to live in a single in Teddy now. “ I can do what I want, I can sleep when I want, and I can keep my room as messy (or clean) as I please.”
Drew also shared with us what the application process and becoming an RA is like. He says he was inspired by Bourne’s former head RA, Andrew Byrne-King ‘20. “He was very kind and made me feel super welcome, even though I was in a dorm with juniors while I was a sophomore. I wanted to try to give that feeling and experience to other students, and hopefully, inspire them as much as Andrew inspired me.” He says the application was very simple he just had to do a little bit of writing. Drew says he loves being an RA even though it does come with some responsibilities. Drew always tries to be there for everyone when they need help and he says that “I also attempt to enforce the rules when I can, and keep the dorm a safe and fun area for all residents to live in for the next nine months.”
Overall Drew loves being an RA. He loves dorm life at The Gunnery describing it as “awesome and unexpected.” He says that living in Bourne and Teddy made him friends with people he never would have thought to get close to. “Dorms take a random group of kids, shove them into the same building for nine months, and hope for the best! Most of the time, it ends perfectly, with everybody getting along and being super close.” Drew explains this well, the Dean of Students office spends a lot of time and effort into making sure that people end up in dorms with people that they would get along with. They make sure that The Gunnery becomes a place that most can consider a home with people that they can trust.