The Beginning
Albuquerque Academy opened its doors in the fall of 1955 with 12 boys in grades 7 through 9, two teachers, and founding head William B.S. Wilburn. Classes were held in rented space in the parish hall of St. Michael and All Angels Church. In 1957, enrollment had grown to 75 boys and the school moved to a 27-acre site on north Edith Boulevard. The first class of seven boys graduated in 1960. In 1966, the Academy moved to its present location, and in 1967-68 was home to 405 boys. Girls were admitted in grades 9-12 in 1973. Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2005, Albuquerque Academy today serves over 1,100 young women and men in grades 6 through 12.

The Simms Legacy
The Academy's remarkable growth was made possible largely through the transformational gift of Albert G. Simms, a New Mexico financier and rancher, and his wife, Ruth Hanna McCormick Simms. In the early 1960s, Mr. and Mrs. Simms gave or bequeathed to the Academy (in trust) more than 12,000 acres of undeveloped land and 7,500 shares of Albuquerque National Bank (now Bank of America) stock. This gift, now supplemented by the philanthropy of generous and grateful recipients of the Simms legacy, enables the Academy to provide students with the highest quality education in a beautiful and uplifting environment.

An Ambitious Mission
The uniqueness of the Academy is due, in large part, to its commitment to a need-blind admission policy. Only after students have been chosen are their tuition needs assessed. A financial assistance budget of over $4.3 million provides approximately twenty-seven percent of Academy students with need-based assistance. Further, every Academy student benefits from the school's commitment to accessibility and affordability as endowment spending of close to $5,700 annually per student subsidizes tuition to support excellence and breadth throughout the Academy program and facilities.

A Chronology

1955 — The Academy for Boys founded by William B.S. Wilburn

1960 — The Rev. Paul G. Saunders named second head of school

1964 — Ashby Harper named third head of school

1965 — School moved from Edith Street campus (now Sandia Prep) to current site

1973 — Girls admitted in grades 9-12

1974 — Albert G. and Ruth Hannah McCormick Simms Fine Arts Center opened

1984 — West Campus facilities completed; girls admitted in grades 6-12

1985 — Robert L. Bovinette named fourth head of school and president

1991 — Library and Science Center opened

1995 — Fortieth anniversary observed

1996 — Timothy R. McIntire named fifth head of school; Music Building opened

1997 — Natatorium opened

1998 — Simms Center for the Performing Arts renovated and rededicated

1999 — Donald W. Smith named interim head of school

2000 — Andrew T. Watson named sixth head of school

2005 — Fiftieth anniversary observed

2015 — Sixtieth anniversary observed
    • A 60-Year History
    • History on Display

      As part of Albuquerque Academy's 50th Anniversary celebration in 2004-05, Rogan Thompson '73 and his wife, Laurie, generously underwrote the design and production of a museum quality display to commemorate the school's founding and history. Hanging in the East Campus Administration Building, twenty-six seven-foot panels tell the Academy story, from the original Elena Gallegos land grant to the present day.

Albuquerque Academy is a private, coeducational, college preparatory day school serving middle school and high school students in grades 6 through 12, located in Albuquerque, NM.


6400 Wyoming Blvd NE
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87109-3899
ph: 505-828-3200