"We prepare students to engage in the world that is and to help bring about a world that ought to be."

Community Changemaker


Ed Carroll ’56 returned to campus recently for an unveiling of a classroom dedicated in his name, honoring his resilience and bravery as the first Black graduate of the School. The light-filled classroom on the 5th floor of the Townhouse will be utilized by students and teachers for generations to come. 

During a ceremony outside of the room, Head of School Bo Lauder shared an important historical document with the attendees: a 1944 petition signed by all but two Upper School students at Friends at the time. The petition, which was delivered to the Board of Trustees and Principal, called for the School to admit “members of all racial, as well as religious bodies, to the great opportunity of education here at Friends Seminary.” The document was instrumental in the School integrating years before the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision declared “separate but equal” standards of racial segregation unconstitutional.

Following Bo’s remarks, Ed cut a red ribbon to the newly named space, and was then joined inside by several of his classmates, his wife, Rachel, other alumni, current students, faculty and staff. 

A modest man, Ed has been hesitant to be lionized for the significant role he played at the School even if it happened during a time when the nation’s public schools were racially segregated and the country was deep in the throes of profound upheaval over racial inequality. It was a period of deep racial unrest not unlike the Black Lives Matter protests of the last decade.

Despite the turmoil, Ed said his time at Friends were the “best four years of my life.”

“Friends was the last best community I belonged to,” he said “My four years there mean the world to me.”
Friends Seminary actively promotes diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism in all its programs and operations, including admissions, financial aid, hiring, and all facets of the educational experience. To form a community which strives to reflect the world’s diversity, we do not discriminate on the basis of race or color, religion, nationality, ethnicity, economic background, physical ability, sex, gender identity or expression, or sexual orientation. Friends Seminary is an equal opportunity employer.

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Friends Seminary — the oldest continuously operated, coeducational school in NYC — serves college-bound day students in Kindergarten-Grade 12.