Mission, Heritage & Values
Chatham Hall prepares girls for college and for productive lives. Our rigorous educational program encourages intellectual growth, creativity, and personal responsibility. We foster the intellect and character of each student and, through our Honor Code, live in a community of trust. Grounded in its Episcopal heritage, the school welcomes students of all faiths and backgrounds.
Chatham Hall private school for girls was opened in 1894 by the Rev. C. Orlando Pruden as a regional school for educating young women of Southern Virginia and neighboring North Carolina. From the outset, the school—originally named Chatham Episcopal Institute—provided a rigorous academic program designed to equip girls for the challenges of the future. It was initially housed in the “Chatham Hall” estate of the late John Gilmer.
The end of World War I brought changes in American culture that ultimately resulted in the 1927 transformation of the Chatham Episcopal Institute into Chatham Hall. During this time, the school’s student body became more national than regional in composition, and the school’s reputation for excellence was solidified.
Chatham Hall has a long tradition of encouraging girls to extraordinary accomplishment. Georgia O’Keeffe, for example, graduated in 1905 and not only went on to art schools dominated at the time by men, but also succeeded in becoming one of the foremost American artists of the 20th century.
At Chatham Hall, an exemplary private school for girls, the core of everything we do, both in the classroom and beyond, is the Honor Code and Purple and Golden Rule. Together, these principles help maintain our unique, trust-based community, one in which every person is challenged to live each day with integrity.
At Chatham Hall, trust is given before it’s earned; once given, each person has the responsibility to keep it. Students, teachers, administrators, and staff all live by a system of shared values, rather than one of restrictive rules. The special privilege of the seniors is to lead the school by upholding the Honor Code and Purple and Golden Rule and by educating the student body on these principles.