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Our History and Traditions

Founding Head of School Julia Henry and a group of North Shore parents opened Roycemore School in 1915 at 640 Lincoln Street in Evanston.

Miss Henry had been principal of the Lower School at Girton School for Girls in Winnetka, and many of the faculty and students followed her to Roycemore. The school was named after Miss Henry’s grandfather, Andrew Royce, who was a well-known Congregational minister in Barre, Vermont, in the 1800s. The Royce family crest was adopted for the school, inspiring the school’s colors of blue and gold, the motto “fortis et prudens simul,” or strength and careful judgment go together, and even the school’s mascot, the griffin.

In 1968 the first boy graduated, alone in a class of six.

Roycemore moved from its original location to 1200 Davis Street in Evanston in late December 2011, having extensively renovated the building that was previously the home of the First United Methodist Board of Pensions.

A full-size gymnasium was added to the site and the second semester of classes began at the current campus in January 2012.

In June of 2013, long-time Headmaster Joseph Becker retired (1976-2013), having ushered in a new era of Roycemore in time for the school to celebrate its centennial throughout the 2015-2016 school year.

By the 2022-23 school year, enrollment at Roycemore reached over 260 students while preserving the school’s 6:1 student-to-teacher ratio. Roycemore School continues to evolve with the times, ensuring a high-quality educational experience for all its students, while maintaining its values, most specifically, remaining a diverse and intimate community.

Roycemore Traditions


The concept of Palio was initiated at Roycemore in 1915 when a teacher returned from Siena, Italy, where she had observed a magnificent civic celebration. In Siena, there are seventeen different "contrade" - each represented by a banner- who compete for the honor of winning the Palio (a large white banner.

In 1919 each Roycemore class designed its own banner, which it defends with skills and sportsmanship throughout its twelve years at the school. These banners have been passed from Seniors to Kindergarteners since that time, and are the ones proudly displayed by the representatives of the classes during the "banner presentation" at the beginning of tonight's Palio performances. Learn more about Palio and the backbone of the program, Ms. Jessi Wunder.

January Short Term

Started by Upper School Teacher Libby Hill, Roycemore's January Short Term began in 1972 to allow students to explore their passions on a deeper level. 

Later, Roycemore's Signature Programming expanded to include Personal Passion Project (P3) and D.I.G. Deep for Middle School and Lower School students to experience this meaningful, experiential work. Now, all three programs are a highlight for students in each division and prepare students to make the most of their JST experience by the time they are in high school. Learn more about Roycemore's Signature Academic Programs.

“Throughout it all, one thing has never changed...Roycemore’s commitment to independent education and the benefits of a student-centered approach to education.”
— Linda Reed, Class of 1965

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