Robert College is the oldest continually-running American school founded outside the US. The school opened in 1863 to educate boy students, and was followed in 1871 by the American College for Girls. In 1971 the two schools merged under the name Robert College, which became a co-ed school.
Upon the initiative of Dr. Cyrus Hamlin, and with the support of another American, the wealthy merchant Christopher Rhinelander Robert, Robert College opened its doors to boy students on September 16, 1863, in an old wooden building in Bebek.
In 1871, the school for girls was opened in Gedikpaşa with the support of a group of American philanthropists. The building soon became inadequate for the fast-growing school, and a couple years later, with the philanthropists’ financial support, land was purchased in Üsküdar, and a new school building was erected. In 1876 the school moved from Gedikpaşa to the new campus. With the growing prestige of the school in the region, the number of students increased rapidly.
Grants from individuals made the growth of both schools possible. New academic buildings and faculty housing were added to the Bebek campus, and in 1914, ACG moved from Üsküdar to a larger campus in Arnavutköy.
Although separate entities, the two schools developed close ties through the years. In 1932 RC and ACG came under the administration of a single President, and in 1959, a single Board of Trustees. In 1971 RC and ACG merged as a co-ed high school on the Arnavutköy campus. The same year, Robert College’s Bebek campus and its university division were given to the Turkish government, and became Boğaziçi University.
With the implementation of eight-year compulsory education in 1997, Robert College’s middle school closed down and it became solely a high school. Presently, students who enter Robert College study one year of prep, followed by four years of high school.
Robert College has been a pioneer in many areas throughout the years. For example, the first student council in Turkey was founded at ACG in 1892, a medical school for women opened for the first time in Turkey in 1920, the first yearbook in Turkey was printed by RC in 1924, the oldest literary magazine of Turkey, İzlerimiz (Our Imprint) was published by RC, and the first child study center in Turkey was opened at ACG in 1958.
Many Robert College alumni from its inception until today have become leaders in their fields, including diplomacy, politics, business, arts and academics.