Empowering Girls since 1869

Nearly 150 years ago, we were founded by Miss Agnes Irwin, the great-great granddaughter of Benjamin Franklin, first Dean of Radcliffe College, and advocate for the education of girls and young women — a radical concept in her time.

Today, Miss Irwin's legacy serves as our inspiration. In our Upper, Middle, and Lower schools, everything our students experience is rooted in what's best for girls: how they learn, how their brains develop, and what their social and emotional needs are. We know that when they feel known, understood, supported, and challenged, girls are empowered to be their very best selves.

Leadership and Legacy

Head of School

Dr. Wendy Hill, neuroscientist and former Provost and Dean of Faculty at Lafayette College, lives her legacy as our Head of School.

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Board of Trustees

It takes a village to lead a premier all-girls' academic institution. Meet the distinguished leaders who come together and provide counsel for our school.

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Strategic Plan

Leading in girls' education requires vision. Learn about our Strategic Plan, which provides the framework for our school based our legacy and aspirations for the future.

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Our Mission

The Agnes Irwin School empowers girls to learn, to lead, and to live a legacy. 

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Agnes Irwin Fast Facts

$4.0M

tuition assistance awarded to the 2018-19 student body

85

number of zip codes represented
in our student body

25%

of our student body identify as students of color

6:1

average student-faculty ratios

22%

of the Class of 2018 were recruited athletes and will play their primary sport in college

46

AIS graduates currently attend an Ivy League school

The Agnes Irwin Experience

Only at Agnes Irwin: The Center for the Advancement of Girls

We think of it as our superpower. Our Center for the Advancement of Girls helps infuse girl-centered research into the Agnes Irwin experience, impacting our curriculum, creating developmentally relevant programming, and forging strategic partnerships with leading researchers and institutions of higher learning that shape our student experience.

Learn about The Center

Our History

We've been empowering girls since 1869. Browse through Agnes Irwin's history — from the early days in Center City, to our beautiful 26-acre campus in Rosemont — and meet a few of the notable women who have walked our halls along the way.   

1869

At just 28, Agnes Irwin, the great-great granddaughter of Benjamin Franklin, becomes head of the West Penn Square Seminary for Young Ladies. She had a vision for the school (later called The Agnes Irwin School) that would make educating girls its mission.

1875

“West Penn Square Seminary for Young Ladies” becomes “Miss Irwin’s of Philadelphia.” It was one of the first schools devoted entirely to girls' education in the U.S.

1883

The School moves from the Irwins' family residence at 19th and Spruce to 2011 Delancey Place.

1915

After the deaths of Agnes Irwin and her sister, Sophy, Josephine A. Natt becomes the school's headmistress and renames it The Agnes Irwin School. She chooses the school's emblem, inspired by Sophy Irwin's old bookplate, featuring a drawing of her ancient Mediterranean oil lamp.

1916

Ms. Natt, along with the sophomore class, decides to feature the school emblem on the class ring. This ring is now presented to students on Sophomore Day.

1933

The Agnes Irwin School relocates to the Isaac B. Clothier estate in Wynnewood.

1942

The first May Fair is held — although the maypole dances aren't introduced until nine years later, by Lucetta Sharp Alderfer. "She used carpet binding to strengthen and stiffen the ribbons before dying the reinforced ribbons blue and gold."

1961

The Agnes Irwin School relocates to its current location in Rosemont.

2011

On October 14, 2011 The Agnes Irwin School officially launches the Center for the Advancement of Girls.

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