The school currently enrolls 1,062 students; 257 at Short Hills and 806 at Basking Ridge; 270 in the Middle School and 536 in the Upper School. Students come from 100 area communities in twelve counties and over ninety municipalities in New Jersey.
As of the 2009-10 school year, the school had an enrollment of 1,027 students and 177.0 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 5.8:1.
Pingry was founded by Reverend John Francis Pingry, a Presbyterian minister, in Elizabeth, New Jersey in 1861 to provide both scholastic training and moral education for boys. The outbreak of the American Civil War that year caused enrollment to dry up at the Pingry Select School for Boys, an academy John Pingry had founded in 1854 in Roseville. After learning that Elizabeth's only professional educator had decided to enlist in the Union Army, John Pingry moved to Elizabeth where he founded the Pingry School. Although Dr. Pingry gave talks on Proverbs and used the Bible for instructional purposes, the school has never been affiliated with any church or denomination. After more than 90 years at its original site, Pingry School moved a few blocks away to the edge of Hillside, New Jersey in 1953.
Early in the 1970s two important changes occurred: Pingry began the transition to a coeducational school. The first female students, who graduated in 1976, were succeeded by other young women who today represent half the student body.
Secondly, Pingry grew again by merging with the Short Hills Country Day School to become a school with grades from Kindergarten through grade 12. Today over 250 children attend the Pingry Short Hills Campus.
In 1983, the school moved to Martinsville, a rural area in the Watchung and Somerset Hills. The campuses are approximately 25 minutes apart, and both are located near the New York metropolitan area, which continues to provide many outside resources to supplement the classroom. The old campus in Hillside is now used as a campus of Kean University. In 2013, the Martinsville location was renamed to "Basking Ridge" in an effort to make it easier to locate the campus using automated mapping tools.
Since Dr. Pingry's day, there have been 15 headmasters. Currently, Nathaniel E. Conard holds the post, his appointment effective July 1, 2005.
Pingry's motto is Maxima reverentia pueris debetur, a Latin phrase literally meaning "the greatest respect is owed to the boys." Since becoming co-educational, the school has modified the motto's translation to "the greatest respect is due to the students." Dr. John Pingry's personal motto, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" (Prov. 1:7), hangs as a sign in the C.B. Newton Library located at the Basking Ridge Campus.
The school offers 33 varsity teams, with a total of over 70 teams covering seventh to 12th grade. Many of the school's athletes have been recognized as athletic scholars, and many have gone on to play for college teams. In addition, the school's facilities include 2 full court gymnasiums, a 25 meter indoor pool, a state of the art weight and aerobics room with full-time trainers, athletic training room with full-time staff, full locker rooms for women, men and visiting teams, The Miller Bugliari '52 World Cup Field (which has hosted World Cup practices for the '94 Italian National team, the '02 United States National team, and the '13 Ecuadorian National Team) for soccer and baseball, Parsons Field ( which offers stadium seating, a press-box and a scoreboard with a sound system) for football, lacrosse and track and field events, 212 acres (0.86 km2) total that allow for a cross-country course, 12 tennis courts, and numerous practice fields including the John Taylor Babbitt '07 Memorial Field.
Pingry competes in the Skyland Conference which is composed of eighteen public and parochial high schools covering Essex County, Morris County and Somerset County in west central New Jersey, under the jurisdiction of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Pingry is also a member of the New Jersey Independent School Athletic Association. Prior to the NJSIAA's 2010 realignment, the school had previously participated in the Colonial Hills Conference which included public and parochial high schools covering Essex County, Morris County and Somerset County in west Central Jersey.
Pingry's soccer program is renowned for its consistency and ability to attract top players, partly due to alumnus Coach Miller Bugliari's reputation and current standing as the second winningest boys' soccer coach in the nation. In 2007 the Men's team climbed to fifth nationally. The 2006 team won the Parochial A State title by beating Christian Brothers Academy, as well as Don Bosco Prep, Delbarton, and Seton Hall Prep along the way. These four teams accounted for each of the previous four years' playoff losses. The girls' soccer team won the 2001 Parochial North A state sectional championship with a 1-0 win vs. Immaculate Heart Academy.
Pingry's fencing program has long been one of the strongest high school programs nationally. Internationally known armorer Ted Li has been Pingry's head coach since 1975. Mr. Li has held many key positions that have allowed him to guide the development of the sport, serving as armourer for multiple United States Fencing Association international teams and NCAA National Championships. Mr. Li was also Chef de Controle and technical advisor for three Olympic Games (Los Angeles 1984, Atlanta 1996, and Sydney 2000) and for multiple World Championships in addition to holding the British Fencing Association's "Master Armourer" certification. Three Pingry fencers were selected in 2000 as Star-Ledger Fencers of the Century. Numerous Pingry fencers have earned district and state championship honors and Pingry teams have won many District titles. Pingry fencing captured the New Jersey state championship in 1989. Pingry fencing has produced at least two Olympians, Lee Shelley and Dan Kellner.
In 2006, the boys' lacrosse team won the Somerset County Championship, the school's third title in four years, by defeating Ridge High School. The team compiled a 17-3 record (best in school history), winning the Waterman Conference title as well as the Non-Public B state title against Morristown-Beard School by a score of 6-5. In the Tournament of Champions, they avenged their regular season overtime loss to Hunterdon Central Regional High School by a score of 8-6, but lost to Mountain Lakes High School in the semi-finals. Mountain Lakes went on to lose to the No. 1 ranked team in the nation, Delbarton School, who accounted for Pingry's season opening loss. Following the tournament, Pingry was ranked No. 4 overall by The Star-Ledger, head coach Mike Webster was named Coach of the Year by the same periodical, four members were named to the All-State team and eight members were named to the All-Conference team.
The 2003 field hockey team won the Group I state championship with a 2-1 win over New Egypt High School in the tournament's final match. The 2004 team repeated as Group I champion, defeating New Egypt High School in the tournament final. In the 2005 and 2006 school years, the Pingry school Men's Cross Country team won the Conference Championship as well as the Non Public B state championship. Pingry Girls' Ski Team won the state championships in 2007 and in 2008 after taking second in 2006. Also, both Boys' and Girls' Track and Field won the state championships in 2007. In 2011, the girls' lacrosse team beat Haddonfield by 3 goals (16-13) to take the NJSIAA Group 1 South Jersey state title. They went on to lose by one to Glen Ridge in the NJSIAA Group 1 State Final (8-7).
Pingry's boys' swimming team has won ten consecutive NJSIAA Non-Public B state championships in a streak spanning from 2008 to 2017. Pingry also won three state titles from 1995 to 1997. In addition, the team has also won six NJISAA Prep A titles (2010-2013, 2016-17) and won the Somerset Country championships in 2010, 2012, and 2017. The perennially successful swimming program has also produced many successful collegiate swimmers, including FINA World Aquatics Championships swimmer and three-time Southeastern Conference 100m breaststroke champion Nic Fink.
The Pingry Middle School squash team won the 2013 Middle School Nationals, after reaching their previous best of sixth place overall in 2012. Pingry won their first two rounds by scores of 5-0 vs. Bala Cynwyd / Welsh Valley and Greenwich Country Day School. In the semifinals, Pingry knocked off second-seeded The Haverford School A team by a score of 3-2. In the finals, the team played Brunswick School, the top-ranked middle school team in the country and defending champion. After winning the first two matches, the team held on to win the championship by a 3-2 margin.
Pingry has recently added a middle school building to the Basking Ridge Campus. In early 2007, Forms I and II (grades 7 and 8) moved into the new building. Grade 6 was moved from the Short Hills campus to this new facility at the beginning of the 2007-2008 school year. The building's most notable feature is its specially designed large common area, which is used by the community as an assembly area and by the students as a place to gather informally. This new building shares the cafeteria, the library, the arts wing, the tech lab, and the athletic facilities with the upper school.
The Pingry school's Basking Ridge campus used to have a modern-looking turquoise and pink architecture. The turquoise bricks that used to compose the school's central clock tower were originally supposed to be navy blue, but by the time the incorrectly colored paint arrived it was too late to make a change. The main building was designed by the architecture firm Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates. The building has now completed construction, which involved removing the tiles from the clock tower and replacing them with the type of stones used in the making of the new middle school building mentioned previously. This construction project also involved the repair of the roof.
There are places for refreshments and snacks in the main building. The cafeteria is open almost the entire day. The bookstore, recently re-located to the second level, also sells snack food. In addition, students can purchase items such as binders, pens, or even shirts, sweatshirts and other Pingry emblazoned apparel, if needed during the day. The Bookstore is open from 8:00 A.M. until 4:00 P.M. There is a vending machine, which is always open, located next to the Technology Lab on the lower floor.
Sports facilities include the Bristol Gymnasium (competition space), the Hyde & Watson Gymnasium (general purpose), the Beinecke Pool (swimming), a fitness facility (weight room and cardio studio), a multi-sport turf field, tennis courts, an eight-lane track, a football field, a cross country running trail, two baseball diamonds, and numerous fields used for soccer, field hockey, and lacrosse. In January 2017, the Miller A. Bugliari '52 Athletics Center opened, with multiple squash courts and two multi-purpose gymnasiums.The Pingry Record - School Newspaper
Vital Signs - Current Events Magazine
Pingry Community Research (PCR) - Science journal
The Bluebook - School yearbook
Polyglot - Foreign language magazine
The Broken Wreckord - Parody newspaper
Calliope - A collection showcasing the writing and artistic ability of Pingry School students
Liquid Membrain - a handmade, handcopied, handfolded, handstapled handedout zine of art and words
The Pingry School is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, the National Association of Independent Schools, the New Jersey Association of Independent Schools and the New Jersey Department of Education. The Pingry School is a member of the National Association for College Admission Counseling.Michael Arrom (class of 2013) Keyboardist with Steve Vai, Keith Urban (on 2013 American Country Awards), and Glee
Mike Chernoff (class of 1999), General Manager of the Cleveland Indians
Michael Chertoff (born 1953), Secretary of United States Department of Homeland Security (2005–2009 )
William A. Conway (1910–2006), former CEO of Garden State National Bank who missed his last year at Pingry due to illness.
Robert C. Crane (1920–1962), newspaper publisher who was elected to the New Jersey Senate shortly before his death.
Mark Donohue (1937–1975, class of 1955), race car driver, winner of the 1972 Indianapolis 500 and the 1973 Can-Am Championship
Steve Elmendorf (class of 1978), deputy campaign manager for Presidential candidate John Kerry, and longtime campaign aide to Richard Gephardt.
Michelle Friedland (class of 1990), United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Nic Fink (born 1993), competition swimmer who specializes in breaststroke events.
Adam Gardner (born 1973, class of 1991), guitarist for the rock band Guster.
Howard Georgi (born 1947, class of 1964), emeritus professor of physics at Harvard University.
Adam Goldstein (born 1988) Author and founder/CEO of Hipmunk
Miguel Gutierrez (class of 1989), choreographer.
William Halsey Jr. (1882–1959), Fleet Admiral in the United States Navy.
Amos Hostetter Jr. (born 1937, class of 1954), former CEO and founder of MediaOne, billionaire on Forbes Magazine list.
Joseph Irenas, Federal Judge, (born 1940, class of 1958)
Jamie Johnson (born 1979), clothing designer of Black Sweater, documentary film maker, whose documentary films Born Rich and The One Percent appeared on HBO.
Evan Ju (born 1991, class of 2009), former chess prodigy.
Thomas Kean Jr. (born 1968), New Jersey State Senator and 2006 United States Senate candidate
Wayne Kasserman (class of 1994), actor.
Dan Kellner (born 1976), Olympic foil fencer.
Micah Kellner (class of 1997), Member of the New York State Assembly.
James C. Kellogg III (1915–1980, class of 1933), former chairman of the New York Stock Exchange and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
Andrew Lewis (born 1972, class of 1993), professional soccer player
N. Gregory Mankiw (born 1958), former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers and Harvard Professor of Economics.
Dean Mathey, class of 1908, investor who made millions for Princeton University.
Thomas N. McCarter (1867–1955), Attorney General of New Jersey from 1902 to 1903, founder and president of PSE&G Corporation, developer of Penn Station in Newark, and original benefactor of the McCarter Theatre in Princeton.
Robert H. McCarter (1859–1941), Attorney General of New Jersey from 1903 to 1908 and well-known New Jersey lawyer, eventually heading the law firm McCarter & English.
Andrew McCarthy (born 1962), actor.
Billy McFarland (born 1991, class of 2010), entrepreneur who founded and serves as CEO of Spling and Magnises.
Arthur N. Pierson (1867–1957), politician who served as Speaker of the New Jersey General Assembly and President of the New Jersey Senate.
Frederick Reiken, novelist.
Ronald C. Rice (born 1968, class of 1986), Newark City Councilman / Candidate for Congress 10th District.
Jon Sarkin (born 1953, class of 1971), self-taught artist and stroke survivor.
Dani Shapiro (born 1962), novelist.
Todd Solondz (born 1959), filmmaker.
Charles August Sulzer (1879–1919), delegate to the United States House of Representatives from the Alaska Territory.
Richard Tregaskis (1916–1973), war correspondent and author of Guadalcanal Diary, the source for the 1943 film of the same name starring William Bendix, Richard Conte, and Anthony Quinn.
Gillian Vigman (born 1972, class of 1990), actress.