Exploring the Rich History of the Hockaday School in Dallas


Dallas Hockaday School has a storied past, from its 1913 foundation with just 10 students to a powerhouse of holistic education. Miss Ela Hockaday’s vision has blossomed on a campus that champions character, courtesy, scholarship, and athletics. Imagine a school that not only led with academic vigor but also introduced groundbreaking technology and arts. Thanks to Ed Long, digital literacy and a rich musical tradition found a home here. But that’s just the surface. It’s blend of tradition and innovation prepared students for global leadership. 

Key Takeaways

  • Founded in 1913 by Miss Ela Hockaday, initially with just 10 students.
  • Moved to a larger campus on Greenville Avenue in 1938, expanding its facilities.
  • Emphasizes a holistic education with its four cornerstones: character, courtesy, scholarship, athletics.
  • Led technological innovations in education, including early adoption of computers and digital literacy.
  • Hosts a diverse array of cultural and extracurricular activities, fostering community engagement and leadership.

The Foundation Era


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In 1913, Miss Ela Hockaday founded the school with just 10 students, setting the stage for a legacy of excellence in education. Located on North Haskell Avenue, this initial step marked the beginning of an institution that would become synonymous with high academic standards and an unwavering commitment to the development of young women.

Miss Hockaday’s vision was clear from the start. She wasn’t just opening a school; she was laying the groundwork for a future where women were educated, empowered, and equipped to lead. The choice of Haskell Avenue for the campus wasn’t just about location. It was about planting a seed in a community that would watch it grow, flourish, and eventually become a beacon for education in the area.

Under her guidance, the school quickly outgrew its original home, necessitating a move to a larger campus on Greenville Avenue in 1938. Yet, the spirit of the institution—character, courtesy, scholarship, and athletics—remained unchanged. Miss Hockaday’s foundational principles continued to guide the school, ensuring that the legacy of those early days on Haskell Avenue lived on, setting the bar for educational excellence for generations to come.

Ela Hockadays Vision

Ela Hockaday often emphasized that true education extends beyond academic excellence, focusing equally on character, courtesy, and athletics. She envisioned a place where young women could thrive, not just academically, but as whole individuals. This vision led to the founding of Hockaday School, a beacon of rigorous, classical education aimed specifically at women. By the 1920s, thanks to Miss Hockaday’s unwavering dedication, the school had established a reputation for high academic standards.

But Ela Hockaday’s vision was broader. She saw the value in cultivating not just the mind, but the spirit and body as well. This holistic approach to education is what set Hockaday School apart. The institution’s guiding principles, known as the Four Cornerstones – character, courtesy, scholarship, and athletics – are a direct reflection of Ela Hockaday’s initial vision. Her commitment to this all-encompassing educational philosophy ensured that Hockaday School would nurture well-rounded individuals, prepared to make meaningful contributions to society. Today, Ela Hockaday’s vision continues to shape the school’s commitment to fostering holistic education and student development, making it more than just a place of learning—it’s a community where every student is encouraged to excel in all aspects of life.

Academic Innovations

Hockaday School’s embrace of academic innovations, under the guidance of Ed Long, revolutionized its educational landscape. Schools often stick to tradition, but Hockaday? It dared to innovate. With Ed Long at the helm, the school introduced courses and technologies that were ahead of their time, ensuring students not only learned but thrived in a rapidly changing world.

Imagine having the opportunity to immerse into the History of Art and Music, or to be part of an Upper School orchestra led by a visionary like Long. It wasn’t just about the arts; Long propelled Hockaday into the digital age, advocating for the purchase of a computer and a modem when such technology was in its infancy.

Area of InnovationDescriptionImpact on Students
CoursesIntroduction of History of Art and MusicBroadened cultural and artistic understanding
TechnologyFirst computer and 128KB modem acquisitionPioneered digital literacy
ExtracurricularsLeadership of the Upper School orchestraEnhanced musical education and team skills

Ed Long’s legacy at Hockaday is marked by these bold strides in education, blending tradition with innovation, and ensuring that students were not just prepared for the future but were ahead of it.

Ed Longs Contributions

Reflecting on the academic innovations at Dallas Hockaday School, it’s evident that Ed Long’s contributions were crucial in shaping its educational landscape. Long didn’t just guarantee a role; he revolutionized it. He spearheaded the History of Art and Music course, enriching Miss Hockaday’s curriculum with a blend of culture and creativity. His leadership of the Upper School orchestra showcased his dedication, even taking center stage in a faculty talent show.

But Long’s vision extended beyond the arts. Recognizing the dawn of the digital age, he was the driving force behind the school’s initial foray into computer networking. Sharing a computer with St. Marks in the 1970s, Long was not just ahead of his time; he was writing the future. He wrote code for student schedules and championed the acquisition of a 128 kilobyte modem, laying the groundwork for an interconnected campus.

His impact resonated far beyond technology and music. Long became a symbol of the Hockaday community, his efforts influencing student activities and embedding a culture of innovation and excellence. Through his contributions, Ed Long made certain that Miss Hockaday’s legacy would not only endure but evolve with the times, making an indelible mark on the school’s history.

Technological Advancements

Ed Long’s foresight propelled the Dallas Hockaday School into the digital era, initiating a partnership with St. Marks to share a cutting-edge computer in the 1970s. This bold move, rare at the time, marked a significant milestone in the school’s history, emphasizing the importance of technological advancements in education. With Erik Jonsson’s vision of a tech-savvy Dallas, Long’s initiative aligned perfectly with the city’s aspirations.

Under Long’s guidance, the school didn’t just stop at acquiring shared hardware; he persuaded the administration to purchase a 128 kilobyte modem, a decision that drastically enhanced connectivity and opened new doors for learning opportunities. This modem, though now a relic, was then a symbol of innovation and forward-thinking.

Long’s contributions extended beyond just hardware. As registrar, he showcased his tech-savvy skills by writing code for student schedules, streamlining administrative processes, and setting a precedent for the integration of technology in school operations. His efforts laid the groundwork for a digital revolution at Hockaday, ensuring that students were not just passive consumers of technology but active participants in a rapidly evolving digital world.

Cultural and Extracurricular Impact

Beyond technological advancements, the school also thrives in enriching students’ lives through a diverse array of cultural and extracurricular activities. At Hockaday, you’ll find yourself immersed in arts, music, athletics, and countless clubs. It’s a place where Miss Hockaday began with a vision that education should go beyond academics, embedding itself deeply in the cultural and physical growth of every student, no matter if they’re years old or about to graduate.

Humanities Days and student-led initiatives showcase the school’s cultural impact, drawing you into a world where learning extends outside the classroom. You’re encouraged to engage in community service projects and cultural exchanges, broadening your perspective and fostering a sense of global citizenship.

The school’s commitment to holistic education and character development is evident in its rich extracurricular offerings. Whether you’re on the field, in the studio, or leading a club meeting, you’re contributing to a vibrant, diverse campus life that prepares you not just for college, but for a fulfilling, well-rounded life. At Hockaday, you’re not just years old; you’re part of a community that values growth, leadership, and the arts.

Transition and Legacy


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As you explore Ed Long’s storied tenure at Hockaday, you’ll encounter milestones that have shaped the school’s history. His legacy of excellence continues to influence both the academic and cultural spheres of the campus. Now, let’s examine how his innovative spirit and dedication have left an indelible mark on the school’s evolution and legacy.

Historical Milestones Achieved

The Hockaday School’s progression from a modest dwelling with just ten pupils to a thriving campus of over a thousand showcases its remarkable transformation and enduring legacy. Miss Ela Hockaday’s vision has propelled the school through significant expansion milestones, educational developments, and leadership initiatives, emphasizing character, courtesy, scholarship, and athletics.

  1. Institutional Growth: Evolved from a small home to an expansive campus, reflecting over 110 years of dedication to educational excellence.
  2. Community Engagement: The Music Institute founded by Miss Hockaday bolstered the school’s reputation, highlighting its commitment to empowering young women and fostering historical significance.
  3. Leadership Initiatives: A steadfast focus on character development has shaped generations, underscoring the school’s legacy in cultivating leaders.

Legacy of Excellence Continues

Through the years, Ed Long’s dedication has greatly shaped Hockaday’s legacy of excellence, mirroring the school’s commitment to fostering a vibrant and engaging educational environment. His diverse contributions have not only enriched campus culture but also cemented his status as a community symbol. 

Notable Alumni

As you explore Hockaday School’s rich history, you’ll find that its halls have shaped some truly remarkable individuals. From diplomacy and politics to arts and media, alumni have left indelible marks across various fields worldwide. Their achievements underscore the school’s legacy of fostering excellence and global impact.

Prominent Figures Emerged

Hockaday School has produced notable alumni, including former U.S. Ambassador Jeanne Phillips, actress Angie Harmon, and attorney Harriet Miers, who’ve made significant contributions across various industries. Their achievements reflect the school’s commitment to nurturing leadership development, encouraging community engagement, and driving career success. Here’s why these figures stand out:

  1. Leadership Development: They’ve held influential positions, showcasing the leadership skills honed at Hockaday.
  2. Community Engagement: Their diverse contributions emphasize the school’s focus on making a positive impact.
  3. Career Success: Their professional achievements across law, politics, and entertainment highlight the versatile success Hockaday alumni can achieve.

Achievements in Diverse Fields

Beyond its gates, Hockaday School alumni have made remarkable strides in diverse fields, showcasing the institution’s broad influence. They’ve carved out entrepreneurial successes, achieved artistic heights, and led in politics. Their social contributions and business innovations underscore a legacy of community leadership.

BusinessCaroline Rose HuntFounder of Rosewood Hotels & Resorts
PhilanthropyMargot PerotSignificant philanthropic work
Local GovernanceLaura MillerContributions to Dallas’ development

These individuals exemplify the spirit of Hockaday, transforming their educations into impactful careers. They’ve left indelible marks on their industries and communities, proving that the roots planted in education can indeed flower into remarkable achievements across the board.

Alumni Impact Worldwide

Lauren Graham

Countless alumni from the Hockaday School have left their mark on the world stage, excelling in politics, the arts, and business. These women, including US Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison and actress Lauren Graham, credit their alma mater for pivotal roles in their leadership development and career success. Here’s how Hockaday’s legacy extends globally:

  1. Global Connections: Alumni leverage a powerful network that spans continents, boosting their influence and impact.
  2. Leadership Development: Hockaday instills confidence and skills, preparing women to lead in diverse fields.
  3. Career Success: Graduates consistently break barriers, achieving top positions and making significant societal contributions worldwide.

The strong network of Hockaday alumni continues to shape communities and industries, proving that education is a cornerstone of global leadership and success.

The School Today

Today, the Hockaday School serves over 1,000 students with top-tier amenities and a thorough education that stays true to its founding values. Tuition ranges from $32,095 for pre-K to $38,082 for grades 5 and up. This school isn’t just about the numbers; it’s about creating leaders who embody character, scholarship, courtesy, and athleticism.

Dive into the heart of the school and you’ll find the Academic Research Center and the Wellness Center. These are not just buildings; they are the breeding grounds for student achievements, reflecting the school’s commitment to nurturing every aspect of a student’s development. Campus expansion isn’t just about square footage; it’s a reflection of the school’s evolving journey and its dedication to excellence.

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