New York Military Academy

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New York Military Academy
NYMA Round Crest.png
New York Military Academy is located in New York
New York Military Academy
New York Military Academy
New York Military Academy is located in the US
New York Military Academy
New York Military Academy
78 Academy Ave
Cornwall-on-Hudson, NY 12520
Coordinates Coordinates: 41°26′54″N 74°01′39″W / 41.4483°N 74.0275°W / 41.4483; -74.0275
Type Private, boarding school
Motto Toujours Prêt
(Always Ready)
Established 1889
Founder Charles Jefferson Wright
Superintendent Jie Zhang[1]
CEEB code 331-515[2]
President Jing Cao
Commandant & Senior Army Instructor MSG (Ret.) Fletcher Bailey
Grades 812
Gender Coeducational
Campus size 121 acres (49 ha)
51 buildings
Campus type Rural
Color(s) Maroon
Slogan Set Apart For Excellence
Athletics 22 interscholastic sports
Athletics conference NEPSACHVAL
Mascot Knights
Accreditation MSA[2][3]
Tuition $37,190 (local, boarding)
$14,990 (day)
$43,340 (international)
Affiliations AMCSUS

New York Military Academy (NYMA) is a college prep, coed boarding school in the rural town of Cornwall, 60 miles (97 km) north of New York City, and one of the oldest military schools in the United States. Originally a boys' school, it started admitting girls in 1975. The school was attended by the President of the United States, Donald Trump, who graduated in 1964. On March 3, 2015, NYMA filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, facing serious financial difficulties from low enrollment. Instead of opening for the fall semester in September 2015, NYMA closed and was sold at auction to a group of Chinese investors who reopened the school in November 2015.


NYMA students in uniform, 1964. Includes future President Donald Trump (second from left).

NYMA has a long history as a university-preparatory school with a military structure that enrolls students from the New York metropolitan area as well as around the country and the world. It was founded by a former Commandant of Cadets of the nearby Peekskill Military Academy:

NYMA was founded in 1889 by Charles Jefferson Wright, an American Civil War veteran and former schoolteacher from New Hampshire who believed that a military structure provided the best environment for academic achievement, a philosophy to which the school still adheres. Wright's successor, Sebastian Jones, presided over the academy from 1894 to 1922, guiding it during its most critical period of growth from a young and small institution of 48 cadets, through a disastrous fire in 1910, and throughout an extensive reconstruction program.[4]

It previously admitted students in the fifth grade[5] but later only accepted students from the eighth grade.[2] (In some years, the campus also hosted a non-military "NYMA Lower School" for grades one through six.)[6]

Over time, the campus expanded from 30 acres (12 ha) to a peak of 550 acres (220 ha), and enrollment peaked at 525 students during the 1960s. Girls have been admitted since 1975. NYMA is a member of the Association of Military Colleges and Schools of the United States as well as several other school associations.[3]

Financial difficulties

Due to financial problems and enrollment that had dwindled to 145 students, the school was scheduled to close in June 2010.[7][8] However, a group of alumni and local business people created a plan to save the school, raising almost $6 million of financing in a matter of weeks, and expecting to sell off some less-utilized portions of the campus.[9][10]

Under newer board leadership, the vision for NYMA's future held that the academy would be a "best practice" school, providing 21st-century educational programs for intentional learners, in a student-centered constructivist environment that served the developmental learning needs and service-related aspirations of each individual cadet.[citation needed]

On March 3, 2015, NYMA filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.[11][12] Court documents stated that NYMA's debts (over $10 million) and recent very low enrollment numbers (under 100 cadets) were key motivating factors in the decision.[13] In response to the bankruptcy proceedings and issues related to the availability of payroll funds, NYMA closed to all cadets from March 16 to March 18, 2015.[14] NYMA soon reopened but announced on April 2 that future extracurricular activities for students, including those involving graduation, would be limited or cancelled. At an April 11 meeting, alumni pledged major increases in funding and enrollment to sustain NYMA, much as they had five years prior.[15]

The academy failed to open in September 2015 for the fall semester, and instead headed to bankruptcy auction.[16][17] On September 30, NYMA was auctioned for $15.825 million to a group of Chinese investors led by billionaire Vincent Tianquan Mo, Chairman and CEO of SouFun Holdings, an NYSE-listed company. The same buyers had previously purchased the nearby E.H. Harriman Estate in 2011.[18] The school reopened on November 2, 2015, with "a handful of returning students" and a recruitment drive.[19][20] For 2016–17, the academic year began with a total of 29 students.[21]


NYMA Main Gate (2006 photo)

The school is located in the town of Cornwall, New York, and uses the mailing address of the village Cornwall-on-Hudson despite being just outside its official boundary.[22]

Geographically, the academy is in the Hudson Highlands, at the foot of Storm King Mountain, just west of the Hudson River and 6 miles (10 km) north of West Point. NYMA is approximately 60 miles (97 km) north of New York City, or about one hour by car. This places NYMA in the Mid-Hudson region of the Hudson Valley, which is accessible by airplane (KSWF, KEWR, KLGA, KJFK, KALB) as well as train (Amtrak and Metro-North), bus, and automobile.

Student life

The days at NYMA typically begin at 6:00 am and end at 10:00 pm. Cadets attend grade-specific classes during that time and also participate in organized or intramural sports, activities, and study hall. During closed weekends, cadets are expected to attend additional leadership training, drill & ceremony, and maintain the appearance of their respective barracks. Upon gaining the opportunity for an open weekend, cadets in good academic standing can apply for weekend furlough.[23] Along with Academics, Athletics, and Leadership, the fourth "pillar" of cadet life is Character, reinforced continually by the Cadet Honor Code that NYMA shares with West Point.[24]


Cadets on parade (2004 photo)

The structure of the Corps of Cadets is adjusted depending on the number of students enrolled at the academy. As a military school, the Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (JROTC) is a key component, and participation is required to graduate.[2] The battalion has typically consisted of:

  • Command Staff
  • Band Company
  • Line Companies: Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Foxtrot and Golf
  • Delta troop or "D-troop": a cavalry unit drawn from the equestrian program


NYMA has competed in Football, Basketball, Baseball, Soccer, Lacrosse, Rugby, Swimming, Softball, Track & Field, Volleyball, Cross-Country, Wrestling, Tennis, Rifle Team, Golf, Drill Team, and Raiders. Every cadet is generally required to compete year-round.[24] The school's mascot is the Knight. Teams have competed in the Hudson Valley Athletic League, a member league of the New England Preparatory School Athletic Conference (NEPSAC).


In earlier decades, NYMA's official regulations permitted a certain level of hazing and physical discipline by supervisors and older cadets, although the academy's senior administrators were forced to resign after a particularly severe incident in 1964.[25][26][27]

While hazing later became forbidden by the school's rules and policies, a lawsuit was settled in which it had been claimed that physical and emotional abuse in the form of hazing had taken place in 2005.[28] NYMA cited adverse publicity from the 2005 incident as one of the reasons the school nearly closed in 2010.[29]

Notable alumni

A black-and-white photograph of Donald Trump as a teenager, smiling and wearing a dark uniform with various badges and a light-colored stripe crossing his right shoulder. This image was taken while Trump was in the New York Military Academy in 1964.
Donald Trump at age 17
(1964 yearbook)[30][31]

Major buildings

NYMA Academic Building (c.1916 postcard)
  • Academic Building
  • Davis Chapel (contains the second-largest theater pipe organ in New York, custom-built by M.P. Moller in 1927)[32]
  • Jones Barracks
  • Booth Library
  • Scarborough Hall
  • Pattillo Hall
  • Riley (formerly Dingley) Hall
  • Dickinson Hall
  • Alumni Gym and Pool


  1. ^ "New Superintendent Announced" (Press release). NYMA. June 13, 2016. Retrieved July 29, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d "NYMA Profile 2016–2017" (PDF). NYMA. Retrieved July 29, 2016.
  3. ^ a b c "Accreditation and Affiliations". NYMA. Retrieved July 29, 2016.
  4. ^ "History". NYMA. Retrieved July 29, 2016.
  5. ^ Gill, Bo (March 27, 1990). "NYMA superintendent Tate is honored at West Point reception". Newburgh-Beacon Evening News. Retrieved February 27, 2016.
  6. ^ "NYMA announces partnership with Butterhill". March 28, 2011. Retrieved February 27, 2016.
  7. ^ Applebome, Peter (May 5, 2010). "Changing Times and Money Woes Doom a Military School". New York Times. Retrieved July 26, 2014.
  8. ^ Randall, Michael (April 23, 2010). "NYMA can't muster money to continue". Times Herald-Record. Retrieved July 26, 2014.
  9. ^ Brooks, Paul (July 5, 2010). "Alumni, investors ride to New York Military Academy's rescue". Times Herald-Record. Retrieved July 26, 2014.
  10. ^ "NYMA lays out plans for development". December 8, 2010. Retrieved July 26, 2014.
  11. ^ "New York Military Academy Chapter 11 Petition" (PDF). PacerMonitor. March 3, 2015. Retrieved 6 June 2016.
  12. ^ Rochelle, Bill; Toub, Sherri (March 4, 2015). "New York Military Academy Files Chapter 11 in Poughkeepsie". Bloomberg News. Retrieved August 4, 2015.
  13. ^ Randall, Michael (March 4, 2015). "NYMA Seeks Bankruptcy Protection". Times Herald-Record. Retrieved April 2, 2015.
  14. ^ Randall, Michael (March 16, 2015). "NYMA Closing for Three Days Due to Bankruptcy Filing". Times Herald-Record. Retrieved April 2, 2015.
  15. ^ Desa, Anthony (April 14, 2015). "Alumni Meeting Update" (PDF). NYMA. Archived from the original on April 27, 2015.
  16. ^ Berger, Joseph (September 20, 2015). "New York Military Academy's Sudden Closing, After 126 Years". The New York Times. Retrieved September 21, 2015.
  17. ^ "NYMA Bankruptcy Proceedings: Notice of Intended Public Auction Sale" (PDF). United States Bankruptcy Court. September 4, 2015. Retrieved February 5, 2016.
  18. ^ Bases, Daniel (30 September 2015). Wills, Ken, ed. "New York Military Academy sold in bidding war to Chinese investors". Reuters. Retrieved 23 August 2017.
  19. ^ Berger, Joseph (September 30, 2015). "New York Military Academy to Reopen Under New Owners". New York Times. Retrieved October 23, 2015.
  20. ^ Levensohn, Michael (October 30, 2015). "Sale complete, NYMA to reopen Monday". Times Herald-Record. Retrieved October 31, 2015.
  21. ^ "A New School Year Begins". NYMA. August 30, 2016. Retrieved September 2, 2016.
  22. ^ Randall, Michael (May 14, 2010). "Village might annex NYMA". Times Herald-Record. Retrieved July 26, 2014.
  23. ^ "Privileges". NYMA. Retrieved July 29, 2016.
  24. ^ a b "Mission". NYMA. Retrieved July 29, 2016.
  25. ^ McIntosh, Sandy (October 5, 2015). "Culture of Hazing: Donald Trump, Me, & The End Of New York Military Academy". Long Island Press. Retrieved November 20, 2015.
  26. ^ Dougherty, Philip H. (March 3, 1964). "'Discipline With a Capital D' Is Watchword for Cadets at New York Military Academy" (PDF). The New York Times. Retrieved November 20, 2015.
  27. ^ "Head of Academy Resigns" (PDF). The New York Times. March 8, 1964. Retrieved November 20, 2015.
  28. ^ Randall, Michael (March 23, 2005). "Alleged stabber to back cadet's NYMA hazing claim". Times Herald-Record. Retrieved July 26, 2014.
  29. ^ "Alleged hazing incident was factor in closing of NYMA". Mid-Hudson News. April 29, 2010. Retrieved November 20, 2015.
  30. ^ Kranish, Michael; Fisher, Marc (2017). Trump Revealed: The Definitive Biography of the 45th President. Simon & Schuster. p. 45. ISBN 978-1501156526. Trump graduated from NYMA in May of 1964
  31. ^ The 75th Anniversary Shrapnel. NYMA. Spring 1964. p. 107. Retrieved January 21, 2017.
  32. ^ "New York Military Academy". New York Theatre Organ Society. Retrieved November 1, 2015.

External links

  • NYMA Home page
  • Sample collection of digitized archives
  • Satellite image of the campus on Google Maps
  • NYMA Foundation (archived)
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