Robert College

Coordinates: 41°04′02″N 29°02′06″E / 41.06722°N 29.03500°E / 41.06722; 29.03500

Robert College
Robert Kolej
RobertCollegeGouldHall1.jpg
Address
Kuruçeşme Cad. No. 87
Arnavutköy, Beşiktaş


Information
Type Independent, day & boarding
Established 1863; 157 years ago (1863)
Founder Christopher Robert and Cyrus Hamlin
CEEB code 696220
Headmaster Adam Oliver & Nilhan Çetinyamaç
Grades Prep, 9–12
Gender Co-educational
Enrollment 1045
190 boarding
276 on scholarship
Language English
Turkish
Campus size 65 acres / 27 ha
Campus type Urban
Houses Gould Hall, Mitchell Hall, Woods Hall, Sage Hall, Bingham Hall, Feyyaz Berker Hall, Suna Kıraç Hall, Nejat Eczacıbaşı Hall
Student Union/Association Robert College Student Council
Color(s)         
Mascot Bobcat
Team name Bobcats
Accreditation NYSAIS
Newspaper Bosphorus Chronicle
Yearbook Record
Website www.robcol.k12.tr

The American Robert College of Istanbul (Turkish: İstanbul Özel Amerikan Robert Lisesi or Robert Kolej (Turkish: ['ɾobæɾt ko'leʒ]), often shortened to Robert, RC, or RK) is a highly selective, independent, co-educational high school in Turkey.[1][2] The school is situated in a 65-acre (26 ha) wooded campus on the European side of Istanbul in the Beşiktaş district, with the historic Arnavutköy neighborhood to the east, and the upscale Ulus neighborhood to the west. Founded in 1863, Robert College is the oldest continuously operating American school outside the United States.[a][3][4]

Robert College is consistently ranked as the top private high school in Turkey.[5][6][7][8] The school has a long list of notable alumni, including entrepreneurs, politicians, journalists, artists, three Turkish Prime Ministers, four Bulgarian Prime Ministers,[3][9] multiple members of the Turkish cabinet, and one Nobel laureate, Orhan Pamuk.

Robert College is a member of the G30 Schools group, and is accredited by the New York State Association of Independent Schools.

History

Anderson Hall, Boğaziçi University

In 1863, Robert College was founded in Bebek by Christopher Robert, a wealthy American philanthropist, and Cyrus Hamlin, a missionary devoted to education. Six years after its foundation, with the permission (Ottoman Turkish: irade‎) of the Ottoman Sultan, the first campus (currently housing Boğaziçi University) was built in Bebek at the ridge of the Rumelian Castle, very close to a Bektashi tekke, whose leaders maintained an excellent relationship with the Congregational and Presbyterian founders of Robert College, according to Dr. Friedrich Schrader, a German lecturer at Robert College during the 1890s.[10] Hamlin, who became the first president of Robert College, was so preoccupied with the construction of the campus that George Washburn acted as the de facto head of the College from 1871 onwards. In 1877, he was officially named president by the trustees. During his tenure between 1877 and 1903, Washburn "gradually assembled a faculty of distinguished scholars who firmly established the college's academic reputation."[11][12]

Christopher Robert died in 1878. According to the article A Millionaire's Will, published in the New York Times in November 27, 1878, Robert left a great portion of his wealth to the College.[13] In that same year, a College Catalog was compiled, providing general information and an outline of the courses of study.[11] Defining the aims of the College, the catalog stated: "The object of the College is to give to its students, without distinction of race or religion, a thorough educational equal in all respects to that obtained at a first-class American college and based upon the same general principles."[3]

After Washburn, Robert College was administrated by Caleb Gates (1903–1932). During his presidency, the student body of the school underwent a major demographic transition; whereas the student body previously consisted of Bulgarian, Romanian, and other Christian minorities in the Ottoman Empire, the Young Turks' liberalization of policies directed towards foreign schools and an increasing demand amongst Turks for a western education resulted in considerable numbers of Turkish students enrolling.[11] Founded at the time of the Ottoman Empire as an institution of higher learning serving the Christian minorities of the Empire as well as foreigners living in Constantinople, the school adopted a strictly secular educational model in accordance with the republican principles of Turkey in 1923. Robert College, at various points of its existence, had junior high school, high school, and university sections under the names Robert Academy, Robert Yüksek and American College for Girls. Since 1971, the current-day Robert College has functioned only as a "high school"[14] (more comparable to the French lycée in academic rigor) on its Arnavutköy campus (formerly the campus of American College for Girls), yet it retains the title of 'College'. The Bebek campus and academic staff were turned over to the Republic of Turkey for use as a public university named Boğaziçi University, the renamed continuation of Robert College's university section.

Major events

  • 1863, September 16: Robert College opened with 31 students at Bebek Seminary School.
  • 1922: President Caleb Gates and Hüseyin Pektaş (the first Muslim graduate and then Vice-President of the college) attended the Conference of Lausanne representing foreign educational institutions in the Ottoman Empire.[citation needed]
  • 1932: With Dr. Paul Monroe, the joint Presidency system was adopted by Robert College (RC) and the American College for Girls (ACG). Robert Academy was the preparatory school for Robert College, which had a reputable Engineering School. Instruction was bilingual, in Turkish and English. Graduates of ACG are considered ACG Alumni, not RC Alumni.[citation needed]
  • 1957: Robert College was granted permission to become an institution of higher learning by the Republic of Turkey; Robert College Yüksek provided university-level instruction and is the precursor of the current Boğaziçi University. Robert Academy remained on the Bebek campus as a private high school.
  • 1971: Robert College Yüksek officially closed on 18 May and was renamed Boğaziçi University. The merger of the American College for Girls and Robert Academy as a co-educational private institution with junior high and high schools, on the Arnavutköy campus was officially confirmed on September 1971. Robert College's Bebek campus was donated to the Republic of Turkey. Boğaziçi University was established as a public university on this land.
  • 1998: With the adoption of a law calling for eight years of uninterrupted primary education in Turkey (junior high school would now be a part of primary education), the school stopped accepting students to its junior high school section.
  • 2004: The last junior high school students graduated and the school's junior high school section was officially closed. Now, Robert College has Prep, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th grades, and accepts students who have finished compulsory primary education of eight years.[15]

"Robert College stands as a token of the close cooperation between Turkey and the USA. It is an institution which has made important contributions to the cultural life of this country and will continue to play a valuable part in the promotion of culture and education."

—  Cemal Gürsel, President of the Republic of Turkey, Message for the Centennial Celebrations of Robert College, 1963[16]

List of presidents and heads

  • Cyrus Hamlin, 1863–1877
  • George Washburn, 1877–1903
  • Caleb Frank Gates, 1903–1932
  • Paul Monroe, 1932–1935
  • Walter Livingston Wright, 1935–1943
  • Harold Lorain Scott (Acting President), 1943–1944
  • Floyd Henson Black, 1944–1955
  • Duncan Smith Ballantine, 1955–1961
  • Harold Locke Hazen (Acting President), 1961
  • Patrick Murphy Malin, 1962–1964
  • James L. Brainerd (Acting President), 1965
  • Dwight James Simpson, 1965–1967
  • Howard P. Hall (Acting President), 1967–1968
  • John Scott Everton, 1968–1971
  • John Clay Chalfant, 1971–1977
  • James Richard Maggart, 1977–1981
  • Elizabeth Dabanovitch (Acting Head), 1981–1982
  • Alan Donn Kesselheim, 1982–1984
  • Margaret A. Johnson (Interim Head), 1984–1988
  • Harry A. Dawe, 1988–1992
  • Benjamin D. Williams III (Interim Head), 1992–1993
  • Christopher Wadsworth, 1993–2001
  • Livingston Merchant, 2001–2005
  • John Russell Chandler, 2005–2012
  • Anthony Jones, 2012–2015
  • Charles H. Skipper, 2015–2019
  • Adam Oliver, 2019–Present

"I have come to express America's solidarity with the Turkish people at a time of national tragedy, and to reaffirm our partnership for a common future. We have been friends for a very long time. In 1863, the first American college outside the United States, Robert College, opened its doors to the youth of Turkey. It was the only foreign institution allowed along the Bosphorus, precisely because America had never encroached upon Turkish sovereignty. I'm very proud that Prime Minister Ecevit is an alumnus of Robert College."

—  Bill Clinton, President of the United States, From his speech delivered to Turkey's parliament during his visit in November 1999, after the devastating earthquake in western Turkey on August 17, 1999[16]

Academics

Robert College Gould Hall

As of 1999, as per Turkish Ministry of National Education (MEB) regulations, Turkish is the instructional language of history and social studies classes.[17]

Students

Robert College accepts 180 to 220 students each year, who have scored within the top 0.2 percentile in a nationwide examination, which every Turkish student must take in order to study in a high school (secondary education) after they complete their primary education. The school has around 1000 students each academic year.

In the 1998–1999 academic year there were 942 students, with 99% having Turkish nationality.[18]

Circa 1904, the school had about 300 students, with boarding space for about 200. Lucy Mary Jane Garnett wrote in the 1904 work Turkish Life in Town and Country that at that time most of the students were Christian as the college had a requirement for students to attend Christian Sunday church services and chapel services, and "it would be unsafe for any professed Moslem to become either a resident or a daily student" since the Ottoman government would take a dim view of a Muslim going to chapel. In 1904, Greek students made up the majority and other students included significant numbers of Armenians and Bulgarians.[19]

Faculty and staff

The faculty have an average of 20 years of teaching experience and the majority have either Turkish or United States citizenship. The school currently has faculty who are 50% Turkish, and 48% English native speakers (including faculty from English speaking countries other than the United States). Sixty percent of the full-time faculty hold master's degrees or higher.[20]

As of 1999 there were 102 teachers, with 45% being Turkish and 32% being American. Of the teachers, eight were part-time.[18] The school's guidance counselors, as of that year, were English-speaking Turkish citizens.[17]

As of 1999, as per Turkish Ministry of National Education regulations, the school employs only Turkish citizens to teach history and social studies classes.[17]

As of 1999, the school pays its foreign employees funds so that their children may attend Istanbul International Community School, If an employee chooses another school, Robert College will pay an equivalent amount.[21]

In 1904, faculty included Americans, Turks, Armenians, Bulgarians, and Greeks.[19]

Curriculum

Robert College is a five-year high school, with the first year (Prep) being the English immersion year that prepares students for rigorous curriculum, which is mostly in English. English is the language of instruction used in Science, Mathematics, Literature, Physical Education, Art and Music courses. Turkish is the required language of instruction in social sciences and Turkish language/literature.

Robert College Plateau
A view of the Bosphorus from Robert College Plateau

Higher education

Robert College graduates traditionally continue their education in the United States or Turkey, though in recent years the number of students studying in Canada and the United Kingdom increased. Every year approximately 50–60 percent of the graduating class choose to study abroad, while those wishing to study in Turkey get placed in a university based on their score on the Core Proficiency Test-Advanced Proficiency Test (TYT-AYT). In 2006, Robert College ranked first in all three sections of ÖSS, a formerly-administered Student Selection and Placement System test, among private high schools in Turkey, with 76 out of 132 students taking the exam scoring in the top 0.3% (top 5000). Out of the 104 students who chose to study in Turkey, 29 were admitted to Boğaziçi University, which is the overall highest ranking school in Turkey. 56 students chose to continue their education abroad and 36% of these students are attending Ivy League colleges.[22] In 2011, Robert College placed 123 graduates in Turkish universities, 21 of them, 40%, in Bosphorus University. Another 53 planned to study abroad, 8 (15%) in the Ivy League. Of the 79 students who had applied abroad, 75 were offered admission.[23]

Co-curricular activities

Robert College has a rich history of co-curricular activities and sports, with about 100 student activity clubs as of 2015. Robert College introduced basketball to the Ottoman Empire in 1907. The first Student Council in Ottoman Empire was also formed in 1908 in Robert College.[15]

Student Council

Student Council is formed of a group of annually elected student governors and a faculty advisor. The elected body is proportional with class size. As well as class representatives, the president, the vice president, the secretary and the treasurer are elected after a period of campaigning. Student Council is responsible for facilitating communications between students, faculty and administration, as well as organizing social activities and fundraising for clubs. Student Council also organizes the largest and oldest high school festival, Fine Arts Festival, in Turkey. The President of the Student Council, representing the student body, makes a speech during the opening, closing, and graduation ceremonies.

Publications

RC Reviews March 2005 Issue
  • Bosphorus Chronicle: The school's newspaper published quarterly (first published in 1959).
  • Record: The Yearbook.
  • Kaleidoscope: The English literature magazine.
  • Köprü (The Bridge): The school's Turkish newspaper, published bimonthly (first published in January 2009).
  • Martı (Seagull): Turkish literature journal.
  • Oda (Room): Turkish literature journal publishing poems, stories and photos submitted by students.
  • Tarih (History): The History Club's annual publication.
  • Sinek (Fly): The Film Review Club's annual publication.
The Robert College Basketball Team on their way to the championship in the Traditional FMV Işık Schools Tournament.

Conferences and festivals

The Fine Arts Festival is the largest secondary school festival in Turkey. It has been held annually since 1982 by the Robert College Student Council. Each year, more than 2,000 people attend the festival, which is traditionally held in May. The festival is a big event in which many student groups can perform on stage. There are various art exhibitions and dance shows that also take place. Student Council members visit other high schools in Istanbul and advertise for this event. At the end of the festival, a well-known artist or band typically performs on stage. Most of the revenues used to fund this event are raised through food and ticket sales. Food vendors are usually selected by Student Council members and consist of restaurants close to Robert College such as "kumpir" sellers in Ortaköy. This promotes the tight-knit Robert College community spirit.[24]

Aerial view of Robert College Gould Hall

The International Istanbul Youth Forum is an annually held conference at Robert College. It has been organized every year since 2006 with participants from numerous European countries. Each year, more than 150 participants from all over Europe gather at the RC campus. The conference is organized by the Robert College European Youth Club.

The Ethics Forum is the first to be established at high school level in Turkey.[citation needed] Robert College Ethical Values Club organizes an ethics case study contest at national level among high school students, following their forum. The results are announced at the Ethics Conference near the end of the year. Both events attract more than twenty public and private schools from around Turkey.[25]

Robert College International Model United Nations (RCIMUN) is a THIMUN-affiliated Model United Nations conference organized annually by the Robert College Model United Nations Club (RCMUN) since 2006. The conference includes four General Assembly committees, those being the Political, Human Rights, Environment, and Disarmament Committees, a Special Conference committee, the Security Council of UN, an Advisory Panel, ECOSOC, Specialized Agencies (RCSA), the equivalent of two intertwined historical committees which simulate a single historical event, a separate Historical Security Council, as well as a simulation of the International Criminal Court. Approximately 750 students, of which about 42% were from international schools attended the 2012 conference.[26]

Istanbul Gençlik Forumu is a national conference where representatives from over 30 high schools from different regions come together to discuss issues regarding the future of Turkey. In 2008, the 5th IGF welcomed over 250 participants. Discussions about international affairs are held in Turkish and each committee is responsible for writing a resolution. Then, at the General Assembly, each resolution is discussed and voted on. It is also the National Selection Conference of EYP Turkey, which is also recognized by the international office of European Youth Parliament. The conference is held annually and is organized by the Robert College European Youth Club.

Organized by the Robert College Theater Club, TIFES is one of the major theatrical events at high school level in Turkey. The festival takes place in Robert College campus during the first week of June. Numerous plays are put on stage during the week in Suna Kıraç Hall and famous actors, actresses and playwrights give talks on topics related to theatrical arts.[27]

Robert College Junior Achievement Club is hosting this event. About 300 Junior Achievement students from all over Turkey meet each other and share their experiences with others and famous entrepreneurs and artists related to the topics like Risk (2010), Alternative Careers (2009), Creating a Brand (2008). The entertaining workshop about these topics is a didacting icebreaking activity to strengthen the relationship between Junior Achievement students. The nearest conference is in April 2011.

Campus

The 65-acre (260,000 m2) wooded campus overlooking the Bosphorus is home to five neoclassical buildings as well as three brutalist ones, centennial trees and a rich fauna, among which the Bosphorus Beetle, an endemic species to this campus, could be counted.

Major buildings

  • Gould Hall: The oldest educational building on the campus, Gould Hall ((/ɡld/) is a gift from Helen Gould Shepard, daughter of the famous 19th century Wall Street financier Jay Gould. She donated US$150,000 for the construction, which began in 1911 and was completed in 1914. The front and back enterances to the building lead to Marble Hall, named such due to the abundant usage of marble in its decor. Marble Hall acts as a lobby for the building, and also houses part of the school’s archeological collection. The Faculty Parlor, formerly used as the teachers’ room, and the Conference Room, are both adjacent to and accesible from Marble Hall. Gould Hall also houses administrative offices, classrooms, the İbrahim Bodur library, the Heritage Room, and the RC Commons area,[b] as well as the Turkish Literature and Social Sciences Departments, and the English Department Heads office. The building, particularly with its large ionic columns, is the de facto symbol of the school. Ivies and wisteria plants surround the building’s walls.[28] On its front entablature, the words "American College for Girls" and "Gould Hall" are visible. The cornerstone of the building, set in November 9, 1911 by then-United States Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, William Woodville Rockhill, contains a time capsule. The inscription “AD MDCCCXI”, denoting the year of the capsule’s burial in Roman numerals, is displayed on the South Wing of the front façade.[29]
Bingham Hall
Mitchell Hall in summer, covered in ivy.
  • Mitchell Hall: Originally home to the school kitchens and dining room, the building was a gift from Miss Olivia E. Phelps Stokes, who donated US$100,000. A modest woman, she asked for the building to be named in memory of her friend, Sarah Lindlay Mitchell. Today, the building houses classrooms used primarily for mathematics lessons, the Math Department, the Sait Halman Computer Center, the teachers’ room, the audio-visual center, two Multimedia Rooms (MMRs), and a small English department office. The top floor, M400, is used for examinations, minor conferences, and weekly club sessions.
  • Woods Hall: Completed in 1914, the building was a partial gift from Mrs. Henry Woods of Boston, who donated US$58,000, with Helen Gould Shepard supplying the remaining US$25,000 required. It was used as a Science Building until 1990, and today is home to classrooms used primarily for English lessons, two English department offices, and two college counselling offices.
  • Sage Hall: A gift from Mrs. Margaret Olivia Sage, widow of Russell Sage, a famous 19th century financier and associate of Jay Gould, Sage Hall is one of the few buildings still used for its original purpose. A philanthropist, she donated US$100,000 for the building, built as a dormitory. Today, the building houses the girls' dormitories, infirmary, art studios and a darkroom.
  • Bingham Hall: Originally built as a medical school building, financed by William Bingham in memory of his mother, Mary Payne Bingham, the building housed the junior high school section from 1925 to 1992. Today, it is home to the boys' dormitories, as well as a secondary theater room, and business and administrative offices. A plaque commemorating the construction of the building, which reads “Mary Payne Bingham Hall, erected in honor of Mary Payne Bingham by her son William Bingham 2nd”, is visible above the front enterance.
  • Feyyaz Berker Hall: Feyyaz Berker Hall, colloquially referred to as "Feyyaz",[c] today houses the science labs and classrooms, as well as the Science Department. The building was completed in 1990, and named after its largest donor, leading Turkish businessman and Robert College Trustee, Feyyaz Berker (Robert College Eng '46 alumnus). The front of the building has arched windows, which mimic the façade of Gould Hall. Contents of the Biology Museum, which has one of the rarest collections in Turkey, are scattered across the second and third floors of the building.
  • Suna Kıraç Hall: A state-of-the-art theater building completed in 1990, including a large stage, make-up rooms, modern sound and lighting system and seatings for 512 people, was named after its largest donor Suna Kıraç (American College for Girls '60 alumnus), a leading Turkish businesswoman and Robert College Trustee. Its basement houses the music department and several music rooms.
  • Nejat Eczacıbaşı Hall: The modern school gymnasium was opened in 1990 and named after its largest donor, prominent Turkish bio-chemist and businessman Dr. Nejat Eczacıbaşı (Robert College '32 alumnus). Its basement houses the Multi-Purpose Room (MPR), P.E. department offices, and the Cep (Turkish for “Pocket”), a student lounge area.

İbrahim Bodur Library

When founded in 1863, Robert College had four students. A sum of $2,120 had been allocated to the library, and Harvard University had donated 200 volumes for the opening of the library. During the 1950s and '60s, the college had one of the largest collections in Turkey. (In 1957: 111,598 books and 214 periodicals; the American College for Girls Library 27,163 books and 108 periodicals, according to the Turkiye Kütüphaneleri Rehberi (Turkish Libraries Guide) published by the Turkish National Library that year. After the foundation of Boğaziçi University, the college donated the majority of its collections to the newly founded university. Today, Robert College has the largest library collection among secondary schools in Turkey.[citation needed] The library houses more than 47,300 books, 190 periodical publications, and two web-based databases. It occupies an area of 700 square meters, with a seating capacity of 90, and serves a total of 927 students, as well as all the employees and alumni of the school on second and third floors of Gould Hall.[30]

Other buildings and facilities

Aerial view of Robert College
  • The Rodney B. Wagner Memorial Maze
  • Murat Karamancı Student Center (MKSC)
  • Dave Phillips Field
  • Konak Terrace
  • Tennis courts
  • Basketball courts
  • Faculty housing (Barton House, White House, Blue House, Yalı, Guest House, and numerous other houses dispersed on campus)
  • Green Tower
  • The Bridge and Security
  • Forum
Students in the Forum

This section only includes the buildings on today's Robert College campus (formerly the campus of American College for Girls); the ones on the former boys campus of Robert College can be found in the Boğaziçi University article.[31]

Tuition and finances

Robert College’s tuition fees, for the 2020–2021 academic year,[32] are:

Day Student Boarder (5 days) Boarder (7 days)
TRY 109,000 TRY 149,300 TRY 167,770
US$14,750 US$20,235 US$22,735

Tuition fees are adjusted each year according to the inflation rates in a limited range set by the Ministry of National Education (MEB).

Robert College has consistently ranked as the most expensive high school in Turkey by tuition.[33] According to school data, 26% of students received some form of financial aid for the 2019-2020 academic year.[34]

Robert College files its taxes in New York State through two separate 501(c)(3) tax-exempt non-profit organizations: the Trustees of Robert College of Istanbul, tax-exempt since December 1947, and the Robert College Foundation, tax-exempt since May 2000. The data is publicly available on ProPublica. As of Fiscal Year 2017, the two organizations reported a combined revenue of 28.7 million USD.[35][36]

Tuition fees and donations constitute a significant majority of the school’s income. In 2019, income from tuition fees covered 55% of the school’s expenses, with most of the remainder being supplied by donations. A majority of donors are alumni of the school, though financial institutions and corporations have donated as well.[37]

Criticism

Initially founded as an American Christian missionary school,[11] Robert College has been criticized throughout its history, chiefly by Turkish nationalists and Islamist, government-aligned publications.

Pervaneler

Müfide Ferit Tek [tr], a Pan-Turkist author, wrote Pervaneler, a novel criticizing the foreign, anti-Turkish nature of the American College for Girls. Published in 1924, a year after the declaration of the Turkish Republic, the novel revolves around "Byzantium College" (Turkish: Bizans Kolej), a fictionalized account of the American College for Girls. The story includes Leman, a young Turkish Muslim woman attending Byzantium College. There, she befriends two Turkish girls, Nesime and Bahire. Nesime is the daughter of a famous Mevlevi Sheik, Amir Çelebi. Her education at Byzantium College alienates her from her Turkish and Muslim identities, leading her to convert to Protestantism to migrate to the United States. Bahire is a woman who "dresses like a man", rejects her gender roles, and is captivated by the western feminist movement. She also moves to the United States to attend feminist lectures. Leman, influenced by her friends, meets Jack Peterson, an American soldier in deployment, and escapes to the United States to marry him.[38] These three figures represent cautionary tales for what the author believes will happen to Turkish youth in non-national educational institutions.

In the novel, Byzantium College is depicted as the principal institution corrupting young Turkish women — both a literal and figurative enclave of the foreign powers who invaded, but failed to hold Istanbul. According to the novel, the "Greek" and "foreign" architecture of the school — possibly a reference to the Greek ionic columns of Gould Hall — provides those visiting its campus a sense of entering into a separate country. Throughout the book, the school is described thus: "truly, this was the capital city of an American-Armenian country... [it was] like a separate country within our motherland". Similar anti-Armenian sentiments dominate the novel: in the school's museum, artifacts by Armenian, Greek, Bulgarian, Serbian, and Russian peoples are displayed, whereas Turkish culture is denied.[39]

2014-2015 Admittance Scandal

In the 2014-2015 academic year, a student was admitted to Robert College with a lower high school entry exam score than was required. The admitted student was the twin sister of another student who had gained admission to Robert College with her exam score.[40] In 25 March, 2015, Hürriyet reported that the student was admitted to Robert College with the instruction of the Ministry of National Education (MEB).[41] Responding to reports by the media of unfair conduct, the headmaster at the time, Anthony Jones, stated in a letter that "the numerous administrative objections made to [the MEB ruling] by our school have been denied, and we are by law obliged to abide by this ruling."[42]

It was later reported that the student in question could not attend lessons due to "a literal meat shield of students" blocking her, and that she dropped out shortly thereafter.[43]

Yeni Akit

A government-aligned Islamist newspaper and website, Yeni Akit has published three articles on Robert College since 2017. The first, entitled "Heresy in Robert College" (Turkish: "Robert Koleji'nde Sapkınlık") was an attack on the school's LGBTQ week. Authored by Faruk Arslan, the homophobic article characterized homosexuality as a "disease", with the subheading "the American Robert College joined the choir of heretics representing the disease of homosexuality as a normal human condition."[44]

In 2018, Faruk Arslan published another article, entitled "The Headscarf Hate of Robert College" (Turkish: Robert Koleji'nin Başörtü Düşmanlığı), claiming that Islamic headscarfs were banned by the school dress code.[45] In reality, religious headscarfs are allowed in Robert College.

Another article in 2018 by the same author questioned the source of Robert College's funding. In "Where Did Robert College's 900 Trillion [Million] Come From, Where is it Going?" (Turkish: Robert Koleji'ne 900 Trilyon Nereden Geldi, Nereye Gidiyor?), a conspiracy theory surrounding Robert College's finances is concocted. Arslan claims that the 137 million dollars that Robert College acquired within a 5 year span is a result of "the exploitation of Turkey's resources", and is being used for "US interests".[46] In reality, Robert College raises funds through tuition and voluntary donations by its alumni. A 501(c)(3) tax-exempt non-profit organization, Robert College files its taxes in New York, and its expenditures are publicly available.

Notable alumni

Since the Ottoman period, Robert College alumni have played a leading role in numerous fields including the arts, academia, science, engineering, business, civil society and government administration.[47] Garnett stated in her 1904 publication that "since its foundation forty years ago many of its graduates have attained to high positions in the Governments of the Balkan principalities, and otherwise distinguished themselves."[19]

In 1990, three alumni, Nejat Eczacıbaşı, Suna Kıraç and Feyyaz Berker donated the necessary funds for the construction of the new buildings that are mentioned in the Buildings section. An annual giving campaign raises funds for the school, as costs cannot be met by tuition fees alone. The development office publishes the RC Quarterly, which reaches 10,000[48] Robert College alumni around the world online and by mail.

Bizimtepe, a cultural and recreational center next to the campus, is an affiliate of the Alumni Association.

Notable faculty (former and current)

In Popular Culture

  • The Müfide Ferit Tek [tr] novel Pervaneler depicts “Byzantium College”, a fictionalized version of the American College of Girls, which gradually merged into Robert College, and whose campus Robert College currently occupies.
  • In the Orhan Pamuk novel Silent House, Metin attends the “American High School”, a fictionalized version of Robert College.

See also

Copyright