Cate School, one of the oldest boarding high schools in the West, will celebrate its centennial anniversary in a four-day event Oct. 7-10.

Distinguished alumni, teachers and special guests — including keynote speaker NBC news anchor Ann Curry, and Garrett Lisi, sometimes called “the new Einstein” — from around the world will join the celebration.

Weekend events include master classes by former and current faculty; special interest panels and roundtables featuring notable alumni and parents in the fields of arts and entertainment, economics, environmentalism, journalism and communications, politics and international relations, technology, and science and medicine; a diversity symposium; and a dedications of new buildings.

One hundred years ago, founder Curtis Wolsey Cate, a graduate of Roxbury Latin School and Harvard University, said the characteristics of his school were to provide students with “a simple, active life with certain daily chores to be performed; early, cold-water bathing, out of door living and playing; serious studying and reading, choral singing, good music and a sympathetic attitude towards all the arts; high standards of work and conduct; daily moments for reverent thought, and the almost constant companionship of honorable and unselfish men and women.”

In October, Cate School will celebrate 100 years of students who experienced this “simple, active life.” And the $65 million Centennial Campaign, which began in 2005, dedicated to building the endowment and developing a sustainable site, will help secure the future of Cate for the next 100 years. Alumni, parents and friends of Cate have not faltered in their contributions, despite the economic crisis, bringing the campaign within $8 million of its goal to date. Last year, a record 45 percent of alumni and 91 percent of parents made donations to Cate.

Other campaign milestones include gifts totaling more than $2.5 million from the Emmett family; 10 gifts of $1 million or more gifts and nine additional gifts of $500,000 or more; and the first-ever leadership gifts of $50,000 from female graduates of Cate.

Part of the Centennial Campaign funds are dedicated to sustainable/green buildings on campus. Cate is an industry leader in its stewardship to the environment, and during the past 100 years has always kept its responsibility to the natural world a priority. The Cate campus now has seven LEED buildings on campus, more than any other school in the country, including one of the nation’s first green aquatic centers completed in August.

The Centennial Campaign also builds the endowment, which directly supports students and faculty. Even after 100 years, Cate School is still one of the most selective (14 percent acceptance rate in 2010), and the most diverse school of its size (265 students) in the country (41 percent students of color), working with organizations such as A Better Chance and The TEAK Fellowship; 30 percent of its students receive a combined $2.5 million in financial aid.

Today, Cate’s seventh headmaster, Benjamin Williams, has high ambitions for the school, keeping to the values that have guided the education of thousands of young men and women at Cate School over the years.

“True to the life Mr. Cate envisioned in 1910, our school continues to be a place where students become their best selves — responsible to themselves and the people and world around them — through commitment, scholarship, companionship and service,” Williams said. “Our centennial gives us a chance to both reflect on the accomplishments of the past while turning towards the next 100 years with energy, dexterity and vision.”

Space considerations prevent the event from being open to the public, but those interested in learning more about Cate School and its Centennial Campaign and Centennial Anniversary Celebration may contact Don Orth, director of communications, at or 805.717.0944.

— Don Orth is the communications director for Cate School.