Holland Hall students have a special birthday to celebrate this school year: their school’s. Founded in Tulsa in 1922, Holland Hall has educated a century’s worth of students. And while the teachers, the technology, and the times have changed, the core of its mission hasn’t.
Holland Hall, which sits on 162 acres, made its goals clear from the start. Head of School JP Culley says ten prominent Tulsans, looking to found a school that prepared students for the finest universities, recruited Minnesota educator Winnifred Schureman to lead the school.
“Interestingly enough, Winnifred was of Dutch ancestry, so they named the school Holland Hall in her honor,” Culley says.
A 1924 school catalog describes Holland Hall’s timeless mission, stating “Holland Hall entered the educational field with a distinct mission, that of placing a fully equipped college preparatory school of the highest standing, where each student may receive individual attention, within the reach of any citizen in Tulsa. It aims not only to prepare students to enter the highest instructions of the country but also to be useful members of society. It stands distinctly for the highest educational standards.”
Culley says 1959 was an important inflection point in Holland Hall’s history. The year marked a return to co-educational enrollment and welcomed the school’s affiliation with the Episcopal church, both exemplifying Holland Hall’s commitment to inclusivity.
“We believe every child who attends Holland Hall is a child of God, no matter where they are in their spiritual journey. As a mission of the church, we believe that having students from all different kinds of faith traditions, or no traditions at all, is really important in deepening your own faith and your understanding of other faith traditions and other people,” Culley says.
He says their religious affiliation also complements their educational goals.
“Ultimately, our responsibility is to help children develop good hearts, but also learn how to use their minds well to share their light in the world.”
Middle School Head Jennifer White has experienced Holland Hall from three different angles. She’s a parent, an administrator, and a former student herself. She says even as a teenager after she graduated, she felt confident that she wanted a career at the school because of its positive impact on her and the community. She’s not the only one. She says alumni involvement within the school stands out. Many alumni serve on boards, work as faculty members, and support their children and grandchildren as they attend at Holland Hall.
“It’s clearly a place that attracts people who value education and makes them want to come back,” White says.
In the future, Culley says he sees Holland Hall continuing to expand their efforts to educate and support students on their mental health and well-being. He says beyond academics, Holland Hall greatly prioritizes instilling a sense of resilience in students from a young age, especially in the midst of increasing levels of anxiety and depression among young generations.
Reflecting on time spent in every morning in the Upper School Commons, White says despite changes through the years, Holland Hall’s commitment to fostering deep community ties will always remain strong.
“We really value the relationships that we develop with families, and I think that’s really what makes Holland Hall unique,” White says.
Holland Hall Time Line
1922: Holland Hall Founded in Tulsa
1959: Return to Co-Ed Episcopal affiliation
1970: Upper School relocated from downtown Tulsa to current campus.