In a speech delivered at the 12th Annual Conference in June, 2005, Richard Hawley, founding President of the International Boys' Schools Coalition, described how the IBSC emerged from concurrent events – a meeting of small group of school heads called to discuss “the importance of the all-boys composition in otherwise thriving schools” and “a group of largely [US] east coast boys' school admissions officers, who decided to organize a conference on the condition of contemporary schoolboys.” While the Heads were interested primarily in philosophical and pedagogical issues, the admissions officers were motivated in part by concerns about the viability of boys’ schools following a period during which a number of boys’ schools and men’s’ colleges had become coeducational.
As Hawley reported, “Almost immediately the admissions officers and the school heads became appreciatively aware of one another and decided together to stage another conference, this one involving considerable planning and offering itself to boys' school advocates from all over the world. Thus on a beautiful and very warm weekend in June of 1993 on the campus of the Belmont Hill School outside of Boston, the IBSC was born.”
Hawley, then Headmaster of University School in Ohio, was elected President. The organization – initially named “Boys’ Schools: An International Coalition” – was established in 1995 as a charitable (tax-exempt) organization.
“The boys' school momentum was international from the beginning,” as Hawley noted in his talk. “The first informal conversation of boys' school heads in 1989 included Eric Anderson, then headmaster of Eton College, Doug Blakey, then head of Upper Canada College in Toronto and John Bednall, then headmaster of the Hutchins School in Hobart, Tasmania as well as a number of school heads from the United States.” Since its founding, the IBSC has become increasingly global, and currently includes nearly 300 school members from 15 countries on five continents.
During most of its first decade, the administration of IBSC was managed by a part-time Executive Secretary and members of the IBSC Board of Trustees. As a result of a strategic planning process begun in 2001, the Board of Trustees decided to appoint a full-time Executive Director and establish an autonomous office for the organization. These decisions have enabled IBSC to expand its reach, broaden the services it provides and develop a more secure financial base.
In 2004, the Articles of Incorporation were amended. The name of the organization was legally changed to “International Boys' Schools Coalition,” the size of the Board of Trustees was expanded (from a maximum limit of 12 to a limit of 27), term limits for trustees were adopted, and procedures for the identification, nomination and election of new trustees were revised to encourage global participation.
In 2009, the Board established Vice-Presidents to represent the main global regions, providing more expression to the global composition and mandate of the IBSC.
Today, the IBSC is well-positioned to further its dedication to “the education and development of boys, the professional growth of those who work with them, and the advocacy and the advancement of institutions - primarily schools for boys - that serve them.”