Lake Forest Academy (LFA) was established in 1857 as the boys’ preparatory department of Lind University (later renamed Lake Forest University). The girls’ preparatory department was added in 1869; it was called the “Young Ladies’ Seminary at Ferry Hall” until 1887 when it became known simply as Ferry Hall. In 1925 both LFA and Ferry Hall legally separated from Lake Forest College, becoming independent secondary educational institutions. In 1974, LFA and Ferry Hall merged into one coeducational independent school called Lake Forest Academy- Ferry Hall. In 1988, the school dropped the name “Ferry Hall” and continued as Lake Forest Academy.
LFA was originally located on the campus of Lake Forest College, but in 1946 a fire destroyed the main Academy building. The school purchased the former estate of J. Ogden Armour and converted it into a school campus. During the 1950s and 1960s, the LFA campus expanded with the additions of the Glore Memorial Gymnasium, Marshall Field House dormitory, and Corbin Academic Center. Further campus improvements in the 1980s and 1990s included: Hutchinson Commons; Keller Chapel; MacKenzie Ice Rink; Wetzel-Shoellhorn Track; and Atlass Hall dormitory. In 2001, Dr. John Strudwick came on board as Head of School at LFA and oversaw continued campus improvements: The Cressey Center for the Arts opened in 2001; the West Village faculty homes were built in 2006; the Fitzsimmons Athletic Wing opened in 2009; and the Crown Fitness and Wellness Center was completed in 2010. Ferry Hall, a dorm for female students, underwent renovation in December of 2010 and opened in March of 2012. LFA's newest building, The Science Center, opened in August of 2013 after fourteen months of construction.
Dr. Strudwick brought a new vision to LFA by embracing the notion of global pluralism. In 2002, he instituted the annual Head of School Symposium which explores diversity and global literacy through speakers, student and faculty presentations, advisory and classroom discussions, and educational travel opportunities. Today at LFA, international students comprise 24 percent of the current student body, and students of color comprise 21 percent. Looking toward the future, LFA is committed to promoting global pluralism and preparing its students with 21st century skills.