Alumni Author: Ron Mangravite ’68 P’18
For students and parents embarking on the journey of deciding whether a boarding school education is right for them, a new book on the subject, written by Ronald D. Mangravite ’68 P’18, may provide the answers. An award-winning writer, educator and critic, Mangravite’s new book, American Prep: The Insider’s Guide to U.S. Boarding Schools (Mango Publishing Group, 2017), is a comprehensive tour through the world of U.S. boarding schools – their history and culture, resources and support systems, and opportunities and challenges.
“I wrote this book for parents and students interested in exploring the possibility of a boarding school education in the United States,” Mangravite explains. Knowing he was familiar with the boarding school world, he says his friends frequently approached him with questions about what boarding schools are really like, how to gauge the chance of their children gaining admission, and the possibility of receiving financial aid. Realizing there was no thorough guide to answer all their questions, he decided to write one.
Mangravite consulted with a number of Lawrenceville officials during the writing of his book, including Dean of Enrollment Management Tom Sheppard, Dean of Students Blake Eldridge ’96, Financial Aid Director Sara Tucker, and former Associate Dean of Admission Ian Gracey P’18. Mangravite also acknowledged current Lawrenceville parents Fritz Cammerzell ’68 P’18 and Lisa Cloughen P’18 for their contributions to the book.
“American Prep is the most comprehensive and accurate book on the American boarding school experience I have ever read,” commented Sheppard. “Ron captures the many facets of a boarding school education with remarkable clarity. Without bias or agenda, he shows why boarding schools are a powerful educational model that prepares children from all parts of society for success as adults.”
Mangravite points out that families unfamiliar with the world of boarding schools may not even know the types of questions they need to ask when exploring the boarding school option. In response, his book helps families identify “what kind of student tends to do well at boarding school and what kind of student tends to struggle,” as well as issues facing international and minority students. He also examines the histories, traditions and characteristics of the more than 200 U.S. boarding schools – some established prior to the founding of the United States itself.
In a recent interview conducted by Lawrenceville classmate Phil DeMuth ’68 for Forbes.com, Mangravite asserted that boarding schools excel at developing “soft skills” in students. Valued by leaders across industries, soft skills include learning how to interact with different personalities, negotiating, cooperating and dealing with conflict – all attributes developed in a boarding school environment where students from diverse backgrounds interact with each other in living spaces, on teams, and in the classroom.
Ron Mangravite ’68 P’18
Mangravite also notes in the interview that many boarding schools are more affordable for families today due to comprehensive financial aid packages, and that educating students on how to be resilient and deal with failure is a central component of a boarding school education.
In addition to being an alumnus, Mangravite is a current parent of a Lawrenceville student, class secretary for 1968, and an alumni admission volunteer. He has advised students and parents on successful applications to Harvard, Columbia, Penn, NYU and USC, as well as a range of boarding schools nationwide. His teaching experience includes universities and private schools, with service on admission and curriculum committees.
Also an accomplished screenwriter and producer, Mangravite is known for the original screenplay All for Liberty (2009), the poetic short film My Father’s Hopes (2009), and as cinematographer for Godard in America (1970). He is co-author of two books on screenwriting, has published a body of theater criticism, and has taught filmmaking at the University of Miami. Mangravite holds degrees from the University of California/Berkeley and UCLA.
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