1963 Philosophy Seminar

George Roeper shares his thoughts on the Philosophy

Original Publication Date: February 7, 1963

Those who encounter George and Annemarie’s ideas about education have always been challenged to understand the meaning and implications of their philosophy. In 1963, the school faculty asked George to lead a seminar on the subject and, fortunately, he recorded it.  In it, George, with his German phrasing, acknowledged that even though visitors to the school sense that it is a different kind of place, “we have difficulty to formulate it.”

George doesn’t provide a point-by-point explanation of the Philosophy here — or anywhere, actually — but this recording provides a unique opportunity to be part of a conversation with George, who died in 1992, and gain insight into the way he thought. George’s frame of view was always the future and how to educate children to meet an unknown future with flexibility, insight and tolerance. Note that the catalog George refers to is the document that eventually became the 1965 Statement of Policies.

Recording of the 1963 seminar

https://soundcloud.com/user-287878501/1963-philosophy-seminar/s-dgJ4zYnYSpB

Partial transcript of the 1963 seminar

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Citation: Roeper, G. (1963). “Seminar with Faculty,” The Roeper School Archives, Bloomfield Hills, MI. 

Top photo by Carlos Goodman ’80

Centenary Celebration of Annemarie Roeper

Annemarie Roeper was born in Vienna on August 27, 1918, and passed away on May 11, 2012, in Oakland, California. During the 2018-19 school year, Roeper celebrated the centenary of her birth.  There was a commemorative calendar featuring images and quotations from her life; a panel discussion by those who had worked with her discussing the lessons they learned from Annemarie, and a visit from young-adult writer Louise Borden, whose book about the flight from the Nazis of Margret and HA Rey, the authors of the Curious George books,  paralleled George and Annemarie’s journey in many ways. Indeed the two couples became friends in this country. During the centenary year, the school installed a stone outside Hill House with a plaque to complement the stone installed for George Roeper, and created a garden called The Recess on the Bloomfield Hills campus to honor all the adults who have been engaged with children as part of this educational community.

Here you can find the images and quotations from the commemorative calendar, as well as an article about the panel discussion.

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Coventry Crest

The former Music Room is now the Admissions Office.

The former Dining Room is now the Development Office.

The building we now call Hill House on the Bloomfield Hills campus was originally completed in 1929 as a family home by Alfred and Zillah Stephens. They named it Coventry Crest, to commemorate Zillah’s family’s origins in Coventry, England. The building remained in the Stephens’ family until 1946, when George and Annemarie Roeper purchased it for their school.  The building was the sole space for the school until the Middle Building was built in 1960. Until the 1990s, it was known as the Main Building but is now called Hill House.

The Stephens’ grandson created a website about the history of the building. In another connection between the Stephens family and the school, Alma Burrows, a beloved Roeper Nursery teacher from 1956-1972, had been a nanny for the Stephens family before coming to teach at the school.