Alumni News

The history of the American School of Milan

A modest start for a grand idea

Back in 1962 a small group of English speaking parents in Milan decided that they wanted to provide their children with an Anglo-American education. Even though they had no experience founding a school, they had the determination and skills to realize their goals.

Our founding parents discovered that there was a private language school in Milan, the Anglo-American School, run by Mr. Bruno Matthews and decided that combining their strengths with that of the existing school would be the best way to get started. They struck a deal by which the American School would open as a division of the Anglo-American School, formed a parents committee to oversee the educational program and negotiated a seat on the school’s board of directors.

ASM began its life with a group of 17 students of various ages in somewhat dingy premises in Sesto San Giovanni, but the founding families were excited nonetheless to have gotten the school going. The students, teachers and parents alike were driven by a missionary-like spirit and worked hard to keep the momentum going.

Within the first year of operation, however, these pioneering families had to confront a hard reality: the Anglo-American School was facing a financial crisis and could no longer guarantee the survival of the American School.

Responding to this emergency, the founding fathers and mothers formed a nonprofit association dedicated to providing an American-style education for their children and renamed the school THE AMERICAN COMMUNITY SCHOOL OF MILAN.

On June 25, 1963 Messers Artemis Joukowsky, Lawrence Dalmazzo-Auckland, Glenn Hankins, Arnold Fried, William Malcol and Daniel Gilioli appeared before Public Notary Carlo Locatelli of Milan and executed the “Costituzione di Associazione”, through which the American School in its present organizational form came to life. In 1973 the association dropped the word “Community” and the name has remained unchanged ever since. The fist Board of Members of the American Community School were Anthony Abbruzzese, Lawrence Dalmazzo-Auckland, Paul Austin, Arnold Fried, Daniel Gilioli, Glenn Hankins, William Malcom, Artemis Joukowsky, Dean Parenti, John Petti, Thomas Spiers and Arthur Sucsy. The first officers should also be remembered: Thomas Spiers, Chairman, Lawrence Dalmazzo-Auckland, Vice-Chairman, Paul Austin, Treasurer and Inez Petti, Secretary.

The association was financed through the remarkable kindness of the School’s small but growing community. This spirit of generous support and giving has been the hallmark of ASM’s growth throughout our 50-year history. Over time the school has benefitted from a large number of donations including the land upon which the school was built, the school library, new audiovisual equipment and new state-of –the-art science labs.

The next order of business was to find a permanent site for the school.In the early years, ASM had many different homes from Sesto San Giovanni to via Bramantino, from Via Spadari for grades 7-12 to Via Bezzola for the elementary and junior high school, and then on to Via Bocchetto, all in the center of Milan.

The building committee, then chaired by Mr. Carl Immordino, reached an agreement with Ing. Lorenzo Borlenghi, a local real estate developer who donated the 9 acre property in Noverasco di Operaupon which the school was built. We broke ground in 1976 and closed the chapter on the school’s migratory history. We found our lasting home. Once the land on which to build the school was secured,the problem, of course, became that of raising funds for its construction. Under the able leadership of Mr. David Scott, the Treasurer at that time, negotiations were started with Cassa di Risparmio della Provincie Lombarde (Cariplo), a non-profit savings bank, the charter of which required that its earnings be used for non-profit purposes. The Cariplo agreed to lend building costs, and the donated land served as partial security for the loan.

The several American banks then present in Milan provided ad interim financing and/or otherwise stood as guarantors. The loan from Cariplo was ultimately paid off through the meaningful contributions of the American banks then present in Milan.

The most recent chapter of our expansion was written in 2009 when we increased the square footage of our spacious, modern facilities by 40%. Our 9-acre green campus now has:

  • Seven state-of-the-art science labs with two prep rooms.
  • A large lecture hall
  • A spacious multi-purpose room
  • A multimedia library containing 27,000 volumes
  • A theater
  • A state-of-the-art film studio
  • Two full-sized American gyms
  • Two spacious art studios
  • A natural grass soccer field
  • Two tennis courts
  • An outdoor basketball court
  • Separate play areas for Early Childhood and Elementary school students
  • A dining hall and full kitchen
  • Several conference rooms
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