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Tarsus American College

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Tarsus American College
Tarsus Amerikan Koleji
Stickler Hall
Stickler Hall

CoordinatesCoordinates: 36°54′50″N 34°53′45″E / 36.913872°N 34.895893°E / 36.913872; 34.895893
Fatal error: The format of the coordinate could not be determined. Parsing failed.

TypeIndependent, day & boarding
MottoLeaders for Turkey, Leadership for the World
Established1888; 133 years ago (1888)
FounderAmerican Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions
PrincipalAhu Arslan
HeadmasterEric Trujillo
GradesPrep, 9–12
Color(s)Red & White
AccreditationCIS, IB
Main Entrance
Main Entrance
Friendship Hall seen through the Quad
Friendship Hall seen through the Quad

Tarsus American College (Turkish: Özel Tarsus Amerikan Koleji), also called Tarsus American School, and often shortened to TAC, is a private co-educational high school located in the historic city of Tarsus,Turkey. It attracts students from different areas of the country with its boarding component, and its evenly mixed co-educational student body follows a bilingual Turkish-English curriculum..[1]

The school was founded by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM) in 1888 as St. Paul’s School for boys, and it was the first of the American Board schools to accept female students in 1979[2]. Today, it is owned and administered by the Health and Education Foundation (Sağlık ve Eğitim Vakfı, or SEV) along with other former ABCFM institutions in Turkey.


The school was established in 1888.[3] Armenian American reverent Harutiun Jenanian approached philanthropist Elliott Fitch Shepard to build an institution in dedication to Paul of Tarsus. Shepard promised to donate $5,000 a year ($NaN in 2018[4]) and contribute a $100,000 ($NaN in 2018[4]) trust fund upon his death. Jenanian subsequently founded the school under the name "Jenanian College"; the name later changed to "St. Paul's College".[5]

In its first years, the school had close contact with the American Board Foundation, a charity organization located in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. Alexander Mac Lachlan and presbyterian missionary Harutyun Stephen Cenanyan (25 April 1858, Maraş, Turkey – 25 September 1907, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), a graduate of Union Theological Seminary in New York City, served as the first school administrators until 1891, and Thomas Davidson Christie from 1893 to 1920. During these years, education was carried out in the school's first building "Shepard Hall".

A second building "Sticker Hall" was added to the campus in 1911, and was once the tallest building in Tarsus with its five stories. Its unique architecture in the city was associated with the school after its construction, and it became the symbol of Tarsus American College.

After the foundation of the Turkish Republic, the school has moved away from religious instruction and started following a secular curriculum[6]. The school also changed its name permanently to "Tarsus American College" in 1930, this name was used by the local population along with the official name "St. Paul's Institute at Tarsus" before this date.

Co-education started in 1979 with 35 female students joining the student body of 506 male students, and this cohort graduated in 1986 as the first coed alumni of an ABCFM School in Turkey. The boarding section which only accepted male students since the foundation of the school, was closed in 1979 with the start of co-education, and the school did not accept boardin students until its reopening in 2002. After renovations to the Stickler Hall to accomodate female boarding students there, the school started accepting female boarding students for the first time in 2008.

Major Events[edit]

  • 1888: The schools starts its activities as "St.Paul's Institute at Tarsus" with eight students. Instruction is carried out in the school's first building "Shepard Hall".
  • 1930: The school graduates its first alumni under its current name "Tarsus American College".
  • 1979: The school starts co-ed education. 35 girls join the student body alongside 506 boys.[7]
  • 1986: The boarding section was closed, The school graduates its first coed alumni.
  • 1997: After the eight years of primary education becomes mandatory in Turkey, the middle school section (grades 6 through 8) is removed from TAC. Meanwhile, a preparatory year is added to the high school section. The Health and Education Foundation opens the Tarsus SEV Elementary School to offer primary school education (grades 1 throug 8).
  • 2002: The school re-launches its boarding section for male students.
  • 2004: TAC starts to offer the International Baccalaureate (IB) Programme.
  • 2008: Boarding section starts to accept female students, enabling to school to offer a truly co-educational experience.


Tarsus American College offers its students qualified education with options. TAC is authorized to offer the IB Diploma Programme since November 2004[8], the programme is taught in English. TAC is also a member of Council of International Schools (CIS)[9]

Notable alumni[edit]

  • Muhtar Kent, President and CEO of the Coca-Cola Company
  • Fatma Güldemet Sarı, former Turkish Minister of Environment and Urban Planning
  • Mehmet Nane, CEO of Pegasus Airlines
  • Hüseyin Diriöz, Turkish ambassador to Moscow, and the former Assistant Secretary General of NATO for Defence Policy and Planning
  • İstemihan Talay, former Turkish Minister of Culture
  • Mete Akyol, journalist
  • Ayşe Arman, journalist
  • Cengiz Çandar, journalist
  • Oral Çalışlar, journalist and author
  • Turhan Erdoğan, academic in civil engineering
  • Uğur Ersoy, engineer, academic
  • Mehmet Sabancı, businessman
  • Ömer Sabancı, businessman
  • Özdemir Sabancı, businessman
  • Demir Sabancı, businessman
  • Şevket Sabancı, businessman
  • Ilter Turan, professor of political science
  • Tibet Ağırtan, member of the band Mavi Sakal
  • Kaan Altan, member of the band Mavi Sakal
  • Murat Tümer, member of the band Mavi Sakal

See also[edit]

Other articles of the topic Turkey : Afşin-C coal mine, Turkish Brazilians, Afşin-E coal mine, Afşin-D coal mine, Artuk Bey (character), Iran–Turkey proxy conflict, Makarnalı köftender

Other articles of the topic Schools : Sesemat school, Sky International School and College, Asian International School, 5 Steps Academy, American Nicaraguan School, Josef Bartlett Finley, Jr., Adu Memorial Junior High School
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  • List of missionary schools in Turkey
  • American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions
  • Üsküdar American Academy, Istanbul
  • American Collegiate Institute, Izmir
  • List of high schools in Turkey
  • Education in the Ottoman Empire


  1. "FABSIT Foundation — About Us: Our Partners in Turkey". fabsit.org. Retrieved 2021-08-17.
  2. "FABSIT Foundation — About Us: Our Partners in Turkey". fabsit.org. Retrieved 2021-08-17.
  3. Tejirian, Eleanor Harvey; Simon, Reeva S. (2012). Conflict, Conquest, and Conversion: Two Thousand Years of Christian Missions in the Middle East. Columbia University Press. p. 147. ISBN 978-0-231-13864-2. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  4. 4.0 4.1 Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Community Development Project. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved January 2, 2019.
  5. Jernazian, Ephraim K. (1990). Judgement Unto Truth: Witnessing the Armenian Genocide. Transaction Publishers. p. 22. ISBN 9781412827027. Retrieved October 30, 2016. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  6. "American Board Archives". dlir.org. Retrieved 2021-08-17.
  7. Putney, Clifford; Burlin, Paul T. (2012-02-17). The Role of the American Board in the World: Bicentennial Reflections on the Organization's Missionary Work, 1810-2010. Wipf and Stock Publishers. p. 70. ISBN 978-1-61097-640-4. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  8. "International Baccalaureate". Ibo.org. Retrieved 2014-12-01.
  9. "Membership Directory - CIS Council of International Schools". Retrieved June 3, 2021.

External links[edit]

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