Celebrity School Spotlight: Stephen Colbert

With his new high-profile role as host of CBS’s The Late Show comedian Stephen Colbert has never been more popular. In his younger days, though, Colbert says he was just the opposite. “I was not a cool kid in high school,” Colbert told Conan O’Brien. “I played a lot of Dungeons and Dragons, is what I did…. I had rangers, a paladin. I had a 23rd level magic user.”

Colbert spent his high school days as a “Cyclone” at The Porter-Gaud School, a preparatory academy in Charleston, SC. Also known by its legal name, The Porter Academy, it is an independent day school founded in 1867.

Colbert’s school experience was shaped by the tragic death of his father and two older brothers in a commercial airline crash when he was just 10 years old. Colbert took solace in books and developed a passion for science fiction and fantasy novels including like The Lord of the Rings. “I had so many books taken away from me,” he told GQ. “I read a book a day. Spent all of my allowance on books. Every birthday, confirmation, Christmas—books, please, stacks of books.”

In addition to reading fantasy novels, Colbert embraced the role-playing worlds of Dungeon’s and Dragons with a close knit group of pals. Colbert’s high school friend Chip Hill told Vanity Fair, “[Colbert’s] D&D phase and all that, that was partially a function of his loss.”

Colbert’s fascination with the Lord of the Rings led to a repository of Tolkien trivia that even impressed Peter Jackson. “I have never met a bigger Tolkien geek in my life,” the Hobbit movie director said. ”Philippa Boyens is our resident Tolkien expert, and when Stephen came down to visit the set, we put him head to head with Philippa on a Tolkien quiz — and Stephen triumphed. I have to say, his encyclopedic knowledge of Tolkien is spectacular…”

While Colbert has found tremendous success as a comedian, he still seems quite aware of his nerdy younger days. “Here’s incredible,” he told O’Brien, “I actually bred. I’ve mated and had children. There’s a woman who will have me.”

Colbert’s prep school is comprised of lower, middle, and upper schools serving about 900 students in grades 1 through 12. As a member of the National Association of Independent Schools, Porter-Gaud ranks as “Very High” in MCH’s RPM Buying Power algorithm. The MCH school database includes more than 125 personnel across all disciplines.

Porter-Gaud School

Other notable graduates of The Porter-Gaud School include artist Shepard Fairey, writer Jack Hitt, business leader Sallie Krawcheck, poet Archibald Rutledge, NBA player Khris Middleton, and NFL player Ovie Mughelli.

You can learn more about The Porter-Gaud School — and all of America’s schools — using MCH’s Infinite Access, which provides detailed school profiles and contact information for more than 5 million K-12 educators. Infinite Access provides education vendors with superior business intelligence. Find out more at www.mchinfiniteaccess.com or call 1-800-525-5811.