Possessions are transient, knowledge is everlasting
He who has knowledge is forever exalted
From a plaque on the façade of Taner Hall
Our school was founded in 1878 as a "kindergarten" in the Basmane district of the city by American educators. As the number of students began to increase, the Basmane campus became too crowded and in 1913 a beautiful 7-acre garden in Göztepe, just outside the city, was purchased. This garden is part of the present day campus. The name “American Collegiate Institute" was only introduced at the beginning of the 1900s.
In 1919 another branch of the school was opened in Salhane so that Turkish children could more easily attend. It is known that at that time most of the students of the school were the children of minority families. In 1928, the enterprise which had begun as a kindergarten in Basmane 50 years previously, was still continuing and in that year four girls graduated from the campus that we still use today. In the 1920s the Ministry for National Education shut down all foreign primary schools after which ACI continued to function as a girls’ secondary school with a preparation class, and junior high and high school sections.
From 1953 to 1974, the high school section had a four-year curriculum. By the 1960s most girls no longer quit at the end of the third year of junior high but continued on into high school. Paralleling Turkey’s rapid development, university education became the goal of almost every ACI student.
In 1986 a resolution was passed in favor of coeducation. The most important change after this event took place at the beginning of the 1990s when SEV (Foundation for Health and Education), owner of the school property, began to take an active role in ACI’s administration. The most important modification in the years following this change was the amendment made to the Primary Education Law by the government in 1997, which eliminated the middle school or junior high sections from secondary education and added them to the primary level. As ACI graduated its junior high section students level by level, SEV established its İzmir Elementary School on the same campus.
Regarding the school buildings; it is known that in 1923 the current campus housed only a single house located on the spot where the Greene Main Office stands today and a few out buildings where art and music lessons were taught. The rooms of the house were used as classrooms. Later the other buildings were reconstructed as classrooms and laboratories. In 1929 the stone house (the ACI Heritage Room) was built to serve as an office. Parsons Hall was added in 1950, Taner Hall in 1955 and Beacon Hall in 1966. Of these buildings, Beacon was renamed “Blake Hall” during the 100th anniversary year of ACI and later became “Blake Performing Arts Center” following its restoration in 2005.
In 1965 Greene Main Office was expanded and reconstructed. West Hall (which was then called Junior Hall) and the Hill Science Center were both completed and opened in 1988 and the Shephard Sports Hall was put into service in 2000. Taner Hall, the use of which was discontinued for a while, was re-created in 2008. Designed as a modern building, it was opened for education in the 2009-2010 school year with the top floor of the restored building serving as a dormitory for girl students from outside the İzmir area.
ACI’s original Turkish name “American Girls’ College,” was changed to “American Girls’ High School” (Amerikan Kız Lisesi) by the Ministry of National Education during the 1974-75 school year. Then in 1986, the official name of the school became the İzmir American High School (Özel İzmir Amerikan Lisesi) and in October 2005 it was changed once again and became the İzmir American College (Özel İzmir Amerikan Koleji). ACI was the first Turkish school to be accredited by the European Council of International Schools (ECIS) in 1994, and in addition it was granted the authority to implement the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) in 2005.