Motivated by a perceived shortage of independent high school openings for qualified students in the mid-1990s, an exploratory committee comprised of parents from Sycamore School, the Orchard School and St. Richard's School gained funding for a demographic study, began a discovery process, and eventually incorporated as the University High School Board in 1998.
In December of 1998, Chuck and Nancy Webster, from the Roeper School in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, were hired to serve as head of school and admission director respectively, followed closely by Chris and Carolyn Bradley in supporting administrative roles. After eliminating several suggested locations for the school, eighty-five acres on 116th Street was purchased by a limited liability corporation of board members and friends of University. The following year, Susana Bollinger and Jim Fadely were hired and the process of solidifying a curriculum began in earnest.
In December 1999, Ann Andrews of Ann Arbor, Michigan, whose family foundation had been formed with the idea of supporting new private high schools, made a $1.5 million gift to University that, along with gifts from board members, allowed the school to build four modular classrooms, refurbish existing farmhouses on the property and begin school in the fall of 2000 with 28 students as a first freshman class and ten faculty.
An 18,000 square foot permanent building was ready for the fall of 2001, and a 12,000 square foot addition was added in the fall of 2003. Additionally, neighbor Jill Perelman donated 30 acres directly west of the original property in 2004, making the total University site 115 acres. Finally, in the spring of 2007, Fairbanks Hall opened, eliminating reliance on portable classrooms and becoming the main classroom and administrative facility.
In 2010, University has approximately 40 faculty and staff, over 230 students, and celebrated our 10th anniversary with a gala.