Northfield Mount Hermon School

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Northfield Mount Hermon
Northfield Mount Hermon School seal.png
Seal of Northfield Mount Hermon
Mount Hermon, MA
School type Private, boarding
Motto Discere et Vivere
(To Learn and To Live)
Established 1879
Founder Dwight L. Moody
Head of school Peter B. Fayroian
Faculty 95
Enrollment 655 total
82% boarding
18% day
Average class size 11 students
Student to teacher ratio 5:1
Campus Rural, 215 acres (core campus), 1,565 acres (4.5 km²) (total land holdings)
Color(s) Maroon and light blue         
Song Jerusalem
Athletics 67 interscholastic sports
Mascot Hogger
Team name Hoggers
Endowment $121 million (as of March 7, 2017)

Northfield Mount Hermon School, commonly referred to as NMH, is a highly selective co-educational college-preparatory boarding and day school for students in grades 9–12 and postgraduates. The school is located on the banks of the Connecticut River, with the majority of the campus being located within the towns of Bernardston, Northfield, (West Northfield), and Gill, MA.

Originally two neighboring schools, (the Northfield School for Girls founded in 1879, and the Mount Hermon School for Boys founded in 1881) NMH merged into a single institution in 1972 and consolidated on one campus in 2006.

NMH is a member of the Eight Schools Association, established in 1973 comprising Phillips Academy (known as Andover), Phillips Exeter Academy (known as Exeter), Choate Rosemary Hall (known as Choate), Deerfield Academy, Hotchkiss School, Lawrenceville School, and St. Paul's School.[1]

Present Day[edit]

NMH offers nearly 200 courses, including AP and honors classes in every discipline. Each semester, students take three major courses, each 80 minutes long, as opposed to five 50-minute classes which are more typical of high schools. This "College Model Academic Program" allows students to spend more time with their teachers and immerse themselves more deeply in academic subjects. NMH employs 95 teaching faculty members, 66 percent of whom have advanced degrees. The average class size at NMH is 11 students; the student-to-teacher ratio is 5 to 1.

Students are required to participate in co-curricular activities every semester; these include athletic teams, performing-arts ensembles, volunteer work on and off-campus, and activities such as working for one of the school's four student publications. Students may join an extensive array of extracurricular clubs, organizations, and affinity groups.

Students involved in visual and performing arts courses, as well as NMH's performing ensembles, are supported by the Rhodes Arts Center. (See more under "Arts Programs")

In early 2013,NMH announced that it would build a new facility to house its science, math, and technology programs. The facility will contain laboratories, classrooms, and lecture and common spaces. The project is expected to cost at least $45 million, with construction slated to begin during the 2015–16 academic year.

With more than 60 athletic teams in 21 interscholastic sports, NMH offers one of the broadest athletic programs among secondary schools in the U.S. and currently holds the national prep championship title in boys' basketball and New England championship titles in girls' crew, wrestling, and numerous individual swimming and track and field events. NMH offers an extensive outdoor education program in addition to its competitive teams.

Each student is required to hold a job on campus, working four to five hours a week for a total of 120 hours each school year. This contribution to the operation of the school stems from the school's founder, Dwight Lyman Moody, and his desire for students to understand the value of manual labor.


  • Workjob - Students work in all aspects of the school. While the specific jobs change with time, (working in the power plant and laundry are no longer common) students still work in the kitchen washing dishes and preparing food; managing sports teams and performing arts groups; tutoring peers in various disciplines; leading campus tours for visitors; doing administrative office work; and caring for animals and performing other chores on NMH's working farm, such as making maple syrup and apple cider.
  • Jerusalem - The school song. A short poem written by William Blake and set to music by Sir Hubert-Parry.[2][better source needed] It is tradition to yell out a certain section of the song, (however not in formal settings...). While the exact words change over time, currently "bring me my arrows!" in the second verse is used.
  • Rope Pull - A giant tug-of-war held of Shadow Lake between the Seniors and Juniors. While typically the seniors are the victors, on a few occasions the Juniors have upset.
  • Mountain Day - A surprise holiday when classes are cancelled and students and faculty hike either Mount Monadnock or Northfield Mountain.
  • Bemis-Forslund Pie Race - A 4.5-mile course that is among the oldest footraces in the country and which rewards the top 200 runners with a homemade apple pie. Typically run in the late fall.
  • Christmas Vespers - Held in candlelight Memorial Chapel (and originally Sage Chapel) since at least the 1930s, Christmas Vespers is a combined choral and orchestral service including Bible readings, Christmas melodies and other seasonal music. There are two services on campus in addition to an off campus service, held in either New York or Boston. Traditionally a male soloist performs Veni-Veni Emmanuel to begin the service, and following Adeste-Fidelis, a female soloist sings the descant to stille-nacht.
  • Sacred Concert - A combined choral and orchestral performance with over a 110-year history. Performed for the community by NMH students and faculty in the Auditorium on the Northfield Campus in early May.


The school was founded by Protestant evangelist Dwight Lyman Moody as the Northfield Seminary for Young Ladies in 1879 (later called the Northfield School for Girls) and the Mount Hermon School for Boys in 1881. Moody built the girls' school in Northfield, Massachusetts, the town of his birth, and the boys' school a few miles away in the town of Gill. Moody's goal was to provide the best possible education for young people without privilege, and he enrolled students whose parents were slaves as well as Native Americans and people from other countries, which was unprecedented among elite private schools at that time. Moody sent out students who founded schools and churches of their own, for example a protégé of Moody founded Moores Corner Church in Leverett MA.[citation needed] Moody viewed Christian religious education as an essential objective of his schools. Under subsequent administrations, the schools grew more theologically liberal and ultimately became non-denominational. Today, NMH offers diverse ways to pursue religious studies and personal spirituality.

By 1913 the schools were operated under one moniker "The Northfield Schools" but remained separate institutions until 1972, when the two schools merged to become Northfield Mount Hermon, continuing to operate with two coeducational campuses. In 2005, the school consolidated its students and classes onto the Mount Hermon campus. This decision by the board of trustees stemmed from a belief that students would receive the best possible education in a smaller, more close-knit community, and from a desire to focus the school's resources on educational programs and maintaining one campus instead of two. Before consolidation, the school enrolled approximately 1,100 students per year; the student body has now settled at 650, making the admission process even more selective. The school continues to work towards complete consolidation as it sells remaining assets surrounding the Northfield campus.

NMH's current head is Peter B. Fayroian, who joined the school in 2012.


View of James and Forslund Gymnasiums

NMH sports programs include:

Fall Teams

  • Crew
  • Cross-country ('15 New England Champions)
  • Field hockey
  • Soccer ('06, '10 New England Champions, '15 WNEPSTA Champions)
  • Girls' volleyball
  • Dance (co-ed)
  • Outdoor team (co-ed)

Winter Teams

  • Alpine Skiing
  • Nordic Skiing ('14, '16 Lakes Regions Champions)
  • Swimming
  • Basketball ('12 New England Champions, '13 National Champions, '15 New England Champions)
  • Ice Hockey
  • Wrestling ('08, '10, '11, '12, '13 New England Champions)
  • Dance (co-ed)

Spring Teams

  • Baseball
  • Crew
  • Lacrosse
  • Golf
  • Softball
  • Tennis
  • Track ('07 New England Champions)
  • Ultimate Frisbee ('07, '08, '12, '16 New England Champions)
  • Boys' Volleyball ('05, '08, '11, '12, '14, '16 New England Champions)
  • Dance (co-ed)
  • Outdoor team (co-ed)

Arts Programs[edit]

Rhodes Arts Center

The 65,000-square-foot (6,000 m2) Gold LEED certified Rhodes Arts Center (at right) opened in fall 2008. The RAC is the home of all of the arts programs at NMH. It houses two concert performance spaces, a black box theater, two dance studios, an art gallery, classrooms, art studios, practice rooms, and faculty offices. Additionally, the RAC is home to the Class of 1958 Carillon, which was originally installed in Sage Chapel in 1924. The funds to make the move possible were spearheaded by the combined MH and N classes of '58. It can be played via an electronic keyboard situated in the bottom of the bell-tower. Memorial Chapel houses the schools own tracker action organ. Andover Organ Company Opus 67, completed in December 1970 and donated by Kenneth H. Rockey is a 2 manual 27 stop, 37 rank tracker organ with a pedal compass of 30, and a manual compass of 56.[3]

Performing groups include:

  • Symphony Orchestra
  • Chamber Orchestra
  • Concert Band
  • Concert Choir (performs two Christmas Vespers concerts every year, on campus and in either Boston or New York)
  • Jazz Ensemble
  • World Music Combo
  • Stage Band
  • Three student-run a cappella groups: Northfield Mount Harmony (co-ed), Hogappella (all male), the Nellies (all female)
  • NMH Dance Company and Junior Dance Company (three major productions each year)
  • NMH Singers
  • Select Women’s Ensemble
  • NMH Pianists
  • Theater: performs three major plays a year, one musical, and a student-directed one-act festival

NMH also produces an annual arts and literary magazine, Mandala, as well as two student-run newspapers, The Bridge and The Hermonite.

Co-Curricular & Extra-Curricular Groups, Classes, and Activities[edit]

Many of the activities that NMH students are involved in are considered classes or part of the work program; others are organized outside the curriculum. NMH's Student Activities office provides support, services, and resources for student organizations, including places to meet, materials, and funding.[4] Organizations are listed below.[5]

General Leadership Positions include Resident Leaders (RLs), who help run the dorms and serve as role models and mentors to dorm residents; International Ambassadors (IAs), who mentor international students and work to promote diversity throughout the year; peer mediators, who help settle student conflicts; and Student Congress representatives, who are elected by their peers and work directly with the school administration to propose new rules or improve existing ones.

Clubs and Organizations There are dozens of clubs on campus, many of which are launched by students and which vary from year to year, depending on student interest. These include:

  • NMH Outreach: The umbrella program, overseen by school staff, for many volunteer efforts that occur on and off campus.
  • Robotics Club: The club participates in annual RoboCup Competitions and, as the 2011 American champion team, competed in the international RoboCup 2011, in Istanbul.
  • Debate Society: Debaters test their skills against one another and in interscholastic competition.
  • Science Club/GEECS (Geecs for Electronics, Engineering, Computers, and Science): For students interested in technology and science. Notable projects over the years have included building the school's first email system and hosting its own server (named Ishmael) and website.
  • Peer Education: Students are selected and trained to be tutors.
  • WNMH: The school’s online radio station broadcasts 24 hours a day around the globe with student and faculty DJs.
  • Ecoleaders: Student leaders who organize sustainability projects around campus that educate the community.

Multicultural Affinity Groups

  • American Indian Students Association (AISA)
  • Chinese Speaking Students Association (CSSA)[6]
  • Korean Students Association (KSA)
  • Circle of Sisters (COS) – Nurtures the intellectual, social, professional, spiritual and physical growth of women of African-American, Hispanic, and Caribbean descent.
  • Gay–Straight Alliance (GSA), also known as Gender and Sexuality Alliance – Group interested in equality for all, focusing on issues facing those of non-binary genders and alternate sexual orientations.
  • Francophone Organization for More Awareness of Global Equity (FROMAGE)-Group interested in raising money for causes in French-speaking countries as well as general awareness of the surrounding world.
  • The Brothers – This group is focused on developing leadership, solidarity and support networks for male students of color.
  • Muslim Students Association (MSA)
  • Spanish and Latino/a Students Association (SaLSA)
  • Whites Examining Racism and Culture (WERC) – An anti-racist group explores the racial and cultural identities of white Euro-Americans in the context of race relations in the US.
  • Asian American Student Association (AASA)
  • Jewish student Association (JSA)

Spiritual Life

  • Breakaway (Christian fellowship) - Student led fellowship group that meets off-campus to sing worship songs and enjoy fellowship. The school does not financially support Breakaway, its largest Christian organization.
  • Deacons of the Church of Christ (Protestant) - Currently inactive. Some of the Deacons recently protested against some decisions made by Rev. Lee-Ellen Strawn, as she included Qu'ran quotes and Buddhist meditation in her service.
  • Interfaith Council
  • Jewish Student Union – provides support for Jewish life at boarding school; has weekly shabbat services and celebrates all major holidays.
  • Korean Christian Fellowship
  • Muslim Student Association

Notable Alumni[edit]

The following is a sampling of notable alumni of Northfield Mount Hermon School, organized by graduation year. NMH has the largest living alumni population among all boarding schools in America — roughly 30,000.[citation needed]



  1. ^ Taylor Smith, "History of the Association," The Phillipian (Phillips Academy), February 14, 2008
  2. ^ Jerusalem. "And Did Those Feet In Ancient Time". Wikipedia. Wikipedia. Retrieved 30 March 2017. 
  3. ^ Lawson, Steve E. "ID7002". OHS Pipe Organ Databse. OHS Pipe Organ Databse. Retrieved 30 March 2017. 
  4. ^ Student Activities office, NMH website Archived May 25, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ Complete listing of clubs & organizations, NMH website Archived February 16, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an "Prominent Alumni | Northfield Mount Hermon". Retrieved 2011-08-02. 
  8. ^ "Hasok Chang CV" (PDF). University College London. 2009-12-21. Retrieved 2016-05-14. 
  9. ^ Josh Sharma

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 42°40′02″N 72°29′03″W / 42.667259°N 72.484145°W / 42.667259; -72.484145