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Northfield Mount Hermon School

Northfield Mount Hermon School, commonly referred to as NMH, is a co-educational college-preparatory school for both boarding and day students in grades 9–12 and postgraduates. NMH is a selective school with an acceptance rate of 30%. 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, Massachusetts.

Northfield Mount Hermon
Northfield Mount Hermon School seal.png
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 650 total
81% boarding
19% day
Average class size 11 students
Student to teacher ratio 6:1
Campus Rural, 215 acres (core campus), 1,565 acres (4.5 km²) (total land holdings)
Color(s) Maroon and light blue         
Song Jerusalem
Athletics 20 interscholastic sports; 67 teams
Mascot the Hogger
Team name Hoggers
Endowment $121 million (as of March 7, 2017)

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 1971 and consolidated on one campus in 2005.

NMH is a member of the Eight Schools Association, a group of elite high schools established in 1973 and 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 DayEdit

NMH offers more than 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 102 teaching faculty members, 70 percent of whom have advanced degrees. The average class size at NMH is 11 students; the student-to-teacher ratio is 6 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")

With more than 60 athletic teams in 20 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 traditional to yell out the "Bring me my arrows" section of the song (although not in formal settings).
  • Rope Pull - A giant tug-of-war held over Shadow Lake between the seniors and juniors. While typically the seniors are the victors, on a few occasions the juniors have triumphed.
  • 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 runners with a homemade apple pie. Typically run in the late fall.
  • Christmas Vespers - Held in a candlelit 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 alternately in New York and 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 school's former 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 the single 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 maintain 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.

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


View of James and Forslund Gymnasiums

All students are required to participate in some form of physical education every term, which is not limited to interscholastic sports. The school fields over 60 teams (including junior varsity teams) in 20 different sports. The football team was abolished after the 2013 season, but otherwise most other major sports are offered, and several programs (e.g,. boys' basketball, girls' swimming and both boys' and girls' cross-country) are regional and/or national powerhouses.

The sport of Ultimate Frisbee was invented at Mount Hermon in 1968. [3]

Arts ProgramsEdit

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 Mount Hermon and Northfield 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.[4]

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
  • World Percussion Ensemble
  • Stage Band
  • Three student-run a cappella groups: Northfield Mount Harmony (co-ed), Hogappella (all male), the Nellies (all female)
  • NMH Dance Companies (three major productions each year)
  • NMH Singers
  • Select Women’s Ensemble
  • 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 ActivitiesEdit

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.[5] Organizations are listed below.[6]

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:

Performing Groups

  • A Cappella Ensembles: The Nellies, a female group; Hogappella, a male group; and Northfield Mount Harmony, a coed group; all perform at on- and off-campus events. Membership is by audition.
  • Chamber Orchestra: selected symphony orchestra string players augmented occasionally by solo winds. Members are also part of the symphony orchestra.
  • Chamber Music Club: Brings together instrumentalists and vocalists to play in groups of three or four.
  • Concert Band: large ensemble open to any wind, brass, or percussion player. The group performs standard concert band repertoire, marches, and popular arrangements.
  • Concert Choir: 100+ member, mixed-voice choir open to all students; no experience necessary. The choir sings a wide variety of literature, including folk, classical, and multicultural.
  • Jazz Ensemble: advanced music group that plays a standard repertoire of big band, jazz rock, and modern jazz such as Ellington, Goodman, Hancock, and Marsalis. All members of the Jazz Ensemble must be in Concert Band or Symphony Orchestra.
  • NMH Pianists: students who perform across on and off campus throughout the year. Membership is by audition.
  • NMH Singers: selected singers who are also members of Concert Choir. The NMH Singers perform a broad repertoire and have several off-campus performances each year, including Family Days, Christmas Vespers.
  • Select Women’s Ensemble (SWE): selected female singers who are also members of Concert Choir. SWE performs a broad repertoire and has several off-campus performances each year, including during Family Days, Christmas Vespers, and Sacred Concert. This group works on building repertoire, vocal technique, sight reading, and choral skills.
  • Senior and Junior Dance Companies: coed, auditioned groups whose dancers learn modern, ballet, improvisation, and jazz. Three performances are held each year in the Rhodes Arts Center.
  • Symphony Orchestra: NMH's largest instrument ensemble, open to all string players and selected wind, brass, and percussion players. The orchestra performs in three special events each year: the Family Day Concert, the Pops Concert, and Sacred Concert.
  • Theater Lab Board: aspires to increase student involvement in on-campus theater by offering low-time-commitment activities such as the 24-hour play project, staged readings, and improv. nights.
  • Theater Program: Major productions are presented at least twice a year, in addition to smaller-scale performances. Students perform at the Rhodes Arts Center.
  • World Music Combo is a small ensemble that studies and performs a variety of world music styles. This group performs several times a year both on and off campus, including at Family Days and the fall World Music Combo workshop.

Literary Groups

  • The Bridge, one of two student newspapers, covers school events, activities, and issues, and presents views on local, national, and world issues. The Bridge has positions for news, sports, and feature writers; photographers; reviewers of books, films, recordings, and concerts; editorial writers; satirists; columnists; artists and cartoonists; layout people; and circulation and advertising staffers.
  • Gemini: The school yearbook is compiled and edited by students in the fall and winter terms and distributed in the spring. The new staff does a spring-term supplement for fall distribution.
  • The Hermonite is a student-run, biweekly publication originally established in 1888 as the student newspaper of the Mount Hermon School for Boys and resurrected in 2010. The hybrid newspaper-magazine provides news, commentary, and satire about the issues of the NMH community and beyond. The Hermonite reflects the views of its student contributors, not Northfield Mount Hermon as an institution.
  • Mandala: The NMH art and literary magazine showcases a variety of quality visual art forms as well as an equal variety of written expression. All students, faculty, and other members of the NMH community are invited to submit material. Staff positions are filled by students who possess sound critical judgment, work well to reach consensus, and who are dedicated to seeking the best work possible. The staff conducts its evaluation of material according to stated criteria.

Community Affinity Groups

  • Asian American Students Association (AASA) is an affinity group for students who identify as Asian American, providing a space for conversation and community.
  • The Brothers is focused on developing leadership, solidarity, and support networks for male students of color.
  • Chinese-Speaking Student Association (CSSA) is mostly made up of NMH Chinese students from Hong Kong, mainland China, and Taiwan. An important goal of the CSA is to arrange activities and events, celebrate important Chinese festivals, and provide mutual support and a friendly exchange of information and assistance, and share their culture with the NMH community.
  • Circle of Sisters (COS) This affinity group for women who identify as multicultural aims to promote diversity by educating and supporting women of color.
  • FROMAGE (Francophone Organization for More Awareness of Global Equality) is an affinity group whose main goal is to explore and discuss cultures, issues, and interests related to the French-speaking world through events and activities for the community. The group is open to all.
  • The Girl Effect: works with girls and those around them to create active champions of a world in which all girls reaches their full potential and the cycle of poverty is broken.
  • Indonesian Students Association: an affinity group for students from Indonesia or with Indonesian heritage
  • International Students Association (ISA) provides support for international students and helps the entire student body become more aware of different cultures. The group creates displays and organizes assemblies, association meetings, and social events. A student advisory committee made of international and domestic students organizes activities. All students (international or not) are encouraged to join.
  • Korean Student Association: This affinity group meets monthly to have a great time together. Any student with a cultural and/or ethnic Korean background is welcome.
  • South Asian Student Association (SASA): members celebrate South Asian culture through food, movies, music, etc.
  • Spanish and Latino/a Students Association (SaLSA) promotes awareness of Latino/a and Hispanic cultures. Students gather to share personal stories and take on issues that they may face as individuals and as a community. They also organize social events that are representative of the diverse cultures within the Latino/a communities.
  • Student Diversity Committee helps plan events to promote intercultural respect and acceptance, including several diversity "summits" every year and an annual campus-wide "Diversity Day" of workshops and performances.
  • Third-Culture Kid Affinity Group: aims to create and enforce a supportive community for third-culture kids, and give students with complicated cultural backgrounds an environment in which to connect, communicate with, and understand others who have had similar experiences.
  • Vietnamese Student Association: aims to provide a supportive and welcoming space for students with Vietnamese heritage and/or interest in Vietnam to maintain and promote Vietnamese culture and tradition within NMH.
  • Youth Initiative: This Asian American advocacy group increases dialogue on Asian American issues and raises awareness of the challenges Asian Americans face.

Social Concerns and Social Service

  • Amnesty International Amnesty International works to promote and protect the rights enshrined in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.
  • Animal Activist Club Through fundraising and volunteering, we aim to raise awareness for humane treatment of animals, cultivate empathy amongst the student body, and give back to the greater community.
  • Cancer Support Team Strives to raise both awareness about the many types of cancer and money for cancer research.
  • End the Silence of Relationship Violence Advocacy Group: Aims to educate the community about relationship violence and toxic relationships through dialogue and events to raise awareness.
  • Found Threads: Aims to create a community based around adoption to raise awareness in the NMH community and to provide support for other adoptees.
  • Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA): aims to create a safe space for students to meet, socialize, and discuss issues related to the LGBTQ+ community. In addition, the GSA seeks to raise both an international and domestic awareness by providing resources, support, and events.
  • Getting Ahead of Global Epidemics (GAGE): Aims to raise awareness about epidemics around the world, from ones that hit close to home (like diabetes) to others that affect millions of people around the globe (like malaria.)
  • Green Cup Challenge: builds community involvement around February’s inter-dorm competition to reduce carbon use, through events, education and creative motivation.
  • Me to We Club: this group’s stated goal is nothing less than to change the world, in ways that students can manage.
  • Operation Happy Birthday: Members spread happiness by helping low-income community residents celebrate their birthdays.
  • NMH Outreach participants volunteer in a variety of community projects and programs that range from long-term commitments—such as working with small children in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program—to programs like Community Meals that occur once per term. Students also participate in special one-day events.
  • The Prejudice Project: aims to reduce prejudice, especially Islamophobia, by educating local elementary school students about the importance of acceptance.
  • Project Joybells: Members provide education and resources for, and raise awareness about, the children of Joybells Orphanage in India. (NMH also organizes regular community service trips to Joybells.)

Religion and Spirituality

  • Atheist/Secular Humanist Students Association Provides a place for students who identify as atheist, agnostic, or secular humanist to gather, talk about experiences, and plan events.
  • Breakaway: Breakaway is a weekly, student-led, music-saturated, high-octane worship hour. Everyone is invited, even those uninterested in questions like, “If there is a God who loves me, would I want to know Him?” Held on Friday nights, students in Breakaway discuss issues like faith, friendships, and living through it all.
  • Interfaith Student Council: strives to raise awareness about religious and spiritual diversity on campus and to encourage interfaith conversations and interfaith-based service projects.
  • Jewish Students Alliance: Aims to create a space for Jewish identification and discussion through holiday celebrations and meetings.
  • Mindfulness Meditation: This group practices mindfulness meditation to bring more stillness, balance, and peace to our lives. Sessions include gentle yoga stretches followed by silent meditation and deep relaxation.
  • Muslim Students Association (MSA): Members gather to read the Quran, pray, connect with one another, educate others about Islam, and share the experience of being Muslim.
  • Nature-Centered Beliefs Group: gathers to appreciate the spiritual power and creative force that is particularly present in nature.
  • St. Edmund Campion League of Catholic Students: is a diverse group of students who identify as Roman Catholics, and those who wish to be affiliated with Catholic students.

Other Opportunities

  • Aerial Photography and Videography Club This group films in the sky, presenting the NMH campus, sport teams, and events artistically by using a drone to capture pictures and film.
  • Student Congress has a mission to improve academic and residential life at school by integrating student perspectives into the administrative process. Members are elected by their class; day student representatives are also elected.
  • Debate Society: The group trains members in the art of public speaking. Debaters test their skills against one another and in interscholastic competition.
  • The F Word: this club promotes feminism and gender equality/equity for both men and women.
  • The NMH Math Team strives to provide a place where anyone, regardless of skill level, can do math for the sheer joy of playing with numbers. It also provides a supportive competition environment, fielding very strong teams in a number of venues every year.
  • Model United Nations: The Model UN offers participants a taste of diplomacy. Students discuss present-day global issues while developing speaking and negotiation skills. NMH sends student delegates to conferences in Qatar, Jordan, and Greece, among other locations.
  • NMH Anglers Club: Members enjoy the natural beauty of the area while learning or fine-tuning their fishing skills.
  • NMH Investment Club: The group strives to teach students the benefits and art of investing.
  • Peer Educators receive training in health education to help their peers make healthy and safe choices. As Peer Eds, students serve as a resource for others and develop informative and interactive workshops.
  • Pokémon Trainers Association of NMH: aims to create a community of Pokémon enthusiasts who play the classic video games, play Pokémon Go, watch the show, collect the cards, etc.
  • Quiz Bowl: In this competitive, academic, interscholastic, trivia-style activity, players practice and may compete in tournaments.
  • Room to Read: members aim to raise awareness about literacy issues and provide financial assistance to the Room to Read international organization.
  • Science Club: In NMH’s makerspace, Science Club members collaborate on ideas they are passionate about in a supervised workshop atmosphere. Students can make anything they can dream up (except weapons).
  • Shark Club: Members work to protect and conserve the oceans and the life within them.
  • Stream News: aims to raise campus global awareness by providing students with daily one-sentence news summaries of important international affairs.
  • Student Alumni Association: members help build pride in the NMH student body through connecting current students with alumni, educating the community about philanthropy at NMH, and enhancing the student experience by providing ways to strengthen service and lifelong loyalty to NMH.
  • Super Smash Brothers Club: Members gather to play the game together.
  • WNMH Radio 106.7 FM: The school’s FM radio station broadcasts across campus and the tri-state area, with student DJs.
  • VVar: This group discusses the ethics, health, and environmental impact of a plant based/vegan diet, and cooks vegan food together.

Notable alumniEdit

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. ^ <
  4. ^ Lawson, Steve E. "ID7002". OHS Pipe Organ Databse. OHS Pipe Organ Databse. Retrieved 30 March 2017. 
  5. ^ Student Activities office, NMH website Archived May 25, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ Complete listing of clubs & organizations, NMH website Archived February 16, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  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 ao "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 linksEdit