Northfield Mount Hermon School

Northfield Mount Hermon School, often abbreviated as NMH, is a co-educational college-preparatory school for boarding and day students in grades 9–12, along with a post-graduate year. Located in Gill, Massachusetts, it is a member of the Eight Schools Association and Six Schools League.

Northfield Mount Hermon
1 Lamplighter Way


Coordinates42°40′03″N 72°29′08″W / 42.66750°N 72.48556°W / 42.66750; -72.48556
School typePrivate, boarding
MottoEducation for the Head, Heart, and Hand
Established1879; 144 years ago (1879)
FounderDwight L. Moody
Head of schoolBrian H. Hargrove
Faculty90 (on an FTE basis)
Enrollment672 total
82% boarding
18% day
Average class size12
Student to teacher ratio6:1
Campus size215 acres (core campus), 1,353 acres (total land holdings)
Campus typeRural
Color(s)Maroon and light blue   
Athletics20 interscholastic sports; 67 teams
Mascotthe Hogger
Endowment$181 million

History edit

Marquand Hall, 1904

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. Both were "opportunity" schools created for the deserving poor who had no other means to acquire an education.

From their beginnings, both schools attracted highly diverse students. 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. Sixteen of the Northfield students who matriculated in 1880 were Native Americans, as were four Mount Hermon boys in 1882; at Mount Hermon's first commencement in 1887, one student addressed the audience "in his native language, for the representatives of the Sioux, Shawnee, and Alaskan tribes in the school."[1] An 1887 report lists 8 Chinese, 5 Indians, 2 Negroes, and 1 Japanese student at Mount Hermon; by 1889 their numbers had risen to 37 students from 15 countries, and in 1904 to 113 students from 27 countries ranging from Burma through Denmark.[2] In the 1940s it was one of a handful of American private schools with admissions for non-white students.[3]

Each student is required to hold a job on campus, working three hours a week 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. [4]

In June 2016, The Trust for Public Land and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation ensured the complete and permanent protection of 1,300 acres of forest land which was previously the Northfield campus and owned by the Northfield Mount Hermon School for over a century. Although now a permanent part of the Northfield State Forest, it had been the largest parcel of unprotected land in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The property includes woodlands, trails and a reservoir which will be managed by the DCR to ensure public access for recreation as well as serve as important habitat for wildlife.[5]

Traditions edit

  • Founder's Day[6] - In early February, NMH honors its founder, D.L. Moody, who was born on February 5, 1837. Each year on Founder’s Day, he is remembered with a special school meeting as well as a birthday dinner. A giant one-tined fork is passed from seniors to juniors. The fork has symbolic significance to NMH: It is reported that at an early commencement, a speaker stated that anyone could eat soup with a spoon, but it took a real person to eat soup with a one-tined fork. Moody was so taken with the image that he declared, “Whatever else you forget, remember that forever.” Over the years, seniors presenting the fork to juniors have interpreted the meaning of the one-tined fork differently, but everyone agrees that it represents a can-do attitude.
  • Rope Pull[7] - Rope Pull has been around since 1884, and has been held at Shadow Lake since 1926. Juniors and seniors line up on either end of Shadow Lake, take a hold of one end of a thick length of rope, and tug with all their might. Seniors often win.
  • Mountain Day [8]- A tradition that dates back to 1881, Mountain Day is a surprise fall holiday, announced to the school community a day in advance. Classes are canceled and students and faculty go hiking at the peak of foliage season (seniors climb New Hampshire’s 3,165-foot Mount Monadnock).
  • Bemis-Forslund Pie Race[9] - The annual Bemis-Forslund Pie Race is a 5K footrace named for Henry Bemis (class of 1891), who donated prizes starting in 1908, and for Gladys Hall Forslund ’26, wife of longtime Mount Hermon Athletic Director Axel Forslund. Apple pies are awarded to runners who complete the course in a specified time.
  • NMH Vespers [10]- Held in a candlelit Memorial Chapel since the 1930s, NMH 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.
  • Sacred Concert[11] - A combined choral and orchestral performance with history more than a century old, performed for the community by NMH students and faculty in early May.

Athletics edit

View of James and Forslund Gymnasiums

Mount Hermon claims to have invented the sport of Ultimate Frisbee in 1968, although Columbia High School in New Jersey has a stronger claim.[12]

Arts programs edit

Rhodes Arts Center

The 65,000 sq ft (6,000 m2) Gold LEED certified Rhodes Arts Center (at right) 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 school's 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.[13]

Extra-curricular 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.[14]

Notable alumni edit

Images edit

References edit

  1. ^ Askins, Kathryn (2009). Bridging Cultures: American Indian Students at the Northfield Mount Hermon School. University of New Hampshire. p. 116, 119-120.
  2. ^ Curry, Joseph (1972). Mount Hermon from 1881 to 1971 : an historical analysis of a distinctive American boarding school. University of Massachusetts, Amherst. p. 59-61.
  3. ^ Yoo, Paula (2021). From a Whisper to a Rallying Cry: The Killing of Vincent Chin and the Trial that Galvanized the Asian American Movement (1 ed.). Norton Young Readers. p. 166. ISBN 9781324002871. - read online
  4. ^ Official Website
  5. ^ "Northfield Forest". The Trust for Public Land.
  6. ^ NMH School
  7. ^ NMH School
  8. ^ NMH School
  9. ^ NMH School
  10. ^ NMH School
  11. ^ NMH School
  12. ^ "Ultimate Frisbee - Northfield Mount Hermon: Best Private Boarding and Day Schools".
  13. ^ Lawson, Steve E. (2015-06-11). "Andover Organ Co. Opus 67 (1970)". The OHS Pipe Organ Database. Archived from the original on 2017-03-31. Retrieved 30 March 2017.
  14. ^ Student Activities office, NMH website Archived May 25, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ 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 ap "Prominent Alumni | Northfield Mount Hermon". Archived from the original on 2011-06-18. Retrieved 2011-08-02.
  16. ^ "New Light on Belle da Costa Greene". 15 March 2021.
  17. ^ Theobald, Brianna (2016). "Nurse, Mother, Midwife—: Susie Walking Bear Yellowtail and the Struggle for Crow Women's Reproductive Autonomy". Montana: The Magazine of Western History. 66 (3): 17–35. ISSN 0026-9891. JSTOR 26322872.
  18. ^ "NMH Magazine 2015 Fall by Northfield Mount Hermon - Issuu". Retrieved 2022-12-26.
  19. ^ "Hasok Chang CV" (PDF). University College London. 2009-12-21. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-06-11. Retrieved 2016-05-14.

External links edit