History

Northfield Mount Hermon was founded by 19th-century evangelist Dwight Lyman Moody as two institutions,

Northfield Seminary for Young Ladies in 1879 and Mount Hermon School for Boys in 1881. The schools aimed to educate young people who had limited access to education because they were poor. Moody hoped to create generations of committed Christians who would continue his evangelical efforts.

The Bible was the primary classroom tool in the early days, but religious instruction was accompanied by a challenging academic program similar to that of other private secondary schools of the era.

Another factor that distinguished the schools (and continues to do so today) was the manual labor required of all students. At Northfield, girls worked 10 hours per week, helping prepare meals or cleaning dormitories. At Mount Hermon, boys performed janitorial, laundry, kitchen, and farm work. The work requirement has shrunk over the years (it is now four hours per week), and while students still help in the dining hall and on NMH's farm, they perform a variety of other jobs as well.

The schools enrolled students from all races and ethnicities; 16 Native Americans were among the first 100 students at Northfield, and Mount Hermon's first graduates included a former slave as well as students from China, Sweden, England, Ireland, Canada, and Japan. NMH maintains this commitment to diversity, with students of color making up 20 percent of the student body and 23 percent coming from other countries.

After Moody's death in 1899, his eldest son, William, continued his father's work at the schools. The younger Moody pushed for consolidating the two schools into a single corporation called the Northfield Schools. Throughout the 20th century, a new Christian view was taking hold, stressing social justice and good works in place of personal salvation. Working to find opportunities for students of color, the schools first established a relationship with the National Scholarship Service and Fund for Negro Students in the 1940s, then with A Better Chance in the early 1960s, and for the past 50 years, with Upward Bound.

In 1971, Northfield and Mount Hermon became a single coeducational school. The school consolidated to the Mount Hermon campus in September 2005, and the Northfield campus was sold in 2009.

A bird's eye view

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Gretel Schatz

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Becca Malloy

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Mary Hefner

I love teaching AP Bio. The kids are highly motivated.

Faculty Profiles
Mitike

This past summer, I increased my awareness of my identity by reconnecting with my native country, Ethiopia.

Ryan

“I don’t think I would be anywhere near the person I am today if it wasn’t for NMH. It’s enlightened me about so many different things, and I’ve met people from everywhere you can imagine.”

Josh

In my old school, I never saw myself as someone who could be a Division I player one day. Now I can.

David

"One of my biggest influences has been my math teacher. He built this love of math in me—specifically, the idea that math can be used to interpret the world." 

Lila

"The fact that everything is here at my fingertips has really helped me grow."

Ismini

"Almost all of our classes are conversation-based, which means that you're totally engaged in classroom discussion."

Noah

"I enjoy helping my friends, and it's given me a new respect for teachers. I may even go into teaching myself one day."

Isaac

"In VOTES, I learned how to prepare and present—skills I drew on in Washington."

Yvonne

 "This year, I'm field hockey captain. I enjoy giving advice and support."

David

“I like that you can start completely new things. You can reinvent yourself.”

Maggie

Dance has taken this creative learner on an artistic journey. 

Xiaoxian (Lily)

 “My teachers told me to use my own voice, and they pushed me to think about what I really believed in.”

Abby

"The curriculum here is hard, but it’s the right amount of hard."

Ngone

“The academics are extremely rigorous, but because of the way teachers present things, it’s like, ‘I have school today!’”

Eli
Eli

“The learning you can do in a study-abroad program can outweigh anything else you can do even at a school like this.” 

Kevin

“NMH encouraged me to explore new things, try everything, and see what’s best for me.”

Isabella

“You’ll always find a place here as long as you just be yourself.”

Melvin

“There is a community here that cares about you.”

Student Profiles