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Former NMH Board Member John W. Mitchell ’56 Passes Away at 83

Sept. 13, 2022 — The Northfield Mount Hermon community mourns the passing of John W. Mitchell ’56, a former member of the board of trustees and a lifelong supporter of the school. He died on Sept. 3, 2022 at the age of 83.

Mitchell spent 40 years with Pfizer Inc., retiring in 2004 as president of Pfizer Global Manufacturing (PGM). A member of the NMH Board of Trustees from 2006 to 2016, he frequently credited NMH — and, in particular, the generous financial assistance he received — for his successes. 

John W. Mitchell '56

Head of School Brian Hargrove recalled Mitchell as “a global citizen who traveled the world in his pursuit of  lifelong learning, in his work for Pfizer, and also in service to Northfield Mount Hermon. John was a remarkable citizen and servant, making it all the more appropriate that we embark on this school year with the learning theme of citizenship and service.”

Mitchell attended Yale University, graduating in 1960, and received an MBA from New York University.

In addition to his generous support of the NMH Fund, Mitchell contributed to nearly every school priority, including the rowing program and Draper Riverhouse, the Bolger Early Childhood Education Center, and numerous other campus renovation and improvement projects. In 2012, Mitchell purchased a power generator — nicknamed The Lamplighter — for the campus, in response to two consecutive harsh winters that rendered the campus temporarily without electricity. 

Board of Trustees Chair Mariah Calagione, who served on the board with Mitchell, said, “I learned early on that listening to John’s perceptive questions, hoping to emulate his commitment of always focusing on what was best for the whole school, and mirroring his joyful giving of time and resources would likely stand me in good stead.”

Northfield Mount Hermon will hold a service to celebrate Mitchell’s life on Oct. 22 in Memorial Chapel. In lieu of flowers, donations to NMH in John's memory have been requested. 

Read more about Mitchell’s life, and see his full obituary in the New York Times.