Fall Update from Head of School Robert W. Hill III

September 20, 2022

Dear Williston Northampton Alumni and Friends,

On a picture-perfect New England evening earlier this month, we celebrated the formal opening of Williston Northampton’s 182nd school year with Convocation on the lawn in front of Reed Campus Center. After an opening address from Student Council President William Chalfant ’23, we were honored to hear remarks from Robert Grenier ’72, former Director of Counterterrorism for the CIA. Though their experiences as students are separated by more than 50 years, both speakers touched on the uniquely transformative atmosphere of Williston, one that for Grenier ultimately led to a fascinating career of service, albeit one he had no idea he would embark on when he graduated. We can’t know what lives our 146 seniors—our largest senior class in recent memory—will go on to lead, but I am certain they will leave here prepared for the road ahead, having been guided and supported by our exceptional teachers, coaches, advisors, dorm parents, staff, and classmates. As always, Williston’s people are the heart and soul of the school.

This summer has been a busy one, with all areas of the school preparing for the student experience. Our campus has been refreshed with significant improvements, including a remodeled Birch Dining Commons, renovated science labs, a parquet viewing deck at the Sabina Cain Family Athletic Center, new tennis courts, a resurfaced track, and more. Our academic program, the most comprehensive in school history, now features more than 159 courses, and our Williston Scholars program continues to thrive with students pursuing college-level study in seven subject areas. In August, we also welcomed 11 new faculty members, whose biographies reveal a range of talents that will enrich our community. Finally, the trimester ahead is packed with upcoming events that include visiting artists and writers, weekend events, athletic contests, and fall arts performances. It promises to be a very exciting time indeed!

Fueling all this progress is our Williston Builds campaign, which continues to break new ground as we move towards to our $70 million goal. Deeply rooted in the headway we’ve made over the last decade, this comprehensive campaign is focused on transforming student life, investing in the many types of diversity that add depth and vitality to our community, and—as you can see in this latest video—strengthening the academic excellence that is at the core of the Williston experience. We also continue to make progress on our 5-year plan for diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (which you can read here), and are deep into the planning process for the school’s next strategic plan, which I expect to be completed by the spring of 2023. I thank all of you who contributed to our survey about school priorities over the summer. Your opinions are invaluable, and will help shape future initiatives that strengthen the values we hold most dear.

I hope to see you on campus, whether on the sidelines of a game, at a concert or play, or at one of our upcoming events this year.

Always proud of the green and blue,

Robert W. Hill III
Head of School