Opening Update from Head of School Robert W. Hill III

September 13, 2021

Dear Williston Northampton Alumni and Friends,

Williston’s opening days are always a joyous occasion, and I’ve never seen more smiles than during this, Williston’s 181st start of school. Having missed this important ritual last year, students and faculty seem especially energized and eager to enjoy a more normal boarding school experience once again.

As we start off what promises to be a remarkable year, I’m pleased to share some exciting news—that the dormitory informally known as “194 Main Street” will be rechristened this fall as Wold House, in recognition of the generous philanthropic support and abiding commitment of the Wold family (former trustee Peter Wold ’67, P’06 and Marla Wold P’06; their son, Joe Wold ’06 and his wife, Chelsey Cutting Wold ’07). Peter’s past work on our Board of Trustees and his many years of volunteer work make him one of Williston’s most ardent supporters, and Joe is currently a member of our Head’s Visiting Council. The renaming of Wold House is a testament to the family’s dedication, humility, and warmth—qualities that reflect Williston at its best.

An all-campus celebration of our now-completed new Residential Quad is scheduled for Friday, October 8, at which we will formally dedicate Wold House and also celebrate our newest girls’ dormitory, Emily McFadon Vincent House, whose dedication was delayed due to the pandemic last year. Named for Northampton School for Girls alumna Emily McFadon Vincent ’49, this dormitory opened in fall of 2021 and is home to 40 girls and four faculty families.

Another cause for celebration this fall is the school’s 50th anniversary of coeducation. In 1971, Williston Academy and the Northampton School for Girls merged to become the Williston Northampton School. That historic fall, 143 young women joined the school, with 63 of them hailing from NSFG—and the school was forever transformed. We are excited to welcome that first coed class back for their 50th reunion this coming June—and to see alumni from all our classes at many other in-person and virtual alumni events planned for the coming year.

Finally, I’m delighted to welcome two new deans to our senior administration: Corinne Fogg ’99, Dean of Faculty, and Nikki Chambers, our inaugural Dean of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB). Both of these faculty members have been busy this summer digging into our history, culture, programs, and new five-year DEIB Strategic Plan, and they promise to be highly visible, as will be their other new colleagues who you can read about here. Corie Fogg was also our keynote speaker at Convocation, combining multiple roles as an alumna, dean, and highly accomplished educator of girls.

My goal for the school this year is a simple one: for all of us to reclaim the joy that so typifies the Williston experience. It has been a tough 18-month stretch for everyone, and though we need to stay vigilant and flexible in our approach to COVID-19 safety, it is important that students’ experience in the classroom, dormitories, and art studios, and on the playing fields is a joyful one. As we come out of the worst of the pandemic, I hope we can all strive to balance work and play, and in so doing, enjoy a year together like no other.

Best wishes,
Robert W. Hill III, P ’15, ’19
Head of School