Where Our Past Meets Our Future
On the Mountain
This is, without a doubt, an exciting time for the IMS community. The 2022-2023 school year will mark the 100-year anniversary of Indian Mountain School, and we are eager to celebrate our founding and enduring values while simultaneously working to ensure a bright and promising future.
Guided by our strategic plan, Courage to Climb, over the last five years we have expanded upon and enhanced our curriculum; better utilized our beautiful, 600-acre campus; and strengthened our already robust arts and athletic programs. With a strong foundation in place, we are looking ahead to next year and beyond with hope, enthusiasm, and optimism. We will continue to bring relevant and purposeful enhancements to our curriculum on each campus. We will propel our work in and commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. And our campuses will be bustling with the development and construction of new and reimagined community spaces that will provide space to further connect our community.
There is much to be proud of and excited for as we enter our Centennial year. Despite the challenges presented by the last few years, we have discovered even greater capacity for community building, connection, and purpose, and we will continue to foster in our students the relationships, compassion, resiliency, and adaptability necessary for a changing world.
We look forward to kicking off our celebratory festivities with each of you in the months ahead, and to celebrating our first century and our next 100 years!
Jody Reilly Soja P’22’24
Head of School
Christopher Sanger ’86 P’18’20
President of the Board of Trustees
Life Through Service
Our Founding Story
It is no accident that the words “Life Through Service” are carved into a plaque that hangs above the entrance to our Upper Campus Assembly Hall. Indian Mountain School was founded by Francis Behn Riggs in 1922 on the simple idea that education has the power to create change and end conflict. Originally known as The Riggs School, Indian Mountain School began as a working farm and school for “boys of modest means.” Students studied core academic subjects, agricultural practices, and the importance of selflessness and giving back. Their education was rooted in traditional learning experiences and drew on the natural beauty and resources of the land. The motto “Life through Service” was at the core of the School’s mission, and continues to guide the program and experience at Indian Mountain School today.
In 1922, Francis Behn Riggs restructured and renamed his inaugural “Riggs” school. “Indian Mountain School,” named after the mountain on campus, became a boarding school designed to prepare boys for the entrance to secondary school and college. Still deeply affected by the First World War, Mr. Riggs adopted his motto “Life Through Service” and applied it to Indian Mountain. Students became stewards of the land, learning about agricultural best practices and continuing to supply the School’s kitchen with vegetables from the farm. By 1928, the enrollment reached 30 boys.
That November, tragedy struck when the main school building burned completely. Riggs was able to raise the substantial funds needed to construct the present structure in time for school in September 1929, just months ahead of the stock market crash. At that same time, the School was incorporated not-for-profit and chartered under the laws of Connecticut to “maintain forever a school for the training and education of boys and young men.” After donating his farm and home to the school, Mr. Riggs transformed the once secondary school into a junior boarding school for children in grades 1-8, the idea of service at its core. The new building, designed for forty students and their instructors, was full that fall.
By the end of the decade, following the Great Depression and the early years of the war, Riggs decided to retire after serving the school for 23 years. In June, 1939, Mr. William M. Doolittle was appointed as the School’s second Headmaster, and over the course of more than 30 years brought significant changes and expansions to IMS. For the first time, day students were accepted under Mr. Doolitte’s leadership, and in 1941 the school enrolled its first female students, eventually leading to Indian View School, a boarding school for girls.
Throughout the years, Indian Mountain School has remained true to its founding motto. “Life Through Service” represents more than a plaque on a wall. Our founding motto endures as a motivating principle for our community and program. As we move into our next century, we are looking closer at what “service” truly meant to our founder Mr. Riggs, and what it means to us today. Recently, a group of IMS administrators sought to examine the relevance of our motto and its place within the school in the 21st century. The driving question was, “Why Service?” Their answer speaks volumes about our motto’s lasting purpose and the way it informs the IMS experience.
Service is compassion in action. It is making one’s respect for the world and its inhabitants manifest. It’s the honest, altruistic response to the indisputable fact of our interdependence. At IMS, we cultivate students whose sphere of concern starts at home, but extends to neighbors and the people of every nation.
Celebrating 100 years
On October 14, 2022, the IMS community, alumni and friends marked our centennial with the ribbon cutting for our new Field House and Centennial Field, followed by athletic games, family fun, music and fireworks.
Then and Now
Save the Date
Events and Celebrations
International Centennial Celebration
We kicked off our centennial celebrations in Seoul, gathering with our international alumni and friends.
NYC Centennial Celebration
Join us on Thursday, December 1, as we celebrate 100 years on the Mountain! Ticket includes drinks and hors d’oeuvres.
Centennial Alumni Weekend
Return to the Mountain for a fun-filled weekend!
Details to Follow
Honoring Our Land
And Those Who Came Before Us
IMS Land Acknowledgement Statement
Drafted October 2021
We acknowledge that Indian Mountain School is located on the ancestral land of the Mohicans, currently referred to as the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians, “the people of the waters that are never still.” We thank them for their strength and resilience in protecting this land, and aspire to uphold our responsibilities according to their example.
We are expanding our archives to celebrate 100 years of IMS! Please contact us to share photos, memories, or messages from your time on the Mountain.
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