Mission & History

Our Mission

Together, we teach and learn skills that foster the courage to discover our voices, develop old and new passions, practice balance in the pursuit of excellence, and collaborate in building vibrant, inclusive, and sustainable communities.

Our School Motto

Non Sibi Sed Aliis is Latin for “not for self but for others.” At Govs, we live that motto every day, from small kindnesses to sustainability initiatives to volunteer efforts. You will notice shared values of gratitude and service to others among our students. From collaborations with Special Olympics and the American Cancer Society to contributing to personal causes and passions, we have so many opportunities to give back.

Our Long History

The Governor’s Academy is the oldest boarding school in New England. Founded by bequest of Governor William Dummer in 1763, Govs opened its doors more than a decade before our nation was born. Our school sits on a beautiful 456-acre campus, once part of a working farm with crops of rye, fruit trees, and grazing sheep.

Watch our 250th celebration video


As the oldest boarding school in New England, The Governor’s Academy possesses a treasure trove of historical materials. From the Document of Incorporation of Dummer Academy to decades of class photos to letterman jackets from the 1950s, these artifacts and documents are stored in The Ragle Archives Room in the Carl A. Pescosolido Library. 

The Archives


In 1763, the doors of the Little Red Schoolhouse opened under Master Samuel Moody, the school's first headmaster. Moody was known for his philosophy of education, which strayed from the norm of the day. Instead of insisting on silence in the classroom, which he thought could be more distracting than noise, he encouraged his students to study aloud. The Little Red Schoolhouse was reconstructed in 1938 by designer William Graves Perry, the same architect selected to reconstruct Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia. 


Marking our campus’ location thirty-three miles from Boston and five miles from Newburyport, the Milestone sits on Middle Road in the center of our campus. Commissioned by the Dummer family in 1708, the Milestone has been an important campus landmark throughout our school’s history. By installing a stone like this on their property, the Dummers solidified their importance within the community and provided a guidepost for travelers. The Milestone was most recently restored in the spring of 2018. 


Over the years, The Governor’s Academy has been entwined with many historical figures. Paul Revere created our first school seal. Samuel Adams and John Hancock signed our school’s Incorporation charter. John Quincy Adams served as secretary to our Board of Trustees. Theophilus Parsons, author of the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780, attended our school. Booker T. Washington Jr. starred on the football team in the early 1900s. Yu Kil Chun, a famous social reformer and the first Korean to study in the West, attended our school.