The Unprecedented History of Utah's Only Traditional College Preparatory Boarding School
The now famous quote of Wasatch Academy's founder, Duncan McMillan, cemented not only the name of the school, but a tradition of excellence that has lasted and steadily improved for 133 years. As a Presbyterian Minister devoted to life improvement through education, McMillan opened the doors of Wasatch Academy's first school house to local residents of Utah's Sanpete County.
When Duncan McMillan arrived in Mt. Pleasant, Utah after several life changing events, he was approached by a number of local residents asking if he had ever taught school. He replied in the affirmative to their questions and the group immediately asked him to start a school and to teach their children. This group of dedicated men, even offered him a building that would house the school, complete with a mortgage that was due within one year.
When asked what he wanted to name the school, Duncan McMillan said: “Let it endure like the Wasatch Mountains, call it Wasatch Academy.” Since that prophetic statement, Wasatch Academy has stood for excellence in education through challenging and nurturing students in developing their unique capabilities as learners. Through much of its first 100 years as a Presbyterian sponsored school, Wasatch Academy primarily served students throughout the western United States whose families sought a strong academic foundation for their children. Many students came from mountainous and rural areas where schools were non-existent. Students from ranches, farms, reservations, and small rural communities came together with students from larger populated communities whose parents sought a high quality educational opportunity for their children.
In the early 1970's Presbyterian Church mission shifted nationally from large scale support of schools to serving a broader social mission. In response to this loss of sponsorship in 1974, Wasatch Academy opened for the 1974-75 school year as an independent school. Small public schools throughout the western U.S. began consolidating into larger schools. While still serving rural and local students, Wasatch Academy began attracting larger numbers of students from the metropolitan areas in the United States. Since the 1950's the school has attracted strong contingencies of students from throughout the world. Today, the school serves a student body of over two hundred, representing twenty-nine countries and twenty-five states. Wasatch Academy's ability to provide outstanding educational opportunities to a richly diverse student body is the school's greatest asset, stemming from the belief that a diversely represented school community promotes greater creativity, health, and educational value for every student attending Wasatch Academy.