Hill’s school colors reflect a history of division


The Memorial Room wall features names of Hill veterans to honor their service to the country. Photo by Carrie Shang ’23

Four scores and 9 miles from Gettysburg stood our magnificent campus, a then calming presence over the civil war. Even during times of turmoil, Hill has stayed true to its principles of connection and above all else truth. 

Founded in 1851 by Mathew Meigs just 10 years after Hill’s opening, the Civil War broke out. Many then-current students joined the battlefield, and those who gave their lives in service can be found in the Memorial Room. During this time of separation, Hill took a formidable first step in unification, by adopting blue and grey as its official colors. The Union blue represents the enrolled from up north, and the Confederate grey for those from the south, resulting in our split H. Paul Chancellor describes this in his book published in 1976, informing readers that our H is split in half to represent the entirety of the United States during that time. 

Hill was put in a unique position, unlike most boarding schools, due to its location. As Lou Jeffries, the head of archives, describes it, Hill is either “the northernmost southern boarding school” or the “southernmost northern boarding school.” Either Definition of our beloved school caused conflict thus leading to Hill’s decision. 

161 years after this adoption was made our current community has expressed many opinions about the Hill’s blue and grey. Richard Liu ’26, a 3rd former, said that he believes the colors to be “a symbol of unity, between the Confederates and the Union.” He goes on to say that while understanding the historical significance is necessary, we should treat them “simply as colors that represent The Hill School.” 

Many other community members express similar perspectives about our colors. While the war will always be a part of our history, it has now become a beautiful aspect of Hill, symbolizing truth and togetherness.  

“Since the war, the colors have since evolved from Union Blue and Confederate Grey to just Blue and Grey,” Brody Family Intern Chris Schiavone ’16 said. “The Hill during the Civil War and The Hill now is very different, and that the war doesn’t have much to do with how we currently operate or run.”  

Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “We are not makers of history, we are made by it.” Eight score and 11 years ago our school were founded with one motto: “Whatsoever things are True.” Through times of turmoil, Hill has never wavered from this line. When we enroll at Hill, we become part of its history while also taking up the responsibility of continuing the legacy of its time-honored traditions and values.  

As our nation and the world around, us continue to be thrown into tumultuous times, let us remember Hill’s legacy after the Civil War, a place to bring people together to create something as unique as the colors on our logo.