M. Crist Fleming, Founder

As Founder and Director Emerita of The American School in Switzerland, Mrs. M. Crist Fleming was dedicated to the education of young Americans and other nationals in Europe for more than fifty years. The daughter of Mr. and Mrs. H. Miller Crist, founders and directors of the Mary Lyon School and Wildcliff Junior College in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, Mrs. Fleming graduated from Radcliffe College, Harvard University, where she studied French language and literature. She was the Assistant Director of Mary Lyon from 1933 to 1943. In 1944 she established Frog Hollow Country Day School in Lansdale, Pennsylvania, which she directed until 1955.

In the fall of 1956, Mrs. Fleming founded The American School in Switzerland, TASIS, as an experiment in international education designed to give students strong preparation for American colleges and universities, with the additional dimension of exposure to cultures and training in languages other than their own. TASIS now stands as one of the finest American boarding schools abroad. Mrs. Fleming also founded TASIS Schools in England and Greece and many summer programs in Switzerland, England, France, Spain, and Italy.

In 1983, Mrs. Fleming was honored by the U.S. Secretary of Education for her "significant efforts and tremendous contributions towards the furtherance of education at the international level." He especially recognized the TASIS Schools that had "introduced thousands of Americans to European cultures and civilizations" and many foreign students to "the best that America has to offer in its education, culture, and opportunities."

Mrs. Fleming died peacefully at home on January 27, 2009.

Read Tributes to Mrs. Fleming

Mary Crist Fleming: "A Life Well Lived"

Read more about the life of Mrs. Fleming in the H Edition Magazine cover story from their Spring 2016 issue.

H Edition Issue About MCF

Mary Crist Fleming: "A Life Well Lived"

It is often said that one person can have the power to change or influence another person’s life, but in reality it’s rare to find someone who actually has. Mrs. Mary Crist Fleming was one such rarity. Through hard work, sheer determination and tenaciously following her own personal vision, she had a positive impact upon thousands of lives over the course of her 98 years. Not only that, but the legacy she left behind, in the form of her schools and the people that run and teach in them, will continue her hugely positive influence on many children’s lives for years to come.

Read more about the life of Mrs. Fleming in the H Edition Magazine cover story from their Spring 2016 issue.

MCF: What A Life

Tribute to Mary Crist Fleming

MCF What a Life Cover

What a Life!

It is difficult to remember when the world was smaller—when air travel was a privilege and foreigners a curiosity. Travel was for those with pluck and fortitude, for those with the gumption to see beyond narrow political and social mores. Perhaps the most poignant stories in the delightful book MCF: What a Life! are those of her time before she built the School, when she was exploring Culture, earning Wisdom, learning Knowledge, and discovering her Truth. Mrs. Fleming's writing sheds light on her story, and the story of TASIS. Told in her own words and in the words of those whose lives she touched, MCF: What a Life! explores nine decades of the life that brought us all together. The book is an inspirational keepsake to forever remind us of Mrs. Fleming's spirit and joy.

Contact to purchase your copy of MCF: What a Life! for $35 (including shipping).

The Wit and Wisdom of Mary Crist Fleming

To celebrate Mrs. Fleming's centenary, TASIS published a collection of quotations from Mrs. Fleming's speeches, yearbook messages, private notes, and conversations. Edited by Lyle Rigg, former headmaster of TASIS Switzerland (1982–84, 2007–2009, and 2015–2017, and TASIS England (1984–1998 & 2009–2010), this memorial book is full of charming, witty, pithy life lessons from Mrs. Fleming.

Contact to purchase a copy of The Wit and Wisdom of Mary Crist Fleming for just $15 (including shipping).