It was 1956 when Mrs. M. Crist Fleming founded The American School in Switzerland as the first American boarding school in Europe. Mrs. Fleming, educated at Radcliffe College and formerly the head of her parents’ school and then her own in Pennsylvania, decided to transplant the American independent-school tradition into the culturally and historically rich garden of Europe, and to invite young people from all over the world to share in the harvest. During the subsequent dizzying half century, TASIS has flourished, providing leadership in international education and opening additional schools and summer programs in England, Greece, and Spain. Through their TASIS education, well over 20,000 young people from dozens of countries have learned respect for other people, races, and cultures; for past and current endeavors in the arts and sciences; and for themselves as moral and responsible individuals. 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 which had “introduced thousands of Americans to European culture and civilization” and many foreign students to “the best that America has to offer in its education, culture, and opportunities.”
In 2000, in celebration of Mrs. Fleming’s 90th birthday, her daughter, TASIS Executive Director Lynn Fleming Aeschliman, commissioned composer-lyricist Todd Fletcher to create a musical based on Mrs. Fleming’s life. The musical had its world premiere in Montagnola in 2000 and has been subsequently performed in England and New York in 2002 and again in Montagnola in 2004.
A 10th anniversary production of the musical was performed in 2011 to celebrate what would have been Mrs. Fleming's 100th Birthday, and once more during the 60th Anniversary Celebration of TASIS in August 2016.