The innovative character of Mount Washington College’s approach to education began with the founding of Hesser College in 1900 by Joel H. Hesser. His goal of providing individual encouragement and assistance to all students continues to be a driving principle in the culture of Mount Washington College today.
The first location of Hesser Business College was at 913 Elm Street, Manchester, New Hampshire, the former location of the Daniels and Downs Private School, which was acquired soon after the formation of Hesser Business College. After a second location opened at 1017 Elm Street, Hesser Business College moved to 83 Hanover Street, known as the Odd Fellows Building.
In 1911, Joel Hesser purchased and extensively renovated a house at 146 Concord Street, which was used by the College until 1915 when the house and land were sold for the construction of the Manchester Institute of Arts and Sciences. At the same time, Joel Hesser purchased the land across the street at 155 Concord Street to develop a new facility for the College.
In 1925, Joel Hesser purchased Bryant and Stratton’s Business College and merged it with Hesser Business College. Joel Hesser continued to own and operate the College until his death in 1945. The College continued under the leadership of his daughter, Gladys Hesser Lord. Between 1945 and 1967, Gladys Lord and her husband, Captain George Lord, maintained ownership and direction of the College, with Mildred Goff serving as Director of Operations.
In 1967, Mildred Goff began serving as President of the institution. On February 1, 1967, House Bill #68 was signed by Governor John W. King, giving approval for Hesser College to grant the Associate of Business Science degree. At that time, Hesser was accredited by the United Business Schools Association, now the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS).
Kenneth W. Galeucia became the Acting President of the College in 1971 and, in 1972, he directed the merger with Concord College, which provided associate’s degree programs in accounting, management, and computer science. In 1973, Galeucia became President of the College.
In 1975, Hesser College expanded its educational services beyond the city of Manchester by opening an instructional site in Nashua, New Hampshire, at Bishop Guertin High School. In the fall of 1979, additional Manchester facilities were obtained at 25 and 27 Lowell Street, where many of the classes were held.
In Manchester, classes and administrative services were moved to the facilities on Lowell Street in December 1980, which provided approximately 35,000 square feet of office and classroom space. In 1983, the Nashua instructional site moved from Bishop Guertin High School to the College’s newly designed facilities at Birch Pond Park. In 1985, new facilities were developed for the Portsmouth instructional site at Commerce Trust Park.
Also in 1985, more than three years of intensive program review and self-study by the administration, faculty, and students culminated in Hesser College’s recognition as an accredited member of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges Commission on Technical and Career Institutions.
In the spring of 1987, Linwood Galeucia was appointed President of Hesser College. In January 1990, Hesser College moved its Manchester location to its current Sundial Avenue location, the Hesser Center of Commerce and Education.
In 1996, the College opened its Health Sciences Division. In addition, the College expanded its library, which continues to grow; developed an Academic Skills Center; designed laboratories; and added more classrooms and faculty offices. Also that year, the New Hampshire Division of Higher Education granted the College baccalaureate-degree granting authority in criminal justice and accounting to students who graduated with an associate's degree from the College (known then as the +2 model).
In 1998, the College opened its fifth instructional site in Concord, New Hampshire. Also in 1998, Hesser College was acquired by Quest Education Corporation, an educational company. Hesser College was recognized as the Quest College of the Year for 1998–1999.
In 2000, the College celebrated its 100-year anniversary and relocated its Concord instructional site to an expanded facility on Hall Street. Quest was purchased in July 2000 by Kaplan, Inc.
In 2001, the College was approved by the New Hampshire Division of Higher Education to grant additional baccalaureate degrees in Business Administration under the +2 model. Quest changed its name to Kaplan Higher Education Corporation in December 2002. The College’s Salem instructional site relocated to a newly constructed facility on Manor Parkway in June 2004.
The College’s request to offer a Bachelor of Science in Psychology was approved in 2005 under the +2 model. In 2006, the College was granted accreditation by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) through its Commission on Institutions of Higher Education.
In 2011, the College sought and received permission from NEASC to offer two online degrees —Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and Bachelor of Science in Business Administration— beginning in early 2012. That same year, the College’s Concord instructional site relocated to Foundry Street.
In July 2013, Hesser College was relaunched as Mount Washington College, incorporating an innovative national online education platform with existing New Hampshire ground campus locations. Today, approximately 2,100 students are enrolled, studying for degrees in allied health, business, communications, criminal justice, graphic design, legal, liberal studies, and psychology and for diplomas in the field of medical assistants.