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On January 1, 1799 Deerfield Academy was formally opened and dedicated with a sermon delivered by the Reverend Joseph Lyman (1749-1848), minister of nearby Hatfield, Massachusetts. The occasion was considered important enough that the sermon was published. Reverend Lyman believed that understanding equaled wisdom and that wisdom then made men useful. Deerfield Academy was one of dozens of academies opened in this period to educate young men and women.