painted portrait of Gerald Penny, a young Black man, with a vibrant background

Honoring Gerald Penny

In Amherst’s history, there is no more poignant story than that of Gerald Gilbert Penny, who tragically died in 1973. Join us for a Ceremony of Remembrance on September 12, 2023, and learn more about this accomplished young man. 

A black and white photo of Amherst College student from the 1800s fading into a photo of students from present day

200 Years and Counting

Founded in 1821, Amherst College celebrated its bicentennial in 2021. See an interactive timeline, vintage photos, essays, news stories, and more (podcasts, too!).

A lithograph of the College with two buildings on a hill

An Uncommon Mission from the Start

Amherst College began in 1821 to educate “indigent young men of piety and talents.” From its start, Amherst enrolled students who might not commonly have had access to higher education. 

A group of students gathered around the 1821 statue on the quad in front of the war memorial

An Amherst Timeline

See a timeline of Amherst College milestones and notable moments, in our Bicentennial section. 

Johnson Chapel interior viewed from the podium

Johnson Chapel Portraits

Thirty-five artworks grace the walls of Johnson Chapel, including portraits of past Amherst College presidents, prominent alumni, Amherst’s first woman faculty member, and the poet Emily Dickinson.

The cover of two books: Amherst College The Campus Guide by Blair Kamen and Eye Mind Heart by Nancy Pick

Books About Amherst College

The College has published dozens of books about its people and history, including an account of the first half-century of women teaching at Amherst and a collection of historical narratives.

President Biddy Martin speaking at the podium during commencement

Past Presidents

Learn about the College’s 19 past presidents, from Zephaniah Swift Moore, who arrived in 1821, to Biddy Martin, who served from 2011 to 2022.