Bicentennial Trailer Transcript
She asked me for my essay, I had a copy of it printed out. So she read it and then said, "Put Amherst." I typed it in, I submitted to Amherst, then went home to Mubende.
That first week when I arrived on campus, it's a bit of a blur now.
Meron Hirpa: I remember my first day on campus very vividly. My dad gave me this five-page letter that he'd written, telling me how proud he was and giving me some advice on college and things like that.
Since 1821, Amherst College has prepared critical and creative thinkers.
Chris Lehane: I had come from a really good and decent Maine public school, but the caliber was just a totally different level. And I realized very quickly how hard I was going to need to work just to be able to keep up.
It took all the stuff that I knew about geology and fossils and put it into a context. The context utterly surprised me, and that set the course for the rest of my life.
Now, in 2021, our mission continues.
My classes put all the pieces together and showed me what the picture is.
For our bicentennial we are celebrating all that has made Amherst remarkable. Come, join us again. We’re old friends and you’ll be quite at home with us. Tony Jack: Amherst was a place where I finally felt I can be wholly me.
So, I became the president of Amherst College and one of the first weeks I was on campus, I passed by two young men, obviously students, sitting on a bench outside of Val. I stopped, and asked what they were talking about, and here’s what they said: We’re comparing Infinite Jest to James Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. And I remember thinking “oh my gosh, I’ve arrived in heaven.”
I remember meeting some wonderful people, immediately bonding with them. And those women are still some of my closest and dearest friends.
To me, the value of a liberal arts education at Amherst was learning to think across disciplines.
I know that people say math and music are connected, but for me, it's music and prose, it's music and stories, it's music and struggle.
I think the most important lesson I learned from Amherst is something that I'm still learning, which is to go outside your comfort zone.
I had a profound moment, looking out the window: suddenly I decided I would go up and stand in the chapel, and vows were made for me at that moment. And I decided that there was nothing in the world that I would rather do than come back and teach at Amherst.
For two centuries, Amherst College has offered a liberal-arts education—one which develops a student’s potential for understanding possibilities, perceiving consequences, creating novel connections and making life-altering choices. Join us in celebrating our Bicentennial as we spotlight the lives and stories of 10 alumni in the podcast Amherst at 200: Celebrating Mind, Heart, and Community, hosted by me, Jeffrey Wright, Amherst class of 1987.
Amherst re-engineered my brain a little bit and made it more able to think.
We’ll look back at how both students and the College have grown over the past 200 years.
I came into Amherst not necessarily thinking that one could live a life of consequence, and I left Amherst knowing that one was, in fact, going to live a life of consequence.
And look forward to the next 200 years.
We can craft what is to come, if we only had the courage and the imagination and the will to do so.
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