Biddy Martin speaks at Commencement 2020

In-Person Commencement for the Class of 2020

Watch video of Biddy Martin’s remarks at the special, in-person Commencement for the Class of 2020, held on June 11, 2022.

Biddy waving to the crowd after receiving a special honorary degree at Commencement 2022

Presidential Address: Commencement 2022

Watch video of President Biddy Martin’s address to the Class of 2022.

A graduate approaches President Martin to receive his degree

Presidential Address: Commencement 2021

Watch the video and read a transcript of President Biddy Martin’s address to the Class of 2021.

Biddy Martin giving a speech on the Amherst College quad

Convocation 2021

New students, professors and the College’s president flocked together to talk about “the thing with feathers.”

President Martin wearing regalia in her home

Presidential Remarks: 2020 Virtual Celebration

Hear President Martin’s remarks at the virtual celebration of the Class of 2020.

A collage of Biddy Martin speaking, a word cloud, a Zoom call and a person receiving a diploma

Convocation 2020

On Sunday, August 23 President Biddy Martin welcomed first-year students and awarded honorary degrees to faculty members during a virtual version of the traditional Convocation ceremony.

President Biddy Martin speaking at the podium during commencement

Presidential Address: Commencement 2019

Under the oaks and maples on the Quad, President Martin urged 471 new graduates to learn from the trees “what gives our lives their source and beauty—our interdependence and our belonging.”

Biddy Martin giving a speech in Johnson Chapel

Convocation 2019: Celebrating the Liberal Arts

In her Convocation remarks to the Class of 2023, President Biddy Martin offered not a defense but a celebration of the liberal arts, and the kind of education and community provided at Amherst College.

President Martin speaking during Family Weekend 2019

A Conversation with President Biddy Martin: Family Weekend 2019

President Biddy Martin welcomes visiting families, answers questions from the audience, and shares anecdotes about recent events on campus.

President Biddy Martin addressing the Class of 2018 during Commencement

Presidential Address: Commencement 2018

Watch the video and read a transcript of President Biddy Martin’s address to the Class of 2018.

Biddy Martin in Johnson Chapel holding a piece of paper and wearing regalia

Convocation 2018

In her 2018 convocation address, President Martin spoke about the egalitarian origins of Johnson Chapel, its significance to the College, and the presidents and trailblazers represented in oil paintings on its walls.

President Biddy Martin at Homecoming 2018, Amherst College

Homecoming 2018

President Biddy Martin addressed homecoming visitors on Saturday, Nov. 10 in Johnson Chapel.

Biddy Martin giving a speech in front of a sign reading Amherst

Convocation 2017

In an address that focused on American values and the principle of academic freedom, President Biddy Martin told new Amherst students that hope lies “in our interactions with each other” and in “the pursuit of truth.”

Biddy Martin addressing the community in Johnson Chapel

Biddy Martin Speaks About Amherst’s Enduring Values

President Martin spoke about unparalleled quality in the liberal arts, educational opportunity, and the cultivation of friendship as a private good and civic necessity in this speech from Nov. 9, 2016.

Biddy Martin giving a speech in front of a sign reading Amherst

Convocation 2016

President Martin addressed incoming students at Convocation on Monday, September 5, 2016 in Johnson Chapel.

President Martin delivers Commencement 2016 address

Commencement 2016

“A great liberal arts education should be a leading source of resistance to anti-rational forces of manipulated fear and hatred,” President Biddy Martin told the graduating Class of 2016.

President Martin homecoming 2015

Homecoming 2015

On October 24, 2015 President Biddy Martin facilitated a conversation in Johnson Chapel with alumni, families, students and friends at Homecoming.


Conversation with Alumni and Parents, Fall 2015
September 24, 2015—In this webcast, President Biddy Martin answered questions submitted by alumni and parents.

Convocation Address 2015
September 7, 2015—Colleges “protect the free pursuit of knowledge for the good of society,” said President Biddy Martin in her welcoming address to the Class of 2015. 

Commencement Address 2015
May 24, 2015—President Biddy Martin urged the Class of 2015 to follow the example of famous alumnus and legal activist Charles Hamilton Houston and restore faith in our society’s institutions by remaking them. 

Conversation with President Martin, Homecoming 2014
November 8, 2014—Introduced by Kerry Brennan ’77, chair of the Executive Committee of the Alumni Council, President Martin spoke to alumni and the campus community. 

Convocation Address 2014
September 1, 2014—President Biddy Martin quoted DeMott’s idea of a good classroom as “one in which collaborators enjoy a stretch of intelligently active, sympathetic engagement with one another,” and extolled the value of both teaching and learning on campus. 

Conversation with President Martin, Reunion 2014
May 31, 2014—The president was joined by Cullen Murphy ’74, chair of the Board of Trustees. Their remarks preceded the annual meeting of the Society of the Alumni, presided over by the chair, William H. Woolverton ’73, P’17, ’12. 

Commencement Address 2014
May 25, 2014—Quoting poet and alumnus Richard Wilbur, President Martin urged the Class of 2014 to celebrate achievements and “ramify.” 

Conversation with President Martin, Family Weekend 2013
November 2, 1013—Biddy Martin addressed parents and answered questions during her annual Family Weekend Conversation. 

Conversation with President Martin, Homecoming 2013
October 19, 2013—Biddy Martin addresses alumni, families, students and friends at Homecoming, quoting from JFK’s 1963 speech at Amherst. 

Convocation 2013: President Martin Urges “Bridging” Friendships
September 3, 2013—President Biddy Martin took on those who question the value of a liberal arts education. 

Conversation with President Biddy Martin, Reunion 2013
June 1, 2013—During the annual meeting of the Society of the Alumni, President Biddy Martin spoke about the state of the college and answered questions from alumni. 

Commencement Address 2013
May 26, 2013—Quoting the poet Rainer Maria Rilke, President Martin exhorted the graduating members of the Class of 2013 to remain true to their liberal arts educations, and “hold to your desire for thought, hold to your desire for poetry.”

Homecoming 2012
November 10, 2012—Biddy Martin spoke with alumni, families and friends about the issue of sexual respect on campus, and, more broadly, about student life at Amherst. 

Convocation 2012
September 3, 2012—President Martin addressed the Class of 2016.

Commencement 2012
May 20, 2012—President Biddy Martin delivered the 191st Commencement Address at Amherst College.

Family Weekend 2011
Nov. 5, 2011—President Biddy Martin spoke to parents and families attending Family Weekend, and answered questions. She was introduced by Allen Hart, Dean of Students and professor of psychology. 

Homecoming 2011
October 22, 2011—During her first Homecoming Weekend, Biddy Martin conversed with alumni and visitors about Amherst’s planned new science center, rising costs of higher education and her own visions for the future of the college. 

Inauguration of Biddy Martin, 19th President of Amherst College
October 16, 2011—On Sunday, October 16, 2011 Amherst College inaugurated its 19th president, Carolyn “Biddy” Martin. After receiving her honorary degree and symbolic gifts from the college, President Martin spoke. 

Convocation 2011: Welcome, “Class of Irene”
September 5, 2011—President Biddy Martin, in her first Convocation address, noted similarities between her own recent arrival and that of the Class of 2015, and urged first-years to “treasure what Amherst has and what Amherst is: an unapologetic love of inquiry.” 

Introducing the 19th President of Amherst College: Biddy Martin
June 16, 2011—On Thursday, June 16, at 11 a.m., an all-college meeting was held in Johnson Chapel to introduce Biddy Martin, the 19th president of Amherst College.