October 4, 2021
Dear Members of the Amherst College Community:
I write with an update on the search we will undertake to select the 20th president of Amherst College.
A Presidential Search Committee of 16 members has been formed, including two students, two members of the College staff, three faculty, one from the alumni and eight trustees. While the committee, by necessity, is small compared to the depth and breadth of our community, we will spend substantial time seeking input from all constituencies on the important values, vision, accomplishments and character of our next president. I look forward to frequent conversations and opportunities for listening to our faculty, staff, students and alumni.
We will approach this process with a collective spirit, to define a role that will support and build on the fundamental mission and values of Amherst College and be an engaged and thoughtful leader of our large and extraordinary community. Broadly, there will be three stages to the search process:
- Learning & Definition: Through discussions with the community, define Amherst today; identify broad goals, challenges and opportunities for the College’s 20th president; and create a “definition paper,” a profile to draw the best candidates.
- Candidate Discovery & Outreach: Based on the committee’s work in the first stage, and with input from our search firm, identify compelling candidates and conduct preliminary candidate outreach, as appropriate.
- Evaluation & Recommendation: As the process evolves, the committee will interview a slate of promising candidates to develop a short list of top candidates. Those finalists will be further interviewed and vetted, after which the committee will make a recommendation for our 20th president to the Board of Trustees.
The final decision regarding the selection of our next president belongs to the Board of Trustees, per the bylaws of the College.
As part of the Learning & Definition phase of the selection process, we seek your counsel. Over the coming weeks, we will schedule multiple venues to learn your thoughts on the blend of characteristics and values that would best define Amherst’s next president, as well as identifying the next president’s essential challenges and opportunities. We encourage you to attend one of these sessions or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To support the Committee’s work, we have retained Isaacson Miller, a leading search firm in higher education and nonprofit leadership. Specific candidate suggestions should be sent directly to the firm at email@example.com.
We have also established a Presidential Search page on the College’s website to keep the community apprised of the Presidential Search Committee’s work and its communications.
We intend to complete the search later next spring, to provide for a seamless transition over the summer of 2022.
I want again to thank President Martin for her continuing commitment to and passion for Amherst. The academic year is off to a vigorous and busy start; our remarkable faculty, staff and students will make 2021-22 a year of progress and excitement on campus, and our alumni continue to participate in an astonishing range of programming and College-related work.
Thank you so much for all that you do for our College, this special place. Amherst is strong and fortunate, because of all of you, your engagement, your care and your support. We undertake this important effort with both confidence and high expectations for its success.
Andrew J. Nussbaum ’85
Chair, Board of Trustees and Chair, Presidential Search Committee