June 1, 2022
Dear Amherst Faculty, Staff, Students, Alumni, Parents and Friends,
Since President Martin announced in September 2021 her decision to retire, the Presidential Search Committee, comprising faculty, staff, students, and trustees, has been engaged in the search for our 20th president. I am pleased to write that, at its Commencement meeting this past weekend, the Board of Trustees unanimously approved the committee’s unanimous recommendation to appoint Michael A. Elliott ‘92 as Amherst College’s 20th president.
During the committee’s work, we invited and received broad participation in this process from our community. We then produced a position profile, vetted a large number of candidates with the assistance of a prominent search firm, and conducted a series of semifinalist and finalist in-person interviews. In the position profile, we wrote:
The Amherst community seeks a president with a deep and scholarly commitment to the liberal arts, administrative leadership experience, and the curiosity and courage to be an exemplary leader of the College.
Michael’s career has demonstrated his deep commitment to each of those descriptors of importance to our community: a highly accomplished scholar; a humanist with fluency in the sciences; the outstanding dean of an excellent college of arts and sciences; deep experience in faculty recruitment and support; a record of investment in the success of students, care for staff and close engagement with alumni; and leadership of impressive strategic initiatives across a wide range of priorities. Michael emerged as the committee’s choice from an unusually deep, diverse and talented pool of candidates from the most prominent institutions, both large and small, a reminder to us all of Amherst’s leadership position in higher education.
His presidency will commence on Aug. 1, and there will be opportunities for all in our community to meet him in various settings. You will enjoy his wisdom; his passion for the liberal arts─and for Amherst College, specifically; his talent as both a listener and collaborator; his willingness to be a strategic actor; and his genuine personal decency and humility. I’m happy to share the press release announcing Michael’s appointment, as well as a video that begins to convey who he is as a person and leader.
While Amherst’s future will be both exciting and consequential, we also pause to thank President Martin for the significant achievements and progress under her exceptional leadership; our gratitude is immense. Biddy is fond of saying that “the world needs its Amhersts.” True enough, but Amherst has needed its Biddy. We look forward to seeing her on campus and in the classroom after her sabbatical year.
We owe tremendous thanks also to the members of the committee for their full commitment to the search over the past nine months, a group truly dedicated to our Amherst College community.
The Board and search committee are excited and pleased to welcome president-elect Elliott to Amherst. At the same time, the College’s future success depends on all of us, collectively. Our passion for “this place” is a shared joy, across generations, demographics, backgrounds, beliefs, interests and lived experiences. So, too, we will share in the important work that lies ahead for Amherst College in our third century.
I know you join me in enthusiastically welcoming President Elliott.
Andrew J. Nussbaum ’85