To the Amherst Community:

The Board convened for its Commencement meeting last weekend, May 25-28, 2023, and I’m pleased to offer you a summary of its meeting.

Before the meetings began, several Trustees arrived on Thursday and had the opportunity for an informal conversation with several town officials, including Town Manager Paul Bockelman, State Representative Mindy Domb, Town Councilors Lynn Griesemer and Anika Lopes, Executive Director of the Amherst Business Improvement District Gabrielle Gould, and Amherst Regional Public Schools Director of Communications and Operations Debbie Westmoreland. The gathering was meant to give Trustees a chance to learn more about the challenges and opportunities before the Town of Amherst, with the intent of laying the foundation for a stronger, more strategic relationship between the College and its community.

On Friday, the Trustees received updates on the Student Center & Dining Commons project and on the impending Supreme Court decision on race in admissions. The Board also heard an update from the College’s Committee on Priorities and Resources, and attended a presentation by several students about their senior thesis projects. 

Several Trustee committees met on Friday:

  • Budget and Finance: Chair Dave Novak ’91 reviewed the final fiscal year 2024 operating budget and the current program to evaluate bank risks.
  • Buildings and Grounds: Chairs Dave MacLennan ’81 and Dwight Poler ’87 reviewed local real estate developments and possible opportunities for the College.
  • Human Resources: Chair Rejji Hayes ’97 reviewed the Dining Services cultural assessment summary and the preliminary results of the staff survey, and received an update on the ongoing staff compensation study.
  • Student Life: Chair Beth Cisneros ’89 reviewed priorities for the Division of Student Affairs and received an update on the organization of the division. The committee also received an update on the wellbeing and mental health resources and initiatives from the Center for Counseling and Mental Health and the Wellbeing Steering Committee.

The Board of Trustees convened on Saturday and voted to approve degree cases for the class of 2023, faculty appointments and promotions recommended by the administration, and several other routine matters. The Saturday meeting included two other notable votes:  

  • The Board voted to approve the budget for fiscal year 2024. The approved budget includes support for a salary increase of 4% for eligible faculty, staff and casual employees. A more detailed budget memo will be sent to the campus community next week.
  • The Board also approved the beginning of construction on the Student Center & Dining Commons, pending final negotiation of the construction contracts.

The Trustees then adjourned to participate in the activities of the 202nd Commencement of Amherst College—and thoroughly enjoyed celebrating the graduating students of the class of 2023.



Michael A. Elliott
President, Amherst College