Amherst College Gradutates 415 at 182nd Commencement Exercises

May 25, 2003
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.-Under cloudy skies, 415 men and women received bachelor of arts degrees today at Amherst College. Amherst President Tom Gerety, who will step down as president at the end of June after nine years, in his traditional address, asked the graduates to ask what the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates might think about the case of José Padilla, an American citizen accused of collaboration with Al Qaeda terrorists, being held without being charged. "The question for you as citizens," Gerety told the graduates, "is do we need to suspend the Bill of Rights to make the United States safe from terror?" He concluded, "Even in the midst of danger, we should never fear questions and arguments," and urged the class to remain "stubborn in the face of the world." Gerety will now become the executive director of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law School.

Sarah W. Walker '03, a double major in English and fine arts from West Hartford, Conn., confessed in her remarks to a "nostalgia for things I haven't really done" in college and urged her classmates, who chose her to speak, to remember their friends and all they learned from each other.
Nine honorary degrees were also awarded at the ceremony-to Roseanne Haggerty '82, housing activist, Asma Jahangir, advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and human rights activist; LaSalle D. Leffall, Jr., surgeon and cancer specialist; Charles Ashby Lewis '64, banker, life trustee of Amherst College and chair of its recent comprehensive campaign; Minoru Oya, chancellor of The Doshisha in Japan; Gordon Parks, filmmaker, composer and photographer; Gary Alan Sinise, actor, director and producer; and Peter Morrison Vitousek '71, environmental biologist. Tom Gerety also received an honorary degree.

The college also honored Douglas Wilson '62 with the Medal for Eminent Service. Wilson became associate secretary of the college in 1975, and in 1977 rose to the position of secretary. For the next 21 years carried the responsibility for college publications, Amherst magazine, the Amherst College Press, media relations and official events such as inaugurations, memorial services, convocations and commencements-including every annual commencement until this one. He was named college editor in 1998.

Reshaping a 19th-century tradition, the college presented each member of the Class of 2003 with a new Senior Class Cane. Jose Abad '03, an English major from Amherst, Mass., Benjamin Baum '03, a history and European Studies major from Plymouth, Mass., and Ciona van Dijk '03, a philosophy and psychology major from Glenwood Spring, Colo., members of the Friends of the Amherst College Library Student Activities Committee, originated the plan.

At Senior Class Exercises at LeFrak Gymnasium yesterday, Saturday, May 24, Pakistani human rights activist Asma Jahangir, chosen by the Class of 2003 to speak, offered a "salute to the international peace movement," which she called the "revolution of the century." "There is now no such thing as a single national interest," she said, in a talk that urged the graduates to embrace the "good side of globalization."
Jahangir, chair of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, is a United Nations Special Rapporteur on extra-judicial killings. The commission is an independent body of lawyers and activists who defend the basic human rights of women, children and religious minorities in Pakistan. Her work with the U.N. has taken Jahangir to Afghanistan, Central America and Colombia.

Benjy Caplan '03, an English major from New York City, offered humorous remarks, and Sarah M. Miller '03, a chemistry major from Dayton, Ohio, recalled the successes of the Class of 2003.
The Association of Amherst Students gave Distinguished Teaching Awards to David W. Blight, the Class of 1959 Professor of History and Black Studies, and Frederick T. Griffiths, the Class of 1880 Professor of Greek (Classics) and women's and gender studies.

The college awarded student prizes yesterday. The Howard Hill Mossman Trophy, awarded annually to the member of the senior class, who has brought, during his or her four years at Amherst, the greatest honor in athletics to his or her alma mater, the word "honor" to be interpreted as relating both to achievement and to sportsmanship, was given to Brooke K. Diamond '03 of Longmeadow, Mass.
The Psi Upsilon Prize was established by the Gamma Chapter of Psi Upsilon in 1941 on the occasion of the centennial anniversary of the founding of the Chapter. The prize was awarded to Melissa K. Mordy '03 of Issaquah, Wash., and Piercarlo Valdesolo '03 of Andover, Mass., members of the graduating class considered preeminent in scholarship, leadership, athletics and character.
The Obed Finch Slingerland Memorial Prize, given by the trustees of the college to a member of the senior class, who has shown by his or her own determination and accomplishment the greatest appreciation of and desire for a college education, was awarded to Sheila Graham '03 of Nyack, N.Y.
The Woods-Travis Prize, an annual gift in memory of Josiah B. Woods of Enfield and Charles B. Travis of the Class of 1864, is awarded for outstanding excellence in culture and faithfulness to duty as a scholar. It went to Ryan Welch '03 of Baltimore, Md.

The college presented Phebe and Zephaniah Swift Moore Awards on behalf of graduating seniors to secondary school teachers -- Frederic (Ted) Fitts '74, a history teacher at Moses Brown School in Providence, R.I., nominated by Jesse Freedman '03; Jennifer Greeley, an English teacher at Concord-Carlisle High School in Concord, Mass., nominated by Rocio Digon '03; James P. Spellicy, an economics and history teacher at Lowell High School in San Francisco, Calif., nominated by Yu-Hsuan Lee '03; and Margaret Wong, a Chinese teacher at Breck School in Minneapolis, Minn., nominated by Michael Proman '03.

Nine employees of Amherst College were named honorary members of the Class of 2003: Stan Adams of South Deerfield, Mass., the special services coordinator in the physical plant; Dave Cetto of Amherst, Mass., a server in the dining hall; Hermenia Gardner of Gafney, S.C., the retiring affirmative action officer; Donald Kells of Montague, Mass., the postmaster; Frederick P. Kucharski of Hadley, Mass., a custodian; Florent Masse of New York, N.Y., a former language assistant in French; Maria N. Rello of Easthampton, an athletic trainer; Björn Szostak of Göttingen, Germany, a language assistant in German; and Tom Gerety of Amherst, Mass., the departing president of the college.

Commencement Information and Schedule

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Amherst College Senior Andrew Foss To Study Oil Industry in Norway on Fulbright Grant

May 20, 2003
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.- Andrew Foss, a senior at Amherst College, has been awarded a J. William Fulbright Fellowship for postgraduate study in Norway. Foss will study "The Norwegian Petroleum Industry: Today and Tomorrow" in Trondheim. Foss is the son of Jane and Roger Foss of Lincroft, N.J.

In his application, Foss noted, "Norway is the world's third-largest exporter of crude oil," but asked why this Scandinavian oil power isn't as famous as its Arabian or Asian counterparts. "Like the well-behaved student who goes unnoticed by the teacher's roving eye, Norway's petroleum operation is run well enough that its stature seems smaller."

At the Norwegian University of Science and Technology at Trondheim, Foss plans to consider both technological and political aspects of the Norwegian energy industry. He has studied chemistry, economics, political science, history and languages at Amherst, in addition to his major work in physics.

At Amherst Foss played saxophone and clarinet in the college jazz band and orchestra, and was a volunteer in the college emergency medical service. The president of the German House, Foss won the German Consulate's Prize for studies in language and literature. He also received the Porter Prize for excellence in introductory astronomy and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa in 2002.

Congress created the Fulbright Program in 1946 to foster mutual understanding among nations through educational and cultural exchanges. Senator J. William Fulbright, sponsor of the legislation, viewed scholarship as an alternative to armed conflict. Today the Fulbright Program, the federal government's premier scholarship program, funded by an annual congressional appropriation and contributions from other participating countries, allows Americans to study or conduct research in over 100 nations.

Foss is one of five Amherst seniors who received Fulbright grants this year.

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Amherst College To Hold 182nd Commencement Exercises May 25

May 20, 2003
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—Amherst College will grant bachelor of arts degrees to 415 members of the Class of 2003 at Commencement exercises on Sunday, May 25, at 10 a.m. in the Main Quadrangle. (Exercises will be held in LeFrak Gymnasium in the event of rain.) Amherst President Tom Gerety, who will leave the Amherst presidency at the end of June after nine years, will give the address. Sarah W. Walker '03, a double major in English and fine arts from West Hartford, Conn., has been chosen by her classmates to speak.

Honorary degrees will also be awarded at the ceremony to Rosanne Haggerty '82, housing activist; Asma Jahangir, advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and human rights activist; LaSalle Doheny Leffall, Jr., surgeon and cancer specialist; Charles Ashby Lewis '64, investment banker, life trustee of Amherst College and chair of its recent comprehensive campaign; Minoru Oya, chancellor of Doshisha University in Japan; Gordon Parks, filmmaker, composer and photographer; Gary Alan Sinise, actor, director and producer, and Peter Morrison Vitousek '71, environmental biologist.

The college will honor Douglas Wilson '62 with the Medal for Eminent Service. The honorary marshal is George Johnson '73.

At Senior Class Exercises on Saturday, May 24, at 2 p.m. Benjy Caplan, an English major from New York City, and Sarah M. Miller, a chemistry major from Dayton, Ohio, will offer remarks. The recipients of honorary degrees will speak at 3:30 p.m. at various locations around campus; Asma Jahangir will deliver an address at Class Day Exercises at 2 p.m.

The college will award prizes at Senior Class Exercises, and present Phebe and Zephaniah Swift Moore Awards on behalf of graduating seniors to secondary school teachers Frederic (Ted) Fitts '74, a history teacher at Moses Brown School in Providence, R.I.; Jennifer Greeley, an English teacher at Concord-Carlisle High School in Concord, Mass.; James P. Spellicy, an economics and history teacher at Lowell High School in San Francisco, Calif.; and Margaret Wong, a Chinese teacher at Breck School in Minneapolis, Minn.

Commencement Information and Schedule

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Amherst College Will Honor High-School Teachers on Commencement Weekend

May 19, 2003
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.-- Four secondary-school teachers who challenged, inspired and moved members of the Class of 2003 will receive the Phebe and Zephaniah Swift Moore Teaching Awards at Amherst College's Senior Class Exercises at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 24, during Commencement Weekend.

The Phebe and Zephaniah Swift Moore Teaching Award recognizes teachers and counselors who have been important in the lives of Amherst students.

The awards this year will go to:

· Frederic (Ted) Fitts '74, a history teacher at Moses Brown School in Providence, R.I. (nominated by Jesse Freedman '03);

· Jennifer Greeley, an English teacher at Concord-Carlisle High School in Concord, Mass. (nominated by Rocio Digon);

· James P. Spellicy, an economics and history teacher at Lowell High School in San Francisco, Calif. (nominated by Yu-Hsuan Lee '03); and

· Margaret Wong, a Chinese teacher at Breck School in Minneapolis, Minn. (nominated by Michael Proman '03).

This is the seventh year that Amherst has presented the award, which is accompanied by a cash prize. The recipients are chosen by a committee of seniors, faculty and staff from nominations submitted by graduating seniors.

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Amherst College Christopher Condlin To Study History in Russia on Fulbright Grant

May 16, 2003
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.- Christopher Condlin, a senior at Amherst College, has been awarded a J. William Fulbright Fellowship for postgraduate study in Russia. Condlin will study "The Autocratic City" in St. Petersburg. Condlin is the son of Robert Condlin and Judy Dobbs of Baltimore, Md.

"St. Petersburg is a monument to the autocratic will," Condlin wrote in his application, "to the particular power of the Russian tsar to decree that swamp be made city."

Condlin plans to explore the "capriciousness of Russian despotism" at St. Petersburg State University. "I want to involve myself with Russia," he writes. "One must live in a country to understand its history. There is no better place to do this than St. Petersburg, for so many years the crown city from which the imperial will issued forth."

A double major in history and Russian at Amherst, where he was a member of the Russian Club, Condlin co-captained the men's lacrosse team his senior year, and was named to the 2003 NESCAC Men's Lacrosse All-Conference Team. He plans to attend graduate school in Russian history, looking toward a career in scholarship.

Congress created the Fulbright Program in 1946 to foster mutual understanding among nations through educational and cultural exchanges. Senator J. William Fulbright, sponsor of the legislation, viewed scholarship as an alternative to armed conflict. Today the Fulbright Program, the federal government's premier scholarship program, funded by an annual congressional appropriation and contributions from other participating countries, allows Americans to study or conduct research in over 100 nations.

Condlin is one of five Amherst seniors who received Fulbright grants this year.

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"Critical Mass" Fluxus Booksigning at Mead Art Museum at Amherst College May 30

May 16, 2003
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.- Fluxus artist Geoffrey Hendricks, Amherst College '53 and professor emeritus at the Mason Gross School of Art at Rutgers University will sign copies of Critical Mass: Happenings, Fluxus, Performance, Intermedia and Rutgers University 1958-1972 at the Mead Art Museum at Amherst College on Friday, May 30 from X p.m. until x p.m. In conjunction with the signing, the museum will present a gallery talk with Hendricks at 4:30 p.m. with a reception to follow in the museum, all free and open to the public.

Hendricks is the guest curator of the Critical Mass exhibition, which chronicles this period in paintings, drawings, photographs, texts, videos, performance scores and installations. The Rutgers group associated with Fluxus included Kaprow, Hendricks, Whitman, Samaras, Lichtenstein, Brecht and Watts. Rarely seen works by the extended circle of international Fluxus artists such as Al Hansen, Ray Johnson, Milan Knizak, Alison Knowles, Hermann Nitsch, Yoko Ono, Rafael Ortiz and Carolee Schneemann are also on display.

The Hall and Kate Peterson Fund, the David S. Mesker '53 Fund and the Amherst Art Series supported the presentation of Critical Mass at the Mead Art Museum. After its premiere at the Mead Art Museum, the show will travel to the Mason Gross Art Galleries at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, N.J., and will be on exhibition there from Sept. 29 to Nov. 5.

For further information about the exhibition and related events, call the Mead Art Museum at 413/542-2235 or visit the Web site, http://www.amherst.edu/mead.

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Douglas C. Wilson '62 To Receive Eminent Service Medal from Amherst College at Commencment 2003

May 16, 2003
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.-Douglas C. Wilson '62, a resident of Amherst who retired after 27 years in the office of public affairs at Amherst College last November, will receive the college's Medal for Eminent Service at the college's commencement exercises on Sunday, May 25.

The Medal for Eminent Service is presented to an Amherst alumnus who has demonstrated extraordinary devotion to his or her alma mater.

Wilson became associate secretary of the college in 1975, and in 1977 rose to the position of secretary. For the next 21 years carried the responsibility for college publications, Amherst magazine, the Amherst College Press, media relations and official events such as inaugurations, memorial services, convocations and commencements-including every annual commencement until this one. He was named college editor in 1998.

Wilson had worked as a reporter for The Providence Journal for 13 years, starting out in its Pawtucket, R.I., bureau and later being assigned to its news staffs in Newport, Providence and, from 1969 to 1975, in Washington, D.C. In 1975 he received the Merriam Smith Memorial Award from the White House Correspondents Association for the first news report of President Nixon's decision to resign.

As an Amherst undergraduate Wilson had majored in history and was chairman of The Amherst Student. He earned an M.A. degree in international studies from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy of Tufts University in 1964. Wilson's historical essay "Web of Secrecy: Goffe, Whalley, and the Legend of Hadley" received the 1986 Walter Muir Whitehead Prize in Colonial History from the Colonial Society of Massachusetts.

Wilson has been a member of the Western Massachusetts Broadcasting Council, and the Town of Amherst Historical Commission and Conservation Commission.

Founded in 1821, Amherst College is consistently ranked one of the nation's best colleges. Amherst enrolls 1,650 students from nearly every state and more than 40 other countries. Amherst offers the B.A. degree in 33 fields of study.

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Traditional Canes Come Back to Amherst College at Commencement 2003

May 16, 2003
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.-Reshaping a 19th-century tradition, Amherst College will present each member of the Class of 2003 with a new Senior Class Cane at Commencement exercises on Sunday, May 25.

Jose Abad, an English major from Amherst, Mass., Benjamin Baum, a history and European Studies major from Plymouth, Mass., and Ciona van Dijk, a philosophy and psychology major from Glenwood Spring, Colo., members of the Friends of the Amherst College Library Student Activities Committee, originated the plan. "Last October," Abad recalls, "we were just wondering if we couldn't revive some old college tradition." He adds, with a smile, "we quickly eliminated the idea of beanies."

Freshmen at Amherst were once required to wear the small brimless cap known as a "beanie." The cane tradition also originated in the 19th century. When a student attained sophomore status, he was allowed to wear a class top hat and carry a class cane. Sophomores bought canes and hats in styles distinctive to their class. The archives in the college library, where Abad worked last summer, contained many faded photographs of students and alumni sporting top hats and canes. There are even a few canes, some with carved signatures. (A collection of these artifacts is on display at the Robert Frost Library until May 26.)

College archivist Daria D'Arienzo says, "There wasn't much written about the canes. This is a truly visual history." One of the few written references was in an 1871 volume, Student Life at Amherst College, in which George C. Cutting detailed the cane tradition, which seemed to fall out of favor early in the 20th century, D'Arienzo notes.

The students enlisted the aid of the Friends of the Amherst College Library, the Association of Amherst Students, the Office of Alumni and Parent Programs and the Office of the President to purchase canes for this graduating class.

The dark reddish-brown chestnut canes are of the "Derby standard" type, with a handle shaped in a delicate S-curve. Gastrock, a German company that has been crafting walking sticks in the Werra Valley in the Thuringer Forest since 1868, manufactures them. The seal on the canes, which includes the class year "2003," was copied from a 19th century college glee club program in the archives.

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Amherst Biology Professor Reports on Sexual Dimorphism among Hummingbirds in Science

May 8, 2003
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.-The difference between boys and girls may result from small changes in their environment-if you're a hummingbird. Ethan J. Temeles, associate professor of biology at Amherst College, and his colleague W. John Kress of the Smithsonian Institution report in the April 25 issue of Science, that the shape and length of the bill of the male purple-throated carib hummingbird has evolved differently from the bill of the female, to better fit the flowers that provide the birds with nectar. At the same time, the flowers of the Heliconia plant have adapted to the bills of the birds that are their means of reproduction.

Temeles and Kress found evidence of ecological causes of sexual dimorphism in bill morphology of Eulampis jugularis on the islands of St. Lucia and Dominica.

The flower and the bill have co-evolved in an unusual manner. The male birds, which feed predominantly on a red-bracted variety of heliconia, have relatively short and straight beaks. The females feed on a green-bracted heliconia, and their beaks are longer and more curved.

Sexual dimorphism in bill morphology and body size of the Caribbean purple-throated carib hummingbird is associated with a reversal in floral dimorphism of its Heliconia food plants. This hummingbird is the sole pollinator of H. caribaea and H. bihai, with flowers of the former corresponding to the short, straight bills of males, the larger sex, and flowers of the latter corresponding to the long, curved bills of females.

On St. Lucia, H. bihai compensates for the rarity of H. caribaea by evolving a second color morph with flowers that match the bills of males, whereas on Dominica, H. caribaea evolves a second color morph with flowers that match the bills of females. The nectar rewards of all Heliconia morphs are consistent with each sex's choice of the morph that corresponds to its bill morphology and energy requirements, supporting the hypothesis that feeding preferences have driven their coadaptation.

Temeles has a Website at www.amherst.edu/~ejtemele/; Science magazine at www.sciencemag.org/.

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Amherst College Senior Jessica Cabot Awarded Fulbright Fellowship

May 8, 2003
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.- Jessica Cabot, a senior at Amherst College, has been awarded a J. William Fulbright Fellowship for postgraduate study overseas. Cabot will study physics at the Institute of Mathematical Sciences in Chennai. Cabot is the daughter of Carole Ganz and James Cabot of Wenham, Mass.

In her application, Cabot wrote "In this time of rampant globalization, ideas, theories and concepts flow from country to country, continent to continent, more easily than ever before. Because of the fluidity of communication, it is easy to forget that the contexts in which the ideas were conceived were different." Cabot acknowledges that her Western view of physics "affects the way I see the world, but I don't know exactly how."

Cabot may research the Higgs Boson, one of the fundamental particles of physics, on which she wrote her undergraduate thesis, at the institute, or she may explore some other areas of theoretical physics.

A physics major at Amherst, Cabot won the Bassett Physics Prize in 2001 and received the Albree Research Fellowship in the summer of 2001. She rows on the Amherst Women's Crew and sings in the Amherst College Concert Choir. She founded Women in Physics at Amherst in 2001.

Congress created the Fulbright Program in 1946 to foster mutual understanding among nations through educational and cultural exchanges. Senator J. William Fulbright, sponsor of the legislation, viewed scholarship as an alternative to armed conflict. Today the Fulbright Program, the federal government's premier scholarship program, funded by an annual congressional appropriation and contributions from other participating countries, allows Americans to study or conduct research in over 100 nations.

Cabot is one of five Amherst seniors who received Fulbright grants this year.

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Contact

Peter Rooney
Director of Public Affairs
(413) 542-2321
prooney@amherst.edu