Amherst College Historian Kevin Sweeney Receives Local History Award for "Captors and Captives"

August 31, 2004
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.- Kevin Sweeney, professor of American studies and history at Amherst College, has received an Award of Merit from the American Association for State and Local History for Captors and Captives: The 1704 French and Indian Raid on Deerfield (2003), which reexamined the so-called "Deerfield Massacre" of 1704.

Weaving social, political, literary, religious, and military history, Sweeney and co-author Evan Haefeli reveal connections between cultures and histories usually seen as separate, and a framework stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes. The Boston Globe called Captors and Captives "an impressive account that explores the raid from the conflicting viewpoints of the raiders, both French-Canadian and Native American, and the Deerfield villagers as well as its place in the century-long conflict between the two colonial empires."

Founded in 1904 as part of the American Historical Association, the AALSH has worked since 1940 with individuals and organizations to preserve and promote local and regional history, and make the past more meaningful in American society, recognizing achievements with its annual awards since 1945. The AALSH has a Website at www.aaslh.org.

Sweeney, a resident of Greenfield, Mass., has taught at Amherst since 1989. He received a B.A. from Williams College and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in history from Yale University.

2004-05 Music at Amherst Series Opens Sept. 24 with Pianist Leon Fleisher

August 25, 2004
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.-Music at Amherst opens its 27th season of world-class chamber music at Amherst College with the pianist and conductor Leon Fleisher, in a special program of two-hand and one-hand music-a "three-hand recital" -at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 28, in Buckley Recital Hall in the Arms Music Building at Amherst College. Tickets to this concert are available only to series subscribers-subscriptions are on sale until Friday, Sept. 17-and to students. Five other programs are included in the series.

On Monday, Oct. 18, at 8 p.m., clarinetist Todd Palmer and Friends will perform a program including Mozart's "Kegelstatt" and Messiaen's "Quartet for the End of Time."

On Saturday, Nov. 6, at 8 p.m., the Peabody Trio with guest violist Maria Lambros will present trios by Beethoven and Ives and the Brahms C Minor Piano Quartet.

On Sunday, Jan. 30, at 4 p.m., the Wihan String Quartet will offer a program that features Shostakovich's Quartet No. 10.

On Saturday, March 5, at 8 p.m., the early music ensemble Red Priest will perform music of the Baroque.

On Saturday, March 26, at 8 p.m., the Brentano String Quartet will return to Music at Amherst, joined by soprano Elizabeth Keusch, for a performance of the Schoenberg Quartet No. 2.

This schedule is subject to change; latest information can be obtained from the Amherst College Concert Website at www.amherst.edu/~concerts, or by calling the Concert Office at 413/542-2195. Season subscriptions are available until Friday, Sept. 17, for $100-$125 ($85-$110 for seniors, and $30-$50 for students.) For more information and brochures call the Concert Office at 413/542-2195.

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Amherst College Assistant Professor Eric Sawyer Receives Music Award

August 25, 2004
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.- Eric Sawyer, assistant professor of music at Amherst College, has received a 2004-05 ASCAPlus Award from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. The award is based upon Sawyer's catalog of original compositions, as well as recent performances.

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) is a performing rights organization whose primary purpose is to distribute royalties to its members based on an objective survey of various media. The ASCAPlus awards, given each year since 1960, reward writers whose works have a unique prestige value for which adequate compensation would not otherwise be received and to compensate those writers whose works are performed substantially in media not surveyed by ASCAP.

A member of the Amherst faculty since 2001, Sawyer received an A.B. degree in music from Harvard University in 1985, a M.A. in music composition from Columbia University in 1988 and a Ph.D. in music composition and theory from the University of California, Davis in 1994. Sawyer will release a compact disc of recent chamber music through Albany Records next year.

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Doshisha Glee Club To Perform at Amherst College Sept. 9

August 25, 2004
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.- The Doshisha Glee Club from Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan will perform at Buckley Recital Hall at Amherst on Thursday, Sept. 9, at 8 p.m. The program will include sacred music, traditional and modern Japanese songs and spirituals. The concert is free and open to the public.

The Doshisha Glee Club dates back to the origins of Doshisha University, which was founded by Joseph Hardy Neesima, an 1870 graduate of Amherst College. At the opening of the university in 1875, Neesima, the two professors and eight students all sang hymns.
Neesima had been a young samurai when, hoping to open Japan to the Western world, he stowed away in 1864 for the United States aboard a ship owned by an Amherst trustee. Neesima studied for 10 years in the United States and returned to Japan to open Doshisha. Neesima was the first Japanese person to graduate from a Western college or university, and he hoped Doshisha would help modernize Japan.

The Glee Club is an all-male chorus, the oldest and one of the best known in Japan. The group has contributed a great deal to the popularization of Western music among the Japanese. This will be the Glee Club's fourth concert tour in the United States.

To this day Amherst College and Doshisha University maintain a long relationship that has offered students and faculty at both institutions many opportunities to study and teach abroad.

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First-Year Students at Amherst Will Explore the Human Condition with Noted Neurologist Oliver W. Sacks at Orientation

August 25, 2004
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.- When they arrive at Amherst College next week for orientation, all 430 first-year students will have read the same book, An Anthropologist on Mars. They then will have the chance to hear author Oliver W. Sacks speak and to ask him questions, as part of the common intellectual experience with which they will start their college careers. The first-year students at Amherst will share a "common reading" for the first time in recent memory, and the first time ever meet the author.

The Dean of Students Office sent each first-year student at Amherst a copy of the book, which consists of seven clinical tales of patients adapting to neurological conditions including autism, Asperger's syndrome, amnesia, epileptic reminiscence, Tourette's syndrome, acquired colorblindness and the restoration of vision after congenital blindness. It's not required reading for any course. Allen Hart, the dean of first-year students, says his "expectation is that virtually everybody will have taken a look at the book-hopefully most will have read it fairly thoroughly." Behind the suggestion that all first-year students share a "common reading" is a goal that they'll share a "common intellectual experience."

As a practicing neurologist, researcher and writer, Sacks ponders how people survive various anomalies of their nervous systems, and what their adaptations say about the human condition. His best-selling books are taught widely in college courses on neuroscience, writing, ethics, philosophy and sociology; and have inspired poetry, drama, painting, dance, cinema and fiction. Sacks is the author of Awakenings, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and many other books. A regular contributor to The New Yorker and The New York Review of Books, as well as various medical journals, Sacks is an honorary fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the New York Academy of Sciences and Queen's College. The New York Times has called Sacks "the poet laureate of medicine," and a Wall Street Journal reviewer wrote, "It is Dr. Sacks's gift that he has found a way to enlarge our experience and understanding of what the human is." In 2002 he was awarded the Lewis Thomas Prize by Rockefeller University, which recognizes the scientist as poet.

In their new student orientation, the first-year students at Amherst will enjoy a full week of activities from Sunday, August 29 through Monday, September 6, which will introduce them, in addition to the intellectual experience, to the social life at the college and in the Amherst community.

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Marian Pagano Matheson Appointed Director of Institutional Research at Amherst College

August 25, 2004
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.- Marian Pagano Matheson has been appointed as Amherst College's new director of institutional research. Matheson will begin work in early September.

Since 1992, Matheson has been the associate provost for planning and institutional research at Columbia University, where she is responsible for providing decision support to the provost, president and university commissions. She also has led research and planning efforts focusing on a wide variety of academic, administrative and student-service areas, including curricula, financial aid, libraries, academic advising, residential life, career counseling and faculty services.

Before joining the Columbia staff, Matheson served as a research analyst in the institutional research office at Tufts (1988-1992), and she has worked as an independent statistical consultant since 1983. Matheson completed all but the dissertation for a doctorate in higher education curriculum, instruction and administration at Boston College and earned a master of arts degree in applied clinical psychology from the State University of New York, Plattsburgh, in 1982. She holds a B.S. degree in experimental psychology from Juniata College.

In her new role at Amherst, Matheson will work to revitalize and update the Institutional Research Office, which has been without a full-time director since 1991, to support planning and decision-making across the college and to centralize the functions of data collection and analysis.

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Amherst College Professors Douglas and George Are Authors of "Sense and Nonsensibility"

August 11, 2004
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—Amherst College faculty members Lawrence Douglas, associate professor of law, jurisprudence and social thought, and Alexander George, professor of philosophy, are the authors of Sense and Nonsensibility: Lampoons of Learning and Literature ($9.95, Fireside/ Simon & Schuster, New York, 2004), a collection of satires and parodies that poke fun at classic and contemporary literature, the educational establishment and American culture.

Douglas and George, turning their wit on themselves in a closing “Interview with Ourselves” in Sense and Nonsensibility, “have been called ‘The Odd Couple’ of creative humor writing, partners in a literary enterprise that has put them at the top of the fledgling field of ‘Smart Humor.’ Taken individually, each makes for an unlikely choice of partner: Douglas is by training a lawyer and has written extensively on the Holocaust, while George’s academic home is in philosophy, where he writes on language and mathematics.”

Douglas’s most recent book was The Memory of Judgment: Making Law and History in the Trials of the Holocaust (2001). A member of the faculty at Amherst since 1990, Douglas received an A.B. degree from Brown University, an M.A. from Columbia and a J.D. from Yale Law School. His essays and commentary have appeared in numerous publications, including The Washington Post, The Boston Globe Magazine and The New Republic.

George, a member of the faculty at Amherst since 1988, received a B.A. degree from Columbia University and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Harvard University. He is editor of Reflections on Chomsky (1989), Western State Terrorism (1991) and Mathematics and Mind (1994). His most recent book, written with Daniel Velleman, professor of mathematics at Amherst, was Philosophies of Mathematics (2002).

Douglas and George have published work together in The New Yorker, The New York Times Book Review, McSweeney’s and the Boston Globe, among other publications, and they contribute a regular column to The Chronicle of Higher Education. Sense and Nonsensibility has a Website at www.nonsensibility.com.

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American Art Review Features Mead Art Museum at Amherst College

August 4, 2004
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—A recent cover story in American Art Review (June 2004) featured the Mead Art Museum at Amherst College.

Trinkett Clark, the curator of American art at the Mead, wrote, “With both the permanent collection and a vibrant exhibition program, the Mead Art Museum actively implements the motto of Amherst College, Terras irradient, by enlightening both the students and other visitors with an inspiring feast of visual treasures.”

Clark tells the story of the Mead Art Museum as a part of the history of the college. Fully renovated in 2001, the museum (www.amherst.edu/~mead/), houses nearly 14,000 works that Amherst College has acquired since 1839. “Most of this [collection] came to the museum through the largesse of many alumni and friends,” Clark writes. The building itself, designed by the architectural firm of McKim, Mead and White, is named for its benefactor, William Rutherford Mead, Class of 1867.

Clark writes, “The Mead is most noted for its splendid collection of eighteenth-, nineteenth- and early twentieth-century American paintings, particularly portraits and landscapes.” The American Art Review article is illustrated with full-color reproductions of Colonial and Federal portraits by John Singleton Copley and the Peale family, landscapes by Thomas Cole, and figural subjects by Winslow Homer, Thomas Eakins and William Merritt Chase. Impressionist paintings by Robert Henri and Childe Hassam reflect contemporary European art styles.

Clark, who has been at the Mead since 2001, has an M.A. degree from The George Washington University and a B.A. from Connecticut College, both in the history of art.

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Amherst College Financial Aid Dean Joe Paul Case Receives National Award

August 4, 2004
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.-The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators presented a Meritorious Achievement Award to Joe Paul Case, dean and director of financial aid at Amherst College, at its recent Conference in Minneapolis, Minn. NASFAA presents Meritorious Achievement Awards to individuals who have made an important contributions to the profession.

In its citation NASFAA noted, Case "has devoted more than 35 years of his career to developing and maintaining the principles of need-based aid. Through his work with the College Board, the Consortium on Financing Higher Education, the Massachusetts Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, and NASFAA, he is one of the principal architects of the current financial aid system. In addition to his participation in the financial aid conversation at the state and national levels, he continues to maintain daily contact with students. He believes that the opportunity to touch students' lives is one of the most important and rewarding aspects of the work he does."

Case, who has been at Amherst since 1981, received a B.A. degree in religion and philosophy from Oklahoma City University and a Bachelor of Divinity from Yale University Divinity School.

The NASFAA promotes the professional preparation, effectiveness and mutual support of persons involved in student financial aid administration, working with others in institutions of postsecondary education, government agencies, foundations, private and community organizations and regional and state financial aid associations who are concerned with the support and administration of student financial aid.

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Emily Dickinson Museum To Sponsor “Kinsmen of the Shelf” Reading Group

August 4, 2004
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—The Emily Dickinson Museum has formed a reading group, “Kinsmen of the Shelf,” which will meet to discuss books, poems and essays that were read by Emily Dickinson and her family. Taking its name from Dickinson's poem “Unto my books – so good to turn,” the group will meet four times in the coming academic year to read works by Helen Hunt Jackson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Elizabeth Gaskell, William Cullen Bryant and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Each session will begin at 2 p.m. at the Museum with a talk about the work, the author and the context in which the Dickinsons read the work. Discussion and refreshments will follow. On Sunday, Sept. 19, Wendy Kohler, executive director of secondary curriculum for the Amherst (Mass.) School System, will lead a discussion of Helen Hunt Jackson's Ramona . On Sunday, Nov. 14, Cristanne Miller, professor of English at Pomona College, will lead a discussion of selected essays and poems by Ralph Waldo Emerson.

On a date to be announced in February, Amy Martin, professor of English at Mount Holyoke College, will lead a discussion of Elizabeth Gaskell's The Life of Charlotte Bronte. In May, Virginia Jackson of New York University will lead a discussion of the poetry of William Cullen Bryant and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Membership in the group is free and open to the public, but advance registration is required. Books may be purchased through the Emily Dickinson Museum, either at the shop during business hours or ordered over the phone. For more information and to register, contact Cindy Dickinson, the director of interpretation and programming, at csdickinson@emilydickinsonmuseum.org or call 413/542-8429.

The Emily Dickinson Museum is located at 280 Main Street in Amherst, Mass., and is owned by the Trustees of Amherst College. The Museum's Website is at www.emilydickinsonmuseum.org.

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