David W. Wills is Author of Christianity in the United States

April 20, 2005
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—David W. Wills, the Winthrop H. Smith '16 Professor of American History and American Studies (Religion and Black Studies) at Amherst College, is the author of Christianity in the United States: A Historical Survey and Interpretation ($13, 140 pp., University of Notre Dame Press, South Bend, Ind. 2005), a brief but comprehensive study that provides a broad interpretation and a wealth of factual information on the history of Christianity in the United States.

Wills considers the diversity of American Christianity, charting the growth of American religious pluralism, but he also emphasizes Christian efforts to build a “holy commonwealth” and the role of religion in the nation's effort to come to terms with the realities of race. Placing the history of Christianity in the United States in the larger context of the globalization of the Christian religion, Wills links the rise of African-American Christianity with the emergence of Christianity in the non-western world. He also argues that the history of Christianity in the United States concerns itself in a central way with the relation of religious ideas, institutions, constituencies and practices to the creation and exercise of political power.

Wills, who has taught at Amherst since 1972 is the general editor of African-American Religion: A Documentary History Project, a comprehensive view of African-American religion from the earliest 15th-century African-European encounters along the African coast to the present in the United States. Wills received his A.B. degree from Yale University, a B.D. from Princeton Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. from Harvard University, and has been a fellow of the National Humanities Center and the W.E.B. DuBois Institute for African-American Research, among others.

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Jide Zeitlin, Partner at Goldman Sachs, Elected Chair of Amherst College Board of Trustees

April 20, 2005
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—Jide Zeitlin, 41, a partner at Goldman Sachs, has been elected chair of the Board of Trustees at Amherst College. Zeitlin succeeds current chair Amos B. Hostetter Jr., 68, who has led the board since 1998 and whose term ends June 30, 2005.

In announcing Zeitlin's election, Hostetter praised the incoming chair's dedication to his alma mater. “Jide's longstanding commitment to Amherst, and the wisdom and insight he has brought to his work on the Board during the past 12 years, make this a terrific appointment,” Hostetter said.

In accepting the board chairmanship, Zeitlin reflected on the importance of education in his own life, and expressed his desire to work with the board, faculty and administration to build on Amherst's many strengths and its tradition of excellence. A 1985 Amherst graduate, Zeitlin believes that the college must challenge itself if it is to remain robust and relevant in a rapidly changing world.

“I learned at an early age the importance of education,” Zeitlin said, “and I have a real appreciation for how the pursuit of knowledge can broaden opportunities for young people.” Born in Nigeria to a domestic servant with limited formal education, Zeitlin was adopted by an American family when he was 5 years old. “I grew up in a family that had modest financial means,” Zeitlin said, “but that was rich in a tradition of learning and knowledge.” He added that he came to Amherst because “everyone here had a real passion about education. Amherst pushes you to learn; it doesn't let you hide. The power of the type of education Amherst provides is extraordinary,” Zeitlin said. “I hope that we can apply this passion to challenge ourselves—at the individual level, the institutional level and the board level. I also hope that as we further strengthen this college, we will make it even more accessible to the best and brightest young men and women of every socio-economic background within and outside the United States.”

Zeitlin is a senior investment banker at Goldman Sachs, where he began as a summer intern after his sophomore year at Amherst. Zeitlin was elected a partner at Goldman Sachs in 1996, and has held a number of senior management roles in the firm's investment banking division and executive office.

Zeitlin is also an active alumnus at Harvard, where he earned his M.B.A. in 1987. A member of the board of Teach for America and Common Ground Community (a non-profit housing and community development organization headed by Rosanne Haggerty '82), he also is a trustee of Milton Academy, Montefiore Medical Center and Playwrights Horizons. He serves on the Harvard Business School Visiting Committee.

Zeitlin joined the Amherst board in 1993 as an alumni trustee. When his term as an alumni trustee ended in 1999, the board appointed him to a term trusteeship. For the past seven years, he has led the Budget and Finance Committee. In addition, Zeitlin was on the 14-member Presidential Search Committee that brought President Anthony W. Marx to Amherst in 2003.

Zeitlin graduated from Amherst magna cum laude with a double major in economics and English. He lives in New York City with his wife, Tina Goldberg, and their infant son.

Current Board Chair Amos B. Hostetter Jr. graduated from Amherst in 1958. He joined the Board in 1989 and has been chair since 1998. During his tenure, the college's endowment doubled, from $540 million to more than $1 billion, and the college successfully completed The Amherst College Campaign, which secured more than $269 million to support research, financial aid and a range of capital projects. In 1999, Amherst implemented a new financial aid initiative that eliminated loans for a broad range of low- and middle-income families. Most academic and athletic buildings on campus were renovated during Hostetter's chairmanship, and the college recently launched a comprehensive renewal of its dormitories through the Residential Master Plan. Hostetter chaired the college's Presidential Search Committee in 2003.

“This college is so much stronger because of Amos' singular leadership over the past seven years,” Zeitlin said. “He has exhibited exceptional judgment and grace in thoughtfully leading this institution. Amherst will long be indebted to Amos for all he has contributed to the college.”

Amherst's Board of Trustees is comprised of the president of the college, ex officio, and 20 other members: 14 term trustees, elected by the board, and six alumni trustees elected by alumni of the college.

Founded in 1821 for “the education of indigent young men of piety and talents,” Amherst College is now widely regarded as the premier liberal arts college in the United States, enrolling a diverse group of approximately 1,600 young men and women. Well known for its academic excellence, Amherst is also consistently ranked among the very best schools in the country in terms of accessibility: The college's financial aid packages are consistently the most generous in the U.S., and among its peer universities and colleges Amherst has the greatest economic diversity. Diversity, in its broadest sense, is fundamental to Amherst 's mission. The college enrolls students from every state and more than 40 countries, and for the past several years more than 35 percent of Amherst 's students have been students of color. Amherst offers the B.A. degree in 33 fields of study.

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Philosopher Peter Railton To Speak on “Well-Being and Happiness ” at Amherst College April 28

April 20, 2005
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—Peter Railton, the John Stephenson Perrin Professor of Philosophy at the University of Michigan, will speak on “Well-Being and Happiness” on Thursday, April 28, at 4:30 p.m. in the Pruyne Lecture Hall (Fayerweather 115) at Amherst College. Railton's talk, sponsored by the Department of Philosophy at Amherst College and the Forry and Micken Fund in Philosophy and Science, is the final lecture in a series on Well-Being. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Railton's main research has been in ethics and the philosophy of science, with special interest in questions about the nature of norms, values, objectivity and explanation. He has been a visiting professor at Berkeley and Princeton, and he has received fellowships from the Society for the Humanities (Cornell), the American Council of Learned Societies, the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He is also an Associate of CREA (Ecole Polytechnique), Paris. He is the author of Facts, Values, and Norms: Essays Toward a Morality of Consequence (2003).

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Sing We and Chant It: The Amherst College Madrigals Spring Concert April 22

April 20, 2005
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—The Amherst College Madrigals will present a concert of early music and other songs at 6 p.m. on Friday, April 22, in The Octagon at Amherst College. The concert and a reception following the performance are free and open to the public.

Selections include “Sing We and Chant It,” “April is in My Mistress's Face” and “The Queen to Me a Royal Pain Doth Give” by P.D.Q. Bach, along with several other English, French, Italian, Latin and Spanish pieces.

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Darfur Survivor Mohamed Yahya To Speak at Amherst College April 21

April 15, 2005
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—Mohamed Yahya, a refugee from the Darfur region of Sudan and chairman of the Damanga Coalition for Freedom and Democracy, will give a talk titled “Death and Indifference in Darfur: A Survivor Speaks” at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 21, in the Cole Assembly Room at Amherst College. Sponsored by Humanity in Action, the Amherst College Democrats and the Office of the President at Amherst College, the event is free and open to the public.

Born in a village in Darfur, Yahya knows the racism of Sudanese society. Like the other black students in his school, he was beaten for speaking his tribal language instead of Arabic. Living later in Khartoum, he witnessed the practice of kacha, in which black men are abducted by Sudanese police and army officers. In 1993, his village was among the first attacked by the Sudanese government's Arab militia raiders, the janjaweed. Yahya was studying at Al-Azhar University in Cairo at that time, but his village was destroyed and its inhabitants—and many of his relatives—were killed, raped or burnt alive in their huts. Hearing that his parents had been spared, Yahya decided to take action to save the black African Sudanese from annihilation. He founded an organization that would eventually become known as Damanga Coalition for Freedom and Democracy, the first group to reach out to the international community about the genocide in Darfu.

Eric Reeves, a professor of English language and literature at Smith College, will introduce Yahya. Presently at work on a book on the international response to the ongoing war and human destruction titled Sudan: Suffering a Long Way Off, Reeves has spent the past six years researching and analyzing the situation. He has testified several times before the Congress, has lectured widely in academic settings, and has served as a consultant to a number of human rights and humanitarian organizations.

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Stressed Students To Enjoy a "Dog Day" at Amherst College April 30

April 21, 2005
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—The Class of '06 at Amherst College has scheduled a "Dog Day" for students, faculty and staff "and their four-legged companions" from 12 noon until 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 30, on the Valentine Quadrangle at Amherst College. Students at Amherst College are not permitted to keep dogs; many employees of the college do.

The Junior Class, according to Rob Cobbs, one of the organizers, wanted to offer a laid-back opportunity for students to unwind during finals. "Many of us have dogs at home but have been forced to leave Fido behind," Cobbs said. "We would love to meet, pet, play catch with, feed treats to and otherwise pamper" a pet, who "will love the attention and get to meet the rest of the Amherst canine community; and the afternoon will bring joy to the hearts of hundreds of students who are just about to lock themselves in the library for the next three weeks."

Cobbs says the rules are simple, but most important: "Bring a leash, even if your dog graduated summa cum laude from obedience school." He adds, "There are many, many students here who miss their dogs very much, and the presence of a faculty or staff pooch is a great temporary substitute."

Contact Cobbs at 240/461-1056 or rwcobbs@amherst.edu.

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Amherst College Orchestra Presents Senior Concerto Spectacular, May 5

April 20, 2005
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—The Amherst College Orchestra will present five concertos for solo instruments and orchestra, performed by six graduating Amherst seniors, at 8 p.m. on Thursday, May 5, in Buckley Recital Hall in the Arms Music Building at Amherst College. Admission is free.

Violinist Holly Myers '05 will perform Dvorak's “Romance,” conducted by senior Rachel Dunham '05. Violinist Elisa Mai '05 will perform movements from Beethoven's Violin Concerto in D major. Cellist Nicholas Juul '05 will perform Dvorak 's “Waldesruhe.” Violist Anders Meyer '05 will perform Benjamin Britten's “Lachrymae.” Albert Lee '05 will close the concert with the first movement of the violin concerto by Jan Sibelius.

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Amherst College Professor Ilan Stavans is Editor of News Encyclopedia Latina

April 20, 2005
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—Ilan Stavans, the Lewis-Sebring Professor of Latin American and Latino Cultures at Amherst College is the editor of the Encyclopedia Latina: History, Culture, Society, ($499, ca. 2000 pp., Grolier Academic Reference, New York 2005), a multidisciplinary, one-million-word four-volume reference work on Latinos in America, covering history, literature, art, popular and folk cultures, science, politics, religion, business, demographics and law.

The growth of the Hispanic population in the United States—more than 40 million people, according to the latest census—has influenced American culture in major cities and the countryside, among young and old, and in education, business, politics and the arts. But the history of Latinos remains unknown to most people. The Encyclopedia Latina, an interdisciplinary reference work that deals with Latino history and culture in the United States from the age of discovery to the present, puts this diverse culture in perspective. Comprehensive and analytical, it presents all aspects of Latino life in the United States as well as the influence and contributions of Hispanic culture. The 650 substantive, signed articles cover topics, issues, organizations, events, themes, movements, U.S. states and cities, national groups and people.

A member of the Amherst faculty since 1993, Stavans is also author of Growing up Latino (1993) and The Hispanic Condition (1995), The Oxford Book of Jewish Stories (1998), On Borrowed Words (2001), The Poetry of Pablo Neruda (2003) and most recently Dictionary Days (2005), a small personal meditation of dictionaries, their history and the role they play in our life. He has noted, “I have made it my quest to approach the English language as an instrument of democratic cohesion and to understand the various ‘minority tongues' used in the United States that function as counterpoints of sorts to Shakespeare's tongue, among them—and primarily—Spanglish.” Stavans has published the first dictionary of Spanglish, titled Spanglish: The Making of a New American Language (2003), and has debated in public the role language plays in public life and civic affairs for African Americans, Latinos and other immigrant groups. Stavans has two other books forthcoming: the Schocken Book of Modern Sephardic Literature and a selection of the interviews that he conducted on Conversations with Ilan Stavans on the WGBH (PBS) program La Plaza. He is also the editor of the forthcoming 2,500-page Norton Anthology of Latino Literature.

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Hadassah Lieberman to Speak at Holocaust Remembrance Program at Amherst College April 17

April 15, 2005
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—The Second Annual Holocaust Remembrance Program will take place at 3 p.m. on Sunday, April 17, in Johnson Chapel at Amherst College. The featured speaker will be Hadassah Lieberman. A daughter of Holocaust survivors and wife of Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.), Lieberman has dedicated much of her life to promoting an international understanding of women's health issues, assisting nonprofit organizations and improving educational standards.

The program, sponsored by the Holocaust Remembrance Program Committee; Amherst College Hillel; Amherst Association of Students; Campus Center/Student Activities; the Interdepartmental Student Fund; the Office of the President; the departments of English, European studies, German, women's and gender studies, and political science; Joe and Marilyn Kushick; Amherst College Democrats; Amherst College Republicans; Amherst Christian Fellowship; Noor; and the Newman Club, will include a question and answer session and will be followed by a reception.

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Amherst College Hosts Keepers of the Word Storytellers April 30

April 13, 2005
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—Storytellers from across the country will spin their tales at the 13th annual Keepers of the Word Storytelling Festival, a day-long event on Saturday, April 30, in the Keefe Campus Center Frontroom at Amherst College. Performances will be held at 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.

This year's nationally known storytellers are Onawumi Jean Moss, Brenda Wong Aoki, Judith Black, Margaret Bruchac, Carmen Agra Deedy and Queen Nur.

Onawumi Jean Moss, founder and director of the Keepers of the Word Storytelling Festival, is associate dean of students at Amherst College. With original stories, fairy tales, cautionary tales, folk tales and personal narratives, she encourages appreciation of cultural differences, pride of heritage, recognition of kinship, reflection and inquiry. Her soulful narration, a capella singing, dramatic facial expressions and animated movements bring to life the worlds of adventurous girls and women, charming creatures, scheming tricksters and wicked demons.

Brenda Wong Aoki of San Francisco, Calif., is a highly acclaimed, contemporary storyteller, educator, writer, dancer and recording artist whose stories blend myth, street lore and real life.

Judith Black of Marblehead, Mass., has a writer's eye for character and plot, and an actor's ability to capture the idiosyncratic nuances that take a character from a two-dimensional world into your hearts and minds.

Margaret Bruchac of Northampton, Mass., is a traditional Abenaki singer, storyteller, and nudatlokad. Her eloquent voice and thoughtful gestures are finely-tuned to the task of reconstructing, out of thin air, some sense of the culture and beliefs of the indigenous people of New England.

Carmen Agra Deedy of Tucker, Ga., is an award-winning storyteller and author. Her Latin American and Southern heritage is richly portrayed in her poignant, humorous and spirited stories.

Queen Nur of Willingboro, N.J., is a high-energy, interactive performer whose presentations are designed to teach as well as entertain. Queen is nationally known for her creative and expressive storytelling style and has performed extensively for thousands of children and adults throughout the country.

There will be three ensemble performances at the festival: “Stories for Little Folk and the People Who Love Them” from 10 to 11:30 a.m., “Stories for Young Folk and the People Who Love Them” from 2 to 4 p.m., and “Stories for Older Folk and the People Who Love Them” from 8 to 10:30 p.m.

General admission for adults is $8, $6 for seniors and $5 for children for the 10 a.m. or 2 p.m. performances and $14 for adults, $12 for seniors and $8 for children for the 8 p.m. performance. A special rate of $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and $8 for children is available to those who wish to attend both the morning and afternoon performances. Advance tickets are available for each performance at the Keefe Campus Center Office, first floor. The performances are free to Amherst College students with I.D and $5 for Amherst College staff with ID. For more information call 413/542-8422.

Keepers of the Word is sponsored by the Lecture and Eastman Fund Committee, Office of Student Activities/Keefe Campus Center, Office of the Dean of Students, The Willis Wood Fund/Religion Department, Association of Amherst Students and academic departments and supporters throughout Amherst College.

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Contact

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