Nelson Mandela Says "We Are All South Africans Now" to Amherst College

May 12, 2005
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

NEW YORK—Before a standing-room-only crowd of students, faculty and friends of Amherst College in St. Bartholomew's Church in Manhattan, former South African president Nelson Mandela challenged the United States to "work toward correcting the inequities in the public schools. In South Africa, in America, in all the world—we must provide education, not as a privilege, but as a right; not for some, but for all." Amherst College awarded extraordinary doctoral degrees to Mandela and his wife Graça Machel, the former minister of education in Mozambique.

"We are all threatened by entrenched inequality and divisions," Mandela said in his address. "We all must prove ourselves equal to a better possibility. We are all South Africans now."

The crowd of almost 1,300 people included some 400 Amherst College students and 150 faculty and staff members, who made a 3-hour pre-dawn bus trip for this unusual event, the first time in memory that Amherst awarded a degree off-campus. Making a rare trip to the United States this week, Mandela and Machel also will visit former president Bill Clinton in Harlem, President George W. Bush, the Brookings Institution and the Congressional Black Caucus in Washington. Mandela is creating the Nelson Mandela Legacy Trust to support the work of Africa-based foundations. Machal will also address the Council on Foreign Relations.

Founded in 1821 for "the education of indigent young men of piety and talents," Amherst College is consistently ranked among the very best schools in the country in terms of accessibility. Among its peers Amherst has the greatest economic diversity. The college enrolls a diverse group of approximately 1,600 young men and women from every state and more than 40 countries.

Watch video of the event and read the full text of Mandela's speech.

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Amherst College Graduates 409 May 22

May 22, 2005
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—Under cool damp skies on the quadrangle, 409 men and women received bachelor of arts degrees today at Amherst College. In his traditional address Amherst President Anthony W. Marx spoke about a founder of the college, Noah Webster. The lexicographer Webster's "aim was always clear: Terras Irradient; to illuminate the world; not the more constrained Communitas irradient, which arguably would have been more 'realistic.' Graduates, how often you will be told in coming years to be 'realistic.' I hope you are told this; it will be a sign you are pursuing your ideals."

John D. Pourciau, of Baton Rouge, La., chosen by his classmates to speak at their commencement, predicted that they would number both "future CEOs—and the future federal prosecutors who will indict them."

Seven honorary degrees were also awarded at the ceremony to: Kazuo Asakai '67, the Japanese ambassador to the European Union; Shigeru Ban, an architect known for his use of non-traditional building materials; Natalie Zemon Davis, ground-breaking historian and author of The Return of Martin Guerre; Paul E. Farmer, physician, medical anthropologist and founder of Partners in Health; Senator John Glenn, former American fighter pilot, astronaut and politician; Amy Rosenzweig '88, biochemist and winner of a MacArthur "genius" grant; Robert Stone, novelist and former visiting writer at Amherst; and William Julius Wilson, sociologist of urban poverty. The college also honored Stephen R. Pflaum '62 of Minneapolis, Minn., with the Medal for Eminent Service.

At Senior Class Exercises on the quadrangle yesterday, Saturday, May 21, Paul E. Farmer, physician, medical anthropologist and founder of Partners in Health, reminded the Class of 2004 at Amherst College that "lots of people have never heard of Lord Jeffery Amherst" at Senior Class Exercises on the main quadrangle on Saturday, May 21. "Even World War II is ancient history to many, and this forgetting is a serious problem in this country. You will have to a better job than our generation, and a better job than the generation of Lord Jeff."

Three graduating seniors also addressed their class Saturday. Ali Hassan of Falls Church, Va., made a humorous, but learned, talk about the importance of Amherst's open curriculum and the liberal arts, drawing on Pope, Montaigne and Shakespeare. Gabriel Mattera of University Heights, Ohio recalled a letter he received at the start of his career at Amherst from his grandfather in Argentina, who wrote, "Stay strong, don't get soft and keep moving forward." Kate Stayman-London of Montclair, N.J. told her class that "as we figured out together that it was going to be okay" on Sept. 11, 2001, their generation must help each other to overcome the "savage status quo" of injustice and famine in the world.

The Association of Amherst Students gave the Distinguished Teaching Award to Gordon Levin the Dwight Morrow Professor of History an American Studies, who has taught at Amherst since 1965.

The college also awarded student prizes. The Thomas H. Wyman 1951 Medal was established by Wyman's classmates and family to commemorate his remarkable life achievements and philanthropy to his beloved Amherst. A leadership gift to the annual fund was made in the name Ryan Park of Eagan, Minn.

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 Carter B. Hamill of Richmond, Va., and Ashley Harmeling of North Reading, 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 also was awarded to Ashley Harmeling, the member 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 members of the senior class, who have shown by their own determination and accomplishment the greatest appreciation of and desire for a college education, was awarded to Katherine Duke of Sugarloaf, N.Y, and Christian Sanchez of North Hollywood, Calif.

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 Herrick Fisher of Lexington, Mass.

The college presented Phebe and Zephaniah Swift Moore Awards on behalf of graduating seniors to five secondary school teachers: Robert Arrigo, a mathematics teacher from Scarsdale (N.Y.) High School, nominated by Armit Amirapu '05; William Curtis, a Latin teacher at Camden Hills Regional High School (Rockport, Maine), nominated by Rebecca Stein '05; John and Carol Longhenry, teachers of English and history from Auburn High School (Rockford, Ill.), nominated by Max Rettig '05; and John Stephens '56, a history teacher at the University School of Milwaukee (River Hills, Wisc.), nominated by Jennifer Wertheimer '05.

Ten current and former employees of Amherst College were named honorary members of the Class of 2005: Dee Brace of Amherst, Mass., the academic department coordinator in the philosophy department; Dave Cetto of Amherst, Mass., a server in the dining hall; Tom Gerety of New York, the former president of the college ; Donald Kells of Montague, Mass., the postmaster; John Kunhardt of Shutesbury, Mass., the media coordinator in the media center; James Maraniss of Amherst, Mass., a professor of Spanish; Alexander Mokrezecki of Hadley, Mass., a caretaker of athletic facilities; Joseph Grygorcewicz of Hadley, Mass., a custodian in the social dorms. Two men who died this year, Antonio Benitez-Rojo, a professor of Spanish, and Robert E. ("Gramps") Keyes of Amherst, Mass., a checker with dining services, were made members of the class posthumously.

Commencement Home

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Minneapolis Attorney Stephen R. Pflaum Honored at Amherst College Commencement May 22

May 22, 2005
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—Stephen R. Pflaum '62 of Minneapolis received Amherst College's Medal for Eminent Service at the college's commencement exercises on Sunday, May 22. The Medal for Eminent Service is presented to an Amherst alumnus who has demonstrated extraordinary devotion to his alma mater. Pflaum also has served on the boards of a number of important organizations in Minneapolis, including the Guthrie Theatre Foundation, the Minnesota Orchestral Association and the University of Minnesota Foundation.

As a volunteer, Pflaum also works with students, parents, teachers and guidance counselors to ensure that students have the academic and personal resources necessary for education beyond high school. He helps students identify colleges that meet their needs, and stays in touch with these students throughout their college careers to ensure their success. Pflaum's efforts have benefited Amherst and The Blake School in Minnesota, from which he graduated in 1958. Some members of this Amherst graduating class first "met" the college through Pflaum.

After graduating from Amherst, Pflaum earned an LLB. Degree from Yale and studied at the London School of Economics. A partner at Leonard, Street and Deinard in Minneapolis, Pflaum has been married for 39 years to Ann Shevlin Mitchell, a Smith College graduate. They have two children, Bruce Shevlin Pflaum '93 and Andrew Mitchell Pflaum.

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 nation, 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.

Commencement Home

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Amherst College Celebrates Class Day May 21

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

AMHERST, Mass.—Paul E. Farmer, physician, medical anthropologist and founder of Partners in Health, reminded the Class of 2004 at Amherst College that "lots of people have never heard of Lord Jeffery Amherst" at Senior Class Exercises on the main quadrangle on Saturday, May 21. "Even World War II is ancient history to many, and this forgetting is a serious problem in this country. You will have to a better job than our generation, and a better job than the generation of Lord Jeff." Chosen by the graduates to speak, Farmer will be among seven recipients of honorary degrees at Commencement Exercises on Sunday, May 22 at 10 a.m.

Three graduating seniors also addressed their class Saturday. Ali Hassan of Falls Church, Va., made a humorous, but learned, talk about the importance of Amherst's open curriculum and the liberal arts, drawing on Pope, Montaigne and Shakespeare. Gabriel Mattera of University Heights, Ohio recalled a letter he received at the start of his career at Amherst from his grandfather in Argentina, who wrote, "Stay strong, don't get soft and keep moving forward." Kate Stayman-London of Montclair, N.J. told her class that "as we figured out together that it was going to be okay" on Sept. 11, 2001, their generation must help each other to overcome the "savage status quo" of injustice and famine in the world.

The Association of Amherst Students gave the Distinguished Teaching Award to Gordon Levin the Dwight Morrow Professor of History an American Studies, who has taught at Amherst since 1965.

The college also awarded student prizes. The Thomas H. Wyman 1951 Medal was established by Wyman's classmates and family to commemorate his remarkable life achievements and philanthropy to his beloved Amherst. A leadership gift to the annual fund was made in the name Ryan Park of Eagan, Minn.

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 Carter B. Hamill of Richmond, Va., and Ashley Harmeling of North Reading, 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 also was awarded to Ashley Harmeling, the member 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 members of the senior class, who have shown by their own determination and accomplishment the greatest appreciation of and desire for a college education, was awarded to Katherine Duke of Sugarloaf, N.Y, and Christian Sanchez of North Hollywood, Calif.

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 Herrick Fisher of Lexington, Mass.

The college presented Phebe and Zephaniah Swift Moore Awards on behalf of graduating seniors to five secondary school teachers: Robert Arrigo, a mathematics teacher from Scarsdale (N.Y.) High School, nominated by Armit Amirapu '05; William Curtis, a Latin teacher at Camden Hills Regional High School (Rockport, Maine), nominated by Rebecca Stein '05; John and Carol Longhenry, teachers of English and history from Auburn High School (Rockford, Ill.), nominated by Max Rettig '05; and John Stephens '56, a history teacher at the University School of Milwaukee (River Hills, Wisc.), nominated by Jennifer Wertheimer '05.

Ten current and former employees of Amherst College were named honorary members of the Class of 2005: Dee Brace of Amherst, Mass., the academic department coordinator in the philosophy department; Dave Cetto of Amherst, Mass., a server in the dining hall; Tom Gerety of New York, the former president of the college; Donald Kells of Montague, Mass., the postmaster; John Kunhardt of Shutesbury, Mass., the media coordinator in the media center; James Maraniss of Amherst, Mass., a professor of Spanish; Alexander Mokrezecki of Hadley, Mass., a caretaker of athletic facilities; Joseph Grygorcewicz of Hadley, Mass., a custodian in the social dorms. Two men who died this year, Antonio Benitez-Rojo, a professor of Spanish, and Robert E. ("Gramps") Keyes of Amherst, Mass., a checker with dining services, were made members of the class.

Commencement Home

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Amherst College To Hold 184th Commencement May 21 and 22

May 19, 2005
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—Amherst College will celebrate its 184th commencement exercises this weekend, Saturday, May 21, and Sunday, May 22. The college will grant bachelor of arts degrees to 409 members of the Class of 2005 at Commencement exercises at 10 a.m. on Sunday in the Main Quadrangle. (Exercises will be held in LeFrak Gymnasium in the event of rain.) Amherst President Anthony W. Marx will give an address, and John D. Pourciau, of Baton Rouge, La., has been chosen by his classmates to speak.

Honorary degrees will also be awarded at the ceremony Sunday to Kazuo Asakai '67, the Japanese ambassador to the European Union; Shigeru Ban, an architect known for his use of non-traditional building materials; Natalie Zemon Davis, ground-breaking historian and author of The Return of Martin Guerre; Paul E. Farmer, physician, medical anthropologist and founder of Partners in Health; Senator John Glenn, former American fighter pilot, astronaut and politician; Amy Rosenzweig '88, biochemist and winner of a MacArthur "genius" grant; Robert Stone, novelist and former visiting writer at Amherst; and William Julius Wilson, sociologist of urban poverty.

The college will honor Stephen R. Pflaum '62 of Minneapolis, Minn., with the Medal for Eminent Service. The honorary marshal will be F. David Lake, Jr. '64.

At 1:30 p.m., on Saturday, Paul Farmer will address the Senior Class Exercises. At 3 p.m., Shigeru Ban will speak on "Works and Humanitarian Activities" in the Pruyne Lecture Hall (Fayerweather 115), Natalie Zemon Davis will speak on "A Historian's Adventures" in the Cole Assembly Room, Converse 108), and John Glenn will take part in a conversation in Johnson Chapel. At 4 p.m., Amy Rosenzweig will give a talk titled "Here's to You, Larry Summers" in the Cole Assembly Room (Converse 108), Robert Stone will discuss "Unteachable, Unknowable, Echoes of Beckett" in the Pruyne Lecture Hall (Fayerweather 115), and William Julius Wilson will offer "Reflections on the Plight of Former Welfare Recipients" in Johnson Chapel.

The Class of 2005 has asked graduating seniors Ali Hassan of Falls Church, Va., Gabriel Mattera of University Heights, Ohio and Kate Stayman-London of Montclair, N.J. to offer remarks at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday at Senior Class Exercises.

The college also will award prizes at Senior Class Exercises on Saturday, and present Phebe and Zephaniah Swift Moore Awards to secondary school teachers Robert Arrigo, a mathematics teacher from Scarsdale (N.Y.) High School, nominated by Armit Amirapu '05; William Curtis, a Latin teacher at Camden Hills Regional High School (Rockport, Maine), nominated by Rebecca Stein '05; John and Carol Longhenry, teachers of English and history from Auburn High School (Rockford, Ill.), nominated by Max Rettig '05; and John Stephens '56, a history teacher at the University School of Milwaukee (River Hills, Wisc.), nominated by Jennifer Wertheimer '05.

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Gregory S. Call Named Dean of the Faculty at Amherst College

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

AMHERST, Mass.—Gregory S. Call has been appointed dean of the faculty at Amherst College. Call, who has taught in the department of mathematics and computer science at Amherst since 1988, has served as interim dean since 2003.

"It has been a privilege to serve the faculty, our students and the college community for the past two years," Call said, "and I am honored to have the opportunity to continue."

In a message to the college announcing his appointment of Call, Anthony W. Marx, the president, wrote, "During the last two years, we have all benefited from his many talents as a scholar, teacher and administrator; from his understanding of Amherst's unique culture; from his devotion to the college; and from his dedication to supporting the work of faculty, students and staff."

A professor of mathematics with special interests in algebraic number theory, arithmetic geometry and cryptography, Call received an A.B. degree summa cum laude in mathematics from Dartmouth College and A.M. and Ph.D. degrees from Harvard University. Call previously served as Amherst 's dean of new students for two years.

The dean of the faculty is the second-ranking officer of the college and works closely with the president on all the college's business, administers departmental budgets and oversees the academic departments in the preparation of tenure cases and in faculty searches. The dean also serves on many college committees. A college-wide examination of the academic program and priorities in the context of long-range planning is underway at Amherst, and Call will participate in that discussion as well.

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 nation, 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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Amherst College Choral Society To Present Commencement Concert May 21

May 1, 2005
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—The Amherst College Choral Society will present its annual Commencement concert at 9:15 p.m. on Saturday, May 21, in Buckley Recital Hall in the Arms Music Building at Amherst College. The Choral Society, which includes the Women's Chorus, the Men's Glee Club and the Concert Choir, is directed by Mallorie Chernin and Chad Mills '04, assistant director. The Madrigal Singers, directed by Katherine Willis '06, Andrea Kahn '08 and Jay Buchman '06, also will perform.

The program will feature music from each group's spring concert as well as traditional Amherst College songs.

Tickets are $6 for general admission and $3 for senior citizens, children 12 and under and Amherst College students. Tickets may be reserved by calling 413/542-2484 or may be purchased at the lobby of Converse Hall during Commencement registration or at the door the evening of the performance. Remaining tickets will be available in the lobby of the Arms Music Center the evening of the performance.

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Rachael McCracken, Amherst College Class of '04, Receives Law and Society Prize

May 1, 2005
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—Rachael McCracken, who graduated from Amherst College last year with a degree in Law, Jurisprudence and Social Thought (LJST), has received the 2005 Law and Society Association Undergraduate Paper Prize, awarded to an undergraduate student whose paper best represents outstanding law and society research. McCracken's honors thesis, for which she was awarded a degree summa cum laude, was Inside Out and Upside Down in Indian Country: Law's Colonization of the Native Nations.

David Delaney, a visiting assistant professor of LJST and McCracken's advisor at Amherst, wrote that her honors thesis was an outstanding example of undergraduate scholarship, the result of a sustained high level of research into a complex area of American law and of independent field interviews with members of the Little Shell people in her home state of Montana. The thesis deftly combines historical narrative, legal analysis and normative argument. It is a well organized, well written, thorough and ultimately compelling study of the continuing effects of colonialist thought in the workings of law in connection with indigenous peoples.

The Law and Society Association, founded in 1964, is a group of scholars from many fields and countries, interested in the place of law in social, political, economic and cultural life. Members bring training in law, sociology, political science, psychology, anthropology, economics, and history as well as in other related areas to the study of socio-legal phenomena. The association offers annual awards to an undergraduate student and a graduate student whose papers best represent outstanding law and society research, in the interdisciplinary tradition of law and society research, and reflects the style of articles in the Law & Society Review. The work examines law in culture and society, including interpretative, historical, social scientific and jurisprudential scholarship.

LJST students from Amherst College who previously won the award are Cliff Rosky '96 in 1997, Emily Glasgow '98 in 1999 and Rachel Burson '00 in 2001. No other undergraduate institution has won this award more than twice.

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