Emily Dickinson Museum Celebrates the Poet's Birthday Dec. 10

November 16, 2005
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—The Emily Dickinson Museum will host its annual Open House on Saturday, Dec. 10, from 1 to 4 p.m. in honor of Emily Dickinson's 175th birthday (Dec. 10, 1830). The event is free and open to the public. The Emily Dickinson Museum is composed of the Dickinson Homestead, birthplace and home of the poet, and The Evergreens next door, the home of Austin and Susan Dickinson, the poet's brother and sister-in-law.

The Museum's 10th annual "At Home" celebration will include self-guided tours of the Homestead and The Evergreens, parlor music, poetry reading and special cakes from Dickinson family recipes. In addition, visitors will be invited to write their own birthday tributes to Emily Dickinson. And as is tradition, this year the first 175 guests to the Museum will receive a rose, offered by an anonymous donor.

The Museum is located on Main Street in Amherst and is owned by the Trustees of Amherst College. For more information about the Open House, please call 413/542-8161 or visit www.emilydickinsonmuseum.org. Accessible parking is available at the Homestead; all other vehicles are asked to park on the street or in an Amherst College lot on Spring Street. Call for more information about accessibility. The Museum will be closed for the winter from Dec. 12 through March 1.

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Scholar of Slave Literature Joan Dayan To Speak at Amherst College Nov. 30

November 16, 2005
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—Colin (Joan) Dayan, Warren Penn Professor in the Humanities at Vanderbilt University, will lecture on “Legal Terror” at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 30, in the Pruyne Lecture Hall (Fayerweather 115) at Amherst College. Sponsored by the Office of the President, this talk is free and open to the public.

Dayan is an expert on Caribbean literature and the literature of slavery. Her works include Haiti, History, and the Gods (1995), Fables of Mind (1987) and A Rainbow for the Christian West (1977). In addition, she has published several papers in prominent scholarly journals. In 2004, she was selected as a Guggenheim Fellow for the 2004-05 year, an award she used to study slavery, incarceration and the law. Her forthcoming book, Punishments Cruel and Unusual, will be published by Princeton University Press next year.

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Arthur Vining Davis Foundations Make Grant to Amherst College

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

AMHERST, Mass.—The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations have awarded $200,000 for the construction of the new earth sciences and museum of natural history building at Amherst College.

Scheduled to open for teaching early in 2006, the new building will serve as a research laboratory and exhibition hall, allowing students and visitors to view and work with its impressive collections. The public exhibits are expected to open in the summer. The first dinosaur tracks ever documented in New England, the highlight of former college president Edward Hitchcock's vast collection, will be displayed in the main atrium, along with the full skeleton of a mastodon. The walls of this space, constructed almost entirely of glass, promise to showcase the illuminated mastodon for special nighttime viewing. Additionally, the building will feature several research laboratories with adjoining student project rooms. In this way, the building will connect students and faculty in the same research space. Finally, the new museum will contain four shared teaching laboratories, further facilitating the faculty-student interactions that define teaching and learning at Amherst.

Based in Jacksonville, Fla., the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations are a national philanthropic organization established through the generosity of the late American industrialist Arthur Vining Davis. The purpose of the foundations is to provide financial assistance, primarily in the areas of private higher education, secondary education, graduate theological education, health care and public television. An 1888 graduate of Amherst, Davis was a lifetime supporter of the college, contributing, for example, support for the construction of Davis Hall.

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Christmas Vespers at Amherst College Dec. 4

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

AMHERST, Mass.—The annual Christmas Vespers service will be held on Sunday, Dec. 4, at 4 p.m. and again at 7:30 p.m. in Johnson Chapel at Amherst College. The “Festival of Lessons and Carols ” is sponsored by the Amherst College Christian Fellowship, the Newman Club and the Protestant and Roman Catholic Religious Advisors. Admission is free, and the public is invited.

Mallorie Chernin will direct the Amherst College Choral Society, assisted by Rachel Dunham '05. Jay Buchman '06 and Andrea Kahn '07 will direct the Amherst College Madrigal Singers. Other musicians will include organist James Maes and trumpeters Douglas Purcell and Kevin Daly '05, of the Amherst College Music Department.

The Choral Society will perform music of Mendelssohn, Schütz, Leontovich, William Dawson and others. Members of the college community will read the scripture lessons. The congregation will be asked to join in the singing of traditional carols and the “Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel's Messiah.

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Dean Onawumi Jean Moss of Amherst College Receives Storytelling Award

November 11, 2005
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—Onawumi Jean Moss, associate dean of students at Amherst College, has received the Zora Neale Hurston Award for Storytelling, the highest award given by the National Association of Black Storytellers (NABS). This award is given in acknowledgement of a body of work that preserves the tenets of African and African American storytelling through performance, publications, recordings and service to national and regional storytelling organizations. Previous recipients have included the legendary theatrical couple of Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee and Oscar Brown Jr., jazz singer and storyteller.

Known professionally as Onawumi Jean Moss, The Soulful Storyteller, Moss is also the founder and director of the Keepers of the Word Storytelling Festival, an annual event in Amherst. With her 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.

Her new book, Precious and the Boo Hag (2005), a collaboration with acclaimed author Patricia C. McKissack and illustrator Kysten Booker, was praised in the School Library Journal as “an enchanting tale that is a pinch scary but a peck of fun,” and Booklist noted it had “the grand feel of a folktale.” Precious and the Boo Hag was recently selected by the New York Public Library as one of its top 100 “must- read” books, an honor given to the best achievements in children's publishing.

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Literary Critic James Wood To Speak at Amherst College Nov. 30

November 11, 2005
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—Critic James Wood will speak on “Saul Bellow and Herzog” at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 30, in the Cole Assembly Room (Red Room) in Converse Hall at Amherst College. Sponsored by the Amherst College Department of English in conjunction with the class “Novels, Plays, Poems,” this event is free and open to the public.

Wood, who has published extensively on English literature, has been hailed by many as the best literary critic of his generation. He is the author of two books of criticism, The Broken Estate: Essays on Literature and Belief (2000) and The Irresponsible Self: On Laughter and the Novel (2004), and a novel, The Book Against God (2003). His perspective on Bellow is informed by the time the two spent as colleagues teaching at Boston University. Since 1992, Wood has been chief critic for Britain's Guardian, and he has been senior editor of The New Republic since 1996.

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Professor of History Emeritus Fredric Cheyette is Mellon Emeritus Fellow

November 9, 2005
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded an emeritus fellowship to Fredric Cheyette, a professor emeritus of history at Amherst College. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation's Emeritus Fellowships provide research support for outstanding retired scholars in the humanities and social sciences who are continuing their scholarly pursuits. Cheyette will use his award to continue on his research into the changes in Europe's rural environment from antiquity through the 16th century. Cheyette also will travel in Europe, visiting archeological sites and archives.

Cheyette is the author of the award-winning Ermengard of Narbonne and the World of the Troubadours (2001), the story of a 12th-century warrior princess best known "among the poets and songsmiths." In earlier work Cheyette explored royal justice in France, the place of law in the origins of the state and the history of the European landscape from late Roman to medieval times.

Cheyette, who had taught at Amherst since 1963, retired in 2005. He received an A.B. from Princeton University and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Harvard University.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is one of the largest private foundations in the country. It makes grants on a selective basis to institutions in higher education, museums and art conservation, performing arts, population, conservation and the environment, and public affairs. Cheyette is one of 17 fellows selected from among the nominations submitted by universities and colleges from across the country that were invited to participate.

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The Kresge Foundation Awards Science Grant to Amherst College

November 9, 2005
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—The Kresge Foundation of Troy, Mich. has awarded Amherst College a Science Initiative Challenge Grant of $500,000, part of a program to upgrade and endow scientific instrumentation and laboratories in colleges and universities, teaching hospitals, medical schools and research institutions.

In response to the problem of outdated scientific equipment in higher education, the Kresge Science Initiative aims to foster appreciation for long-range planning for future equipment repair and replacement. The challenge grant from Kresge also offers Amherst the opportunity to broaden and deepen its base of support from alumni and encourages volunteer involvement in the fund-raising effort and beyond.

In response to funds already raised by the college, the Kresge grant will provide an additional $250,000 for the purchase of major capital equipment that supports research in the environmental sciences at Amhers. The grant also challenges Amherst to raise $1 million for an endowment to support student summer research in environmental science. If the challenge is met, Kresge will then add $250,000 to that endowment.

The Kresge Foundation is an independent, private foundation created by the personal gifts of Sebastian S. Kresge. It is not affiliated with any corporation or organization. In 2004, the Foundation awarded 175 grants totaling $119,434,874 to charitable organizations in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and France. Grants are made to institutions operating in the areas of higher education, health and long-term care, arts and humanities, human services, science and the environment and public affairs.

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Writer Richard Todd To Read at Amherst College Nov. 14

November 9, 2005
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—Richard Todd will read from his work at 8 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 14, in the Pruyne Lecture Hall (Fayerweather 115) at Amherst College. Sponsored by the Amherst College Creative Writing Center and the Scott Turow Fund, this reading and a reception to follow are free and open to the public.

A 1962 graduate of Amherst College and formerly an editor at the Atlantic Monthly, Todd has published books under his own imprint at Houghton Mifflin, where his authors included Tracy Kidder and Ann Patchett. His essays and cultural reportage have appeared in The Atlantic, Harper's, The New York Times and other magazines. He is currently completing a book, The Thing Itself, a meditation on the problem of authenticity through such diverse phenomena as famous people, sincerity, television and memoir.

The Amherst College Creative Writing Center organizes an annual reading series featuring both emerging and established authors. See the center's Website, www.amherst.edu/~cwc, for more information.

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The Rev. Bridgette D. Young to Speak at Bi-Semester Worship Service Nov. 13

November 7, 2005
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—The Rev. Bridgette D. Young will speak at the second Bi-Semester Worship Service of the semester at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 13, in the Chapin Chapel at Amherst College. A full reception will follow the service. Sponsored by the Department of Religious Life and the Bi-Semester Worship Committee, this event is free and open to the public.

Young is an ordained United Methodist elder, and currently the associate dean of the chapel and religious life at Emory University in Atlanta, Ga. She has previously served as campus minister and director of the Wesley Foundation at Georgia Institute of Technology and was staff associate director for missions, ecumenical and ethnic ministries on the North Georgia Conference Council on Ministries. She has also served as the associate minister of congregational care at Mt. Bethel United Methodist Church in Marietta, Ga., and at Cascade United Methodist Church in Atlanta, first as a student assistant pastor, and subsequently as the associate pastor of administration. Young earned a Master of Divinity degree from Gammon Theological Seminary at the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC) with a concentration in pastoral care and counseling. Her seminary training included a chaplain internship at Crawford Long Hospital in Atlanta. As an honors graduate, she is a member of the International Society of Theta Phi.

The Bi-Semester Worship Series is designed for and by students to provide an on-campus Christian worship experience which affirms African-American religious traditions.

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Contact

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