Former Amherst College President Peter Pouncey To Receive American Academy Award

April 28, 2006
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—Peter Pouncey, the president emeritus of Amherst College, has been selected to receive the 2006 Harold D. Vursell Memorial Award from The American Academy of Arts and Letters for “his extraordinary debut novel,” Rules for Old Men Waiting (2005), a novel about three wars of the 20th century and a marriage. The award is presented annually to “a writer whose work merits recognition for its prose style.”

USAToday noted that “The novel is as layered as the richest wedding cake but far more nourishing.” According to novelist and memoirist Frank McCourt, it is “a deeply sensual, moving, thrilling novel that calls for a second and third reading—it is that rich.” Praised as “an intense, memorable little book” in the Times of London, Pouncey’s first novel is “so rich and reasoned and full-blown that only time could have produced it,” according to the Boston Globe. The New York Public Library selected Rules for Old Men Waiting as one of its “25 Books to Remember from 2005.”

Robert MacIver, the protagonist of Rules, is a recently widowed and rapidly aging historian grieving alone in the winter in an unheated Cape Cod house “older than the Republic.” The house is perhaps more debilitated than MacIver is: when the frame of his dwelling starts collapsing, he formulates his “Ten Commandments for Old Men Waiting.” Because one injunction is to “Work every morning,” he writes a short story about the suffering of soldiers in the First World War, drawing on materials he gathered for an oral history of victims of poison gas. Rules for Old Men Waiting is a story within a story, an invented tale of the Great War that prompts MacIver to reflect on his role in the Second World War and his son’s in Vietnam.

The president of Amherst College from 1984 to 1994, Pouncey is a classicist by training. Born in China to English parents, Pouncey was educated in the Greek and Latin classics in English boarding schools and at Oxford. He taught at Fordham University and Columbia University, specializing in classical historiography. He served as dean of the college at Columbia during the politically active 1970s.

Composed of 250 writers, composers, painters, sculptors and architects, The American Academy of Arts and Letters fosters and sustains interest in literature, music and the fine arts by identifying and encouraging individual artists, through awards and prizes, as well as exhibitions of art and manuscripts, staged readings and performances of new works, at its headquarters on Audubon Terrace in upper Manhattan, and the purchase of works of art and their distribution to museums. The Academy’s 250 members nominate candidates for awards, and a rotating committee of writers selects winners. The members of the 2006 committee were Edward Hoagland, John Hollander, Romulus Linney, Janet Malcom, Grace Paley, Reynolds Price and William Jay Smith.

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Amherst College Jazz Ensemble To Present “Springtime Jazz” at Amherst College May 8

April 26, 2006
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—The Amherst College Jazz Ensemble will perform its annual spring concert at 8 p.m. on Monday, May 8, in Buckley Recital Hall in the Arms Music Center at Amherst College. The flagship concert in a series of springtime Jazz at Amherst performances, the program will feature big band arrangements by Johnny Hodges, Duke Ellington, Matt Harris, Phil Woods, Neil Hefti and Gil Evans. It is free and open to the public. At the end of the concert, the Jazz at Amherst program will honor the seniors involved in the Amherst College Jazz Ensemble and the various jazz combos.

The concert will present the world premiere of David Springfield’s “The Art of the Matter,” commissioned by the Amherst College Jazz Ensemble as part of the McBride Commission Project. The McBride Commission Project, named for jazz enthusiast and Jazz at Amherst supporter Robin McBride ’59, offers Amherst College jazz students a chance to interact with a noted jazz composer and more closely observe the creative process of composition.

The Amherst College Jazz Ensemble consists of more than 20 Amherst College students under the direction of Bruce Diehl. The band performs throughout the year both at Amherst College and elsewhere in Western Massachusetts, playing jazz standards and contemporary big band arrangements. For more information about Jazz at Amherst, visit http://www.amherst.edu/~jazz or contact Bruce Diehl at 413/542-8308.

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Amherst College Will Honor High-School Teachers on Commencement Weekend May 27 and 28

April 26, 2006
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—Four secondary-school teachers who challenged, inspired and moved members of the Class of 2006 will receive the Phebe and Zephaniah Swift Moore Teaching Awards at Amherst College’s Senior Class Exercises at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 27, during Commencement Weekend.

“American colleges and universities must recognize that the secondary schools matter,” says Anthony W. Marx, the president of Amherst. “Education is the best tool we have for improving the world. Teachers who are willing to take the time to help their students achieve are making a difference in many lives”.

The Phebe and Zephaniah Swift Moore Teaching Awards recognize teachers who have been important in the careers of Amherst students.

The awards this year will go to:

Elissa Jury, a science teacher from Rondout Valley High School in Accord, N.Y., was nominated by Jon Vosper of Kingston, N.Y. The son of a corrections officer and a day-care provider, Vosper says he didn’t care much about academic success when he entered high school. “In my high school,” he wrote in his nomination, “there were no honors courses in math or the sciences, so these classes represented the full spectrum of academic ability and socio-economic backgrounds. Mrs. Jury’s ability to engage and inspire both ordinary students and exceptionally bright individuals was truly amazing…It’s extremely rare that kids from my area end up at places like Amherst,” Vosper wrote.

Robert Wilmoth, a history teacher from Elkins High School in Elkins, W.V., was nominated by Aaron Hall of Montrose, W.V. Hall wrote in his nomination, "Mr. Wilmoth appeared when I needed him most, when the internal flame of curiosity and ambition was flickering out and a competing one of bitterness and frustration was being kindled. As an instructor and then as vice principal, he reached out to feed the former while mitigating the latter. With Mr. Wilmoth on my side and exerting his positive gravitational influence, my high school came to view me as an asset rather than troublemaker. Now it feels natural for me to be at Amherst, to study history and politics, even to excel here.”

John Benson, a math teacher from Evanston Township High School in Evanston, Ill. Was nominated separately by three different students – Rachel Gilbert, Hilary Levinson and Christian McClellan, all of Evanston, Ill. Benson has taught for 36 years at Evanston Township High School, where he works with Project Excite, a program that connects high school teachers with 3rd-grade minority students in hopes of better preparing them for academic success. And Judy Frank, a novelist who has been teaching English at Amherst College since 1988, remembers him as a positive influence from her days at Evanston High School.

David Ely, a biology teacher from Champlain Valley Union High School in Hinesburg, Vt., was nominated by Carolyn Koulouris of Shelburne, Vt. “At my public high school,” Koulouris wrote in her nomination, “he is revered.” Ely created a program that annually provides an opportunity for 20 high school students to do summer research at Vermont Medical School, and inspired Koulouris to become a teacher. “Last fall I told him that I might want to teach high school biology,” Koulouris wrote, “but what I could not figure out how to say was that I hoped I could be as much like him as possible.”

This is the 10th year that Amherst College has presented the award, with which it expresses its appreciation for the profession of teaching. The recipients are chosen by a committee of seniors, faculty and staff from nominations submitted by graduating seniors.

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Thomas Chen ’07E Selected as Rockefeller Brothers Fund Teaching Fellow

April 26, 2006
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—Thomas Chen ’07E of Hillsborough, N.J. has been named a 2006 recipient of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund’s (RBF) Fellowship for Aspiring Teachers of Color. Chen, a women’s and gender studies major at Amherst, is one of 25 juniors from 16 participating institutions selected for this year’s award.

An RBF fellow receives up to $22,100 over a five-year period, beginning the summer following junior year and ending after completion of three years of public school teaching. To provide students with direct teaching experience, fellows are also required to plan and complete a summer project between their junior and senior years. Projects are then presented at a summer workshop, to be held this year in August in Washington, D.C.

Established in 1991, the RBF seeks to increase the number of highly-qualified teachers of color in K-12 public education as a response to alarming demographic shifts in public school classrooms. While it is expected that by 2014 more than half of all publicly educated children will be students of color, presently, only 10 percent of public school teachers in the United States are of color. Since its inception, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund has awarded fellowships to 300 college students.

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Amherst College La Causa and Chicano/a Caucus Support Immigration Rally May 1

April 24, 2006
Director of Media Relations
(413) 542-8417

AAMHERST, Mass.—Amherst College La Causa and the Chicano/a Caucus are among the members of the “Western Massachusetts May 1st Coalition,” a collection of local organizations that support immigration rights, which will sponsor a rally at 12 noon on Monday, May 1 on the Amherst Town Common. The May 1st Coalition is calling for the “Great American Boycott,” which has been called for that day in support of immigration rights, organized around the themes of "No Work, No School, No Buying and No Selling."

According to Antoinette Flores, a spokesperson for La Causa, "We as a nation need to wake up and see that the failed immigration legislation is a human rights issue that needs to be addressed with compassion and humanism—not xenophobia, racism and nativism. We are part of a national movement acting locally to show our community that we are here and that we support our undocumented brothers and sisters in the area and in this nation."

Flores says that the Western Massachusetts May 1st Coalition demands that the US Senate stop the passage of house resolution HR4437, which would criminalize immigrants and those who provide them services. "We demand comprehensive immigration reform, including a path to citizenship—not a temporary guest worker program—family reunification measures, worker protection and civil rights for all immigrants."

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Rescue Archaeologist Isabelle Catteddu To Speak at Amherst College April 28

April 24, 2006
Director of Media Relations
(413) 542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.— Isabelle Catteddu of the National Institute for Rescue Archaeology in France will speak on the topic “What Rescue Archaeology Has Taught Us about Early Medieval Settlements” at 4 p.m. on Friday, April 28, in Fayerweather 113 at Amherst College. Sponsored by the Amherst College Departments of History and Classics and the Five-College Medieval Studies Program, Catteddu’s lecture is free and open to the public.

In the last 20 years rescue archaeology, the investigation of sites threatened by private or public development, has allowed researchers to analyze land use and settlement patterns over long stretches of time, crossing over the traditional chronological periods of pre-historic, classical, medieval and modern. These excavations, many on a large scale, have allowed structural analyses that incorporate settlements into their surrounding natural and cultural landscapes. Aided by paleo-environmental analyses, rescue archaeologists have developed a dynamic view of the transformation of classical settlements into settlements with very different forms of organization, and with their own particular field structures, pathways, land divisions and agro-pastoral practices.

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AIDS Activist Stephen Lewis To Speak at Amherst College Apr. 19

April 18, 2006
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—Stephen Lewis, the special representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for AIDS in Africa, will speak at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Apr. 19, in the Cole Assembly Room in Converse Hall at Amherst College. Lewis’s talk is free and open to the public; a book signing will follow the lecture. This event is sponsored by the Anthropology and Sociology Department, Black Studies Department, the Corliss Lamont Fund for a Peaceful World and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at Amherst College; Five Colleges, Inc.; the Five College African Studies Council and African Scholars Program; Atopani at Hampshire College; the Afro-American and African Studies Department at Mount Holyoke College; the African Studies and Government (Leanna Brown Fund) Departments at Smith College; and the Department of History at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Internationally renowned for his untiring efforts to combat AIDS in Africa, Lewis formerly served as deputy director of UNICEF and as ambassador of Canada to the United Nations. In 1999 he served as a member of the International Panel of Eminent Personalities convened by the Organization of African Unity to investigate the Rwandan genocide. He is the author of Race Against Time: Searching for Hope in AIDS Ravaged Africa (2005). Lewis founded the Stephen Lewis Foundation (www.stephenlewisfoundation.org ), which funds community-based initiatives to help ease the pain of HIV/AIDS in Africa.

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Artist Brett Cook To Speak at Amherst College May 1

April 18, 2006
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—Brett Cook, an artist whose work defies easy characterization, will speak about his work at 4:30 p.m. on Monday, May 1, in the Pruyne Lecture Hall at Amherst College. Sponsored by the Department of Fine Arts, the Eastman Fund and the dean of the faculty at Amherst College, Cook-Dizney’s talk is free and open to the public.

Active in public art since 1984 in the United States from California to Maine, and internationally in Brazil, Barbados and Mexico, Cook has created such works as a South Central Los Angeles project addressing divinity; the Development/Gentrification Project in 10 locations throughout Harlem; and a project addressing segregation at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. While some of his works have been commissioned by museums or public agencies, others have been self-initiated interventions on abandoned spaces. Cook employs participatory ethnographic strategies, progressive educational pedagogy and community organizing to connect his work to wide audiences.

Cook has had solo exhibitions in New York and at Wesleyan University and has participated in group exhibitions in Washington D.C. and at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Wayne State University Gallery and in San Francisco. He has taught in a variety of disciplines, published in academic journals and in 2000 was one of Vibe Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People, Places and Things.”

Cook received a B.F.A. degree from the University of California at Berkeley and has had residencies including the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine, the Studio Museum in Harlem and the Headlands Center for the Arts in California.

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Dr. Elizabeth E. Carr Elected Vice-President of National Multifaith Organization

April 18, 2006
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—Elizabeth E. Carr, Catholic religious advisor at Amherst College, was recently elected 2006-07 vice president of the National Association of College and University Chaplains (NACUC). Carr received the honor at the group’s annual meeting at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. in February.

The NACUC, founded in 1948, is a multifaith professional community concerned with religious life in the nation’s college and university communities. Following in NACUC tradition, Carr will automatically rise to association president in 2007-08. In addition, Paul V. Sorrentino, coordinator for religious life and advisor to the Christian Fellowship at Amherst College, and Shamshad Sheikh, Muslim religious advisor, are at-large members of the NACUC Executive Board.

A religious advisor at Amherst College since 1998, Carr earned her Ph.D. degree in theology at the Graduate Theological Union at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1987. She holds A.B. and M.S. degrees from the University of Southern California.

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Scott Niichel ’06 to Present Gallery Talk on Natalia Goncharova’s Mystical Images of War at Amherst College May 5

April 18, 2006
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—Scott Niichel ’06 will present a gallery talk on Natalia Goncharova’s Mystical Images of War at 1 p.m. on Friday, May 5, at the Mead Art Museum at Amherst College. Admission to the talk and all related events is free and open to the public.

Niichel, a double major in fine arts and Russian, will discuss Goncharova’s artistic career as a central and radical figure of the Russian avant-garde. While drawing upon themes from his senior thesis, he will describe the artist’s struggle to create a truly Russian style in response to Western-influenced modernity, and ultimately expose Goncharova’s Mystical Images of War as a complex and apocalyptic figuration of Russian attitudes toward World War I at its inception in 1914. Niichel was a recipient of the 2005 Mead/Fine Arts summer fellowship, which supported his internship at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, where he worked on the exhibition Russia!

The gallery talk is presented in conjunction with the exhibition Natalia Goncharova: Mystical Images of War, organized by the Mead Art Museum, on view from Feb. 10 to June 4. The exhibit features an important album of lithographs produced in 1914, as well as a related crayon drawing and rare self-portrait. One of the so-called “Amazons of the avant-garde” in early 20th-century Russia, Natalia Goncharova combined folk traditions, traditional religious imagery and modernist abstraction in her early easel paintings and theatrical designs for Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. Her concern for traditional Russian culture inspired the Neo-Primitivist movement. The exhibition is selected from a major collection of more than 400 works of Russian art donated in 2001 by Thomas P. Whitney ’37. Support for the exhibition was provided in part by the Julia A. Whitney Fund.

The Mead Art Museum is currently open Tuesdays through Sundays, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and on Thursdays until 9 p.m. From June 6 to Sept. 3, the Mead is open from noon to 4 p.m., Tuesdays through Sundays, and on Thursdays until 8 p.m. Additional information can be found on the museum’s Website at www.amherst.edu/mead or by calling the museum at 413/542-2335.

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