Amherst College Receives $6 Million for Low-Income African and Latin American Students

February 21, 2007
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—Arthur W. Koenig ’66 has pledged $6 million to Amherst College over the next six years to create the Koenig Scholarship Fund, a program that the philanthropist calls an investment: it will bring talented low-income students from Latin America and Africa to Amherst, provide academic support for them at the college and sponsor annual recruitment trips from the college to those regions.

The Koenig Scholarship Fund will designate five Koenig Scholars each year, paying particular attention to the most talented and needy students from these continents. Koenig hopes not only that the scholarship recipients will succeed, both at Amherst and in their lives, but also “that the students and staff at Amherst are influenced by these students.” Inspiring Koenig’s gift, in part, was a faculty recommendation to increase the number of international students on campus, and to extend its need-blind financial aid policies to those students.

After studying political science at Amherst, Koenig went on to get a master’s degree in international affairs and finance at Columbia University in 1970. For more than 17 years, he worked for Duferco, the international steel trade concern, in New York City and Portugal. He was based in Rome from 2002 to 2006. Recently retired and living in London, Koenig now serves as a mentor to Amherst College students and alumni through the college’s Career Network. Having lived abroad for many years, Koenig has seen the pressing need for bright young people in developing nations to gain access to education, and is delighted to be able to offer some the opportunity for a top-notch liberal arts experience at Amherst.

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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Former Amherst College Professor Jamal J. Elias to Discuss the Pope and Islam on March 8

February 28, 2007
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—Jamal J. Elias, the Class of 1965 Term Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, will speak on “Must God be Rational? (The Pope and) Ethical Constraints in Islam” at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 8, in the Paino Lecture Hall in the Earth Science Building at Amherst College. Elias will give two additional Willis D. Wood Distinguished Lectures in Islam: “Jews, and Christians, and Muslims, Oh My! Revisiting the Concept of ‘People of the Book’” on Thursday, March 29, and “Islam, Mis/Representation, and the Defenders of God” on Wednesday, April 25. All three lectures will be held at 4:30 p.m. in the Paino Lecture Hall in the Earth Sciences Building. The events are free and open to the public. The series is being sponsored by the Amherst College Religion Department and the Willis D. Wood Fund.

Elias is a prominent scholar of Islam with a concentration in Islamic intellectual history in the Middle East and South Asia. He has written books on a variety of topics, including The Throne Carrier of God (1995), a study of one of the most influential religious figures in medieval Iran, and Death Before Dying: The Sufi Poems of Sultan Bahu (1998), a translated collection of Sufi poetry from South Asia and Islam (2002), which has been translated into five languages. He has also studied art and the history of perception in Islamic contexts and is currently writing a book on the subject. A related book on truck decoration in Pakistan is forthcoming from Oneworld Publications.

Elias received his B.A. degree from Stanford University, an M.A. degree from the University of Pennsylvania and an M.A. and a Ph.D. degree in religious studies from Yale University. He taught at Amherst College from 1989 until 2006.

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Mozart’s Celebrated Requiem at Amherst College March 10

February 22, 2007
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—The Amherst College orchestra will join the college’s three choir ensembles on the stage at 8 p.m. on Saturday, March 10, in Buckley Recital Hall in the Arms Music Building, to present a single performance of Mozart’s Requiem, the unfinished masterpiece by the renowned composer. The performance will also feature four accomplished professional soloists from the Pioneer Valley: soprano Junko Wanatabe, mezzo soprano Janna Baty, tenor Alan Schneider and bass-baritone John Salvi. Sponsored by the music department at Amherst College, the performance is free for Amherst students, and general admission tickets are $5. Reservations are recommended, and tickets can be reserved by e-mail at amherstrequiem@gmail.com. or by calling 413/542-2195.

Written by Mozart in the final days of his life, the Requiem continues to captivate audiences with its powerful musical synthesis of fear, lamentation and joy. The unfinished work was originally taken on by several of Mozart’s students, most prominently Franz Süssmayr. But questions remain as to how Mozart himself would have completed it. Amherst College will perform the edition by Franz Beyer, a modern German musicologist whose adaptation is closer to the composer’s original intentions.

The Amherst performance represents what conductor and director of instrumental music at Amherst Mark Lane Swanson calls “a wonderful tradition of choral/orchestral collaboration.” This annual concert allows Amherst College students to collaborate with professional artists while presenting large-scale masterpieces in a small college setting. “It is an honor to be able to put on such a great masterwork,” says choral director Mallorie Chernin, and the concert annually draws a considerable local audience. Indeed, the convergence of community, professional and college elements makes this a unique performance, and both Swanson and Chernin praise the synergy that the concert produces. “We feel like celebrities,” says a member of the women’s choir. “This performance is always my favorite part of the year. Working with the orchestra is a magical experience.”

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Pianist Peter Serkin To Present Music at Amherst Feb. 25

February 22, 2007
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—In the third performance of the 2006-07 Music at Amherst Series, pianist Peter Serkin will perform a program of works by Charles Wuorinen, Olivier Messiaen, J.S. Bach, Elliott Carter and Johannes Brahms at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 25, in Buckley Recital Hall in the Arms Music Building at Amherst College.

Since making his New York City debut in 1959 at age 12, Peter Serkin has been delighting audiences with his thoughtful and individualistic interpretations of music from all periods. An avid enthusiast of new music, Serkin debuted new pieces by Charles Wuorinen and Elliot Carter in the 2005-06 season. “Serkin clearly grasps this music in three dimensions, bringing out inner voices and rhythmic figures that many interpreters leave burbling in the background,” according to The New York Times.

Tickets for the performance are $22. Senior citizens (65+) and Amherst College employee tickets are $19, and student tickets are $5. Tickets may be purchased in advance over the telephone by calling 413/542-2195.

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Discussion of "Should The New York Times be Prosecuted under the Espionage Statutes?" at Amherst College Feb. 27

February 20, 2007
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—Political essayist Gabriel Schoenfeld and George Freeman ’71, the assistant general counsel at The New York Times, will discuss “Should The New York Times Be Prosecuted under the Espionage Statutes? Or, Does the First Amendment Give the Media an Exception to the Laws?” at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 27, in Room 201 in the Octagon at Amherst College. One in a series of lectures sponsored by the Colloquium on the American Founding at Amherst, the talk is free and open to the public.

The author of The Return of Anti-Semitism (2004), which Publishers’ Weekly praised for its “pungent, well-written, argumentative analysis,” Schoenfeld has written on world affairs for The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the Atlantic, the New Republic and other publications, including Commentary magazine, where he is the senior editor.

A graduate of Harvard Law School, Freeman is an adjunct professor at New York University, where he teaches media law. He has taught at the University of Miami Law School and served as assistant to the dean at Vermont Law School. As assistant general counsel of the Times since 1992, Freeman has been involved in newsroom counseling, antitrust and distribution problems, employment relations and business counseling involving all divisions of the Times. Currently chair of the American Bar Association’s Litigation Section’s First Amendment and Media Litigation Committee and past chair of the ABA’s Forum on Communication Law, Freeman has also chaired the New York State Bar Association Media Law Committee and is a frequent lecturer on First Amendment issues.

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“Paradoxes of Globalization: Forest Loss and Forest Recovery in Latin America” at Amherst College Feb. 27

February 20, 2007
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—Susanna Hecht, professor of urban planning at UCLA and fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University, will speak on “Paradoxes of Globalization: Forest Loss and Forest Recovery in Latin Americaat 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 27, in Paino Lecture Hall (107 Earth Sciences) at Amherst College. Sponsored by the Amazon Studies Lectureship Fund and the Environmental Studies Program of Amherst College, Hecht’s talk is free and open to the public.

Agricultural ecology and rural development, regional development and policy, tropical agricultural development and resources, soil morphology and management and nutrient cycling are the subjects of Hecht’s research—much of it centered in the Amazon Basin. But Hecht is also interested in environmental history and philosophy, and has translated the writings of the lyrical Brazilian novelist Euclides da Cunha (1866-1909), who revealed much about the lost history of Amazonia in his classic Rebellion in the Backlands and was also a preeminent Amazonian explorer.

The co-author with Alexander Cockburn of Fate of the Forest: Developers, Destroyers, and Defenders of the Amazon (1989), Hecht also co-edited Agroecology and Small Farm Development (1990) and contributed to Development or Destruction: the Conversion of Tropical Forest to Pasture in Latin America (1992).

Hecht received a B.A. (1972) from the University of Chicago, and M.A. (1976) and Ph.D. (1982) degrees from the University of California at Berkeley. She has received grants and fellowships from the MacArthur Foundation, Pew Charitable Trusts, Jessie Smith Noyes and the National Science Foundation. She also has been a panel member, advisor and reviewer to foundations and U.S. and Amazonian non-governmental organizations and a consultant for the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank and the Dutch and British Overseas Development Councils.

The lecture is sponsored by the Amazon Studies Lectureship Fund and Environmental Studies at Amherst College.

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Political Journalist Joe Klein To Speak at Amherst College March 1

February 19, 2007
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—Political journalist Joe Klein will speak about “War in Iraq and the U.S. Presidential Election” at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 1, in the Babbott Room in the Octagon at Amherst College. Sponsored by the Victor S. Johnson 1882-1943 Lectureship Fund, Klein’s talk is free and open to the public.

Klein’s latest book, Politics Lost: How American Politics Was Trivialized By People Who Think You’re Stupid (2006), is a dissection of American politics that the Washington Post called “a highly entertaining tour of how political consultants progressively hijacked the presidential campaigns of the last 40 years.” Klein is also the author of The Natural: Bill Clinton’s Misunderstood Presidency (2002).

As “Anonymous,” Klein wrote Primary Colors (1996), a best-selling novel inspired by Clinton’s 1992 presidential race. After his second political novel, The Running Mate (2000), New York Times critic Michiko Kakutani wrote, “Klein’ s novels look at the moral compromises made by politicians and the changes wrought by the growing influence of consultants and negative campaigning. [The] books underscore the author’s reportorial familiarity with the daily bump and grind of politics and his more tentative command of imaginative fiction.” Klein’s other nonfiction books are Payback: Five Marines After Vietnam (1984) and Woody Guthrie: A Life (1980).

Previously a columnist for Newsweek, Klein has written “In the Arena,” a column about national and international affairs, for Time since 2003. He also served as Washington correspondent for The New Yorker, commentator for CBS News, political columnist for New York magazine, reporter for WGBH-TV Boston and news editor at The Real Paper. He was a contributing editor for Rolling Stone and served as its Washington bureau chief. He has written articles and book reviews for The New Republic, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Life and other publications. A member of the Council on Foreign Relations and former Guggenheim fellow, Klein graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in American civilization.

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Back to the Future: Contemporary American Art from the Collection at the Mead Art Museum March 30 to Aug. 2

February 16, 2007
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—Works by contemporary American artists acquired since 2000 will be shown in “Back to the Future” at the Mead Art Museum at Amherst College from Friday, March 30, through Sunday, Aug. 26. From Fluxus artist Geoffrey Hendricks’s (Amherst ’53) painted bronze “Sky Boots (Sunday), 1965-1992,” to Mary Frank’s abstract monotype “Untitled, Women with a Veil-C” (1981), the exhibition represents a range of contemporary works in a variety of media, including photography, works on paper, painting and sculpture.

Fluxus—a free-wheeling art movement that started in the ’50s—is also represented by Joe Jones, a key member of the movement, known for his experimental music and for the playful instruments he fabricated from found objects. The Mead’s “Framed Piece with Steel Drum” (1981) is one such “music machine,” made of a steel drum, motor, battery, electric cord and pingpong balls. Other sculptures in the exhibition include a bronze by Helen Evans Ramsaran titled “Cliff Dwellers” (2001), inspired by the sandstone villages of the Bandiagara region of Mali in West Africa.

Back to the Future includes paintings by Michael Mazur (Amherst ’57) and Joan Witek. Among the artists represented by works on paper are Dottie Attie, Sam Gilliam, Donald Sultan and Beverly Buchanan, whose oil pastel “Five Shacks” (2004) is inspired by the uniquely Southern structures of the artist’s childhood in rural Georgia and the Carolinas. The exhibition also includes photographs by Petah Coyne, William Eggleston, Emmet Gowin, Alex Harris, David Levinthal, Mary Ellen Mark, Duane Michals and Vik Muniz. Best known for her hanging wax sculptures and knotted webs of hair, Petah Coyne is represented here by “Monks II” (1992), a blurred photograph that captures fragments of moments and motion frozen in time. Coyne will give a slide lecture about her work in conjunction with the exhibition at 4 p.m. on Thursday, April 12, in the Keefe Campus Center Theater. A reception will follow in the museum.

The works in “Back to the Future” attest to the strength and vitality of the Mead’s growing contemporary collection.

The Mead Art Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Thursday evenings until 9 p.m. More information is available on the museum’s Website or by calling the Mead Art Museum at 413/542-2335. All events are free and open to the public.

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Modernist Author Chris Adrian to Read at Amherst Books on Feb. 28

February 16, 2007
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.— Chris Adrian—author, pediatrician and divinity student—will read from his critically acclaimed second novel, The Children’s Hospital, at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 28, at Amherst Books (8 Main Street). Sponsored by the Amherst College Creative Writing Center, the event is free and open to the public.

What happens when a pediatric facility becomes a modern-day Noah’s Ark? The Children’s Hospital (2006), hailed as a highly imaginative work in a style aptly called “medical magical realism,” answers that question. The novel follows the doctors and patients of a children’s hospital who find themselves set adrift over seven miles of water, the only survivors of an apocalyptic flood. The protagonist, a young medical student who discovers her own miraculous healing powers, must struggle with her fellow inhabitants to maintain an everyday existence in this uncertain world, where angels abound and precarious new lives are constantly redefined. Myla Goldberg of The New York Times Book Review praised the linguistic power of this young author: “To read Chris Adrian is to take part in the exciting process of watching a talented and original writer gain mastery of his powerful gifts.”

A native of Washington, D.C., Adrian is also the author of Gob’s Grief (2001), his surrealistic debut novel, and has written short stories for The New Yorker, The Paris Review and Story, among others. A graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, Adrian recently finished his pediatric residency at the University of California, San Francisco, and is currently studying at the Harvard Divinity School.

The Amherst College Creative Writing Center sponsors a yearly reading series featuring both emerging and established authors. For more information, call 413/542-8200.

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Former Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso at Amherst College March 5

February 12, 2007
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—Former Brazilian president Fernando Henrique Cardoso will present a lecture on “Environment, Development and Democracy: Challenges for Brazil,” at 8 p.m. on Monday, March 5, in the Cole Assembly Room at Amherst College. Sponsored by the Victor S. Johnson Lecture Fund and the Office of the President at Amherst College, the talk and panel are free and open to the public.

The president of Brazil from January 1995 to December 2002, Cardoso is the author of The Accidental President of Brazil (2006), a memoir that details his unique experience as the leader of a politically vibrant and culturally rich country. A professor of sociology and a leading scholar of race and class in Brazil, Cardoso opposed his country’s military dictators and was exiled from 1964 to 1968. In 1986, Cardoso was elected to the senate, representing the state of Sao Paulo. In 1988 he co-founded the Social Democratic party. From 1992 to 1993, Cardoso served as Foreign Affairs Minister. A leading figure in the “dependency school” of criticism of first-world dominated development, Cardoso was Brazil’s Finance Minister from 1993 to 1994.

Cardoso’s presidency consolidated Brazilian democracy, reduced patronage in the government bureaucracy, improved education and rural health care and resettled nearly 600,000 landless peasant families.

“Brazil is an unknown giant,” Cardoso said, discussing his memoir. “It is the world’s fifth-biggest country, yet most foreigners know only ‘The Girl from Ipanema.’ So I wanted also to write a book to introduce ‘the country of the future’ whose time, in my view, has finally come, and tell the marvelous story about how the land of Carnival and the favela, of futebol and caipirinha is slowly overcoming its legacy of dictatorship and slavery to become a modern, powerful and vibrant society.”

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