Amherst College Graduates 409

May 28, 2007
Director of Media Relations
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AMHERST, Mass, May 28.—Under warm blue skies, Amherst College celebrated its 186th Commencement Exercises today. The college granted bachelor of arts degrees to 409 members of the Class of 2007 at Commencement Exercises at 10 a.m. in the Main Quadrangle.

Amherst President Anthony W. Marx in his traditional address reminded the class to recall the lessons of the Roman Empire for the global empire they are entering: “If we do not learn from the limits on our victories, we risk the fate of Rome.” “All power” Marx said “is ephemeral.” Graduating senior Will Havemann of Washington, D.C.., chosen by his classmates to speak, said that Amherst turned out not to be what he expected, and that “my time here has been better for this difference. “As much as I enjoyed having my expectations fool me at Amherst over the past four years,” he said, “I look forward now to having them fool me elsewhere.”

Honorary degrees were also awarded at the ceremony today to Patrick Fitzgerald ’82, the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois and special prosecutor in the Valerie Plame leak case; Joel Klein, the chancellor of the New York City Department of Education; and investment consultant H. Axel Schupf ’57, a life trustee of the college and co-chair of The Amherst College Campaign; Valerie Jarrett, the managing director of The Habitat Company, a developer of residential apartments; Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Marilynne Robinson; chemist J. Peter Toennies ’52; Paul Yock ’73, the co-chair of the Stanford University department of bioengineering; and His Eminence Cardinal Joseph Zen, the bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong.

Amherst honored Richard Fink, who is retiring from the chemistry department after 43 years. The college also honored Paul Ruxin ’65 of Bellwood, Ill., with the Medal for Eminent Service. The honorary marshal was Brian Boyle ’69.

The college presented Phebe and Zephaniah Swift Moore Awards on behalf of graduating seniors to three secondary school teachers: Bob Fenster, from Hillsborough High School in Hillsborough, N.J., nominated by graduating senior Thomas Chen; Joanne McClelland, from Chapel Hill High School in Chapel Hill, N.C., nominated by Samuel Guzzardi; and Jim Cortez, from The Bolles School in Jacksonville, Fla., nominated by Alexander Bridges of Ponte Vedra, Fla.

The Obed Finch Slingerland Memorial Prize, given by the trustees of the college to a member of the senior class, who has shown by his own determination and accomplishment the greatest appreciation of and desire for a college education, was awarded to Anthony Abraham Jack of Miami, Fla.

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 Penka Aleksandrova Kovacheva of Plovdiv, Bulgaria.

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Amherst College Will Honor Poet and Longtime Professor Robert Frost With Sculpture; Dedication is Saturday, June 2

May 31, 2007
Director of Media Relations
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AMHERST, Mass.—Poet Robert Frost was a member of the Amherst College faculty for more than 40 years; he taught at the liberal arts college on and off beginning in 1917 and until his death in 1963. The Amherst College library is named for him.

Now Amherst College will recognize Robert Frost’s role in the life of the college—and in American poetry—with a new sculpture on campus. Created by sculptor Penelope Jencks, the eight-ton granite likeness of Frost will be dedicated at 9 a.m. Saturday, June 2, during Amherst’s Reunion Weekend. The sculpture is a gift of the college’s Class of 1957, which is celebrating its 50th Reunion that weekend.

The June 2 dedication will feature remarks by Amherst College President Anthony W. Marx, sculptor Penelope Jencks, class president Edward S. Kambour ’57 and Alan H. Schechter ’57, who chaired the class gift project.

The statue is situated on Amherst’s Main Quadrangle, near the War Memorial. The poet sits gazing across the Amherst Quad, facing the Robert Frost Library.

Alan Schechter, a member of the Class of ’57 and a professor emeritus of political science at Wellesley College, says that when he and his classmates get together they always reminisce about the “indelible impact” of their teachers. “As we began to think about a class gift for our 50th Reunion,” he said, “we discussed what we could do to recognize the importance of teaching at Amherst. Robert Frost taught generations of Amherst students over the course of four decades, and we concluded that a sculpture of Frost, looking across the Main Quadrangle toward the Frost Library, would be a fitting way to symbolize the significance of teaching at the college and the gratitude of alumni to their professors.”

Perhaps best known for her monumental bronze of Eleanor Roosevelt in New York City’s Riverside Park, Jencks has been a sculptor for more than 30 years. She has worked in terra cotta and bronze, and now also sculpts in stone. Jencks chose granite rather than bronze for Amherst’s sculpture of Robert Frost because, she said, “Bronze is more fluid, granite is more rugged. I think that if Frost had had the choice he would have preferred granite. It is more New England, and more like him.”

Under Jencks’s guidance, artisans in Pietrasanta, Italy, carved Frost from a single piece of black granite from Zimbabwe. The finished piece weighs eight tons. It sits atop a base that weighs another nine tons.

Jencks has received numerous awards for her work and is widely recognized as a preeminent contemporary sculptor. A member of the National Academy of Design and the Royal British Society of Sculptors, she also is a fellow of the National Sculpture Society. Her works are included in the collections of the White House, the Maggie Cancer Care Center in Edinburgh, the Readers Digest Corporate Headquarters, the Boston Public Library, Brandeis University, the Bibliotecca di Pietrasanta, the National Academy of Design in New York and the cities of New York and Toledo, Ohio.

Sculptures are not common at Amherst College; the campus landscape is more Puritan New England than art museum. A statue of Noah Webster, one of Amherst College’s founders, was presented to the college in 1914 by Richard Billings of the Class of 1897. Originally installed in front of the old Stearns Chapel on the college grove, it now sits behind Frost Library. And a statue of preacher Henry Ward Beecher, an 1834 graduate of Amherst, stands below College Row, the buildings that first comprised the campus. The work of J.Q.A. Ward, the Beecher statue was installed in 1915 by the Class of ’14.

Generations of Amherst alumni remember taking classes with Robert Frost. He first lectured at the college in 1916, and served on the faculty from 1917 to 1920, 1923 to 1925, 1926 to 1938, and 1949 to 1963. He received his first-ever honorary degree—an M.A.—from Amherst in 1918; the college awarded him an honorary Litt.D. degree in 1948. During his tenure at Amherst, Frost taught courses in topics including composition, American literature and English literature. He also held public readings, conducted informal classes and readings with students, and worked individually with students and faculty.

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 Playwright-in-Residence Constance Congdon Presents Three New Plays this Summer

May 16, 2007
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AMHERST, Mass.—Constance Congdon, playwright-in-residence at Amherst College, will present a new play, So Far: The Children of the Elvi, in its Northwest premiere at Key City Players in Port Townsend, Wash., on Friday, June 22. Congdon’s new adaptation of Moliere’s The Imaginary Invalid, commissioned by American Conservatory Theatre, will open at The Geary Theatre in San Francisco on Tuesday, June 12. Her adaptation of Goldoni’s The Servant of Two Masters, originally commissioned by the Hartford Stage Company, will open at The Colorado Shakespeare Festival in July.

Congdon received her M.F.A. degree in playwriting from the University of Massachusetts in 1981. Congdon is an alumna of New Dramatists, a member of PEN and has taught at Amherst College since 1993.

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Brian E. Boyle ’69 Will Serve As Honorary Marshal at Amherst College Commencement May 27

May 8, 2007
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AMHERST, Mass.—Brian E. Boyle ’69 of Truro, Mass., will serve as the Honorary Marshal at commencement exercises at Amherst College on Sunday, May 27. The Honorary Marshal follows the Sheriff of Hampshire County and the Faculty Marshal in the academic procession and bears a ceremonial mace, a symbol of order and authority. Boyle is the father of Alexandra Boyle, who will graduate from Amherst that day.

Boyle is a leader in operations research, engineering and finance in the technology sector. The chairman and chief executive officer of the Boyle Corporation, a management and strategic advisory firm, Boyle is also vice chairman of Boston Communications Group, a provider of managed services to the wireless telecommunications industry, and chair emeritus of MicroFinancial, a micro-ticket leasing company. Boyle served as chief executive officer of a number of software service, telecommunications and financial services companies. Boyle serves on the board of several companies, including Abt Associates, Darwin Partners and DentAMed.

Boyle served previously as chairman and chief executive officer of Credit Technologies, Inc. (now Lightbridge, Inc.), a supplier of software for the wireless telephone industry, and founded and operated a number of organizations servicing the telecommunications industry, including APPEX Corp. (later EDS Personal Communications Division of EDS Corporation, a global telecommunications service company).

After graduating from Amherst with a B.A. in mathematics, Boyle earned B.S. (1970), M.S. (1971), E.E. (1972) and Ph.D. (1974) degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Boyle is a member of the executive committee of the Amherst College Alumni Association and a member of the Truro Cultural Council.

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Paul T. Ruxin ’65 To Receive Medal for Service at Amherst College May 27

May 7, 2007
Director of Media Relations
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AMHERST, Mass.—Paul T. Ruxin ’65 of Chicago, Ill., will receive Amherst College’s Medal for Eminent Service at the college’s commencement exercises on Sunday, May 27. The Medal for Eminent Service is presented to an Amherst alumnus who has demonstrated extraordinary devotion to his alma mater.

Ruxin is one of Amherst’s most committed volunteers. He has served as an alumni interviewer for prospective students; as class agent for many years; as a participant in reunion planning; as a longtime member of the Council of the Friends of The Amherst College Library, where he has been vice-chair for many years; and on the Folger Shakespeare Library Committee of Amherst’s Board of Trustees, until it was reorganized into an independent board of governors. He will become chairman of the Folger’s Board of Governors this summer.

A partner at Jones Day (Chicago and Cleveland),Ruxin concentrates his practice on the representation of natural gas, pipeline, electric and telephone public utilities before state and federal regulatory bodies and in the courts.

A member of the American Bar Association (Public Utility Law Section), the Energy Bar Association, the Cleveland Bar Association and the Chicago Bar Association, Ruxin is a frequent speaker at utility industry meetings and seminars and is currently listed in the public utilities section of The Best Lawyers in America and in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Business Lawyers.

A bibliophile and collector, Ruxin also speaks widely about his books—one of the three largest collections of Johnson and Boswell materials in private hands—and other literary subjects. He is a member of the Rowfant Club of Cleveland, the Chicago Literary Club, the Caxton Club of Chicago, the Grolier Club of New York and the Association Internationale de Bibliophilie. He also serves on the editorial committee of the Yale Editions of the Private Papers of James Boswell.

Ruxin earned an LL.B. degree in 1968 from the University of Virginia, where he was notes editor and a member of the Law Review and the Order of the Coif.

Each year, Amherst College Board of Trustees, in consultation with the secretary of the Society of the Alumni, selects a recipient for the Medal of Eminent Service, which is awarded at Amherst’s Commencement ceremony. The medal was established in 1934 as a means of recognizing exceptional and distinguished service to the college for a great period of time, often in a variety of areas.

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Amherst College Senior Hilary Palevsky Awarded Watson Fellowship

May 6, 2007
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AMHERST, Mass.—Hilary Palevsky, a senior at Amherst College, has been awarded a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship and will travel next year to Iceland, Denmark, the U.K. and Canada to study cod populations in North Atlantic cod fisheries. A graduate of Quaker Valley High School in Leetsdale, Pa., Palevsky is the daughter of Dr. Paul M. Palevsky and Dr. Sharon R. Roseman of Sewickley, Pa.

Describing her growth as a scientist and activist for clean water—her “infatuation with water and the environment—” Palevsky wrote in her application that “we must…seek creative solutions that will enable our society to continue on its course, but on a different, less destructive path. Finding these solutions will be the most pressing task of my generation, and will require cooperation between people with disparate ideas and backgrounds. The natural world does not partition itself by the artificial boundaries of academic disciplines or national borders.”

Palevsky began her search for solutions to the world’s water woes in the Ohio River watershed near her home, as well as in the Chesapeake Bay. As a college student, she spent a semester with the maritime studies program of Williams College and Mystic Seaport, traveled with the Keck Geology Consortium to Puerto Rico and was active in Water Watch at Amherst College, which organized cleanups of local waterways. She also participated in Hillel and the fencing team, and worked as a laboratory teaching assistant and a guide at the Amherst College Museum of Natural History. A geology major at Amherst, Palevsky expects to eventually pursue a graduate degree in oceanography.

The Thomas J. Watson Fellowships provide 60 exceptional college graduates, from 49 of America’s leading liberal arts colleges, with the freedom to engage in a year of independent study and travel abroad. The program was begun in 1968 by the family of Thomas J. Watson Sr., the founder of IBM, to honor their parents’ interest in education and world affairs. More than 2,200 Watson Fellows have studied all over the world with the support of Watson Fellowships.

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 Senior Nick Michlewicz Awarded Watson Fellowship

May 6, 2007
Director of Media Relations
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AMHERST, Mass.—Nick Michlewicz, a senior history and political science major at Amherst College, has been awarded a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship to travel next year to England, Spain, Poland, Croatia, France and Turkey to study violence among European soccer fans. A graduate of Hunter College High School in New York, N.Y., Michlewicz is currently a resident of Jackson Heights, N.Y. He is the son of Witold and Grazyna Michlewicz.

Growing up in Jackson Heights, Queens, the son of Polish immigrants, Michlewicz wrote in his application, “my life and world seemed like a strange lab test for multiculturalism, a concentrated simulation of a larger global patchwork whose wars, genocide and hatreds should have given the experiment no chance of success. If anything, they should have blown up the laboratory.” It was the athletic fields—where boys of all backgrounds played at baseball, basketball and soccer—where Michlewicz saw the experiment succeed. But that experience only made his questions about fan violence at soccer games more troubling. Could the “beautiful game’s” “joy and beauty be retained while minimizing and eliminating the violence and hatred?”

While at Amherst, Michlewicz founded and ran a student storage company called MAStorage. He was the sports editor of The Amherst Student, and played varsity baseball in his first year. As a Mellon Academic Intern in his junior and senior years, he worked to create urban studies courses at Amherst. Michlewicz has interned with Major League Baseball, NYC2012 (the committee to bring the Olympic Games to New York), CNBC Television and Joele Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher, a New York public relations firm. Michlewicz is also a finalist for a 2007-08 Fulbright Scholarship to Poland.

The Thomas J. Watson Fellowships provide 60 exceptional college graduates, from 49 of America’s leading liberal arts colleges, with the freedom to engage in a year of independent study and travel abroad. The program was begun in 1968 by the family of Thomas J. Watson Sr., the founder of IBM, to honor their parents’ interest in education and world affairs. More than 2,200 Watson Fellows have studied all over the world with the support of Watson Fellowships.

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 Junior Victoria Sehgal Elected Truman Scholar

May 4, 2007
Director of Media Relations
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AMHERST, Mass.—Victoria Sehgal, a junior classics major at Amherst College, is one of 65 students from 56 U.S. colleges and universities selected as 2007 Truman Scholars. They were elected by 18 independent selection panels on the basis of leadership potential, intellectual ability and likelihood of “making a difference.” Sehgal has been awarded a scholarship to pursue advanced degrees in public service. A graduate of Bard High School Early College, Sehgal is the daughter of Barbara Sehgal.

Sehgal wrote in her application, “I hope to study and promote innovative curriculums that are not only proven to heighten children’s abilities in traditional subjects, but also proven to mitigate outside factors such as sexuality and peer pressure that often impede upon students’ success....Many of American society’s ills, including poverty, teen pregnancy, crime and poor nutrition, can be attributed to mainly one cause: poor education.”

While at Amherst, Sehgal was a policy fellow for the Roosevelt Institution, an editor with the Five College Literary Review and a member of La Casa, the Latino culture house. She has interned with the U.S. Department of Education and New York Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan, and volunteered for Planned Parenthood Federation’s calling bank. She received a Tom Gerety Fellowship for Action from Amherst, which funded her internship at the Department of Education and another internship in labor law research at Verite, Inc. At Amherst, Sehgal also volunteered at a local middle school to teach students Latin language and literature.

Each Truman scholarship provides $30,000 for graduate study. Scholars also receive priority admission and supplemental financial aid at some premier graduate institutions, leadership training, career and graduate school counseling and special internship opportunities within the federal government. Recipients must be U.S. citizens, have outstanding leadership potential and communication skills, be in the top quarter of their class and be committed to careers in government or the not-for-profit sector.

The Truman Scholarship Foundation was established by Congress in 1975 as the federal memorial to the nation’s 33rd president. The foundation awards scholarships for college students to attend graduate school in preparation for careers in government or elsewhere in public service. The activities of the foundation are supported by a special trust fund in the U.S. Treasury. There have been 2,545 Truman Scholars elected since the first awards were made in 1977.

The 2007 Truman Scholars will assemble May 15 for a leadership development program at William Jewell College in Liberty, Mo., and receive their awards in a special ceremony at the Truman Library in Independence, Mo., on May 20, 2007. For a listing of the 2007 scholars and more information on the foundation, see the Foundation's website.

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Amherst College Senior Emma Gorenberg Wins Glascock Poetry Prize

May 4, 2007
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AMHERST, Mass.—Emma Gorenberg, a graduating senior at Amherst College, was a winner of the Kathryn Irene Glascock ’22 Intercollegiate Poetry Competition at Mount Holyoke College last weekend. A graduate of Martha’s Vineyard High School, Gorenberg is the daughter of David Gorenberg (Amherst ’65) and Leslie Baker of West Tisbury, Mass. Gorenberg shared the prize with Sarah Twombly of Mount Holyoke College.

The title of Gorenberg’s senior honors thesis in English, a collection of her poetry, is “Of this Lineage,” a phrase she says refers to her interest in formal verse. The poems for which she received the Glascock Prize are among those in her thesis collection. Her academic advisor, Daniel Hall, the writer-in-residence at Amherst and author of Under Sleep (2007) and other poetry, says Gorenberg “is one of the best poets I’ve taught at Amherst; not coincidentally, she is also one of the hardest working. She knows how high the standards are and pushes herself relentlessly, particularly in revising her poems.”

An avid horsewoman who competes in dressage, Gorenberg has contemplated a career in veterinary medicine and prepared for that by studying some biology at Amherst. She is completing a double major in English and political science, a field she fell for after taking a class in “The American Presidency” during the 2004 election.

Having spent her senior year writing “Of this Lineage” and now winning the Glascock Prize, Goreneberg is thinking about pursuing her poetic muse. She also played rugby at Amherst College—second row with the women’s side—and spent a semester last year studying politics and English in England.

First held in 1923 as a memorial to Kathryn Irene Glascock, a 1922 graduate of Mount Holyoke College, a promising young poet who died shortly after her graduation, the Glascock Intercollegiate Poetry Competition has long connected talented student poets with distinguished professional poets. Illustrious judges have included Robert Frost, Marianne Moore and Seamus Heaney; Sylvia Plath and James Merrill are past winners.

This year’s Glascock judges were poets Elizabeth Alexander, Annie Boutelle and W.D. Snodgrass.

In addition to Gorenberg and Twombly, the student contestants were Deborah Beth Medows of Brandeis University, Mark Parlette of the College of William and Mary, Philip Matthew of Temple University and Noel Tague of the University of New Hampshire.

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Annual Emily Dickinson Poetry Walk To Commemorate Poet’s Death May 12

May 4, 2007
Director of Media Relations
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AMHERST, Mass.—The Emily Dickinson Museum will host its annual Emily Dickinson Poetry Walk at 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 12. The event, which is held each year on the Saturday closest to the poet’s May 15 death, stops at historic spots in Amherst significant to Dickinson and incorporates readings of about 30 of her poems.

“Emily Dickinson, her home and the home of her brother, Austin, are at the center of Amherst’s identity, both literally and figuratively,” said Jane Wald, executive director of the Emily Dickinson Museum. “Throughout the year, we in Amherst pay a sort of homage to Emily Dickinson; the Poetry Walk is a unique day on which Emily Dickinson gets to pay homage to Amherst.”

The Poetry Walk begins at the museum’s Dickinson Homestead at 280 Main Street at 1 p.m. The first 30 walkers in attendance will receive a poem to read at an assigned point along the one-mile route. Some of the stops along the route include the Amherst Train Station, the Amherst History Museum and the site of Dickinson’s girlhood home on North Pleasant Street. Walkers are encouraged to join the procession at any point.

The walk concludes at 2:30 p.m. at West Cemetery on Triangle Street, where participants may choose to read a favorite Dickinson poem and join in a lighthearted toast to the poet’s memory.

To celebrate the conclusion of the walk and to commemorate the 119th anniversary of the poet’s death, the museum will be open to the public from 3:00 to 4:30 p.m. on May 12 for free, self-guided tours. Typically, the museum is accessible by guided tour only.

The Emily Dickinson Museum: The Homestead and The Evergreens is dedicated to educating diverse audiences about the poet’s life, family, creative work, times and enduring relevance, and to preserving and interpreting the Homestead and The Evergreens as historical resources for the benefit of scholars and the general public. The museum is owned by the trustees of Amherst College, and has its own board of governors, which is charged with responsibility for raising its operating and capital funds. The Emily Dickinson Museum is a member of Museums10, a partnership of 10 museums in the Pioneer Valley. For more information on the museum, visit www.emilydickinsonmuseum.org.

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Contact

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