Conversations with Honored Guests

On Saturday, May 25, 2013, seven honorary degree recipients spoke at Amherst.


Madeline Janis

“Amherst to El Salvador to South L.A.: A Life in Work, Family and Social Justice.” A talk by Madeline P. Janis ’82, a national leader in efforts to combat working poverty and rebuild the middle class and national policy director of the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy. Hear audio:

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Paul Riekhoff

“Improvise, Adapt, Overcome.” A talk by Paul J. Rieckhoff III ’98, founder and CEO of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. Hear audio:

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Read the transcription of this talk here


“When Hope and History Rhyme.” A talk by Barry Scheck, leading civil rights attorney and co-founder and co-director of The Innocence Project. Hear audio:

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Read the transcription of this talk here

“revolution...rock...the doors...jumping jack flash...nietzsche...mayor daley’s armpit...and a 3 Second Ad Lib At Amherst That Changed My Life.” A talk by Jim Steinman ’69, composer, lyricist, producer, arranger and performer of rock, pop and theatrical music. Hear audio:

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“The Liberal Arts College: What Does the Future Hold?” A talk by Diana Chapman Walsh, former president of Wellesley College; former trustee of Amherst College; and acclaimed author, speaker and consultant. Hear audio:

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Read the transcription to this talk here.

“The AIDS Epidemic: The Personal Journey of a Physician-Researcher.” A talk by Robert Yarchoan ’71, chief of the National Cancer Institute’s HIV and AIDS Malignancy Branch and a member of the three-person National Cancer Institute team that developed the first effective therapies for HIV infection. Hear audio:

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Read the full transcription of this talk here


“Jazz Traveler: The Give and Take Between Jazz and World Music as Experienced by Freddie Bryant.” A performance by Freddie Bryant Hollister ’87, renowned guitar virtuoso and prolific composer. Watch video:

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