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Leading in Access

In the national conversation about college affordability, Amherst College is being cited as an example to follow.

In a recent Washington Post story, headlined “Amherst a leader among elite colleges in enrolling students who need Pell grants,” writer Nick Anderson noted:

“Most of the nation’s elite colleges and universities fall short of a benchmark that Amherst College surpassed five years ago: More than one-fifth of its students come from families poor enough to qualify for federal Pell grants.”

Amherst President Biddy Martin told The Post, “You really have to have top-to-bottom support and enthusiasm for access and opportunity … It has to be faculty and students as well as administration, trustees and alumni — and obviously donors.”

After President Martin attended a Jan. 16 White House summit on college affordability, Amherst’s commitment to access was covered or mentioned by several media outlets, including Bloomberg News, CNN Money, and The Boston Globe.

“President Obama wants more selective colleges to act like Amherst,” columnist Sophie Quinton wrote in the National Journal. Her piece extolled the college's recruiting efforts and generous financial aid program, and urged other institutions to follow Amherst's lead:

"Amherst College is one of the oldest, most selective, and most prestigious liberal-arts colleges in the country. It has also made a huge commitment to recruiting talented students from all backgrounds, regardless of their ability to pay tuition.”

National Public Radio affiliate WBUR in Boston devoted a segment to unpacking the message of the summit, and spoke at length with President Martin about Amherst’s approach to access.

“I’m proud to be at an institution that made a commitment to do it,” President Martin told WBUR’s Anthony Brooks.

Making Monopoles, and News

Physics Professor David S. Hall '91 has been attracting attention for his groundbreaking research into magnetic particles.

An international collaboration led by Hall and Aalto University (Finland) Academy Research Fellow Mikko Möttönen created, identified and photographed synthetic magnetic monopoles in Hall's lab on the Amherst campus this year, 85 years after physicist Paul Dirac conjectured about the particles.

The journal Nature published a paper in January about this research, co-authored by Hall, Möttönen, Amherst postdoctoral research associate Michael Ray, Saugat Kandel ’12 and Finnish graduate student Emmi Ruokokski.

A National Public Radio piece on Hall’s work can be found here. Outlets covering this discovery included Scientific American, Science Daily, and Headlines & Global News, to mention just a handful.

“Being able to generate a monopole like this in a lab has some serious implications for physics,” wrote Business Insider’s Andy Kiersz.

Questions and comments may be sent to the Office of Communications, Campus Box 2202, Amherst College, PO Box 5000, Amherst, MA 01002-5000,

If you are a student, staff or faculty member of Amherst College, and would like to suggest an event or accomplishment for a possible news release, call or e-mail the Director of Media Relations at 413/542-8417.

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Amherst MA 01002
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