General Information

1. The Town of Amherst

The Town of Amherst was settled in 1731 as the "Third Precinct" of Hadley, the next town to the west. Amherst was incorporated as a separate town in 1759. In origin solely a farming community, it is now known chiefly for its three educational institutions. Amherst is a town of more than 35,000 inhabitants; the ultimate control of the Town's affairs rests with a representative town meeting. Approximately one-third of the members of the meeting are elected each year for three-year terms by the registered voters. Several members of the College faculty, administration, and staff are town meeting members. A Town Manager conducts town affairs subject to the authority of the Board of Selectmen, a group of five residents elected by the registered voters for three-year terms.

Citizens of Massachusetts, or of other states, moving to Amherst need only provide evidence of their residence in the town to become eligible to vote.

Registration for voting should be arranged with the Town Clerk.

2. The Five-College Area

The University of Massachusetts was founded as a land grant institution, Massachusetts Agricultural College, in 1863. It became one of the nation's leading centers of agricultural research and instruction. In 1931 its name was changed to Massachusetts State College and in 1947 to the University of Massachusetts. Before World War II it was approximately the same size as Amherst College. Its enrollment is now 23,500, of whom 5,500 students are seeking graduate and professional degrees.

Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, ten miles to the south, was founded in 1837 as the first women's institution of higher learning in the country. Its present enrollment is approximately 2,000.

Smith College, seven miles to the west in Northampton, was founded in 1875 and has a current enrollment of about 2,600.

Hampshire College , in South Amherst, enrolled its first class of students in September, 1970. The other four institutions have been instrumental in the growth of Hampshire College and the four presidents are members of Hampshire's governing board. Its enrollment is approximately 1,250.

Among the five institutions there is an extensive program of cooperation in teaching, libraries, educational radio, exhibitions, concerts and dramatic productions, a scheduled bus system, and a joint Five-College calendar. Together the five institutions in the area consist of about 30,000 students and 2,600 faculty members.

A faculty member interested in further details concerning any aspect of Five-College cooperation should consult the Office of the Five-College Coordinator or the Dean of the Faculty.

3. The Amherst Public Schools

The public schools in the Town of Amherst are managed by an elected school board and an appointed Superintendent. The schools provide classes from kindergarten through the senior year of high school under the direction of the Amherst School Committee (grades K-6) and the Amherst-Pelham Regional School Committee (grades 7-12). Emphasizing individualized instruction, cooperative teaching and continuous progress, the elementary schools are housed in several facilities located throughout the Town. The secondary schools operate a flexible academic program based on achievement, allowing students to accelerate their course work to include college courses while still in high school. The regional junior and senior high schools, located near the center of Amherst, have facilities offering optimum opportunities for many varied programs. These secondary schools are regionalized with the neighboring towns of Pelham, Leverett and Shutesbury. All the public schools of Amherst are under the administrative direction of one superintendent and staff who help provide educational continuity from kindergarten through the senior year in high schools.

4. Automobile Registration in Massachusetts

The State of Massachusetts requires that a car brought into the State be registered in Massachusetts within a period of 30 days. The closest State Registry of Motor Vehicles is located on Russell Road (Route 9), Hadley; operators' licenses and automobile registrations are obtainable at that office between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. The State law requires certification by an agent of an insurance firm licensed to practice within the Commonwealth that certain standards of liability insurance are met. Massachusetts State Law requires that motor vehicles registered in the State be inspected once a year by certain authorized garages.

An Amherst College faculty sticker, available from the Amherst College Security Office (Service Building, Physical Plant), is necessary for parking in College lots or on College roads.