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2011 Annual Fund Letter

Dear classmate:

Remember the nervous anticipation you felt the day you arrived at Amherst?  This year, the Class of 2015 braved more than their own jitters as they and their parents swept into Amherst on the winds of Tropical Storm Irene.  Thankfully, Irene delivered far less than was promised. Unlike that fickle storm, Amherst College will live up to its promises and be for them what it was for us, a transformative educational experience greater than they can imagine.  They are lucky:  they are at the doorstep of a great liberal arts education.

It's an expensive proposition to give a small group of excellent students the rigorous, eye-opening, life-changing education we received and that awaits the Class of 2015.  It's no easy matter to align resources with Amherst's values.  President Biddy Martin thinks the college has done a "spectacular job" of that.  Thankfully, each generation of Amherst graduates has the opportunity to give back so that the next generation of students can learn, discover, and achieve in ways unimaginable anywhere else.

Amherst's educational model requires not just good management of resources but also resource diversity, to meet both immediate needs and longer-term goals.  Alumni support in all its forms, including annual, endowed, capital, and deferred gifts, is essential for sustaining Amherst.  Annual giving, the form of support with immediate impact on the education and experience of today's Amherst students, is the focus of our appeals to you.

Last year, 58.2% of alumni contributed $10 million to the Annual Fund, equaling the third-highest total in the college's history and representing a huge contribution to Amherst College.  This year, the college hopes alumni will improve that support and sustain that endorsement of an Amherst education.  With a little help from all of us, Amherst can achieve that and more.

With best wishes,
Sam Watson and Bob Knowles

P.S. We hope you take the opportunity this year to do more with Amherst through events, volunteering, networking, giving or even a virtual lecture--all part of Amherst Connects, an initiative strengthening our ties to the college and one another.


Recent Loss of Classmates

George A. Grover '51(1929-2014)  
The family would like to invite you to a memorial service to celebrate and remember the life of George Grover, '51. He became an accomplished computer programmer with IBM. George was also a passionate reader, poet and surfer.  He married Mary Elizabeth Grover with whom he raised five children; Eric, Gavin, Wendy, Chris and Margot.  Services will be held on Saturday April 19th at 9:30 am in the Morgan Room of Guido's Funeral Home at 440 Clinton Street in Brooklyn, New York. George will be laid to rest at 11:30 at Green-Wood Cemetery at 500 .25tth St , Brooklyn. Following  burial we will gather at Margot's home, located at 162 Union Street in Brooklyn between Henry and Hicks streets. 
Class of 1951 grieves for dick snodgrass who  lost his wife arlanne last sunday. our class secretaries are closest to us by keeping in touch by phone and writing up our news.
 click on each name below to reach the college's "In Memory" portal.These include available public obits and/or extracts from the cherished 50th Reunion book of Bill Maloney whose own links & photo appears at the close of this column. 

John H. Baker '51 MBA (1930-2014)
Robert Cornish '51 MA (1929-2013)
Thomas H. Bloor '51 (1930-2013)
Julian D. (Jack) Conover '51 MBA (1929-2013) See his last words >>  Jack Conover writes “in keeping up with our country’s fast moving cultural changes, I married my partner of over 49 years, Bob Hickok, on July15, 2013.
Robert B. Campbell '51 LLB (1929-2012)
Charles M. Marshall '51 (1927-2013)
Benjamin N. Kightlinger '51 MD (1929-2013)
Ben has especially generous in his donations to Amherst College.after a distinguished medical career.

2013 Wyman Medal Winner

Risalat Khan '13 is a geology and environment major from Dacca, Bangladesh.  There follows his own words and his response for the 1951 campaign for the Singing College.
"I am honored to receive the Wyman Medal. It came as a very nice surprise in the same week following my birthday! I am sorry for the late reply - I was in the Berkshires with some friends for the last few days for a senior week trip and had no internet access.

To satisfy a bit of your curiosity about my background:

I went to a normal private high school in Bangladesh. It isn't especially distinguished by any means. When I graduated from high school, I considered my college options, and coming to the US on scholarship seemed like a good idea. So I went online, searched for rankings, and applied to the top few colleges and universities. Amherst happened to be the only place I got in (besides being wait-listed in a few other places), and while I did not know much about liberal arts colleges at the time, I liked it the more I read about it, and ended up coming here. Some of my school mates are in colleges in the US and Canada, but very few are in Oxford or Cambridge (or more generally, in the UK - even though there are some). Did you ask because Bangladesh used to be a British colony?

My plans for the immediate future involves a social entrepreneurship program in Boulder, CO for which I got selected. It is a start-up called Watson University, founded by a young Amherst alum (Eric Glustrom '07). I am excited to be part of the inaugural class (comprising 18 Watson scholars) and look forward to being in Boulder. Over the summer, I hope to do some research with a professor on the recent political turmoil in Bangladesh, take a road trip across the US, and go back home for a bit.

By the senior song, I understand you mean the song with lyrics "Strangers once, we came to dwell together..."? I did not know the song until quite recently, but a good friend of mine arranged to have the entire senior class sing the senior song together at Senior Assembly, and forwarded us a video of the song so we could learn the lyrics. I enjoyed singing it, and think it is a good song.

Regarding the Lord Jeffery Amherst song, however, I take some issue. From your google search, you may have come across my name relating to conversations on the "Lord Jeff" mascot. The song embeds in its lyrics a power dynamics that is inappropriate in a world where native americans are still so oppressed. Whether or not it was designed to be satirical does not really matter. Even very recently in our college's history, and definitely during the time that you were a student (please correct me if I'm mistaken), the issue of genocide of native americans was thrown around very lightly, even displayed as decoration in Val china. I organized an event on campus during this past semester where Michael Kelly, the Head of Archives and Special Collections at Frost Library, made an excellent presentation about the history of our mascot. I firmly believe that even though this has been an important tradition, it is time for us to move beyond this and choose a mascot that is inclusive for all our community members but can still energize our sports teams.

Again, I thank you for your email and for the recognition. Is there anything that follows this? You shared the list of previous award receivers, and I was impressed upon looking up the past awardees. Perhaps there can be a group where these individuals can share ideas about how best to use the Amherst education and experience to service humanity?
Best regards,
Risalat Khan 



Thomas Gibbs '51
Charles Longsworth '51