2017 Wyman Medal

Beselot Birhanu '17 has been awarded the Thomas H. Wyman 1951 Medal.  She concentrates in the health sciences and anthropology. Bessy's summer internships have been at hospitals in Lima, Peru and New York.  She has worked as a resident counselor in Drew House and the new Greenways dorms.  Ms. Birhanu speaks Spanish and Amharic, the language of Christian Ethiopians. Thus, she has also pursued studies in antiquities with her background in a cradle of humanity .  She also is certified and works as an EMT. Tom would be fascinated by her background. The Thomas H. Wyman 1951 Medal, established in 2003 by his classmates, is awarded to that member of the senior class who best represents the highest standards in scholarship, athletics, and/or extracurricular activities, community service, integrity, character and humanism. 

The 2016 winner is:

Mercedes Morgan MacAlpine.'16

Senior Assembly took place on May 6, 2016, in Johnson Chapel, and featured the awarding of prizes and honorary class memberships; a speech by Javier Corrales, the Dwight W. Morrow 1895 Professor of Political Science; and talks by Danny Curtis ’16 and Mercedes MacAlpine ’16. 

On the college web site, you can listen to her talk or read the transcript of her talk at the socalled "mascot uprising" as summarized here:

Mercedes MacAlpine, an Amherst Uprising organizer, said the goal was to educate students and provide administrative support for students who felt threatened or harassed by the posters. MacAlpine would not weigh in on whether she thought the posters were speech protected by the school's code of student conduct, but argued that requiring racial sensitivity training would not conflict with students' First Amendment rights.

The sit-in was sparked by the shared experiences of students who felt discriminated against on campus, MacAlpine said. She cites recent incidents on campus, like the papering-over of "Black Lives Matter" posters with anti-abortion messaging that said "All Lives Matter."

"What we're saying is that words can be a form of violence, too," MacAlpine said. "We in no way believe that freedom of speech should be taken away, but we do believe that students should be made to recognize in a very concrete and administration-supported way the effects that their words have on others."

MacAlpine also said that the group was willing to work with Martin on changing the school's mascot and understood that the timeline could stretch until January. The group plans to protest the Lord Jeff at today's football game against Williams College.

"The turning point and why it got so large is that multiple students of all sorts of background recognized a feeling of feeling marginalized, or feeling invisible or  feeling isolated in some important way," MacAlpine said. "It really took off from just being together and talk about those experiences."

JULEON EVANS ROBINSON '15 has been awarded the class of 1951 Medal honoring a graduate embodying the contributions of Thomas Wyman '51 to Amherst.  Juleon also won the Pitkin prize as the outstanding anthropology student. He was a star of the highly competitive club sport "Ultimate" Frisbee, which has met with intercollegiate success at Amherst.  Eighty-six year old alumni may be unfamiliar with this burgeoning game, but be intrigued by the absence of a referee and body contact. In a world of intricate rules and even physical risks subject to not so subtle evasions, such conduct may redeem a laissez faire equilibrium widely treasured of yore.


Soccer star and Academic  All-American Julien Aoyama '14 has been awarded the class of 1951 Wyman Medal. All-NESCAC Men's Soccer First Team Honors. Sigma Xi.

Recipients have included:

Risalat Khan '13

Sarah Elizabeth Schear '12

Sarah Leyman '11

Jennifer Rybak '10

Rylan Burns ’09

Michael Mintz ’08

Alyssa Briody '07

Rania Arja ’06

Ryan Park ’05

Luke Swarthout ’04





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