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Wyman Medal 2012

Sarah Schear '12

An anthropology major and premedical student, Sarah Schear '12 of Bethesda, MD has been awarded the Thomas H. Wyman 1951 Medal. Sarah wrote her senior thesis on transformations in kinship and activism related to the falling female-to-male child sex ratio in parts of North India. Sarah’s thesis project grew out of her interest in medical anthropology and global feminisms (which developed at Amherst), as well as her study abroad year in Varanasi, India. For the 2010-2011 academic year, Sarah lived in Varanasi where she studied Hindi language and Kathak Dance, and examined the work of social programs for children with disabilities in the city. Sarah will continue her thesis research next year as a Fulbright Fellow in India.

In her Fulbright application, Schear explains that she hopes to contribute something which she believes is “notably lacking” to existing demographic and anthropological literature on sex-selective abortion in India: “fieldwork rooted in particular contexts and privileging the views and experiences of families" and of workers in local NGOs (non-governmental organizations) focused on women's empowerment. Her project will examine the impact of specific women's empowerment programs on the perceived value of daughters, and on their health and survival in their families and communities. Professor Ranjana Sheel, who observed Schear during her time in Varanasi, praises her “penchant for details and hard work” which she believes will allow her to “be successful in meeting her objectives and bringing forth much-needed facts.” Beside her previous experience in India, Sarah has worked in China and visited Norway, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand.

While at Amherst, Sarah was a leader in the Amherst College Public Health Collaborative, an organization that connects Amherst College students, faculty, and alumni with local and global public health organizations and practitioners who are working to address health disparities in the Pioneer Valley and beyond. For two years, she served as a volunteer EMT with Amherst’s Emergency Medical Services.

An avid dancer, Sarah performed in a number of student-choreographed shows at Amherst, and in a 2009 piece by Israeli choreographer and visiting artist Idan Cohen, supported by the Five College Dance Department. She also sang in the Choral Society and served as Vice President of the Women's Chorus. Miss Schear  is shown on you your right dancing in the photo above.

Ultimately, Sarah plans to earn a joint degree in medicine and public health before becoming a pediatrician or family practitioner, and working to address health disparities linked to social inequalities in the United States and India.

Sarah says that she is honored to have received such a meaningful award. Miss Schear expresses her gratitude for the many academic and personal opportunities Amherst has afforded her, as well as the unfaltering support of her mentors and peers at Amherst College.


Recent Loss of Classmates

Sam_Wat.pngSamuel M. Watson '51 MBA (1929-2015) was instrumental in the remarkable fundraising record of the class of 1951 as class agent. Bearing credentials as a naval officer, a Wharton degree and CPA, Sam became a partner in Arthur Young, now branded as EY. Adding to his global stature, Watson retired as chief financial officer of Matshushita. The class extends its condolences to his beloved wife Connie and to his family. The same concern applies to our other classmates remembered below:
Richard B. Duncan '51 ( -2015) was editor for Armstrong World Industries publications.
James D. Hobbs '51 LLB (1927-2014) Jim was a lawyer in San Francisco, CA and active with Amherst alumni and California conservationists.
Richard A. Hopkins '51 MBA (1929-2014) Dick was longtime executive of the Ford Foundation and brother of John '58. 
Eric B. Outwater '51 (1929-2014)
Peter K. Nichols '51 MBA (1929-2014) Pete has passed away having performed nearly all dimensions of Amerst liberal arts. Pete is survived by his wife Nancy Nichols of San Francisco, daughters Julia Nichols Andres of Novato, Karen Mercury (Dan) of Vallejo, Claudia Heikhaus-Morfit (Fred) of San Anselmo, Jonathan Nichols (Carla) of San Francisco, and Matthew Nichols of New York City.
John M. Woodbridge '51 MFA (1929-2014) imageJohn died suddenly while traveling in the south of France. A prominent architect, he designed Pennsylvania Ave in DC. John was nephew, cousin, grandson, son and father of Amherst grads.  He is survived by his wife, Carolyn Kizer, Pulitzer prize poet, his children Pamela and Lawrence '80.
Leonard S. Kolsky '51 LLB LLM (1929-14)  Len was a pioneer in the legal dimensions of the Internet revolution.  He was an indispensable advisor to the Federal Communications Commission and to Motorola. Len is survived by Liz Sachs, his beloved wife of 25 years, as well as two adoring daughters, Meredith (Kent) Lewis and Reese (Rob) Rowe, from his first marriage to Michele Gordon Kolsky,
                                                                                             George A. Grover '51(1929-2014)  
George became an accomplished computer programmer with IBM. George Grover was also a passionate reader, poet and surfer.  He married Mary Elizabeth Grover with whom he raised five children; Eric '79, Gavin, Wendy, Chris and Margot.  
Class of 1951 grieves for dick snodgrass who  lost his wife arlanne. 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) Raymond R. Machlett '51 (1929-1987)
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