Reunion 2019: A Conversation with President Biddy Martin

June 1, 2019

A Conversation with President Biddy Martin and the 2019 Annual Meeting of the Society of the Alumni

“Weird Amherst” Storytelling - Nancy Pick ’83

May 29, 2019

Nancy Pick ’83 has spent years collecting stories about Amherst for a forthcoming Bicentennial book. Learn more about her research and hear about some of her weirdest discoveries.

“A View from the Trans* Bridge” (with Apologies to Arthur Miller)

June 1, 2019

Michelle Allison ’64 presents a candid, intellectually sophisticated and emotionally adventurous discussion of gender identity as currently reflected in politics and social institutions.

Netflix’s Customer Obsession: How to Delight Inherently Unsatisfiable Customers

June 1, 2019

Find out how an English major Gib Biddle ’84 learned “consumer science” as he takes you through three “What would you do?” case studies to demonstrate how Netflix learned to put customers at the center of everything they do.

The (Girl) Hero's Journey: From Sidekick to Main Character

June 1, 2019

Margaret Stohl ’89 discusses how writing Carol Danvers’ origin story ("Captain Marvel") changed the way she thought about her own journey as a writer, a daughter and a woman.

Amherst A Better Chance and Amherst College: 50 Years of Community Engagement

June 1, 2019

Long before community engagement and a commitment to educational equity became central to the mission of Amherst College, the Class of 1969 was instrumental in launching the Amherst chapter of A Better Chance (ABC).

The Warrior-Scholar Project

June 1, 2019

This immersive academic boot camp helps enlisted servicemembers make the transition from service to higher education.

Civic Engagement on Climate Policy

May 30, 2019

Moderated by Professor Katharine Sims, panelists explore how ordinary citizens can organize, educate themselves and gain the skills to affect policies at the local, state and federal levels.

Survival of the News Media: Amid our Digital Device Dependence, is There a Future for Print?

June 1, 2019

Alan Blum ’69, M.D. moderated a panel discussion by two veteran journalists, David Michelmore ’69, P’98 (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) and Andrew Nagorski ’69, P’94,’02 (Newsweek).

The U S and its Relationship with the European Union

June 1, 2019

European Union Ambassador to the United States Stavros Lambrinidis ’84 reflects transatlantic relations two years into the Trump presidency.

From Amherst to Washington: Mammoth Preparation for Public Service

June 1, 2019

Andrew Grossman ’99, John Laufer ’99 and Kate (Van Til) Rebholz ’99 held a lively discussion on how Amherst prepared them for a career in public service.

A Conversation on Thinking Critically with Data Across Campus

Thursday, May 30, 2019

The College is buzzing about statistical consulting, the Statistics and Data Science Fellows and the recently established Computer Science and Algorithmic Thinking Fellows programs. What is all this about? In short, there is growing interest across campus in statistics, computer science and data science among both students and faculty. The statistics major is in its fifth year, graduating about 20 students this year, and the computer science department has grown to having about 50 majors graduate each year. Both programs have recently expanded their numbers of faculty. Together, we are imagining what a data science program at the College might look like. Amy Wagaman, Associate Professor of Statistics, and Matteo Riondato, Assistant Professor of Computer Science, will share more about these developments.

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Lessons from a Study Away Course: "Puerto Rico, Diaspora Nation"

Thursday, May 30, 2019

In March 2018, barely six months after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, Paul Schroeder Rodríguez, Professor of Spanish, traveled with 12 Amherst students to the island to interview relatives of Puerto Ricans who live and work in the Pioneer Valley. In this talk, Professor Schroeder Rodríguez will share a summary of the experience, which culminated in a 20-minute documentary collectively created by the students themselves. He will also discuss how the experience led to the development of two new courses: one to be co-taught with Ashwin Ravikumar, Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies, titled “Climate Change and Social Justice in Puerto Rico,” and the other to be co-taught with Leah Schmalzbauer, the William R. Kenan Professor of American Studies and Sociology, titled “Amherst Latinx Lives.”

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Exactly What Did Amherst Prepare Me For?

Friday, May 31, 2019

What’s the difference between a shank and a shiv? Which police TV shows “get it right”? Is standing on the deck of an aircraft carrier launching F-14s more like Top Gun or Hot Shots? What’s it like walking around in the Middle East days before 9/11 occurs? How does it feel to sing the first line of the second act in La Bohème when the orchestra’s off-key? All these questions and more will be answered by your fellow alum with the weirdest résumé. Ed Ducayet ’89 has been a librarian, attorney, food and film critic, Naval Intelligence Officer, opera singer and police detective-sergeant. He currently lives in Dallas. Presented by the Class of 1989.

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Those Who Teach and Those Who Learn: A Conversation with the Dean of the Faculty

Friday, May 31, 2019

Join Catherine Epstein, Dean of the Faculty and Winkley Professor of History, for a wide-ranging conversation about Amherst’s academic landscape. Among other topics, Dean Epstein will discuss academic initiatives, pedagogical innovation and the changing faculty at the College.

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The Democratic Party in the Age of Trump

Friday, May 31, 2019

Author and journalist Laura Moser ’99, who ran for Congress in 2018, and Lawrence Douglas, the James J. Grosfeld Professor of Law, Jurisprudence and Social Thought and a columnist for The Guardian, will share a candid conversation about politics in the age of Trump, and offer some predictions about the tumultuous 18 months ahead. Presented by the Class of 1999.

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In Tandem: Cloth, Collaboration and Community in Art

Friday, May 31, 2019

How can a textile bring us together or tear us apart? Can a cloth be monumental? Does cloth, in its ubiquity, have a unique capacity to communicate as an art medium? For 25 years, Sonya Clark ’89, artist and Professor of Art and the History of Art at Amherst, has used textiles as a medium to engage with community. Most recently, her art exhibit Monumental Cloth: the flag we should know, about a little-known dishcloth that played a significant role in the Civil War, investigates the power of cloth as symbol. This presentation will discuss that work along with other collaborative projects performed and created on campus, from Text/Tone to Unravelling. Presented by the Class of 1989.

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Modern Medicine Today: Where Does the Patient Fit In?

Friday, May 31, 2019

Medicine has changed radically from the time that we entered Amherst. There has been an explosion in new technologies, new understanding of disease and new ways to treat disorders. The days when the doctor, well known to the patient and family, would sit and listen to the patient’s complaints and learn about their life have been replaced by the medical team consisting of individuals who are new to the patient, may see them for one or two encounters or may deal with one organ. The trade-off is increased lifespan, increased health and diminished chronic disability. In this panel, we will explore this progress against the background of increased alienation and lower personal satisfaction. Panelists include Stephen (Steve) Cederbaum ’59, M.D.; Raymond (Ray) Hayes ’59, M.S., Ph.D.; Steven (Steve) Hirsch ’59, M.D.; and Allan (Al) Lipton ’59, P’94,’98, M.D. Presented by the Class of 1959.

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Democracy Support in the 21st Century: If Not Now, When?

Friday, May 31, 2019

If you were looking for a silver lining to the clouds of concern about the health of U.S. and European democracies, then try looking at the work done to support democratic practice in other countries. Tony Smith ’79, CEO of the Westminster Foundation for Democracy, will talk about the work of his and other organizations around the world, and the links to democratic renewal at home. Presented by the Class of 1979.

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Henry James: The Houses of the Fiction

Friday, May 31, 2019

Henry James famously compared the novel to an enormous, million-windowed house, a building that opened up onto any number of possible scenes. But what about the actual houses that figured in his work—the places where he wrote or the ones he took as models, the originals of the places in which he set his characters? This lecture examines three different houses that figure in James’ The Portrait of a Lady (1881): Hardwick, the country house in the south of England on which he based Gardencourt, where the novel begins; the Florentine villa that served as the model for that of the novel’s villain, Gilbert Osmond; and James’ own Lamb House, on the English coast, where he revised the novel in the early years of the 20th century. Speaker Michael Gorra ’79 is the Mary Augusta Jordan Professor of English at Smith College. Presented by the Class of 1979.

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The Campus Framework Plan: Looking to the Future

Friday, May 31, 2019

The College has recently completed a series of major new projects—the Science Center, four new residence halls, and the Greenway. What lies ahead as Amherst thinks about the urgent need for a new student center and academic spaces, as well as the future of the library, the music building and the art museum? Join Jim Brassord, Chief of Campus Operations, and Cullen Murphy ’74, former board chair, for this discussion. Presented by the Class of 1974.

 

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Purpose Then, Purpose Now?

Friday, May 31, 2019

Rob Simpson ’69, DSW, as moderator, will open the discussion with an overview of the role of purpose in our lives. How did we decide in 1969 what we were going to do with our Amherst education and life experiences? Did it work? How did we re-evaluate, and what are we experiencing now as we enter a period marked by the process of “retirement”? Some of us report happiness in ceasing to work, some fear stopping, and some have  mixed feelings. The panelists will present different models of how to think about and “be present” with this perhaps most complex stage of our lives, marked by existential questions about the life we have lived and the life that will be lived going forward. We will also discuss current Amherst students’ perspectives on this topic. Panelists include Dick Aronson ’69, M.D., Assistant Dean of Students/Health Professions Advisor at Amherst College; Tim McCaffrey ’69, M.D., UCLA Psychiatry; and Rob Simpson ’69, “retired” hospital CEO and current leadership consultant. Presented by the Class of 1969.

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What Really Happened in the 1960s? Did it Matter? A Conversation with an Amherst Historian

Friday, May 31, 2019

Robert Fein ’69, P’89, Ph.D., will serve as moderator of this discussion on the history of the 1960s. Whether you were a student during that decade or not, there is general agreement that the events of the 1960s at Amherst were “tumultuous” and “significant.” We will test that assumption in a session with Chris Appy ’77, Professor of History at UMass Amherst and author of an essay on the College during that decade (part of a book to be published during the Amherst Bicentennial in 2021). We invite alumni from the 1960s and others to attend this panel and respond to Appy’s version of events as well as his assessment of how significant, or insignificant, those events were. Some say that “nothing can change history except historians”—here is your chance to challenge or refine one historian’s views. Presented by the Class of 1969.

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Climate Change: Is Education the Solution?

Friday, May 31, 2019

We know that our climate is changing—much faster than we had anticipated. Given that the challenges will last multiple generations, how can we prepare future leaders to address what many scientists agree is the greatest challenge humanity has ever faced? Panelists include Paul Stern ’64, former National Academies of Science principal staff officer; Charles Trautmann ’74, Cornell University professor and science museum director; Laura Draucker, Director of Sustainability at Amherst College; and Anna Martini, Professor of Environmental Studies. This program is one of a tripartite multi-class collaboration on mitigating climate change, along with “Civic Engagement on Climate Policy” and “Investing with Climate Change in Mind.” Presented by the Classes of 1964 and 1974, in collaboration with the Class of 2004.

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What We Know and Don't Know About Alzheimer's: A Practical Guide for Cognitive Health

Friday, May 31, 2019

We will discuss the best current thinking on how to maintain our abilities to learn, reason and remember as we continue to age. Panelists include Tony Mason ’64, M.D., Affiliate Faculty, Tufts Medical School; David Pearle ’64, P’92,’95, M.D., Professor of Medicine, MedStar Georgetown University Hospital and MedStar Heart and Vascular Institute; Richard Podell ’64, M.D., Visiting Investigator, Rockefeller University, and Clinical Professor, Department of Family Medicine, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School; and Vincent Simmon ’64, Ph.D., COO and co-founder of Spinogenix, Inc., which is developing a new class of therapeutics to help restore brain connections and functions lost in neurodegenerative disease and brain injury. Presented by the Class of 1964.

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The Peace Corps: From Inception to Today and its Connections to Amherst

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Is the Kennedy call to serve our country, engage the world and bring home a better understanding of others still relevant in this time of walls and withdrawals? Hear from Amherst alums who have served in several capacities in the Peace Corps, from volunteers to country staff. We comprise some of the very first volunteers as well as those currently in service. Learn how volunteers used items from local markets to teach science, and witnessed civil war. Find out what's going on in the largest current program (Ukraine, 400+ volunteers). Hear from many returned volunteers in the audience, and in the reception that follows, what volunteers took from Amherst to the Peace Corps and what both experiences have since meant in their lives, including two alums who were in the film, JFK: The Last Speech, shown on Friday. Panelists include Michael Ketover ’86, Current PC Ukraine Director, RPCV Honduras ’93-95, Guyana ’96, Response Corps Dominican Republic ’98; Rip Sparks ’64, Ph.D., Director of the Illinois Water Resources Center (retired), University of Illinois, RPCV Eastern Region, Nigeria ’64-66; Liz Fuller-Wright ’99, Science Writer, Office of Communications, Princeton University, RPCV Morocco 2008-2010, who developed curricula for K-12 science teachers; and Peter Rosenmeier ’90, Clinical Director at the Gifford School, Weston, Mass., which serves children from 65 cities in Massachusetts, RPCV Namibia ’92-’95, where he developed health, training and employment for children. A reception will be held in the Neuhoff Sculpture Court, outside the Mead Art Museum, following the program. Presented by the Class of 1964.

 

Black Studies and Beyond: Amherst Alumni Engage with Race

Saturday, June 1, 2019

As the Black Studies department nears its 50th anniversary, recent alumni will discuss how they continue to engage ideas they first encountered in Black Studies courses. Participants include Daniel Altschuler ’04, Ph.D., Managing Director of Make the Road Action, Director of Civic Engagement and Research at Make the Road New York and an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Public Service at NYU’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service; Tito Kolawole ’14, an attorney in the Global Transactions group of the law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, whose practice focuses on cross-border capital markets transactions; and Patrice Peck ’09, culture writer at BuzzFeed. Presented by the Classes of 2004, 2009 and 2014.

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Revolutionary Neuroscience Advances in the Treatment of Severe Mental Illnesses

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Brain-circuitry-based manipulation advances have the ability to revolutionize our treatment of major mental illnesses. These breakthroughs bring great hope but also ethical issues and other societal complications. Stewart Anderson ’84, Professor of Psychiatry, Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania and UPenn School of Medicine, leads a provocative talk on the use of new approaches to correct the misfiring of brain circuitry underlying major psychiatric symptoms. This interactive seminar will summarize the science behind this coming wave of focal circuitry-based treatments for major mental illnesses, and to engage in discussions about our hopes and fears as Star Trek comes to the psychiatrist’s office. Presented by the Class of 1984.

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Blazing Your Own Trail

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Ten years after graduation, many of our classmates have followed generations of previous Amherst alumni on the well-trodden paths of law, finance, medicine and consulting. But a small-yet-determined subset of the Class of 2009 has ventured away from the more clear-cut avenues and into different territory. Patrice Peck ’09, a culture writer at BuzzFeed, will moderate a panel featuring Lauren Cordova ’09, a former youth care worker at a foster home; Carmella Guiol ’09, a nonfiction writer and educator; Claire Kiechel ’09, a playwright and television writer; and Kate Silverman ’09, director of a soccer-based nonprofit. The panelists will reflect on their risks taken, successes and setbacks, the lessons from Amherst that served them well along the way and advice for classmates who are still working to chart their own course. Presented by the Class of 2009.

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No Future? Public Universities and the Liberal Arts

Saturday, June 1, 2019

While institutions like Amherst are thriving, public higher education is under fire, facing decreased funding from the state and increased demands for professional degree programs that align with immediate workforce needs. Under this intense pressure, many state institutions are looking to scale back or shut down longstanding programs in the humanities, arts and social sciences. Join a panel of professors working on the front lines of public higher education and taking on the big questions: Can the liberal arts survive at public universities? How do academic labor issues affect faculty and students in public higher education? What bright spots can we learn from to chart a path forward? This panel brings together members of the Class of ’89 who have made their careers in public higher education, joined by Andrew Parker, Professor of French and Chair of Comparative Literature, Rutgers University—New Brunswick and professor of English at Amherst from 1982 to 2012. Panelists will share perspectives from their institutions and engage the audience in a conversation about the future of the liberal arts in the public arena. Panelists include Jonathan Flatley ’89, Professor of English, Wayne State University; Mimi Long ’89, Associate Professor of East Asian Studies, University of California, Irvine; and Emily Todd ’89, Dean of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, Westfield State University. Presented by the Class of 1989.

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Wow! Science Today and What the Future Portends

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Dave Roberts ’69, Ph.D., as moderator, will set the stage, underscoring that science has made enormous and often unexpected strides since our time at Amherst. The panelists will touch briefly on exciting new developments in a variety of areas of science and medicine, and, with suitable trepidation, speculate about the future. Panelists include Bob Brown ’69, D.Phil., M.D., UMass Medical Center Neurology; John Lipscomb ’69, Ph.D., Minnesota Biochemistry, Molecular Biology & Biophysics; Dave Roberts ’69, Ph.D., moderator, Brandeis Astrophysics; Bob Sauer ’69, Ph.D., MIT Biology; and Tuffy Simpkins ’69, M.D., trauma surgeon, inventor and entrepreneur. Presented by the Class of 1969.

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Fulfilling Our Promise: Achieving Carbon Neutrality in our Third Century

Saturday, June 1, 2019

In January, the Board of Trustees approved the Climate Action Plan, which provides a road map for Amherst to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030. Come learn more about the plan, which was developed by a task force of faculty, staff and students and calls for the College to make a transition from a traditional fossil-fuel-powered steam system to renewable electrical-powered heat pumps that use geothermal energy sources. The plan also emphasizes student engagement and experiential education, with the goal of preparing our graduates to play leadership roles in the area of climate action—in both their personal and professional lives. During this session, Laura Draucker, Director of Sustainability, and Jim Brassord, Chief of Campus Operations, will present the plan, and there will be an opportunity for questions and feedback.

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Entrepreneurism: Don’t Do It!

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Be your own boss! Be an entrepreneur! Be bankrupt and praying you could go back to your 9-to-5! No one ever tells you that last one. Join panelists who have been in the small-business entrepreneurial game for the last two-plus decades for some unfiltered storytelling about their experiences. This is going to get real, so come prepared to hear it all. For those who aren’t scared away, we’ll provide some advice on how to look at entrepreneurial pursuits with a more moderate risk approach. Panelists include Fernanda Bressan ’94, Co-Founder and Business Coach at Foundfully; Elizabeth Doyle ’94, Owner, Doyle & Doyle; and Parke Lutter ’94, Owner, Parke & Ronen. Moderated by Howard Chung ’94. Presented by the Class of 1994.

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Saving Species Globally: Bridging Veterinary and Human Health Care

Saturday, June 1, 2019

How can wildlife surveillance and research inform and prevent the next major pandemic threat to humans? Hear from Suzan Murray ’84, Chief Veterinary Medical Officer and head of Smithsonian’s Global Health Program. Her interdisciplinary team focuses on conservation, research and training programs worldwide—understanding health issues in captive and endangered wildlife in order to combat emerging infectious diseases of global significance. Presented by the Class of 1984.

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Memoirs of Loss, Hope and Healing by Class of 1964 Authors

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Steve Downs ’64 will read from his book, A Fruitful Death, which chronicles his wife Wilhelmina’s struggle with pancreatic cancer. She was a former Dutch Peace Corps volunteer, a hospice volunteer, a collector of spiritual writings and someone deeply involved in the spiritual and physical meaning of death. The title refers to her understanding of death as something natural which can enrich future generations with hope, faith and justice. Tony Mason ’64, M.D., will read from his book, A Physician’s Journey Toward Healing, in which healing is a holistic process that involves the body, mind and spirit; a process that depends on human connection, hope and a sense of meaning. He offers a glimpse into the personal experiences of patients he served over his 40 years in family medicine, illustrating both the devastation of loss caused by illness and the marvelous resilience of the spirit. Dave Stringer ’64 will read from his blog dealing with his and his wife Kim’s battle with her breast cancer and how, through love and courage, they transformed that battle into the building of their new lakeside home. Presented by the Class of 1964.

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Swallowing the Silver Spoon: A Humorous Look at Deafness

Saturday, June 1, 2019

A humorous, sometimes horrifying, look at what it’s like to suddenly become deaf by award-winning journalist and author John J. Geoghegan ’79. Based on his best-selling memoir, Hear Today, Gone Tomorrow, Mr. Geoghegan will talk about how deafness caused him to lose his job, his house, his family and his mind, until he learned that not hearing was his greatest blessing. Presented by the Class of 1979.

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Ideas, Camera, Action! Working in the Entertainment Industry

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Have you ever wanted to pursue your dreams of working in the entertainment industry? Do you think you have what it takes to be a comedian, podcaster or artistic director? Three classmates from the class of 2004 share their narratives of working in the entertainment industry. Panelists include Martina Castro ’04, CEO and Founder of Adonde Media, a new podcast production company; Julian Michael ’04, a comedian, radio host, writer, creative thinker and ordained minister; and Annie MacRae ’04, Associate Artistic Director for the Atlantic Theater Company in New York City. Moderated by Jay Gilliam ’04. Presented by the Class of 2004.

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Cancer Research: Challenges, Opportunities and Advances

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Doug Lowy ’64, P’95, will discuss the cancer research landscape. Recent progress has included a 20 percent reduction in cancer mortality in the past 15 years, FDA approval of many new drugs for cancer treatment, and important advances in cancer prevention and screening. However, progress against some cancers has been slow, and cancer is still responsible for more than 20 percent of deaths in the U.S. Doug has been Deputy Director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) since 2010 and Acting NCI Director from 2015 to 2017 and again in 2019. Among many research accomplishments, Doug’s laboratory developed the technology that underlies the three FDA-approved human papilloma virus vaccines. Presented by the Class of 1964.

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Cultivating Wellness in an Increasingly Unhealthy Society

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Western medicine traditionally defines health as the absence of disease. The premise of wellness is that daily lifestyle choices and habits most strongly influence both physical health and mental well-being. Come hear how wellness practices inform the professional and personal lives of three members of the Class of ’84, and learn whether there are new lifestyle choices you can cultivate to improve your own health and wellness. Panelists include Daniel Javit ’84, P’16, M.D., a medical doctor who performed invasive procedures for 30 years who now coaches patients on how to enhance wellness in their lives; Ilene Sussman Rosen ’84, M.Ed., C-IAYT, co-author of Comprehensive Yoga Therapy: Attending to Your Whole Self and Yoga and Mindfulness for Young Children; and Sarah Stackpole ’84, M.D., a surgical ENT now also certified in acupuncture. Moderated by Robin Gottdenker Smith ’84, P’17, M.D., a pediatrician and pediatric practice co-owner, who spends her days encouraging young people to build their wellness skills. Presented by the Class of 1984.

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The Road Less Traveled

Saturday, June 1, 2019

The path away from Amherst often leads in unexpected directions—sometimes unanticipated even by those who find themselves following one such path. Three classmates share the story of their journeys—how they began and what they have meant. Panelists include Rob Rubendall ’74, wilderness/environmental educator; Kevin Scribner ’74, salmon fisherman, educator and activist; and David Smilow ’74, writer and actor. Presented by the Class of 1974.

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A Short History of Nuclear Weapons and the Attempts to Control Them

Friday, May 31, 2019

At 0500 16 July 1945, the first nuclear explosion occurred in southern New Mexico. On 6 August 1945, Little Boy was dropped on Hiroshima; three days later, Fat Man was dropped on Nagasaki. After WWII, Israel, Sweden and Switzerland started nuclear weapons research programs. Argentina and Brazil had advanced programs that ended in 1990. South Africa built six bombs, later disassembled them and signed the Treaty on Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). In 1985, the world had 65,000 nukes. Today, it has about 15,000—all more powerful than those dropped on Japan. There are nine Nuclear Weapons States: USA, Russia, Israel, France, the United Kingdom, India, Pakistan and North Korea. Three have never signed the NPT: India, Israel and Pakistan. In this presentation, T. Douglas Reilly ’64, Ph.D., will discuss the history and status of these issues and the recent disturbing news regarding the USA’s withdrawal from the Short- and Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF). Reilly is a retired physicist from Los Alamos National Laboratory, EURATOM, DOE and the IAEA with almost 50 years of experience in nuclear safeguards, nonproliferation and arms control. Presented by the Class of 1964.

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The Artificial Intelligence Revolution: An Insider's Perspective

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Artificial intelligence (AI) has become mainstream. Virtually everyone has heard of it, and we’re told that it has a direct impact on our daily lives in ways we’re not even aware of. But how did this happen? Why now? This presentation will review the history of AI from the perspective of a research computer scientist who has spent his entire career in the field, starting with an AI class at Amherst in 1987, when neural networks were the most promising area of AI. That promise quickly faded in the 1990s, supplanted by statistical pattern recognition and machine learning techniques. In 2012 a major breakthrough was achieved by a few academic groups who had stubbornly persisted in neural network research. Based on models of human neural systems, these new “deep learning” algorithms have since conquered virtually every area of AI with breakthrough performance in tasks such as speech recognition, face recognition, image generation, game playing, autonomous driving and even learning to play video games. With this exponential pace of advancement, we must ask ourselves: What will AI do next? Will it get out of control? Should it be regulated, and if so, how? Presenter Anthony Hoogs ’89 is the Senior Director of Computer Vision, Kitware, Inc. Presented by the Class of 1989.

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#MeToo Movement in Africa, the Middle East and Asia

Saturday, June 1, 2019

The #MeToo movement was popularized in the U.S. in 2017 following the Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse allegations. Since then, #MeToo has grown into an international movement against sexual harassment and sexual assault. But, for all the early anticipation that things had changed forever, the #MeToo movement on other continents has either fizzled or hasn’t taken flight. Barbara McKinney Sow ’84 provides a personal perspective on how women’s-rights efforts to curb sexual violence are being received outside of the United States. Barbara serves as the Representative of the UN Population Fund in Guinea. Presented by the Class of 1984.

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Dramatic Career Center Modernization at Amherst: The Loeb Center

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Over the past half dozen years, career support has been revolutionized at the College. The newly named Loeb Center for Career Exploration and Planning now offers field-specialized advising and an increasing array of paid internships, the latter under the recently unveiled Charles Hamilton Houston Internship Program. Chuck Lewis ’64, H’03, P’93, a life trustee, has been deeply involved in all of these developments and will offer a firsthand account about how and why they came to be. He will be joined by Emily Griffen, Director of the Loeb Center. Presented by the Class of 1964.

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“A Battle Between Robots and Humankind”: Robotics, Artificial Intelligence and the Allure of Intelligent Automation

Saturday, June 1, 2019

We are now in “a battle between robots and humankind,” the head of the World Economic Forum pronounced at this year’s Davos conference, a battle that lies at the heart of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Robotics and AI have captured our imagination, with headlines proclaiming both the end of work as we know it and a new age of ease and prosperity. Fear of the Machine is nothing new; automation has been disrupting our jobs and improving our lives for decades. What is different now? In this session, Gordie Sands ’79 will explore the nature and allure of robotics and artificial intelligence, and some of the ways they may be used, and are being used, today. Presented by the Class of 1979.

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