2005-2006 Executive Committee of the Alumni Council



Committee Members: Renee Baron-Donatich ’86; Daniel Bernstein ’59; Brian E. Boyle ’69;  Drew Casertano ’78; William L. Healy III ’74;  Robert W. Kitchell ’77; Molly K. Lyons ’97; Gordon A. Montgomery ’88; David L. Moore ’78,  Annual Fund Co-Chair; David A. Novak ’91; Henry B. Pearsall ’56, President of the Society of the Alumni; John C. Ransmeier ’65 Chair; Jacqueline Sherman ’91; Kristen M. Spargo ’95; Betsy Cannon Smith '84, Alumni Secretary; Laura J. Yerkovich ’80, Annual Fund Co-Chair


  • A. Elizabeth Anema, Director of the Annual Fund (September 21, 2005)
  • Richard A. Goldsby,  John Woodruff Simpson Lecturer and Professor of Biology (September 21, 2005)
  • Frederick T. Griffiths, Associate Dean of the Faculty and Class of 1880 Professor of Classics and Women’s and Gender Studies (February 16, 2006)
  • Richard Kuhta, Folger Librarian (May 4, 2006)
  • Gail Kern Paster, Director of the Folger (May 4, 2006)
  • H. Axel Schupf ’57, Host (September 21, 2005, February 16, 2006)
  • William McC. Vickery ’57, Director of Special Projects (February 16, 2006 and May 4, 2006)
September Meeting
February Meeting
May Meeting

 At its September 21, 2005 meeting in New York:

  • Mr. Moore and Ms. Yerkovich reported on the results of the 2004-05 Annual Fund and shared priorities for 2005-06.
  • Mr. Schupf gave a detailed report on the College’s endowment, reflecting on a 20 year history of strong management and leadership by the Board of Trustees Investment Committee.
  • The Secretary reported on plans for Homecoming.
  • The Chair led a discussion based on four questions relevant to the work of the Committee on Academic Priorities provided to the Committee by Dean Griffiths, who will be a guest at the February 16, 2006 meeting.
  • Liberal arts education involves the concentration of large resources on a few select students. How can we make the case for the public good of private education?  What should we be expecting from students and faculty?
  • What in Amherst’s traditional identity do we want to hang on to at all costs? What sets us apart from other institutions?
  • How does Amherst need to change direction? What are we falling behind in?
  • More broadly, how does liberal arts education need to change to keep up with students' changing learning styles?
  • Richard Goldsby, John Woodruff Simpson Lecturer and Professor of Biology spoke about teaching science at Amherst.  He described opportunities for students to engage in very serious research projects with faculty members.  The ability for scientists to do significant research both at the College and across the Valley through the Five College Consortium was also highlighted.

At its meeting on February 16, 2006 in New York:

  • Ms. Yerkovich gave a status report on the Annual Fund
  • Mr. Vickery gave the Secretary’s report.

    • Candidates standing for election as Alumni Trustee are Laura J. Yerkovich ’80, Jerome de Bontin ’81 and Peter Y. Huh ’82.  Candidates will be asked to respond to “How do you think your service on the Board of Trustees would positively impact the future of the College?”

    • Interterm programming reported at the January meeting was a success.  18 alumni speakers returned to present five one-day programs—The Publisher and the Published; Must I Really Choose Between Money and Happiness? Perspectives From the Class of 1970; What Does it Mean to be Green? The Future of Environmentalism; The First Amendment and The New York Times; and Boundless Opportunities: How the Medical Profession Responds to International Crisis.
    • Barbara Sieck ’05, Alumni Fellow, has continued working closely on new initiatives to increase interaction between students and alumni.  In collaboration with the Office of Admission, 120 alumni volunteers placed welcome calls to early decision students.
    • Association visits and programs continue to engage our alumni across the country.  In addition, our three Amherst astronauts Larry Young '56, Robert Parker '58 and Jeffrey Hoffman '66 have agreed to do a series of association events.
  • Frederick T. Griffiths, Associate Dean of the Faculty and Class of 1880 Professor in Greek (Classics) and Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies, a member of the Committee on Academic Priorities, discussed the report and engaged with the Committee in a lively and thoughtful discussion of the recommendations. 

At its May 4, 2006 meeting in Washington, D.C.:

  • Mr. Vickery gave the Secretary’s report.
  • The Annual Fund continues to show strong performance.
  • The Office of Alumni and Parent Programs is fully staffed. 
  • Campus news:  the report of the Committee on Academic Priorities (CAP) is currently being discussed by the faculty; interviews of the finalists for the position of Director of Athletics are underway; the new Geology building that opened in January has received rave reviews and work to complete the museum of natural history is on-going.
  • The Chairman introduced Gail Kern Paster, Director of the Folger Shakespeare Library, and Richard Kuhta, Librarian at the Folger.  The Committee enjoyed lunch and remarks by Ms. Paster after which Mr. Kuhta took the Committee on a tour of the Library that included a display of rare books and manuscripts.  Committee members subsequently left the Folger and were given a tour of the Capitol by Charles S. Johnson’60, retired Parliamentarian of the House of Representatives.