Amherst College Bicentennial

Since 1821, Amherst has prepared critical and creative thinkers for lives of purpose and discovery. That tradition continues; today, academic and inclusive excellence readies our students to tackle the complex challenges of the 21st century.

Amherst College Bicentennial 1821 2021

We embarked on planning for the College's 200-year birthday nearly two years ago. Due to the pandemic, however, we have postponed the kickoff of our Bicentennial events, which we hope will now begin in spring 2021. We look forward to coming together in person to celebrate as a community starting in fall 2021. In the meantime, we hope you enjoy this site as a starting point from which to explore some of Amherst’s past, learn more about Amherst today, and glimpse our aspirations for our third century.


A photo of Biddy Martin speaking at a podium Amherst has been here for 200 years, cheerleading in its own way for reason, understanding, conversation and community. It will continue to give students an unrivaled opportunity to absorb the ideas and the values essential not only to personal success but also to creating the world we say we want.”
— BIDDY MARTIN, President of Amherst College

Amherst College Timeline

  • Click and drag the timeline (at the bottom) to the decade you wish to view.
  • Click the magnifying glass to expand the spacing between the years and make the items easier to read.
  • Click the icon in the upper right corner to expand the timeline to a full-screen view.
  • We have also prepared a web-accessible version of this timeline.

Note: This timeline isn’t intended to be an exhaustive list but rather a sample of Amherst events and happenings. If you are interested in learning more about Amherst’s history, please visit the Amherst College Archives or explore the many sources of information on Amherst College Digital Collections.


Two books: Amherst in the World and Amherst College

Bicentennial Shop

Celebrate the Bicentennial with books and other items commemorating the first two centuries of Amherst College!

Examining our Past

From laying the South College cornerstone in 1820, to weathering the hurricane of 1938, to voting in favor of coeducation in 1974 and beyond, Amherst’s history has been marked by meeting the challenges of its time.

A black and white photo of a group of young men and one woman around a large computer

Explore Our Archives Online

The Library has an extensive array of historical material and has made much of it availble online. Find photos, student newspapers, audio recordings, speeches and more.

A photo split in two: the left a black and white photo of a man in a old lap, the right a woman in the modern lab

Photos: Amherst Then and Now

Look back at some of the ways the College has changed over 200 years—and some ways it’s stayed the same—with these slider photos.

Looking to our Future

In celebrating our past, we also look ahead. As was true at its founding, Amherst’s commitments to opportunity and quality education continue to depend upon vision, curiosity, diversity and willingness to face the challenges of a changing world.

A large stage in purple light with the word "promise" projected on a big screen Promise: The Campaign for Amherst’s Third Century

The Promise campaign promotes the enduring values of liberal arts education. It seeks, as well, to reinvent aspects of the liberal arts to meet the needs of current and future generations of students.

Learn More & Give

The Amherst College Science Center A Changing Campus

From new building projects across campus to a Climate Action Plan that aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030, see how Amherst is well-positioned to preserve liberal arts education in the 21st century and beyound.

See the Transformation


How Well Do You Know Amherst College?

 


A photo of eight squares, six with question marks in them and two with cartoon mammoths

Games and Quizzes

Test your Amherst knowledge and have some fun with interactive Bicentennial games!