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. While the Bicentennial celebration kicked off quite differently than we'd imagined, this website offers an engaging, physically distanced way to enjoy the Bicentennial and the history of Amherst right now. And while we look forward to coming together in person to celebrate as a community in fall 2021, in the meantime, please 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.

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.

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

A Black student addressing a large group of students inside Frost Library.

Bicentennial Events

We’ve planned a series of Bicentennial events throughout the year, including a commemoration of the Amherst Uprising’s fifth anniversary, talks on LGBTQIA+ activism and conversations on the history of the College and its future in the 21st century.

An old faded photo of Walker Hall, a church-like building with spires and high windows

Bicentennial News

Read the latest Bicentennial-related news stories from around campus, including the Commencement of the Bicentennial Class, a 1896 baseball game with future Hall of Famers and excerpts from Eye, Mind, Heart: A View of Amherst College at 200.

Your Life at Amherst—in 1821

An old map of the continental United States with a purple star over Amherst, Massachusetts

April 14, 2021

Read an excerpt from Nancy Pick's Eye, Mind, Heart: A View of Amherst College at 200, one of the keepsake Bicentennial books commissioned by the College, and learn what life was like at Amherst in 1821.

Read the Excerpt

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

President Martin Announces the Bicentennial

February 24, 2021

President Biddy Martin officially launches the Amherst College Bicentennial and introduces some of the many events and projects associated with the year-long celebration ahead.

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!