Bicentennial Podcast

Listen to the stories and voices that make up the proud 200-year history of Amherst.

Amherst at 200: Celebrating Mind, Heart & Community

A logo for Amherst at 200

A photo of Jeffrey Wright smiling and speaking at a microphone

Narrator Jeffrey Wright ’87

Photo of Jeffrey Wright by Gage Skidmore

Since 1821, Amherst has prepared critical and creative thinkers for lives of purpose and discovery. Amherst at 200: Celebrating Mind, Heart, and Community, released as a part of our Bicentennial celebration and narrated by Tony, Emmy and Golden Globe winner Jeffrey Wright ’87, showcases the stories of graduates from 70 years ago until the present. President Martin interviews an additional four alumni in three special encore episodes. Each story is both a snapshot of life on campus and a reflection of the richness of an Amherst education.

Produced by Cadence13, in collaboration with Amherst College.

Most Recent Episodes in the Series


Episode 09: Dr. Meron Hirpa ’11

RELEASED Wednesday, December 22

Episode 10: Kirk Johnson ’82

Amherst at 200 Trailer

Listen to the trailer for Amherst at 200: Celebrating Mind, Heart & Community—the stories and voices that make up the proud 200-year history of Amherst.

Amherst at 200 Release Schedule

A photo of Biddy Martin in front of the war memorial Prologue Episode: Presidential Podcast

Release Date: November 12

Amherst College President Biddy Martin convenes with two of her predecessors, Tony Marx and Tom Gerety, for a discussion moderated by Cullen Murphy ’74. The three presidents compare notes on the meaning and value of a liberal arts education, the surprises they found at Amherst, the challenges of their leadership roles and their advice to their successor for guiding the College into the future.

A photo of Tony Jack Episode 01: Anthony Abraham Jack ’07


Sociologist Anthony Abraham “Tony” Jack ’07 is the author of The Privileged Poor: How Elite Colleges Are Failing Disadvantaged Students. In this episode, he describes his own experience as a first-generation, low-income student at Amherst—and how he made it all the way to the front page of The New York Times and on to a Ph.D. and professorship at Harvard.

A photo of Freddie Bryant Episode 02: Freddie Bryant ’87


Jazz guitarist, composer, bandleader and professor Freddie Bryant ’87 takes us back to his childhood among artists and musicians in Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Then he reflects on how his Amherst experience shaped his understanding of racial identity as well as his musical career. This episode features music performed by Bryant and his parents, Beatrice Rippy and Carroll Hollister, class of 1922.

A photo of Kathy Chia Episode 03: Kathy Chia ’88

RELEASE DATE: November 19

Math, fine arts, physics, drama, philosophy, travel, guidance from faculty: Kathy Chia ’88—co-principal of Desai Chia Architecture and a former Amherst trustee—outlines how every element of her liberal arts education has helped to shape her thinking as an architect.

A photo of Becky Rwakabukoza Episode 04: Becky Rwakabukoza ’14

RELEASE DATE: December 1

Becky Rwakabukoza ’14 grew up in Mubende, Uganda, the youngest in a family of 10 children and the highest-ranking student in her district. In this episode, she describes her journey to and through Amherst as a Koenig Scholar and what she has learned about feminist advocacy in a Ugandan context.

A photo of Patrick Fitzgerald Episode 05: Pat Fitzgerald ’82

RELEASE DATE: December 3

As a federal prosecutor, Pat Fitzgerald ’82 has worked on multiple high-profile legal cases, including those related to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the 1998 attacks on U.S. embassies in East Africa. Here, the former Amherst trustee looks back on the most indelible moments of his career and on the many lessons he learned when arrived at the College from a Catholic high school in Manhattan.

A photo of Christine Croasdaile Episode 06: Christine Croasdaile ’17


Now a J.D./M.B.A. candidate at Howard University, Christine Ayanna Croasdaile ’17 looks back to her many activities at Amherst: majoring in Black studies and Spanish, engaging with Black and Caribbean student organizations, and taking on a key role in the activist movement known as Amherst Uprising. Croasdaile also looks ahead, sharing her hopes for the College’s future.

A photo of Chris Lehane Episode 07: Chris Lehane ’90


Chris Lehane ’90 is currently a global policy and communications executive at Airbnb and previously served as special assistant counsel in the Clinton White House. As a college student, he got the chance to have pizza with another future U.S. president. Lehane shares this story and other memories and insights from his days as a political activist and athlete at Amherst.

A photo of Bill Pritchard Episode 08: William Pritchard ’53


While still an undergraduate, William H. Pritchard ’53 “decided that there was nothing in the world that I would rather do than come back and teach at Amherst”—and that’s exactly what he did. Pritchard, now the Henry Clay Folger Professor of English, Emeritus, looks back on more than 70 years of learning, teaching and institutional change.

Photo copyright John Goodman, 2014

A photo of Dr. Meron Hirpa ’11 Episode 09: Dr. Meron Hirpa ’11


Dr. Meron Hirpa ’11 is a physician focused on public health and health equity in Cincinnati and Ethiopia. She recalls bidding an emotional farewell to her family and enrolling at Amherst as a first-generation college student, in pursuit of her longtime dream of becoming a doctor. Find out how the telementoring and QuestBridge programs, as well as faculty, staff and alumni, helped her blaze her path.

A photo of Kirk Johnson Episode 10: Kirk Johnson ’82


Kirk Johnson ’82 is the Sant Director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. He digs deep into his passion for paleontology and geology, as well as his memories of Amherst. And he takes a panoramic view of the future of the College and the planet.