College Seal

The Evolution of Our Campus

Amherst College began in 1821 to educate “indigent young men of piety and talents.” Soon it adopted its motto Terras Irradient (“Let them enlighten the lands”). From its start, Amherst enrolled students who might not commonly have had access to higher education. Today, more than 22,000 alumni continue to “enlighten the lands.”

History of the Observatory

Major Milestones

From the laying of the South College cornerstone in 1820, to a threat to remove the class of 1838 from campus, to the 1974 vote in favor of coeducation, learn about key moments in the College’s history.

Gender Matters

Books About Amherst College

The College has published dozens of books about its people and history, including a biography of former President John William Ward, an account of the first half-century of women teaching at Amherst and a collection of historical narratives.

President's House

Past Presidents

Learn about the College’s 18 past presidents, from Zephaniah Swift Moore, who arrived in 1821, to Anthony W. Marx, who served from 2003 to 2011.