Junior college student John "Jack" Howard Nesbitt had never heard of Amherst until a brief but momentous conversation with a law student at Rutgers Law Library in 1970. The Essex County Junior College sophomore knew then that he wanted to attend an elite institution and compete against privileged students from teh likes of Exeter and Andover, and he pursued this goal with a doggedness that matched the dedication that had put him atop his junior college class in riot-torn Newark, N.J. Eugene Wilson, former Amherst dean of admission, recognized Jack's resole immediately upon meeting him, and awarded him a full academic scholarship on the spot during their interview. As Wilson would remark later, Jack "met every expectation while he was here," graduating as an anthropology major with dean's list honors in 1972.
Fittingly, the former Anti-Poverty Neighborhood Youth Corps member had been involved in recruiting and diversity issues ever since graduating, serving for years as director of MBA Minority Recruiting at Chemical Bank in New York City and then as head of staffing at Lockheed Martin in Maryland, finding time along the way to complete an MBA in finance at Rutgers Graduate School of Management as a Ralph Bunche Fellow in 1988. Jack also obtained a Banking Diploma (with honors) from AIB in New York and taught "Principles of Banking" in the Chicago chapter of AIB. He wrote "Affirming Access to Opportunity," an article in support of diversity published in the Financial Times in June 2003. Jack has been director and lead of University Recruiting and Employment Branding in Global Staffing since 2002 at Monsanto in St. Louis, Mo. When he's not working, he enjoys spending time with his girlfriend, Tiffany Connolly, and visiting London frequently. Jack has repaid in full the scholarship money he received from Amherst, and continues to look for ways to repay the college for "taking a chance in 1970 on a low-income kid from the wrong side of the tracks." Jack has also earmarked some funds for Amherst in his will. He hopes other graduates will want to repay their Amherst scholarships.
Thoughts on giving to Amherst:
"Low-income students can achieve and prosper at Amherst as I did and have a tremendous impact on the quality of life at the school. I needed a helping hand up and I am very grateful that Amherst gave it to me, and the college can continue to reach out with our ongoing financial support."
To learn more about how you might support Amherst, go to www.amherst.edu/give.