Overheard on campus

“Music is not entertainment.”

Pianist, conductor and Amherst honorary degree recipient Leon Fleisher, during a Commencement-weekend talk

“It’s inexplicable to me why [the government is] continuing to literally give money to the banks—and these are supposedly healthy banks.”

Economist Joseph Stiglitz ’64, Nobel laureate and University Professor at Columbia, in a Reunion lecture about the U.S. economy

“In the biographies I talk about today, Muhammad even looks like Abraham. It’s a conscious effort on the part of Muslims to assimilate Muhammad—and, by extension, Islam—to earlier religions and make a place for Muhammad and Islam in that Near Eastern religious narrative.”

Tariq Jaffer, assistant professor of religion, in a Reunion talk on how early Islamic communities created images of Muhammad 

“I asked them to remember their best kiss, their first kiss.”

Steve Sauter, director of Amherst’s Bassett Planetarium, after attending the April 2009 launch of the space shuttle Atlantis, on how he answered the question “What was it like?”

“I knocked my computer off my desk and I broke the period key off my laptop. Just my luck—I had a response paper due for Professor Smith’s intro to philosophy class the next day. So, with no time to waste and no period key to be found, I actually ended up having to write my response only with question marks and exclamation marks.”

Pan Venkatraman ’09, speaking at Senior Assembly on May 8