“I wasn’t out there looking for organic farms and ranches. … I was looking for the taste of the salad that I’d eaten in France.”

Foodie favorite Alice Waters, on why she founded the Berkeley, Calif., restaurant Chez Panisse. The honorary degree recipient spoke in Stirn Auditorium on May 21, 2011.

“It’s not about dumping rice, and it’s not about giving aid and handouts. It’s about creating these real opportunities.”

Kimmie Weeks ’05, arguing that the way to transform Africa is to create opportunities for Africans to start businesses and employ others. Twenty-nine-year-old Weeks, the youngest person ever to receive an Amherst honorary degree, spoke in Pruyne Lecture Hall on May 21, 2011.

“I remember the feeling of my brain exploding, and we are in the brain-exploding business.”

Then-President Anthony W. Marx, on reading Plato for the first time. He was speaking to Reunion-goers in Johnson Chapel on May 28, 2011, a month before he left Amherst to head the New York Public Library.

“My instinct all along … has been to start with the Intifada and end with a gay wedding.”

Professor of English Judith Frank on putting these two historical forces in her novel-in-progress, Noah’s Ark, which is about a gay American couple who become the guardians of two young children whose parents are killed in a café bombing in Jerusalem. Frank gave a reading and answered questions in Cole Assembly Room on May 27, 2011, as part of the 25th anniversary celebration of the Gay and Lesbian Alumni Association.

“The video of this speech would probably never reach any actual Williams students, since, to my knowledge, there is still no broadband Internet service all the way in Williamstown.”

Gregory J. Campeau ’11, delivering the student address at Commencement on May 22, 2011