Family Weekend 2019 Highlights

Photos by Maria Stenzel, Jiayi Liu, and Matai Curzon ’22. Text by Olivia Gieger ’21

Students on stage performing improv

Members of Mr. Gad's House of Improv took to the stage in the Friedmann Room, inviting parents and students to join them. Among those who volunteered was Esther Schrader P ’21 (far right), who jumped into a game called “Sound Effects.” “I had no idea what I was getting into,” she said of the game that required her to make exaggerated noises to match the Gads’ actions.

President Biddy Martin behind a podium speaking during Family Weekend 2019

During a talk with Family Weekend guests, President Biddy Martin walked through a sample week in her life, ranging from a meeting with potential architects for a new student center to her interview of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Martin also spoke extensively about Amherst’s work to provide an intimate education within a broader political context.

Audience members listening to President Martin speka

“It’s one of the sweetest and happiest fall semesters since I’ve been at Amherst,” Martin said during her talk.  

Audience members listing to President Martin from the balcony of Johnson Chapel

The Q&A portion of Martin’s talk led to a discussion of how the College is aiming to “embody a ‘both, and’ concept” of recognizing the College’s past, without memorializing its harms, while also pushing ahead on new initiatives.

The Amherst College Choral Society, plus a few parents, performing during Family Weekend

Parents joined the Amherst College Choral Society for the last song of their concert on Saturday afternoon. They sang "O Amherst, Our Amherst!" with new lyrics to reflect the changing culture of the College.

Football game between Amherst College and Trinity College

Family and fans took to the stands for the football game against Trinity. Though the Mammoths ultimately lost 21-7 in double overtime, it’s not the score that mattered in the end: “It’s the drama,” as one family member remarked about the compelling nature of watching the sport.

Fans raise their arms in celebration during a football game

Kate Fulton ’83, P’23, Ryan Kyle ’23 and Bob Kyle P ’23 (right to left) took a momentary break from watching football to cheer along as the final winning scores from the Amherst men’s and women’s soccer games were announced.

Football fans and their dog enjoying the game

“He gets mad if we don’t bring the dog,” joked the father of a sophomore football player, whose golden retriever, Beau, watched nervously from the sidelines.

An overhead view of Beneski Museum visitors learning about the dinosaur bones

The Beneski Museum of Natural History remained open for much of Saturday for families to stop by, look at the fossils, and discuss dinosaur bone structure, as museum-goers do here.

The men's soccer team practicing on the Quad

The men’s soccer team practiced on the First-Year Quad before the NESCAC Quarterfinal game against Wesleyan, which Amherst won 2-0. The top-seeded Mammoths take on Middlebury on Nov. 9 at home in the NESCAC semifinals.

Four students gathered by the adirondack chairs overlooking the Mount Holyoke range

Junior members of the men’s soccer team and their families celebrated the victory that put them at the top of the league.

A view of Amherst College campus in late fall

After a blustery, cold and rainy Family Weekend in 2018, this year’s festivities were met by crisp fall temperatures and clear skies.

A large crowd gathers for a reception in the Science Center

With a solar array, green roof and stormwater filtration system, the Science Center is a highly sustainable building; the windows covering the side of the building let in natural light throughout the morning, while automatic shades lower in the afternoon to keep the space from getting too hot. It was also the perfect setting for a Family Weekend reception. 

A family poses in the Science Center

Every day, the Science Center draws science majors and non-science majors alike, and on this day, it drew family members as well.

A reception in the science center

An afternoon reception in the one-year-old Science Center gave students and their families the opportunity to explore the space and to take quiet moments to refuel.

A family poses together in the Science Center

Suchitra Balachandran (right) and John Carr (left) arrived in Amherst to visit their son Nishant Carr ’21, an environmental studies major. While driving up the East Coast, they stopped to bird-watch along the way, and saw Northern gannets and American wigeons.

An a capella performance in John Chapel

An enthusiastic Emma Cape ’22 waved to the crowd as her a cappella group, The Sabrinas, took a bow. “I find that it’s a major stress relief from everything else,” she said, noting that she took the stage on Saturday night only a few hours after walking off the softball diamond. In addition to softball and music, she’s involved in the Indigenous and Native Citizens Association as well as her academic pursuits towards a double major. 

audience member showing their appreciation of the a capella singers

In an audience so full that many had to sit on the floor, students at the a cappella concert clapped and snapped along in appreciation of their peers.

Audience members listening to singers in Johnson Chapel

Nearing the day’s close, the concert offered lively and upbeat music as well as softer, sweeter songs.

Amherst College symphony orchastra

Saturday night’s orchestra concert offered Tchaikovsky’s Symphony #5 in E Minor, under the direction of conductor Mark Swanson with assistant director Katiana Nardone ’19, who played the violin.

An all female a capella group performing

Mameastou Fall ’21 and a cappella group the Bluestockings performed at the Black Student Union’s Harlem Renaissance event Saturday night, closing out the weekend.

Students holding cell phones to light up a darkened room

An annual tradition, the Harlem Renaissance event brings students together to showcase and celebrate Black art.