Amherst Fact

Give to the Amherst Annual Fund

This year, 1,097 alumni volunteered their time on behalf of the Amherst Annual Fund. Choose Amherst. Make a gift by June 30. Thank you!

James Bates ’86

Quote by James Bates

“There will always be people who are stronger, faster and smarter, but in college I learned that you can excel by learning how to think well, make good decisions and understand your limitations. ” Surgeon James E. Bates ‘86 in the newest Amherst magazine.

David Soliday ’74

David Soliday ’74

“The very core of it all has always been the simple thought of giving credit where credit is due.” David Soliday ’74 on his photographs of Southern rice fields.

President John F. Kennedy

JFK Quote

“I look forward to an America which will steadily raise the standards of artistic accomplishment and which will steadily enlarge cultural opportunities for all of our citizens.” President John F. Kennedy, speaking at Amherst on Oct. 26, 1963. He would have been 100 on May 29, 1917.

President Biddy Martin

Quote from Biddy Martin's Commencement Address

“Liberal arts education is the form of education best suited to uncertainty and change.” From President Biddy Martin's 2017 Commencement Address.

Dylan Driscoll ’14

Quote by Dylan Driscoll ’14: A book, a good book, a book worth dusting off, is a challenge. It's a full workout for your mi

“A book, a good book, a book worth dusting off, is a challenge. It’s a full workout for your mind and soul.” Dylan Driscoll ’14, pro baseball player in Sweden and Belgium, and startup marketing director, on the value of having a little dust on your bookshelf.

Steven Chu

Steven Chu quote

“In the scientific world, people are judged by the content of their ideas. Advances are made with new insights, but the final arbitrator of any point of view are experiments that seek the unbiased truth.” Steven Chu, former secretary of energy and one of six people who will receive an honorary doctorate at Amherst’s Commencement

Brooke Kamin Rapaport ’84

Brooke Kamin Rapaport quote

“Public art is shown in the context of complete democracy. There is full access, and that can be very liberating.” Brooke Kamin Rapaport ’84 oversees the selection, production and realization of installations in New York’s Madison Square Park.

Julius Hawley Seelye

Julius Hawley Seelye

“The first question asked by the human mind, and which also marks the mind’s progress in all its stages, is the question, ‘Why.’” Julius Hawley Seelye, Amherst President, 1876-1890.

Rick Griffith

Quote by Rick Giriffith

“We’re lean and mean and Pleistocene!” Professor Rick Griffiths, a classicist who shares an office building with the mammoth skeleton, on Amherst's new mascot.

Geroge Mitchell

George Mitchell Quote

“There's no such thing as a conflict that cannot be ended. Conflicts are created, conducted and sustained by human beings. They can be ended by human beings.” George Mitchell, former U.S. Senate majority leader will discuss “Trump’s First 100 Days—Challenges and Opportunities” on Monday, April 3.

Cornell Brooks

Cornell Brooks Quote

“To those who simply want to tweet the revolution, we appreciate that, but we are challenging people to go beyond that.” Cornell William Brooks. Speaking in Johnson Chapel, NAACP president Cornell William Brooks urged students to choose causes that will resonate in the long-term, not just in the moment.

Kelvin Chen ’16

Kelvin Chen ’16

“There are still some places that have escaped the direct touch of man, and those are the areas that are of interest to people like me.” Kelvin Chen ’16 traveled to remote Kasatochi Island to study biogeography.

Professor Mary Hicks

Hicks quote

“Rejecting notions of speech as politics, and ideals as action, Martin Luther King Jr. argued that all Americans—both white and black—were required to do much more than declare our values.” Mary Hicks, assistant professor of black studies and history, on Martin Luther King Jr. 

Isadora Duncan

Quote by Isadora Duncan

“And how shall one name that movement which is in accord with the most beautiful human form? ... I would name it the Dance.” Isadora Duncan, dancer. Sarah Olsen, visiting assistant professor of classics, will discuss dance in ancient Greek tragedies and the work of Isadora Duncan as part of “Reimagining the Greeks,” a Theater & Dance conference March 23-25.

Conductor George Mathew ’91

George Mathew Quote

“We are called to listen to the music, to listen to each other, to listen from the other’s perspective.” George Mathew is determined that his concerts be not simply of our time but an influence for good within itPhoto credit: Chris Lee.

Jennifer Acker ’00

Jennifer Acker quote

“Even though I didn’t know it, the idea for The Common started when I was a student at Amherst.” Jennifer Acker ’00. Acker founded The Common and its literary internship program, which mentors Amherst students in all aspects of publishing, from the first reads to the printed volume and related public programming.

Martha Umphrey

Matha Umphrey Quote

“Now more than ever we need the voices of artists, in fiction and nonfiction, poetry on the page and in spoken word, and other expressive forms.” Martha Umphrey, professor of law, jurisprudence and social thought and director of the Center for Humanistic Inquiry.  Professor Martha Umphrey during opening remarks of Amherst’s second annual literary festival.

Doris Kearns Goodwin

Doris Kearns Goodwin Quote

“Once a president gets to the White House, the only audience that is left that really matters is history.” Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin will speak at Amherst on March 4 at 10 a.m. in Johnson Chapel as part of the College’s annual literary festival.

Dr. Charles Drew ’26

Dr. Charles Drew ’26

“On the battlefields nobody is very interested in where the plasma comes from when they are hurt.” Dr. Charles Drew ’26 discovered the chemical method for preserving blood and went on to direct the first American Blood Bank. A surgeon, he fought against policies that refused or segregated blood donated by African Americans. 

NOTE: A residence hall at Amherst, the Charles Drew Memorial Culture House, is named in his honor.

Charles Hamilton Houston, Class of 1915


“Without education, there is no hope for our people and without hope, our future is lost.” Charles Hamilton Houston. Class of 1915, was the legal architect of Brown v. Board of Education 

Edward Hitchcock

Edward Hitchcock quote

“What sunrises and sunsets do we here witness; and what a multitude of permutations and combinations pass before us during the day, as we watch from hour to hour, one of the loveliest landscapes of New England.”  Edward Hitchcock (1793-1864) was the first state geologist of Massachusetts and the third President of Amherst College.

Note: The Edward and Orra White Hitchcock Papers contain correspondence, drawings, legal documents, sermons, drafts of published and unpublished works, printed articles, autographs, artwork, and images relating to the professional activities and some of the personal life of Edward Hitchcock, Orra White Hitchcock, and their family. 

Valentine Dining Hall Fact

Dinging Hall Fact

Serving 4,000 meals daily, Valentine Dining Hall’s 28-day food cycle includes more than 600 recipes involving roughly 2,000 ingredients, many of which come from local farms.

Note: Valentine Hall is officially going trayless! Motivated by the need to save water during the drought, student group - Green Amherst Project (GAP) collected over 650 student signatures requesting that Val become a trayless dining facility. The Offices of Environmental Sustainability and Dining Services then collected both written and in person feedback on the issue from over 600 community members and the decision was made to make the move to trayless. Starting the second week of interterm, Valentine Hall became a trayless dining facility. Learn more.

Anthony Jack ’07

Anthony Jack Quote

“To overlook the rich diversity of experiences within first-generation college students is to base policy on only a partial picture.” Sociologist Anthony Jack ’07, the newest Wade Fellow at Amherst, spoke about the factors that influence undergraduates’ sense of belonging at elite colleges and their acquisition of cultural and social capital. [Read more]

Coretta Scott King

Coretta Scott King

“Peace is not just the goal; it’s the answer.” Coretta Scott King, speaking at Amherst on Feb. 25, 2003, as quoted in the Amherst Student.

Note: To celebrate Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Amherst will host a panel on Jan. 28 called “Moving Toward Collective Liberation.”

The Amherst Student

The Amherst Student Fact

The Amherst Student newspaper was founded in 1868, making it the oldest independent weekly college publication in the country.

Christopher Tamasi ’15

Quote by Chris Tamasi

“When the history of English settlement is discussed, the Native perspective is often left out of the picture.” Christopher Tamasi ’15. Tamasi, in an article about the American Studies course “Global Valley,” in which students study local history from multiple perspectives.

David Little

David Little Quote

“In the spirit of the liberal arts, we want to create a museum that sparks the imagination and inspires debate.” David Little, Director of Amherst’s Mead Art Museum.

Footnote: After two months of renovations, the museum unveiled six new exhibitions and installations.

Clyde L. Nash ’55

Clyde Nash Quote

“When the smoke cleared from my career as an orthopedic spine surgeon, my long, lingering liberal arts education bubbled up, providing me with interests in classical music, poetry and community service.” Clyde L. Nash, ’55, orthopedic surgeon; majored in economics at Amherst, on the impact of a liberal arts education.

Footnote: Learn more about a liberal arts education at Amherst College.

Julie Galdieri ’88

Julie Galdieri Quote

 “It was up to me to create the sort of work that I was longing to do.” Actor Julie Galdieri ’88, spoke to Amherst magazine this fall about how she worked her way out of a creative wasteland.  

Tony Andrews ’13

Tony Andrews Quote

“There’s a cruel irony to be found here: Surfing at once engenders a deep love of the seaside and a lustful resentment for it.” Tony Andrews ’13, won a Film and Media Studies award for his senior thesis documentary film about surfing subculture in Newport, R.I.

Footnote: Andrews recently published an essay about surfing in The Inertia.

Mark Silver ’93

Quote by Mark Silver ’93

“Our influence on others happens in fleeting moments and at unexpected times.Our influence on others happens in fleeting moments and at unexpected times.” Mark Silver ’93 writing in Amherst magazine about the late Professor Hugh Hawkins.

Footnote: In his own handwriting, Professor Hawkins describes a speech by Dr. Martin Luther King, highlighted in a 2012 blog post titled "A Civil Rights Summer in the South," by Colleen O'Connor ’11.

Ross Douthat

Ross Douthat quote

“The only way you will advance and make progress on an intellectual level is by testing your perspectives against the strongest alternative viewpoints.” Ross Dothat, New York Times columnist, on civil discourse in an exclusive interview for Amherst. Douthat gave a talk on campus called “American Conservatism and Donald Trump.”

Biddy Martin

We can set an example of community characterized by openness and respect, freedom with responsibility, and politics inflected by

“We can set an example of community characterized by openness and respect, freedom with responsibility, and politics inflected by poetry. ” Amherst College President Biddy Martin, speaking to the community about Amherst’s enduring values.