“Volatility will always annoy our surprise-minimizing brains. But it can also titillate our innate curiosity and strengthen our compassion for one another.” Eleonora Mattiacci, assistant professor of political science, from her essay in Amherst magazine about writing a book on volatility in international politics during one of the most volatile periods on record.
“So there are places, I think, that I could choose to go to as soon as I grow up; there are cities where speech and life will be effortless.” Author and 747 pilot Mark Vanhoenacker ’96, in his new memoir, Imagine a City.
“I won’t forget what we saw here. It gives you perspective on the kinds of problems we have in our own life. Honestly, they’re nothing.” Magician Bill Herz ’79, in an Amherst magazine story about his tour to entertain Ukrainian children.
“Because of where Amherst sits in the landscape of higher education, it doesn’t have to worry about following every trend—and, in fact, it can define the trends.” Amherst College President Michael Elliott ’92, in an interview in the most recent issue of Amherst magazine. (Photo by Xiaofeng Wan, Associate Dean of Admission & Coordinator of International Recruitment)
“I had just met Biddy. I got her attention and said, ‘You know, I’d really like to take your photograph.’ And I never do that!” Photographer Annie Leibovitz, speaking at the unveiling of her new portrait of President Emerita Biddy Martin.
“Native art is not taught, centralized or prioritized in mainstream academia in the way that I feel it should be. So, a lot of the works that I create, I create them large.” Artist Dyani White Hawk, from “Seeing Native Art” in the most recent issue of Amherst magazine.
“You are plenty smart. That is not the key to success here. It’s not how smart you are. At Amherst, effort is going to matter.” Catherine A. Sanderson, Poler Family Professor of Psychology, delivered five pieces of researched-based wisdom about how to succeed at Amherst at the DeMott lecture.
“My parents were disconnected from their identity and their culture growing up because they were trying to survive. And we cannot forget about those stories.” DezBaa’ ’10E. Dark Winds actor DezBaa’ in the new Amherst magazine.
“He discussed how, in the book The Known World, by Edward P. Jones, there exists so much suffering. Yet the characters survive by investing in each other through mutual care, listening to one another and making meaning in community.” Mikayla Gordon Wexler ’19, writing about an Amherst professor whose small gesture changed her life.
“He inspired me to look at my biethnic identity from a place of abundance rather than scarcity, to see that I am made up of two wholes instead of two halves, to see that I am a bridge not just between my two ethnicities, but also between myself. ” Sade Green ’20, writing about an Amherst professor whose small gesture changed her life.
“There are many women who have preceded you, and they did great things, and you should know that, because you are going to be one of those women one day.” Rhonda Cobham-Sander, the Emily C. Jordan Folger Professor of Black Studies and English. From the Black Women of Amherst Podcast, Episode 6: The Next 200 Years of Amherst College.
“His confidence in me as a student fundamentally changed my work ethic. Four years later, that initial bond of trust and respect has developed into one of the most cherished gifts of friendship Amherst gave me.” Rachel Chaffin ’20, writing about an Amherst professor whose small gesture changed her life.
“This was our time. This was our opportunity. What was it? Good trouble.” Denise Francois ’80, describing 1979’s three-day student takeover of Converse Hall to advance racial justice at Amherst. From the Black Women of Amherst Podcast, Episode 5: Activism @ Amherst.
“We come to love this place when we discover that Amherst can make the world almost infinitely larger for all of those who walk its halls and its hills. And our love endures because we know that the future can be greater than the past.” President Michael A. Elliott ’92 from his inaugural address delivered on October 28, 2022.
“I credit Amherst enormously for framing how I looked at issues of racial justice, sexism, all of the things that I care about deeply and the things that I end up covering on CNN every day.” Laura Jarrett ’07, co-anchor of CNN’s Early Start, from the Black Women of Amherst Podcast, Episode 3: Black Alumnae Speak, Part 1.
“He is unashamed to be exactly who he is and determined to do exactly as he pleases.” Allen Guttmann, the Emily C. Jordan Folger Professor of English and American Studies, Emeritus, on teaching Walt Whitman.
“We were part of herstory and history. And part of that history was that we had to protect each other and look out for each other. ” Poet and playwright Sonia Sanchez, the first African American woman to teach at Amherst and the second person to chair the Black studies department. From Episode 2: Song of Sonia Sanchez.
“One of the things art does is to show how interconnected we are.” Michael Kunichika, director of the Center for Russian Culture and interim director of the Mead Art Museum at Amherst, on showing works by Ukrainian-born artists.
Credit: Torso in Space, 1936 by Alexander Archipenko (1887-1964)
“This podcast is not just about Amherst College. This story is about the United States of America and about Black women’s place, both in America and the larger world.” Nichelle Carr ’98, founder and lead producer at WC1 Studios and chief content officer at AudPop, from the podcast: Black Women of Amherst, Episode 1: 200 Years of Amherst College.
“As you are coming together here as students, you are actually engaging in preparation to advance a democratic society.” President Michael A. Elliott ’92, addressing new students gathered in Johnson Chapel for Opening Convocation.
“I hope to work with underserved communities and increase awareness of the uneven access to care, and give back by helping others who have struggled like me.” Medical student Rana Barghout ’20 received her short white coat during Weill Cornell Medicine’s annual White Coat Ceremony.
Photo credit: Studio Brooke
“I aspire to help people see their lives and experiences reflected back at them, through objects and stories from cultures that may be completely different from their own.” Siddhartha V. Shah, director of Amherst’s Mead Art Museum. (posted 9/12/22)
“The connections you make with the people who are sitting in this room will have greater impact on your college experience than grades or win-loss records—and will stick with you for the rest of your life.” Professor Catherine Sanderson, speaking to new students at this year’s DeMott Lecture. (posted 9/12/22)
“Gorbachev was a visionary who changed his country and the world — though neither as much as he wished.” Professor William Taubman, in his definitive biography of Mikhail Gorbachev. The Soviet leader died Aug. 30 at age 91.
Bonus: In this video, William Taubman, the Bertrand Snell Professor of Political Science, Emeritus, and Pulitzer Prize winner, discusses his newly released book in this video: William Taubman on Gorbachev: His Life and Times.
“Every word I learned felt familiar, like a recovered memory.” Kristina Reardon, director of the intensive writing program; lecturer in English and education studies; and director of the Summer Bridge humanities and social science program, on learning her grandmother’s language.
“Take good care of yourself, physically and mentally, and remind your students of the importance of self-care and self-compassion. Teaching is a heart work, and you can’t give from an empty cup.” Shu-Min Liao, assistant professor of statistics, sharing a teaching tip with The Chronicle of Higher Education
Background image:Two Lovely Cups, by Dejan Krsmanovic
“The more we hear about our ancestors-by-affiliation, the richer all of our own transitions become, whether of orientation and identity, or philosophy and worldview.” Joy Williams ’88, in a letter to the editor in Amherst magazine.
“You’re part of a chapter of the book of Emily Dickinson.” U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, speaking to Amherst students at the Emily Dickinson Museum in the summer issue of Amherst magazine.
“Much of the progress in my professional life has been aided by my searching for the truth in every important issue affecting not only my life, but the lives of other people, for which I have some responsibility.”— William Webster ’45, the only person in history to head both the FBI and CIA.
“My professor opened my eyes by saying, ‘You don’t have to go to a library to do research; people are archives, too.’ That got me thinking about my parents.” Assistant Professor of English Thirii Myo Kyaw Myint, author of Names for Light: A Family History.
“When Socrates is debating ideas in The Symposium you feel his discomfort. It’s the discomfort of discovering new things. Discomfort generates knowledge.” Ilan Stavans, the Lewis-Sebring Professor of Humanities and Latin American and Latino Culture, from “The Discomfort Zone” in the spring issue of Amherst magazine.
“The past can confirm one’s worst expectations, while also shifting or undermining them, pushing us toward a more complex reading of who we were then and a fuller understanding of who we are now.” Noor Qasim ’18, from “When Didion Reviewed Cheever” in the spring issue of Amherst magazine.
“It’s a cast of thousands. ... It isn’t one hero or heroine who did all this.” Sherry Boschert ’78, on the history of Title IX, the 1972 law that prohibits sex discrimination in education.
NOTE: Boschert is the author of a new book on Title IX: 37 Words: Title IX and Fifty Years of Fighting Sex Discrimination.
“As we continued, each close reading of each long, baggy sentence felt oddly intimate, as if we were down in the grooves of each writer’s fingerprints.” Poet Tess Taylor ’00 on her favorite Amherst class.
“At this moment in our history, what Amherst does to prepare its diverse body of students to provide leadership in a complex, rapidly changing world has become more urgent and critical than ever. I feel incredibly fortunate to be returning to this remarkable academic community.” Michael A. Elliott, Amherst College's 20th President.
Amherst College announces the appointment of its 20th President.
“Loving ourselves can feel impossible when society tells us we are both clichéd and abnormal; we are both singled out and ignored. But I am not an oxymoron: I am simply complex.” Seoyeon Kim ’21, writing about how she embraced her name and found herself.
“When I was asked to be a mentor, it made me think: This is a place that sees me as belonging, so maybe I do belong.” Pawan Dhingra, professor of American studies and associate provost, on his leadership work with the Association for Asian American Studies.