Amherst Voices

Biddy Martin poses with six Amherst College students.

As President Biddy Martin's tenure comes to a conclusion, the Amherst College community reflects on Biddy's lasting impact. THANK YOU, BIDDY! Watch the video.

Amherst Voices. William Webster ’45

Graphic of a hand pushing over a section of the Berlin Wall.

“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.

Amherst Voices: Thirii Myo Kyaw Myint

Quote by Thirii Myo Kyaw Myint

“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

Amherst Voices: Ilan Stavans

A quote by Ilan Stavans

“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.  

Amherst Voices: Noor Qasim ’18

A quote by Noor Qasim

“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.


Amherst Voices: Tess Taylor ’00

the word grammar spelled out on white dice sitting on a wooden table.

“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.

Amherst College Celebrates Pride Month

Tamara Johnson standing outside on a city street.

Tamara Johnson ’73 was a woman ahead of her time, and, to our current knowledge, Amherst’s first transgender graduate.  Read: “A Glorious Woman.”

Breaking News: Announcement of New President

A view of Mt Holyoke range on a bright spring sunny day.

“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.

Amherst College's 201st Commencement

A crowd at commencement tosses graduation caps in the air.

“Amherst’s story will forever be a part of our story, and vice versa.” Abdullah Brownel ’22, from his Commencement speech. Commencement 2022 coverage.

Celebrating Commencement 2020

tow people shaking hands while handing off a college diploma.

Congratulations to the Class of 2022! Take a closer look at this year’s graduating students and what goes into the main event celebrating them. Commencement by the Numbers.

Amherst Celebrates

President Martin and three Amherst College students poses in front of the the Mt Holyoke Range

Here’s Looking at You, Biddy! — 11 years, 47 pictures, countless memories. Check out the slideshow.

Amherst Celebrates Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month: Seoyeon Kim ’21,

woman with red umbrella waiting at train station and blurred people in motion

“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.

Amherst Celebrates Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month: Pawan Dhingra

Five panelists sitting at a table with microphones having a conversation.

“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.

Bicentennial Podcast: Bill Ford ’83

a microphone rests in a mic stand on a table

“We need more fact-based thinkers. We need more informed thinkers and ones who have covered a wide range of ideas and disciplines.” Bill Ford ’83, CEO of General Atlantic, on Episode 14 of Amherst’s Bicentennial podcast series. Listen on your favorite podcasting platform.

Amherst Celebrates Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month: Sabrina Lin ’21

People walking in Boston's Chinatown

“I talked with people as we bought egg tarts and pineapple buns from beloved Chinatown bakeries, in front of storefronts and street musicians, and at tenants’ rights meetings and community protests.” Sabrina Lin ’21, on her interviews with residents of Chinatowns across the U.S.

Bicentennial Podcast: Rosanne Haggerty ’82

a microphone rests in a mic stand on a table

“The fact that so much progress has been made really does provide a beacon for how solvable this issue is if you have these collaborative structures in place.”  Rosanne Haggerty ’82, president and CEO of Community Solutions, which works toward a lasting end to homelessness in communities nationwide, on Episode 11 of Amherst’s Bicentennial podcast series. Listen on your favorite podcasting platform.

Bicentennial Podcast: Federico Sucre ’13

a microphone rests in a mic stand on a table

“I feel very comfortable starting from scratch on something completely new that I know nothing about. And I think that's a result of the academic experience that I had at Amherst.” Federico Sucre ’13, in Episode 12 of Amherst’s Bicentennial podcast series. Listen on your favorite podcasting platform.

Bicentennial Podcast: Alejandro Sucre ’13

a microphone rests in a mic stand on a table

“Ultimately, life ends up being a team sport, really, and you have to rely on other people in order to get to where you want to get to, right?”  Alejandro Sucre ’13, in Episode 12 of Amherst’s Bicentennial podcast series. Listen on your favorite podcasting platform.

Bicentennial Podcast: Rebecca Segal ’18

a microphone rests in a mic stand on a table

“I think I'm shocked, and also not shocked, at how much my Amherst education comes into my job every day, and how much I rely on that bedrock that Amherst gave me.” Rebecca Segal ’18, field artillery officer and first lieutenant in the U.S. Army, on Episode 13 of Amherst’s Bicentennial podcast series. Listen on your favorite podcasting platform.

Amherst Voices: Kendall Greene ’24

Close up of a charoal drawing

“This is a space where people can be themselves and be creative and share what’s in their hearts and their minds, through whatever medium.” Kendall Greene ’24 on the student-run Black Art Matters festival.

Amherst Voices: Joanne Wang Golann ’04

Graphic rendition of three profiles, facing right, with scientific symbols in the background.

“As the daughter of Chinese immigrants, I have always been interested in the subtle ways that culture shapes comfort levels.” Sociologist Joanne Wang Golann ’04, in an Amherst magazine interview about her book, Scripting the Moves. 

Amherst Voices: Nick Holschuch

A sample of Antarctic ice.

“We are taking the first steps in a decade-long scientific mission that spans institutions across the U.S.” Assistant Professor of Geology Nick Holschuch on climate-change research that involves the oldest ice in the world.

Amherst College Celebrates Women's History Month

A crowd of men and women holding signs and protesting for justice for indigenous women

“This course introduces students to the interdisciplinary field of Indigenous feminisms, and explores how questions of sex, gender and sexuality have been articulated in relation to concerns such as sovereignty, colonization and imperialism.” Jennifer Hamilton, visiting professor of American studies. From the course description for Hamilton's Spring 2022 course “Indigenous Feminisms.

Photo credit: Jamie Malcolm-Brown, Cultural Survival.

Amherst Voices: Joanna Booth ’19

Close up of textile art, "Come Home," by Joanna Booth ’19

“My better ideas come from just living life and paying attention to what grabs me.” Artist Joanna Booth ‘19, in an Amherst magazine interview with Carla Diaz ’13. (Note: Closse-up of textile art by Joanna Booth: "Come Home."

Amherst College Celebrates Women's History Month

Ruth Bader Ginsberg and President Martin conversing on stage at Amherst College.

“What’s the difference between a bookkeeper in the garment district and a Supreme Court justice? One generation.” The late Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the second woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, speaking on campus in 2019

Amherst Voices: James Merrill ’47

Quote by James Merrill in honor of his birthday

“I knew / That life was fiction in disguise.” The late James Merrill ’47, from his poem “Braving the Elements.” Merrill was born this month in 1926. Note: Doodle by James I. Merrill on the manuscript of his novel, The Seraglio. Merrill-Magowan Family Papers, Amherst College Archives & Special Collections.

Amherst College Celebrates Women's History Month: Ruth Kremen ’76

Quote by Amherst alumae Ruth Kremen

“I credit Amherst with what I see in myself today, which is great intellectual curiosity. Amherst brought me there, and it’s a huge part of my life.” Ruth Kremen ’76 was one of the first nine women to receive a bachelor’s degree from Amherst. 

Amherst College Celebrates Black History Month: Chloe McKenzie ’14

Street sign for Wall Street

“This toxic value system unsurprisingly originated during slavery. It affects us all. It affects Black women the most.” Chloe McKenzie ’14, an expert on financial trauma, abuse and shame, from “The Real Power of Money.”

Amherst Voices: Melody Dodoo ’21

Round logo for CISE the Center for International Student services at Amherst College

“My goal when I joined the Center for International Student Engagement was to make sure international students would have a voice, loud and distinct, in the Amherst student body.” Melody Dodoo ’21 is one of 151 Schwarzman Scholars chosen for this year out of nearly 3,000 applicants from 33 countries.

Amherst College Celebrates Black History Month

Students attending an outdoor reception for the Black Studies department at Amherst College

“The individual college youth cannot wait forever until the problem of his education is decided.” Charles Hamilton Houston, class of 1915, is the trailblazing civil rights attorney who created and led the legal strategy that would ultimately end racial segregation in American schools.

Amherst College Celebrates Black History Month

Quote by William Hastie

“Difficulty need not foreshadow despair or defeat.” William Hastie ’25: lawyer, judge, educator, public official and advocate for the civil rights of African Americans. Hastie was the first African-American to serve as Govenor of the United States Virgin Islands, as a Federal judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals, and as a Federal appellate judge. 

Amherst Voices: Sonya Clark

Quote by Sonya Clarke

“A book is a common object that has such capacity to hold so much of who we are—and to shape who we might be.” Sonya Clark, the Winifred L. Arms Professor in the Arts and Humanities and professor of art and the history of art, in “Solidarity for Posterity,” about the Bicentennial’s Solidarity Book Project.

Amherst College Celebrates Black History Month

poet sonia sanchez at amherst college

”A people without a thorough knowledge of roots and history cannot move into the future, cannot rest in the proper chair of life.” Sonia Sanchez, poet, activist and scholar who taught at Amherst from 1972 to 1975 and was the first chair of the Black Studies department.

Amherst Voices: Danielle Benedetto

an instructor works with two students at a large table

“I’ll walk you across a tightrope, but I’ll hold your hand while you’re doing it.” Danielle Benedetto, senior lecturer in mathematics. This year, Benedetto was awarded the Jeffrey B. Ferguson Memorial Teaching Prize

Amherst Voices: Eniola Ajao ’21

Map highlighting France, Ghana, and Bhutan

“I am excited for the opportunity to be totally independent, and the growth that will inevitably follow.” Eniola Ajao ’21, one of two recent Amherst graduates to become Watson fellows. 

Amherst Voices: Kate Follette

Clare Leonard and Professor Kate Follette

“It’s really cool working on something that would have been sci-fi to my parents’ generation.” Assistant Professor of Astronomy Kate Follette’s work involves detecting how planets form around young stars.  

Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2022: Jared Loggins

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

“On this day, we have to renew our commitment to struggling towards the beloved community, which means dealing with the structural problems that prevent its realization.” Postdoctoral Fellow and Visiting Assistant Professor of Black Studies and Political Science, Jared Loggins, in an interview about Martin Luther King Jr.

posted 1/16/22

Amherst College Bicentennial: William H. Pritchard ’53

William Pritchard Quote

“It’s dangerous to consider the past from the standpoint of age, since change is of the essence and sentimentalizing one’s past is to be avoided. Yet is it possible that in those days everything was better?” Professor William H. Pritchard ’53, in a new essay for Amherst magazine’s special Bicentennial issue.

posted 1/16/22

The Bicentennial Podcast: Kirk Johnson ’82

Bicentennial Podcast quotes

“Like the museum I run, Amherst is a product of the 19th century, and it is living in the 21st century, with its eyes on the 22nd century.” Kirk Johnson ’82, Sant Director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, in Episode 10 of Amherst's new Bicentennial podcast series. Listen on your favorite podcasting platform.

The Bicentennial Podcast: Dr. Meron Hirpa ’11

Bicentennial Podcast quotes

“I decided that my experiences, where I was coming from, my background was very different from everybody else. And my path forward was also going to be different from someone else.”  Dr. Meron Hirpa ’11 in Episode 9 of Amherst’s new Bicentennial podcast series, narrated by Jeffrey Wright ’87 Listen on your favorite podcasting platform.

Congratulations to German Giammattei ’22!

German Giammattei

“German has embodied so many of the ideals that our culture celebrates. There are so many people proud of him today.”  Men's soccer coach Justin Serpone, speaking about German Giammattei ’22 , who was just named the United Soccer Coaches NCAA Division III National Player of the Year for men's soccer. Giammattei is only the second player ever to win the honor twice.

The Bicentennial Podcast: William H. Pritchard

Bicentennial Podcast quotes

“I decided that there was nothing in the world that I would rather do than come back and teach at Amherst.” William H. Pritchard, the Henry Clay Folger Professor of English, Emeritus, in Episode 8 of Amherst’s new Bicentennial podcast series. Listen on your favorite podcasting platform. (Posted: 12/15/21)

The Bicentennial Podcast: Chris Lehane ’90

Bicentennial Podcast quotes

“Biden, without missing a beat, turns to me and says, ‘Great, let’s go get some pizza, and we’ll hang out.’” Chris Lehane  ’90 in Episode 7 of Amherst’s new Bicentennial podcast series, on meeting Joe Biden, who was then a U.S. senator, after Biden spoke at Amherst in the late 1980s. Listen on your favorite podcasting platform. (Posted: 12/10/21)

Amherst College Bicentennial: Jennifer Acker ’00

footprint in sand

“Revision meant squarely facing my initial efforts and letting the professor’s comments, and those from any peers, settle in, drifting down past the discomfort and embarrassment of my work being criticized to nestle comfortably near the root of the problem, like the sand that collects at the bottom of your sock after a day at the beach.” Jennifer Acker ‘00, founder and editor-in-chief of The Common and an award-winning author, in a new essay for Amherst magazine’s special Bicentennial issue. (Posted: 11/29/21)

NOTE: Learn more about The Common, including its Literary Publishing Internship for Amherst students 

Amherst College Bicentennial: Lauren Groff ’01

Illustration of a crew team in a boat on a river

“There is not a month that goes by when—on a run when I’m not feeling at my best, or if I’m in the middle of doing something for work that seems impossible—I do not tell myself what our kind and dedicated coach, Bill Stekl, once said: ‘Nearly anyone can do nearly anything, as long as they do it slowly enough.’ ” Novelist Lauren Groff ‘01, in a new essay for Amherst magazine’s special Bicentennial issue. (Posted: 12/6/21)

Amherst College Bicentennial: Carmella de los Angeles Guiol ’09

A white house with green shutters

“When I think about what has endured from my time at Amherst, the most valuable treasure that I took away from those four years, what immediately springs to my mind are my friends.” Carmella de los Angeles Guiol ’09, , in a new essay for Amherst magazine’s special Bicentennial issue. (Posted: 11/29/21)

NOTE: Guiol ghostwrites memoirs and blogs about digital health. She wrote an earlier essay for Amherst magazine on finding her mother tongue. 

Amherst College Bicentennial: Rafael Campo ’87, ‘04H

the mt holyoke range at sunset

“It was at Amherst College that I first learned our mysterious humanity can never be entirely explicated by our fascinating physiology or even our elegant genetics, and that the hardest questions about us require only the embrace of our empathetic imaginations as response.” Rafael Campo ’87, ‘04H, poet and physician, in a new essay for Amherst magazine’s special Bicentennial issue. (Posted: 11/22/21)

Note: At Amherst, Campo opted not to decide between the humanities and the sciences, but to study both. Learn about his majors, English and neuroscience