Celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month: Janet Lin ’97

Quote by Janet Lin class of 1997

“It's important to find a mentor.... Often people want to champion people like themselves. So early on, it was hard to find that person. ... Now I reach out to Asian women all the time; and I say, ‘Please let me help you.’” Janet Lin ’97, screenwriter and showrunner for Bridgerton, Cursed and other TV shows.

Bicentennial Commencement

Bicentennial fact: First commencement ceremony at Amherst College was in 1822

Amherst held its first Commencement ceremony in 1822. This Sunday, May 30th, the Bicentennial Class of 2021 will graduate in an in-person ceremony on Pratt Field. Congratulations to all the seniors! Commencement 2021

Amherst Voices: Dan Cluchey ’08

Quote by presidential speech writer Dan Cluchey class of 2008

“I was learning to read and by extension, learning to write with real intention, with a sort of sonic appreciation and attention to the machinery of sentences, the emotional content, the syntax.” Presidential speechwriter Dan Cluchey ’08 on his Amherst experience. Cluchey was the elected class speaker at his Commencement. 

Celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month:

Quote by Min Jin Lee, visiting writer at Amherst College

“You belong now. You are loved now. You are making your history now. Thank you for letting me sit at your table.” Min Jin Lee, Amherst writer-in-residence, in a 2019 lecture to first-year students. Lee is the author, most recently, of Pachinko.

Makena Onjerika ’10

A quote by fiction writing Makena Onkerika '10

“For now, fiction has redeemed me.” Makena Onjerika ’10, who won the 2018 Caine Prize for African Writing, launched the Nairobi Fiction Writing Project.

An Amherst College Bicentennial Quiz

Test Your Amherst College knowledge

In what field has an Amherst alum not won a Nobel Prize? Test your Amherst College knowledge in our alumni magazine's special Bicentennial contest.  One randomly selected winner will receive an official Bicentennial book. Learn more about the Bicentennial and the Bicentennial books.

Celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month: Kirun Kapur

Poetry quote by Kirun Kapur

“From the window she could see / women from every corner of the city / walk into the river, disappear / then rise clean, saris soaking.” Poet Kirun Kipur ’97, writer-in-residence at Amherst, from “Waiting for Sleep, I Imagine Sita in Her Youth,” a poem in Kapur's latest poetry collection Women in the Waiting Room.

Celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month: Pawan Dhingra

Quote by Professor Pawan Dhingra

“The arrival of Asian immigrants to what would eventually be called America dates back to the 1500s, and the phrase “Asian American,”which was coined in the 1960s, encompasses more than 20 million people with dozens of distinct ethnic identities.” Pawan Dhingra, professor of American studies, president-elect of the Association for Asian American Studies, from his CNN opinion piece, The Most Effective Way To Fight Back Against Anti-Asian Hate.

An Amherst College Bicentennial Fact

A quote from Martha Saxton's book Amherst in the World

Visiting in 1823, Ralph Waldo Emerson referred to the College as “an infant Hercules,” whose impressive students “..write and study in a sort of fury which, I think, promises a harvest of attainments.” From “Amherst in the World” by Martha Saxton. Learn more about our Bicentennial books.

Elizabeth Aries

Quote by Professor Elizabeth Aries

“These three studies are a testament to what Amherst has worked so hard to accomplish.” Elizabeth Aries, the Clarence Francis 1910 Professor in Social Sciences, and the author of three studies, done over 15 years, on how race and class attitudes shaped Amherst students.

An Amherst College Bicentennial Fact

Bicentennial Fact: the Sycamores in front of Seelye House were planted in 1821

The American Sycamore trees in front of Seelye House were planted in 1821. This is one of many tidbits of Amherst history that Nancy Pick ’83 unearths in her new book Eye Mind Heart: Amherst College at 200

NOTES: Check out the: Bicentennial Corner: Amherst College Knowledge for more Bicentennial facts. Eye Mind Heart is one of the official Bicentennial books. Learn all about the Amherst College Bicentennial.

Amelia Worsley

National Poetry Month quote by professor worsley

“The poems about AIDS just seemed so much more present to us than they had when I've taught them before.” Amelia Worsley, assistant professor of English, on the remarkable ways the pandemic changed her poetry course.

Footnote:  April is National Poetry Month. Learn more about Literary Amherst.

Rosanne Haggerty ’82

Quote by Rosanne Haggerty about ending homelessness

“We are grateful and eager to seize this historic moment in our country to build a future where homelessness is rare and brief.” Rosanne Haggerty ’82, Founder of Community Solutions.

Community Solutions won a $100 million MacArthur foundation grant to end homelessness.

An Amherst College Bicentennial Fact

A collage of Amherst College course catalogs

In 1821-22, Amherst offered 37 courses. Today, students can choose among more than 850, with 6,000 total available through the Five College Consortium. Learn more about Amherst College at 200

NOTE: Read more facts about Amherst today.

Amherst Voices

Illustration of bystanders not intervening

“That was my goal in writing the book—to give people an understanding of the psychological factors that lead to inaction, and to give people, therefore, the tools and courage and strategies to speak up in the face of bad behavior.” Psychology Professor Catherine Sanderson in an interview about her book Why We Act: Turning Bystanders into Moral Rebels.

NOTE: Sanderson is teaching two courses this semester, “Close Relationships” and “Sports Psychology.”


Amherst Voices

a science lab at Amherst College

“The community I established with the instructors and my peers was unmatched. I had never been in an environment where everyone shared the aspirations I have and my fiery passion for STEM.” Maria Andrade ’23 took part in the Incubator project, a STEM skills-development program.

Celebrating Women's History Month: Sunflowers

In 2020 a field of sunflowers was planted on campus to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment

In 2020, a field of sunflowers bloomed for the first time near the Arms Music Building on campus in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment. This planting is one of the College’s Bicentennial projects.

Note: Press Release: Amherst College Launches its Bicentennial.

Celebrating Women's History Month: President Biddy Martin

In 2011, Biddy Martin was elected as the 19th president of Amherst College and the first woman to serve as president

In 2011, Biddy Martin was elected the 19th president of Amherst College. She is the first woman to serve in the position. Learn more about President Biddy Martin.

Celebrating Women's History Month: Mary Catherine Bateson

In 1980, anthropologist Mary Catherine Bateson became the first women to serve as dean of the faculty

In 1980, anthropologist Mary Catherine Bateson became the first woman to serve as Amherst’s dean of the faculty. In Memorium

Note: Today, history professor Catherine Epstein is the College’s provost and dean of the faculty.

Celebrating Women's History Month: SWAGS Department

In 1986, the Sexuality, Women's and Gender Studies department was founded

In 1986, prominent feminist scholars founded what is now the Department of Sexuality, Women’s and Gender Studies at Amherst. Sexuality, Women's & Gender Studies (SWAGS) at Amherst.

Note: The African American Intellectual History Society chose a book by one current SWAGS professor, Aneeka Henderson, for its list of Best Black History Books of 2020

Celebrating Women's History Month: Rose Olver

In 1962, Rose Olver became the first woman to hold a tenure track position at Amherst College

In 1962, Rose Olver became the first woman to hold a tenure-track position on the Amherst faculty. In 2013, she became the first woman to have her portrait hang in Johnson Chapel. Learn more: “At Last, a Rose,” from Amherst magazine, 2013.

Celebrating Black History Month: Sonia Sanchez

Amherst Voices Sonia Sanchez

“A people without a thorough knowledge of roots and history cannot move into the future, cannot rest in the proper chair of life.” Poet and activist Sonia Sanchez in 1974, in a memo inaugurating Amherst’s Black Studies department, which turns 50 this year.

Note: Learn about Sanchez’s most recent visit to Amherst.

Celebrating Black History Month: Amherst Fact

Black History Month Fact: Black students make up 18.7 percent of our first-year class.

Black students make up 18.7 percent of our first-year class, setting a “new standard” for “high-ranking liberal arts colleges and the nation's leading research universities,” says The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education

NOTE: We celebrate this historic percentage knowing that much work remains. We are committed to doing that work.

Celebrating Black History Month: Harold Wade ’68

Amherst Voices Harold Wade

“Sometimes excess is necessary to counteract the sin of omission.” The late Harold Wade ‘68 in the introduction to his 1976 history Black Men of Amherst. A second edition of the book is in the works

Celebrating Black History Month: Abadai Zoboi ’24

Amherst Voices Abadai Zaboi

“In every way, my dance is Black, my dance is woman, my dance is me.” Abadai Zoboi ’24 is participating in the Black Art Matters Festival, an affirmation and celebration of art by Black student artists and creators.

Note: Register for the virtual Black Art Matters Festival scheduled for Thursday, March 4, 7-9 p.m.

Celebrating Black History Month: Ulric Haynes Jr. ’52

Amherst Voices Ulric Haynes, Jr.

“When I came to Amherst, rigid racial segregation was the mostly unchallenged norm.” The late Ulric Haynes Jr. ’52, former U.S. ambassador to Algeria, reflecting on his Amherst years.

Celebrating Black History Month: William H. Lewis, Class of 1892

Quote by William Lewis

“We should remind ourselves constantly that we have a history behind us, that we have a character to sustain.” William H. Lewis, 1892 Amherst graduate and the first Black U.S. assistant attorney general, addressing the Massachusetts House of Representatives on Feb. 12, 1913, to mark the 50th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation.

Celebrating Black History Month: Kevin Soltau ’01

Amherst Voices Kevin Soltau

Kevin Soltau ’01 started this mural of inspirational Black Alumni in 2000 in the Octagon; 16 years later he returned to add three more portraits. Learn more about Kevin Soltau and the “History on the Wall.”

Celebrating Black History Month: David Rosa ’21

Amherst Voices David Rosa

“My vision for Amherst is that love becomes the center of what the Amherst experience is.”  David Rosa ’21, discussing with the Center for Restorative Practices, his hope and vision for Amherst College in regard to racial justice

Celebrating Black History Month: Lauren Bell ’22

Amherst Voices Lauren Bel

“My work is entirely based on my identity. I am heavily invested in Black culture and it shows through my artwork.” Lauren Bell ’22 reflecting on her artwork in the Black Art Matters Festival, an affirmation and celebration of art by Black student artists and creators.

NOTE: Register for the virtual Black Art Matters Festival scheduled for Thursday, March 4, 7-9 p.m.

Kate Stayman-London ’05

Quote by Kate Stayman-London

“Amherst is a place where an English major can write a play about gay rights in Buenos Aires, and a world-famous playwright and a Latin American politics expert will help you do it. I can’t imagine any place setting me up for success more than Amherst did.” Kate Stayman-London discussing her novel, One to Watch, in the cover story of the new Amherst magazine.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Quote by Martin Luther King Jr.

“I never intend to adjust myself to segregation and discrimination. I never intend to become adjusted to religious bigotry. I never intend to adjust myself to the madness of militarism and the self-defeating effects of physical violence.” Martin Luther King, Jr. speaking at The New School on February 6, 1964; re-broadcasted on Amherst's student-run radio station on December 8, 1964.

Matteo Riondato

Quote by Matteo Riondato

“Computer science is a young discipline, but it is now mature enough that it can be helpful to other sciences.” Assistant Professor Matteo Riondato works at the intersection of computer science and statistics.

Season's Greetings from Amherst College

Hope is a thing with feathers by Emily Dickinson

“Hope” is the thing with feathers – (314)

By Emily Dickinson

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –

And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –

I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.

Jeremy Thomas ’21

Quote by Jeremy Thomas

“I could hear my dad shout from downstairs. My mom laughed, my brother was a bit overwhelmed too, and my sister asked, ‘Didn’t you win that already?’ ” Jeremy Thomas ’21, who is studying remotely from his home in Texas, on his family's reaction to the news that he'd won a Rhodes Scholarship.


Chloe McKenzie ’14

Quote by Chloe McKenzie ’14

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

Note: Photo of Chloe McKenzie by Justin Wu

Alexandra Juhasz ’86

Quote by Alexandra Juhasz ’86 “I have a long history of thinking about both the power and problem of fake media.” Alexandra Juhasz ’86, creator of the podcast We Need Gentle Truths for Now, and Distinguished Professor of Film at Brooklyn College. 

Note: Photo of Alexandra Juhasz by David Rozeblyum, Brooklyn College

George R. Johnson Jr. ’73, P’03

A quote by George R. Johnson, Jr. -- The essential quality of leadership, I believe, is integrity.

“The essential quality of leadership, I believe, is integrity.” Trustee emeritus George R. Johnson Jr. ’73, P’03, speaking in June after being named a 2020 Legal Legend of Color. Amherst mourns his Nov. 15 passing. 

NOTE: George R. Johnson Jr. was one of two students to speak during Commencement in 1973. Read his Commencement address, “The Prize of the High Calling.”

A Tribute to George R. Johnson Jr. by Richard A. Ammons ’74 and Cullen Murphy ’74

Amber Boykins ’18

Quote about the Amherst Uprising

“I felt like that was the only place in the world I was meant to be at that time, like I could not have pulled myself away from what was going on even if I had wanted to. A floodgate had been opened and it could not be plugged back up.” Amber Boykins ’18 recalling the student occupation of Frost Library that took place five years ago this month.

Note: Andrew Smith '18 created a website about the Amherst Uprising, a protest in which students of color, among others, gave testimony about their struggles and marginalization at Amherst. 

Amherst Celebrates Veterans Day

Quote by Nathan Needham

“Going to a school like Amherst College and being trained in the liberal arts is the academic equivalent of being a tight end in football. Your education trains you to be adaptable and able to fit multiple roles quickly and effectively.” U.S. Air Force Veteran Nathan Needham ’18E. Needham was featured on the Service To School website: From the Air Force to Amherst College to University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business.

Note: Read more about Needham and others who served in the U.S. military before coming to Amherst. 

Alexander Meiklejohn

Quote by Alexander Meiklejohn

“As the self-governing community seeks, by the method of voting, to gain wisdom in action, it
can find it only in the minds of its individual citizens. If they fail, it fails.”  Alexander Meiklejohn, president of Amherst College from 1912 to 1924, in his book Free Speech and Its Relation to Self-Government.

Note: Learn about the Meiklejohn Fellowship named in his honor. It supports low-income and/or first-generation Amherst students today.

Maria Andrade ’23

A quote about the Incubator Program at Amherst College

“I believe the most important part of the Incubator program was how it helped me build my confidence in how I can become successful in whatever path I choose in the STEM fields.” Maria Andrade ’23, reflecting on her experience in the summer Incubator pilot program. It aimed to provide students from underrepresented backgrounds with the tools to succeed in STEM fields. 

Happy Mammoth Day!

Happy Mammoth day

Happy Mammoth Day! Classes are cancelled today, Oct. 14, to give students a much-needed break before the weather turns cold. Organized activities include hikes on the sanctuary trails, music and games on the Quad, and games and entertainment for those studying remotely—all produced within the College's health and safety protocols.

Note: Learn about the history of Mountain Day, the predecessor of Mammoth Day