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and Orra White Hitchcock Papers contain correspondence, drawings, legal documents, sermons, drafts of published and unpublished works, printed articles, autographs, artwork, and images relating to the professional activities and some of the personal life of Edward Hitchcock, Orra White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

W. Ralph Eubanks

W. Ralph Eubanks Quote

“We are all more than our inheritance and appearance.” W. Ralph Eubanks, in an essay for the new issue of Amherst’s literary magazine, The Common

Footnote: W. Ralph Eubanks: American author, journalist, professor, public speaker, and business executive. From 1995 until May 2013 he was the Director of Publishing of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

Aaron Carroll ’94

Aaron Carroll

“Some doctors know how to say, ‘I don’t know.’ But their ranks are too small.” Aaron ’94, American pediatrician and professor of pediatrics at Indiana University School of Medicine. 

Footnote: In his career as a pediatrician and writer, he makes frequent use of an Amherst course in law, jurisprudence and social thought.

James Merrill ’47

James Merrill Quote

“Everything will remind me of something now.” James Merrill ’47: Pulitzer prize-winning American poet. He became one of the greatest poets of his generation, but first, Merrill was an Amherst student, where he developed an obsession with memory and a transformative interest in Proust

Javier Corvales, professor of political science

Corvales quote

“We like to say that the liberal arts gives students the freedom to retool themselves, to change paths. The same goes for faculty members.” Javier Corvales, professor of political science, speaking about LGBT Rights in Latin America.

Sophie Currin ’17

Quote by Sophie Currin

“Everyone must honestly admit to and understand the extent to which something is wrong before we can begin to repair.” Sophie Currin ’17, English and economics major. Currin's response to the ongoing “locker room" dialogue was recently published on the Huffington Post website.

David Lander ’17

David Lander Quote

“As a sports team, we have found success by valuing the ideal of doing the right thing even when no one is watching.” David Lander ’17, writing in the Huffington Post about “locker room talk.”

Romen Borsellino ’12

Romen Borsellino

“With Bob Dylan’s music playing softly, my dad faded away.” Romen Borsellino  ’12. In his college admission essay, published by Amherst Magazine in 2008, Romen Borsellino ’12 wrote about the death of his father and their shared love for Bob Dylan.

Footnote: On Thursday, October 13, 2016, Bob Dylan was awarded a Nobel Prize in Literature. 

Andrew Blum ’99

Andrew Blum quote

“The underwater cables are perhaps the most poetic part of the Internet.” Andrew Blum ’99, English major. An interview with author and journalist Andrew Blum about his book Tubes: A Journey to the Center of the Internet, the first book-length look at the physical heart of the Internet itself.

Inger Damon ’84

Inger Damon Quote

“Ebola was a huge wake-up call in terms of how globally prepared we are to handle an epidemic, and how interconnected our world is.” Inger Damon ’84,  Director of the Division of High-Consequence Pathogens and Pathology at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Damon led the 2014 Ebola response in West Africa for the Centers for Disease Control.

Catherine Newman ’90

Catherine Newman

I’m this kind of mother, I think happily, and then immediately flush with shame over my own vanity and falseness.”  Catherine Newman ’90, from her new memoir, Catastrophic Happiness.

Chris Coons ’85

Chris Coons '85

“Access to higher education is one of the surest ways to provide students from all backgrounds a ladder to success.” Chris Coons ‘85 is a U.S. Senator from Delaware and was a chemistry major at Amherst. 

Footnote: Amherst magazine sent a reporter to spend a day with Coons in 2011 when he was a freshman senator in Joe Biden’s old seat.

Kellie Jones ’81

Kellie Jones Quote

“Art is not only part of history—even a living history—it is part of and makes community, it is part of and makes family.” Kellie Jones ’81, art historian and curator, one of 23 new recipients of a MacArthur “genius grant,” from her 2011 book, Energy / Experimentation: Black Art and Abstraction, 1964-1980.

The Beneski Museum of Natural History

Beneski Museum Fact

The Beneski Museum of Natural History is one of New England’s largest natural history museums, with three floors of exhibits and more than 1,700 specimens on display.

Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson Quote

“The soul should always stand ajar, ready to welcome the ecstatic experience.” Emily Dickinson, poet. As part of the Amherst Poetry Festival Sept. 15-17, fans will read all 1,789 of Emily Dickinson’s poems in the home and landscape where she wrote them. Dickinson’s home, now the Emily Dickinson Museum, was built in 1813 by her grandfather Samuel Fowler Dickinson, a founder of Amherst College. 

Brittanie Lewis ’17

Brittanie Lewis '17

“You are now part of a conversation that would be lacking without your voice.” Brittanie Lewis '17 in The New York Times, offering her advice to new college students.


Alex Vasquez

Alex Vasquez quote
“Ideas are not here to harm you; ideas are here to challenge you.” Dean of Students Alex Vasquez speaking last week to the new first-year class. Learn more about the Class of 2020.

The Frost Library

Frost Library Collections Fact

Frost Library, named after poet Robert Frost, who taught at Amherst for many years,  holds more than 1.5 million volumes and nearly 600,000 other media materials, including 330,400 e-books.

FOOTNOTE: On Oct. 26, 1963, in one of his last public appearances before his assassination, President John F. Kennedy visited campus to receive an honorary degree and to speak at the groundbreaking of the library.

Dan Cluchey ’08

Dan Cluchey quote

“My process was to work backward from that thousand-word fever-dream ending.” Dan Cluchey ’08. In this interview, a former Obama administration speechwriter discusses the inspiration and creative process that went into writing a novel.

Mark R. Rigg ’89

Mark Rigg quote

“When Bob told me about the day he was injured, he called it his second birthday.” Mark R. Rigg ’89. In the new Amherst magazine, Rigg shares his point of view about how a Amherst experience forged an unusual friendship in “A College in Common."

The Wildlife Sanctuary

Wildlife Sanctuary Fact

The Amherst College Wildlife Sanctuary includes approximately 500 acres in a diverse collection of open fields (both actively maintained and unmanaged), wetlands, flood plain woods, river, upland woods, plantation pines, and ponds—and is an important place for both recreation and research.

Helen Wan ’95

Helen Wan Quote

“I wonder what could be more practical than doing something that makes you happy and fulfilled.” Helen Wan ’95, lawyer-turned-novelist writes about “Letting in Uncertainty” in Amherst magazine.

Sarah Sander ’06

Sarah Sander Quote

“Turn out all your lights, go out on your porch and watch. ” Firefly researcher Sarah Sander ’06 in the new Amherst magazine.

Christopher Lim ’12

Christopher Lim ’12

“HIV tricks our cells into being little virus factories.” Christopher ’12. Ph.D. candidate in molecular biophysics and biochemistry at Yale; majored in biochemistry at Amherst. In the lab, Lim studies how HIV evades the defenses of the human body. Outside, he's making STEM a bigger tent.

Eleanor Ray ’09

Eleanor Ray ’09

“Its past is still alive and shifting in relation to the new.” Eleanor Ray ’09. Ray’s tiny paintings “suggest a reverse hubris,  a pride in how much she can do with so little,” wrote one critic.

Andrew Hacker ’51

Andrew Hacker Quote

“I kept asking that why question. I've always thought that the center of the liberal arts is that three-letter word.” Andrew Hacker ’51, professor emeritus in the department of political science at Queens College in New York. Hacker—whose political science research relies heavily on the use of numbers—went to the math department at Queens College a few years ago and asked if he could teach, experimentally, one of the introductory courses. He went on to write a book about math education.

David Foster Wallace ’85

David Foster Wallace Quote

“The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you.” David Foster Wallace ’85, from his novel Infinite Jest. Novelist, short story writer, and essayist, as well as a professor of English and creative writing, Wallace majored in English and Philosophy at Amherst. Wallace was a towering figure in modern literature. In 1999, three years after Infinite Jest was published, he did an interview-by-mail with Amherst magazine.

Tess Taylor ’00

Tess Taylor quote The pastoralthe seemingly idyllic spacehas always been defined by its own conflicted edges.” Tess Taylor ’00, author of The Forage House and Work & Days. In Amherst magazine, Taylor told the story behind her new book of poems.

Gregory Campeau ’11

Quote by Gregory Campeau
“How could any of us have changed our mindsreally changed our minds–had we not lived amongst one another and eaten meals together?” Gregory Campeau ’11, History major; English teacher.  Every year the seniors elect a classmate to deliver an address at Commencement. Campeau gave the address in 2011