President Martin: Don't Cut Humanities

In November, when Florida Gov. Rick Scott commented that tax dollars should be put to teaching science and technology and not educating “more people who can't get jobs in anthropology,” Amherst College President Biddy Martin joined other educators in defending the humanities. She told the Associated Press, "There are more and more people in higher education --and I hope political leaders-- who are understanding that an over-leaning emphasis on the sciences to the expense of the humanities is not a good thing for the country.”

Roush's Cooking Has Mass Appeal

Paul Sorrentino, Director or Religious Life, and Executive Chef Jeremy Roush appeared in a January food segment of the television program Mass Appeal to promote the Jan. 16 benefit for the Amherst Survival Center, “Supper, Story and Song.” Sorrentino spoke about the Campus Challenge event, while Roush took the mystery out of buttermilk salad dressing and shared a recipe for olive focaccia bread and more.

Belle of Amherst or Bride of Salem?

Susan Snively, poet and director emeritus of the Writing Center at Amherst College and currently a guide at the Emily Dickinson Museum, gave a presentation at the Salem Athenaeum on the poet’s private life, as glimpsed in fragments of letters between the “Belle of Amherst” and Otis Phillips Lord, a justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court from Salem. She told the Salem Gazette, “One of the most common questions one of my colleagues at the Emily Dickinson Museum gets from visitors is whether or not Emily ever had sex. Her answer is always ‘I certainly hope so.’”

Mead Awarded Grant for Digitizing reported on the Mead Art Museum receiving a $148,256 Museums for America Program Grant from The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The grant funds the digitizing of more than 10,000 objects in the museum’s collection. The Mead is one of fifteen museums in Massachusetts to receive this prestigious award, and one of 160 institutions nationally, from a pool of 481 applicants.

"Master Thief" Convicted in '75 Mead Heist Now a Hay Thief

A self-proclaimed  “master art thief” who served a ten-year prison term for stealing paintings from the Mead Museum in 1975 was arrested in August and charged with stealing hay from a farm in Mendon. Myles J. Connor, author of “The Art of the Heist: Confessions of a Master Art Thief, Rock-and-Roller, and Prodigal Son," was ordered to pay $300 in fines and serve one year probation. In August, police caught Connor stealing bales of hay from Twin Elm Farm.

Community College Students Transfer to Amherst

A September article in U.S. News & World Report outlines strategies to save on college costs, including the suggestion that cash-strapped students consider a community college for the first couple years. The author cites Amherst’s transfer rate, noting that roughly two thirds of transfer students accepted at Amherst come from community colleges.

Alums Using Social Media to Support Amherst

Kristen Spargo, director of advancement communications at Amherst College, spoke to The Republican (Springfield, MA) of the success the college has had using social media such as Facebook and Twitter for fundraising. Amherst has advertised its annual appeal on Facebook since 2010. “Almost 700 alumni have clicked through to our giving webpage,” she said. Read more here.

Brian Bethune Tracks Economic Ups and Downs

Visiting Assistant Professor of Economics Brian Bethune continues to be an authority that the media turn to as they gauge the ups and downs of the economy. He opined on the Federal Reserve’s possible attempts to stimulate economic growth here and the growth in service jobs here. In September, he argued that President Obama’s jobs bill was like a weaker version of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  Of the Federal Reserve opening its coffers to struggling European banks, he said, "This puts that fire out but doesn't solve the underlying problem of the financial institutions' having large and unknown exposure to Greece and the other problematic countries, like Portugal and Spain." He also suggested that worries about the stock market might be behind an increase in cash sales for homes in Massachusetts.

More of Bethune’s comments on national and international economics can be found here, here, here and here.

Peter Rooney's Book About an Innocent Man Imprisoned

Peter Rooney, the head of Public Affairs for Amherst, spoke with the Amherst Bulletin about his book Die Free: A True Story of Murder, Betrayal and Miscarried Justice, which grew out of his coverage of a murder trial in 1988 when he was a reporter for the Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette. Read about it here.

Ilan Stavans Discusses Kafka's Leopards

Ilan Stavans, Lewis-Sebring Professor in Latin American and Latino Culture at Amherst College, writes in the Jewish Daily Forward about his friend, Brazilian-Jewish author Moacyr Scliar, and his book Kafka’s Leopards. “Readers are likely to witness the repositioning of one of the most versatile Jewish authors of the 20th century, from the periphery of culture … to the place where he belongs: center stage,” Stavans writes about Scliar, who died last year, and whose body of work is finally making its way into English translations. Read the column here.