New York Times: "What Would Socrates Say" Helps Make Philosophy Stylish

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"What Would Socrates Say," a new book edited by Amherst College philosophy professor Alexander George, is helping to make philosophy stylish. The book was reviewed in the Sunday, Sept. 2, New York Times.
Published in Britain this summer and now available in the U.S., "What Would Socrates Say?" collects some of the best questions and answers from, which allows people to pose questions to a panel of philosophers.

Financial Times: Nobel Laureate Ned Phelps '55 Lauds Amherst

Submitted by Paul S. Statt

Lunch With the FT: Edmund Phelps
Financial Times, August 18, 2007

Columbia economist Edmund Phelps received a Nobel prize in 2006 for his exploration of the links between inflation and unemployment, but it wasn't his experience of the Great Depression that formed his mind, he tells the FT:

"More important for him, he explains, was his time at Amherst college in the early 1950s, a time when he read inter alia the Greek heroic epics, Cervantes’s Don Quixote and Ralph Waldo Emerson on self-reliance. “Without being aware, I think I was being indoctrinated into what was called Vitalism, the idea that what makes life worth living, the good life, consists of accepting challenges, solving problems, discovery, personal growth, personal change.” His reading of philosopher David Hume taught him “the importance of imagination in understanding things”, while Henri Bergson’s Creative Evolution argued for free will against determinism."

Boston Globe: Students Switching Activism to Boardroom

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Students Switching Activism to Boardroom
Boston Globe, August 14, 2007

[The face of student activism at colleges and universities is changing.] Instead of occupying the president's office, students who want change on campus are angling for a seat at the boardroom table. Using PowerPoint presentations and research proposals, they are persuading colleges to adopt more socially conscious investment policies. In turn, universities are giving students more of a say on investments.

"Student activism today has a much more hard-nosed, realistic edge," said Zachary Mason, an Amherst College senior who led a successful campaign last year to get the college to divest from Sudan. "We're not taking over administration buildings; we're walking into the administration building with business suits on."


Associated Press: Amherst Cuts Loans in Student Aid

Submitted by Paul S. Statt
Amherst College to replace loans with scholarships
Associated Press - July 19, 2007

Amherst College is replacing student loans in its financial aid packages with scholarships in an effort to allow all students to graduate debt free.

The prestigious liberal arts school announced today that the new program will start in the 2008-2009 academic year.

A school spokeswoman says Amherst is just the third college in the nation to make the move, joining Princeton and Davidson.

Amherst was the first school in the nation to eliminate loans for low-income students in 1999.


New York Times: Amherst President Marx Commencment Address

Submitted by Paul S. Statt

Commencement Speeches: Iraq Is Backdrop for Many Graduation Speakers
New York Times, June 10

Some speakers offered a critical view of the war and its consequences. Anthony W. Marx, the president of Amherst College, spoke at Amherst’s commencement of the lessons of the Roman empire, which he said declined when leaders turned away from civic action toward private pursuits, abdicating civil authority to the military.

“Always, our political reach, our cultural persuasion, our economic integration and our military might are bounded,” Dr. Marx said, drawing analogies between Rome’s decline and the present. “At those boundaries, smugness is challenged. If we fail to heed that challenge, if we do not learn from the limits of our victories, we risk the fate of Rome.”

Text, video and audio of Marx's address


Hartford Courant: Marx Warns Amherst Grads on Lessons of Rome

Submitted by Paul S. Statt

A Generation Duped
Hartford Courant, June 8

"A study by the Economic Mobility Project, funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts, found that men in their 30s have a median annual income of about $35,000. Thirty years ago, American men in their 30s were making 12.5 percent more, their median annual income closer $40,000 (after adjusting for inflation).

At Amherst College in Massachusetts, graduates were lectured on our nation's similarities to the Roman Empire. Amherst President Anthony Marx cautioned, "If we do not learn from the limits of our victories, we risk the fate of Rome."" Rick Lopez '93 and Ilan Stavans on Latinos in College

Submitted by Paul S. Statt

Navigating Higher Ed for Latinos, May 2007

"Amherst College, in Massachusetts, is an elite institution with one of the highest academic reputations in the country. Although Latino enrollment is only 6%, Hispanic Business magazine named Amherst third of 25 top post-secondary schools recommended for Latinos. The college has a Center for Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies and extensive course offerings in Latin American and Latino-American history, literature, culture and language.

Reflecting on the Latino experience at elite schools, Professor López observes that it’s important, “particularly for working class students,” to maintain cultural ties, and he points to two student organizations at Amherst that do just that—the literary group, La Causa, and the Chicano Caucus.

Both Rick López and another of Amherst’s noted Hispanic intellectuals, Ilan Stavans, Professor of Latin American and Latino Culture, fault the school for not reaching out to more Hispanics and other minorities, more students of any background from poorer socio-economic backgrounds as well. “Amherst has remained a place of class privilege,” says Rick López,, “and I would look forward to seeing Amherst bring in students who will break down these barriers.” "

Interview With Rick Lopez '93

Rick Lopez '93 Wesbite at Amherst College

Ilan Stavans Profile at Amherst College 


Boston Sunday Globe: 'Give me back my legions!' by Cullen Murphy '74

Submitted by Paul S. Statt

"Give Me Back My Legions:" Rome's Most Humiliating Defeat--And a Lesson for America
The Boston Sunday Globe, May 20

"In the late summer of 9 AD, during the 36th year of the reign of the emperor Augustus, a Roman commander by the name of Publius Quinctilius Varus led three Roman legions through the forests of Germany on what he believed would be little more than a routine expedition. In truth, he was heading toward what would come to be called the battle of the Teutoburg Forest."

 Excerpt titled "The Sack of Washington" in June Vanity Fair 

Boston Globe: Cullen Murphy '74 on Rome and America

Submitted by Paul S. Statt
The Boston Globe, May 19

We're not surprised when people aspire to the top job, and even admire them for getting there. But giving up that job, willingly -- that's a little unusual.Yet that is what Cullen Murphy did. After 17 years as managing editor of the venerable Atlantic Monthly, he took over the duties of editor in chief in 2002. But last year, when owner David Bradley decided to move the magazine to Washington, D.C., Murphy declined to go with it. Since then, he has taken a lesser editing job at Vanity Fair and written a book. "Are We Rome? The Fall of an Empire and the Fate of America."

Excerpt titled "The Sack of Washington" in June Vanity Fair