Amherst Bulletin: British Art at the Mead

Submitted by Paul S. Statt

Utterly English
Amherst Bulletin, April 5
"If you don't take the time to scrutinize anything else at the Amherst College Mead Art Museum's current show "Through British Eyes," there's one must-see, or rather, six: a series of prints of William Hogarth paintings called "Marriage a-la-Mode." Tracing the course of an arranged marriage, commonplace in England's upper echelons in the 18th century, the prints tell a woeful and, at times, comic tale, while taking razor-sharp aim at society's shortcomings: greed, vanity, lust, ambition, you name it."

Through British Eyes: British Art at the Mead Art Museum at Amherst College Jan. 23 to Aug. 26
Works by British artists from the 17th century to the present are featured in “Through British Eyes: British Art at the Mead” on view at the Mead Art Museum at Amherst College from Tuesday, Jan. 23, to Sunday, Aug. 26, 2007. Drawn exclusively from the Mead’s permanent collection, the works in this exhibition reflect the breadth and depth of the museum’s British holdings, one of the strengths of its European collection. From the stately 17th-century decorative paneled interior permanently installed in the Rotherwas Room in the Mead to the contemporary drawings of the environmental sculptor David Nash, the exhibition showcases a variety of media, including paintings, drawings, watercolors, prints, photographs and decorative arts.

NPR On Point: Amherst President Marx on Diversity

Submitted by Paul S. Statt
Walter Benn Michaels and "The Trouble with Diversity"
NPR "On Point," April 5

Amherst College President Anthony W. Marx appeared as a guest on the NPR call-in talk show "On Point" with Tom Ashbrook. The topic Walter Benn Michaels's polemical The Trouble with Diversity: How We Learned to Love Identity and Ignore Inequality (2006).

"The simple fact is that, in terms of race, America is not a color-blind society. I don't think we can address the issues of race and be blind to it. But I also don't think that only focusing on race... will get us to address the economic inequality issues that we also need to be addressing and that we're focused on."


Amherst in the News

Submitted by Paul S. Statt

New York Times: Varmus '61 Writes that Cancer Cure Will be Found "Inside"

Submitted by Paul S. Statt (psstatt) on Mon, 04/02/2007 - 9:59am.

The Answer Is Inside
The New York Times, April 1

"These enhanced prospects for cancer care persuade me that the nation has invested wisely in the science of cancer. While we have succeeded in curing or controlling only a few advanced cancers, there is reason to believe that a new era of gene-based approaches to many cancers is at hand — especially if we have the political will to maintain the investment."

Nobel Laureate Harold Varmus ’61 To Speak at Amherst College April 16
Harold Varmus ’61, a American virologist and recipient of the 1989 Nobel Prize in Medicine for his work on the origins of cancer, will speak on the future of science  in the 21st century at 8 p.m. on Monday, April 16, in the Pruyne Lecture Hall (Fayerweather 115) at Amherst College. Sponsored by the Victor S. Johnson Lectureship Fund at Amherst, Varmus’s talk is free and open to the public.

NPR: Varmus '61 Says States Will Lead Stem Cell Research

Submitted by Paul S. Statt (psstatt) on Mon, 04/02/2007 - 9:56am.

States Take Lead in Funding Stem-Cell Research
NPR , March 30
Harold Varmus is the president of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and former director of the NIH. “The states are sending an important message. They're saying, 'The public endorses this.' And that is a message I hope in a couple of years the federal government would be able to respond to.”

Nobel Laureate Harold Varmus ’61 To Speak at Amherst College April 16
Harold Varmus ’61, a American virologist and recipient of the 1989 Nobel Prize in Medicine for his work on the origins of cancer, will speak on the future of science  in the 21st century at 8 p.m. on Monday, April 16, in the Pruyne Lecture Hall (Fayerweather 115) at Amherst College. Sponsored by the Victor S. Johnson Lectureship Fund at Amherst, Varmus’s talk is free and open to the public.

The Republican: Premiere of "Our American Cousin"

Submitted by Paul S. Statt (psstatt) on Mon, 04/02/2007 - 9:49am.

American tragedy receives a lyrical touch
The Republican, March 28
President Abraham Lincoln's assassination and the surrounding events are seen through the prism of musical drama in the world premiere of "Our American Cousin," a new opera by Amherst College composer Eric Sawyer and librettist John Shoptaw.

Daily Princetonian: Marx Criticizes Rankings

Submitted by Paul S. Statt (psstatt) on Mon, 04/02/2007 - 9:46am.

Universities oppose college rankings
Princeton University The Daily Princetonian, March 29
 A dozen private colleges are protesting the popular U.S. News & World Report college ranking system for allegedly misrepresenting the schools to applicants. The group is urging 570 other peer institutions to withhold statistical data from the magazine in an attempt to reform the process. Presidents Robert Weisbuch of Drew University and Anthony Marx GS '86 of Amherst College also have come forward to criticize the ranking system in the March 21 issue of Time Magazine. Besides Amherst, which is ranked second out of liberal arts schools, the other colleges that have objected to the U.S. News report felt that they have been treated unfairly in the rankings.

Daily Collegian: Menchu Tum Favors "Pluralistic Society"

Submitted by Paul S. Statt (psstatt) on Mon, 04/02/2007 - 9:40am.

Menchu speaks at Amherst
The Massachusetts Daily Collegian, April 2
Rigoberta Menchu Tum, Guatemalan human rights activist and winner of the 1992 Nobel Peace Prize, spoke Thursday night to a packed audience at Amherst College, focusing on the importance of building a pluralistic society accepting of all people and of the nature of racism and discrimination.

Springfield Republican: America Should be "Ashamed" for Natives

Submitted by Paul S. Statt (psstatt) on Mon, 04/02/2007 - 9:37am.

Ex-health chief sees inequities
The Republican, April 2
"The United States should be ashamed of the plight of native Americans, former Surgeon General Dr. Richard H. Carmona told an Amherst College audience last night."

Amherst in the News April 2, 2007

Submitted by Paul S. Statt (psstatt) on Mon, 04/02/2007 - 9:27am.

Sports columnist Bob Ryan, writing in The Boston Globe (March 30) about some other basketball championship, had this to say: "Now is not the time to ask how many of the "student-athletes" here can identify a single Supreme Court justice, find Wyoming on the map, or make change for a dollar. You had all year to do that. Once we get to the Final Four, it is understood that America has the sporting event it wants. Anyone looking for a team with fully dedicated students should have watched Amherst win the Division 3 national title."

In a long essay with the provocative title, "Scandals of Higher Education" in The New York Review of Books (March 29) Andrew DelBanco notes that, among the good news, "The young president of Amherst College, Anthony W. Marx, is leading the effort to recruit aggressively from schools in poor neighborhoods, and Amherst is also seeking outstanding transfer students from local community colleges."

Anthony W. Marx also said, in a TIME magazine story (March 22) about the college "Rankings Revolt," that ""Evaluating education in a way that rewards institutions for building Jacuzzis and rock walls as much as for investing in what happens in the classroom is a system that is leading us in the wrong direction." Marx warns of "hidden incentives" in the rankings.

In an article about the neuroscience of racism in the New Scientist (March 17): "More recent brain imaging studies suggest that even adults who claim not to be racist register skin colour automatically and unconsciously. In 2000, a team led by social psychologist Allan Hart ['82] of Amherst College in Massachusetts found that when white and black subjects viewed faces of the other race both showed increased activity in the amygdala - a brain region involved in grasping the emotional significance of stimuli. Yet consciously, these subjects reported feeling no emotional difference on seeing the different faces."

The Straits Times in Singapore, responding to a call for more liberal arts education in South Asia, led its story (Feb. 5) this way: "With enrolments of about 2,000 students, liberal arts colleges in the United States are only a tenth the size of most universities. But they punch above their weight in terms of the impact their students make.Their alumni include Mrs Hillary Clinton, the US senator now eyeing the presidency, and former US secretary of state Madeleine Albright. But liberal arts colleges do not build just politicians and statesmen. Mr Charles E. Merrill, the founder of banking giant Merrill Lynch, and Professor Joseph E. Stiglitz, the Nobel Prize winner for economics in 2001, hail from Amherst College - one of the best such schools."

Amherst in the News

Submitted by Paul S. Statt (psstatt) on Fri, 02/09/2007 - 10:48am.

February 9 , 2006

Austin Sarat, the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law, Jurisprudence and Social Thought and Five College Fortieth Anniversary Professor at Amherst, comemnted in a story titled "The Needle and the Damage Done" about the death penalty in The New York Times Magazine (Feb. 11). Writer Elizabeth Weil ended her story with this:

"Austin Sarat, the Amherst professor who has tracked the history of the death penalty, speculates that states may grow tired of trying to solve the puzzle of a humane execution. “The European path was de facto abolition before de jure abolition,” he told me. “So maybe what happens is we just stop using the death penalty very much, and it gradually withers in ways that make more and more places resemble Pennsylvania — lots of people on death row, very few executions. And at that point, maybe we look around and realize we can live without it.” "

As part of a seven-part series that "explores the human side of income inequality in the United States," NPR's "All Things Considered" (Feb. 6) visited Amherst College and spoke with students, physics professor David Hall '91 and President Anthony W. Marx. Marx noted "everyone in higher education is aware of the growing economic divide in this country and the challenges that divide creates for institutions that want the best students from across the society, " and that "it is our responsibility to meet [all students'] educational needs. And those vary at different levels. We have to have the resources, particularly in the classroom, but also outside of the classroom, to support those students in the ways that they need so that they can succeed."

More college students are spending a "junior year abroad" right here in the United States, according to the Wall Street Journal (Feb. 6). But "Some academics say domestic programs should not replace overseas study, which can bring cultural respect and understanding. Amherst College's study-abroad adviser William Hoffa says U.S. programs don't give students the chance to confront their own "American-ness," which he calls an important if sometimes uncomfortable task."

The execution of Saddam Hussein drew comment from Austin Sarat in the Toronto Globe & Mail (Jan. 16). A knowledgeable critic of the death penalty in the United States, Sarat was also quoted in the New York Times (Jan. 3) when the New Jersey ended executions there. "''We're in a period of national reconsideration of the death penalty,'' said Sarat. ''I believe what's happening in New Jersey will have a tremendously galvanizing effect.''

In a story about the increasing pressures of college admissions, Alan Finder writes in the New York Times (Sept. 19) that “the nation’s top colleges and universities have deep misgivings about the sanity and fairness of the annual admissions frenzy.” Nevertheless, Finder discovers encouraging signs as schools try to deal with early decision, merit aid and magazine rankings. “At Amherst College, officials increased to 20 percent from 15 percent the number of working-class and low-income students in the freshman class that enrolled weeks ago.”

But the colleges are mainly acting as single players, not as a team. Colin Diver, president of Reed College, Amherst College trustee and graduate in the Class of 1965, says, using an arms race metaphor , “I know lots of presidents who would love to disarm, but they’re afraid to do it unilaterally.”

And yet, the article continues, “It is far from clear whether the college presidents can act in concert without being accused of collusive behavior, in violation of federal antitrust laws. Two dozen elite universities signed a consent decree in 1991, in which they promised no longer to exchange information on the amount of financial aid being offered to specific students. The Justice Department had been investigating the sharing of such information as a possible antitrust violation.

Anthony W. Marx, the president of Amherst College, said he thought the group should initiate a discussion with the Justice Department about what forms of collective action might be permissible.

“Competition is important and strengthens us and can spread our net,” Mr. Marx said. “But if it’s designed to drive us in a way that’s self-serving and not in society’s interest, then that’s a problem.”

The story ends with a thoughtful challenge from Amherst College:

“Not all of the presidents agree on what needs fixing in college admissions. Many of the most prestigious colleges do not offer merit aid, and some of the less selective institutions are still determined to increase their number of applicants each year, to find more good students and achieve a broader mix in their freshman classes. But many of them believe it is time to take some risks. “If we can’t behave well,” said Thomas H. Parker, dean of admissions and financial aid at Amherst, “then who can?”


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This page last reviewed on March 7, 2005.


President Marx and Students Interviewed on NPR

Submitted by Samuel A. Masinter
President Marx, along with several students, was interviewed on NPR's All Things Considered. The story, titled "Colleges Face the Challenge of the Class Divide," and an audio recording of the broadcast are available on NPR's Website.

Harlan Fiske Stone (Class of 1894) Discussed on NPR

Submitted by Samuel A. Masinter
In a story on a new PBS documentary series, The Supreme Court, NPR interviewed The Supreme Court: The Personalities and Rivalries that Defined America author Jeffrey Rosen. Rosen talked at length about former Attorney General and Chief Justice Harlan Fiske Stone '94 during the interview.