April 17, 2016

Among the most well-known images in the Amherst College Archives is a photograph of Robert Frost and students reading and discussing poetry in the Rotherwas Room at the Mead.

robert frost and students photo

Image from Amherst College Archives & Special Collections

Frost’s age, and the fact that the students are all men and wearing suits, clearly broadcast that it’s the 1950s. However, the photo is famous in part because it is familiar—even in 2016. A close-knit learning community and small gatherings of students and faculty remain a hallmark of an Amherst education.

For Michael Harmon ’16, those long-ago Frost discussions sparked an idea for a six-part lecture series he created this spring.

The Faculty Discussion Series looks at Amherst’s history and defining characteristics. All talks are open to alumni and students. The intimate setting for the talks—an Amherst residence hall—calls back to Frost.  

For Harmon, organizing the lecture series was a chance to learn from long-tenured professors and alumni.  “At Amherst, we're not in a history-less vacuum but instead are rooted in a tradition of discussion, inquiry, and progress," he says. "I hope this series helps us better understand what continues to make Amherst so special."


Faculty Lecture Series

Watch videos from the events


Amherst from the Civil War to Civil Rights with Robert H. Romer ’52, professor emeritus of physics
February 25, 7:30-8:30 p.m.

Amherst before the 1960s Upheaval with Hugh Hawkins, the Anson D. Morse Professor of History and American Studies, Emeritus
March 2, 7:30-8:30 p.m.

Amherst Poets with David R. Sofield, the Samuel Williston Professor of English
March 8, 7:30-8:30 p.m.

The Pioneer Faculty Women with Elizabeth Aries, the Clarence Francis 1910 Professor in Social Sciences (Psychology), and Patricia O’Hara, the Amanda and Lisa Cross Professor of Chemistry
March 22, 7:30-8:30 p.m.

Memories of a Freshman with Professor William Pritchard ’53, the Henry Clay Folger Professor of English, Emeritus
Thursday, March 24, 4:30-5:30 p.m.

The Sixties: Amherst Activism Then and Now with Professor Kim Townsend, the Class of 1959 Professor of English, Emeritus, and Richard Aronson ’69, MD, MPH, Assistant Dean of Students
Tuesday, March 29, 7:30-8:30 p.m.