Poet Sonia Sanchez, Author Gary Shteyngart Among Eight To Be Honored at Two Commencements This Year

diploma and purple regalia

Honorees for 2020 and 2022

In this special year, honory degrees and awards will be bestowed for both the Class of 2022 and the Class of 2020.

Press Release
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Class of 2022 Honorees

Meet the 2022 honorary degree recipients, the winner of the Medal of Eminent Service, and the threee winners of the Swift Moore teaching awards.

About Amherst’s Honorary Degrees & Awards

Honorary Degrees

Amherst College awards a small number of honorary doctoral degrees at Commencement. Nominations for honorary degrees are received throughout the year from the Amherst College community and are reviewed by an expanded sub-committee of the Board of Trustees. The nominations cover a wide range of professions and always include some alumni. The trustees vote on the honorary degrees, which are usually presented at the Commencement Exercises. Past degrees have included Doctor of Divinity, Doctor of Humane Letters, Doctor of Laws, Doctor of Letters, Doctor of Literature, Doctor of Music, and Doctor of Science. To nominate a person for an honorary degree, please complete the nomination form.

Medal for Eminent Service

Awarded by the Board of Trustees, the Medal for Eminent Service was established in 1934 to recognize exceptional service to the College over a great period of time, often in a variety of areas. 

Phebe and Zephaniah Swift Moore Awards

In 1997, Amherst College instituted the Phebe and Zephaniah Swift Moore Awards program to honor outstanding high school teachers and to express appreciation for the profession of teaching. At Commencement, the awards are presented to three outstanding secondary school teachers who challenged, inspired, and moved members of the graduating class. The recipients are chosen by a committee of seniors, faculty, and staff from nominations submitted by graduating seniors, and are invited to Amherst as guests of the college. The awards are named for Zephaniah Swift Moore, the first president of the college, and his wife Phebe.