Doctor of Humane Letters

Anthony W. Marx was the 18th president of Amherst College, serving from 2003 to 2011. He is now president and CEO of the New York Public Library.

Originally from New York City, Marx attended Wesleyan University and then Yale, from which he graduated magna cum laude in 1981. He received his M.P.A. from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton in 1986, followed by an M.A. and Ph.D. from Princeton. During these years, he helped to found Khanya College, a South African sec­ ondary school that prepared more than 1,000 black students for university.

Marx then taught for 13 years at Columbia University, where he was pro­ fessor and director of undergraduate studies of political science. There, he founded the Columbia Urban Educators Program to recruit and train public school teachers. He directed the Woodrow Wilson National Fellow­ ship Foundation’s Early College High School Initiative, which established model public high schools as partnerships between school systems and universities.

As Amherst’s president, Marx strove to achieve Amherst’s goal of becom­ ing the most selective and diverse liberal arts college in the country; pushed to ensure access for the most talented students of any economic background; advocated for connecting the curriculum to research, intern­ ship and service experiences to inspire lifelong engagement; and launched the largest comprehensive fundraising campaign in the college’s history. Under his leadership, Amherst became one of very few U.S. colleges or universities to replace all student loans with scholarships in its financial aid packages and to extend its need­blind admission policy to inter­ national students. Amherst saw a nearly 50 percent increase in applicants and enrolled higher percentages of low­income students, international students and students of color. Marx also oversaw the opening of Am­herst’s Center for Community Engagement.

Marx has written numerous scholarly articles and three books: Lessons of Struggle: South African Internal Opposition, 1960–1990 (1992), Making Race and Nation: A Comparison of the United States, South Africa, and Brazil (1998) and Faith in Nation: Exclusionary Origins of Nationalism (2003). Making Race and Nation received the American Political Science Association’s 1999 Ralph J. Bunche Award and the American Sociological Association’s 2000 Barrington Moore Prize. Marx has also won a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, among other fellowships.