Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa

Jide Zeitlin ’85, trustee emeritus of Amherst College, served passionately on the college’s board for nearly two decades. First elected in 1993, Zeitlin served on every board committee during his tenure and successfully championed new initiatives, while always respecting Amherst’s past and traditions. His superior leadership skills enabled him to head the two most recent presidential search committees, in 2003 and 2011, as well as the Budget and Finance Committee. He was voted chair of the board in 2005, a position he held until 2013. Zeitlin contributed his professional finance skills as a member of the college’s Advisory Budget Committee, formed in 2009 in response to the economic downturn. Perhaps his most noteworthy contribution to his alma mater was not only demonstrating, again, his capacity to lead throughout Amherst’s recent Lives of Consequence campaign during the recession, but working with his fellow alumni to achieve an astounding $425 million result, well beyond the campaign’s goal.

Zeitlin is a private investor at the Keffi Group, an organization he founded in 2006 to invest in wireless infrastructure, life sciences and financial services in India, Israel and West Africa, respectively. Prior to founding the Keffi Group, he served as senior investment banker at Goldman Sachs, where he focused on industry and health care. He was elected a partner in 1996 and served as global chief operating officer of the firm’s investment banking businesses until his departure in 2005. He is now chair of Coach, Inc., the designer and marketer of premium handbags and accessories.

Zeitlin received an MBA from Harvard after graduating from Amherst with degrees in economics and English. He is a graduate of Milton Academy in Milton, Mass., where he has also worked in board leadership, as he has done at a number of other nonprofits, including Common Ground Community, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Harvard Business School, Playwrights Horizons and Teach for America. Zeitlin resides in New York City.