Johnson Chapel Associate: Michael Barach ’80

michael barach

Michael Barach ’80 represents themes so prevalent in the profiles of others featured on this page. He chose a small, liberal arts college in New England so that he could pursue experiences beyond the classroom, including basketball, the Amherst Student, and dormitory and college government. But it is his passion for the intellectual life of Amherst that he remembers and cherishes to this day. And he singles out a particular professor for making an especially meaningful difference.

Michael “majored” in Gordie Levin, and particularly remembers his diplomatic history course. The seminars in Professor Levin’s office, the professor’s complete understanding of the topic, and the intellectual rigors of preparing research papers provided him, Michael says, with a framework that shaped his mind.

After Amherst, Michael attended Harvard Uni­versity, where he obtained a joint J.D./M.B.A. degree. Electing to stay in the Boston area, he pursued a variety of career opportunities: founder and CEO of a retail chain that grew to seven stores, CEO of a dot-com start-up, and now partner at a venture capital firm. Over the last 25 years, he has stayed in touch with Amherst, participating most generously both financially and with his time.

THOUGHTS ON GIVING TO AMHERST:  “The Amherst experience—the living, learning and playing together in a beautiful environment that was challenging, yet nurturing—has been central to who I am and how I contribute to society. My gifts will help ensure that experience, and the opportunities it spawns, for others without compromise.”

The Johnson Chapel Associates society recognizes those alumni and friends who have named Amherst in their will and/or provided for the college through a planned gift. For more information, contact: Timothy A. Neale ’70, Director of Planned Gifts, Amherst College, Amherst, MA 01002-5000, (413) 542-8256,,

Photo: Frank Ward