Michael Harmon ’16

Pritchard in the Role of Frost

The “History Program” video features Michael Harmon ’16 alongside William H. Pritchard ’53, the Henry Clay Folger Professor of English, Emeritus. Martin asks Harmon why he initiated the recent Amherst History Series, a sequence of six talks in which Pritchard and other longtime faculty members shared their insights into the College’s past. 

Pritchard tells Martin his story from the 1950s of chauffeuring Robert Frost (“Here we are on Route 2, with the Gray Eminence next to me, making conversation and keeping my eyes on the road”). Harmon reveals that hearing an earlier recording of that story is what inspired him to get to know Pritchard and to “dig into the history of this school.” He says he now thinks of Pritchard the way Pritchard thought of Frost. 

Mercedes MacAlpine, Juan Gabriel Montes and Rachael Abernethy

What They’ll Miss

In the “Senior Perspectives” video, Rachael Abernethy ’16 and Juan Gabriel Delgado Montes ’16 talk about their experiences with mentoring, including through the College’s alumni-student program Pathways. Mercedes MacAlpine ’16 describes how she founded an Amherst cheerleading squad to remind her fellow students of their potential: “Whether it’s the work, whether it’s being better people, whether it’s connecting with one another or just loving each other—we’re here because we can.” 

All three reflect on their roles in, and hopes for, last fall’s Amherst Uprising. The president asks all the seniors what they’ll miss about Amherst when they move on to graduate programs and jobs. Delgado Montes says, “I’m going to miss home. Going to another home doesn’t mean this is no longer my home.”

Rachel Nghe, Andrew Knox and Servet Bayimli

Quite the Gamble

In the “Senior Insights” video, Servet Bayimli ’16 explains to Martin why he’s learned to speak five languages, and Rachel Nghe ’16 praises “Race and American Politics” as “one of the first classes where I felt like my own experiences mattered, where I was able to talk about how my identity as an Asian-American related to the political atmosphere of the class, of this world, of America.” 

The course coincided with Nghe’s work with the College’s Multicultural Resource Center and Asian Students Association. “Diversity work is not something I had looked into, not something I had expected myself to do,” she says. “Looking outside of the box of what you thought you were good at and trying out all of these different things is, I think, quintessential to the Amherst experience.” 

Andrew Knox ’16 tells Martin how the late Professor Nasser Hussain offered his Law, Jurisprudence and Social Thought students the option of risking their entire grade on a single question of his choosing. A correct answer would earn a guaranteed A in his course; a wrong answer would mean a D. 

“I’m the first and only student to have ever accepted his offer,” says Knox. 

Did the risk pay off? Watch the video series to find out.