About the Bicentennial

A collage with the Amherst College logo and 200 Years written across  a forrest
The College is marking its 200th anniversary this year with events and projects that spotlight the enduring features and defining qualities of an Amherst education.

“Marking the Bicentennial gives us an occasion to celebrate the critical thinking, intellectual agility, freedom of thought and intense engagement of faculty with students for which Amherst is best known,” says President Biddy Martin. “During this challenging time, we hope the celebration of the Bicentennial will bring us together, in virtual spaces and, eventually, in person.”

Originally slated to kick off last fall, most of the programs were adjusted for a later start because of the pandemic. Three new Bicentennial books are available now. Among the programs planned for fall are a podcast series; an opera by Dana Kaufman ’12 about Emily Dickinson; and the premiere of a 30-minute work by composer Reena Esmail.

Led by Sarah Montoya ’21, the Native and Indigenous Students Association has initiated the design and installation of a formal land acknowledgment plaque on campus, to recognize the Indigenous history of the campus and region. And economics professor Kate Sims has proposed Mammoth Trails, which will renew part of the College’s sanctuary trail system, enhancing the accessibility of the trails and better promoting the use of this local resource.

Illustration by Katherine Streeter

A woman surrounded by books that have a raised fist carved into their pages

Everyone Can Craft Solidarity

In her collaborative performance piece Unraveling, Professor of Art and the History of Art Sonya Clark ’89 asks viewers to help pull apart a Confederate flag.

A collection of books with three books with raised fists carved into their pages

Three Acts of Solidarity

The Solidarity Book Project encourages the Amherst community to think deeply about what solidarity means and to make that commitment material through art.

An illustration of people asking questions in a sea of brightly colored boxes

How Well Do You Know Amherst?

Stephanie Ramirez, associate director of social and new media, creates the latest Amherst Magazine contest challenging folks on their Amherst knowledge that asks the question: “How well do you know your favorite college?”

An old ledger with handwritten note and figures

Founding Documents

To mark the College’s 2021 Bicentennial, librarians in Frost undertook a massive digitization effort. They’ve now scanned, organized and posted online many hundreds of archival items.

A yearbook with black and white photos of four Black men

The Men Black Men of Amherst Left Out

When Harold Wade Jr. ’68 wrote Black Men of Amherst, he knew he likely missed including some 19th-century alumni—a recent review of the College archives uncovered the men he left out.