A collage of brightly colored tiles with illustrated people thinking
Last fall, I had the uniquely pandemic experience of joining Amherst College virtually, as associate director of social and new media, and learning about campus from home, where I often found myself asking, for example: Where exactly is the Science Center, and how do I describe that in a photo caption? So when Amherst launched its Bicentennial celebration, I was eager to create a trivia contest for our social media, challenging folks on their Amherst knowledge. I figured there was no better way for me to get to know Amherst than to dive into its history. Since then, working alongside Anna Smith ’22—who interns in the College archives—I’ve encountered a few facts about the institution that surprised even my senior colleagues. Now, I share four of those surprising facts with you to ask: How well do you know your favorite college?

Send your answers to From all entries that score 100 percent, we’ll randomly select one winner to receive a complimentary copy of a Bicentennial book. Answers will appear in the next issue.

Your challenge

In 1822, the Collegiate Institution of Amherst, later known as Amherst College, had not yet received a charter from the State of Massachusetts and had no authority to confer degrees.

Which college conferred degrees to the earliest graduates “on suitable certificates from Amherst”?

a. Williams
b. Middlebury
c. Union
d. Harvard

In what year did The Amherst Student first call for coeducation?

a. 1870
b. 1905
c. 1935
d. 1964

In what year did Amherst establish the nation’s first undergraduate program in neuroscience?

a. 1962
b. 1973
c. 1979
d. 1986

In what field has an Amherst alum not won a Nobel Prize?

a. Physiology or Medicine
b. Literature
c. Physics
d. Economics

Illustration by John S. Dykes