Tell Us What You Think

We welcome letter submissions that respond to our magazine articles. Letters should be 300 words or fewer. Please send them to or Box 5000, Amherst, MA, 01002.

The Elliott Interview 

The cover of Amherst Magazine with Michael Elliott on the front cover
Your interview with President Michael A. Elliott ’92 (cover story, Fall 2022) was as outstanding as its subject. Amherst continues to distinguish itself at every turn.

One small error needs correction, however, as Elliott is not the first alumnus to serve as president since Calvin Plimpton ’39.

Julian Gibbs ’46 served only three and a half years, from the summer of 1979 until February 1983, when he died in office. The shortness of his tenure belies its extraordinary impact on the College. In his Oct. 29, 1979, inauguration address, he suggested that the College must pay more attention to non-Western and “Third World” studies, applied mathematics, the visual arts and molecular biology.

Without the dramatic changes that ensued at Amherst in all of these areas (“applied mathematics” became computer science), the College’s curricular offerings today would be very different. We should not neglect to give this remarkable man his due.

Thank you for the superb reporting that keeps us all in touch with Amherst.

Kent W. Faerber ’63

Editor’s note: One of the questions in the Michael Elliott interview incorrectly stated that he is the first alumnus to serve as Amherst president since Calvin Plimpton. Thank you to Faerber and the other readers who wrote in to correct the record. We regret the error. In addition, G. Armour Craig ’37 was acting president for 15 months after Gibbs’ death. Plimpton was president from 1960 to 1971.

The People in the Photos

A black and white photo of a young man sleeping on a couch

Tyler Resch ’55 was cleaning out his house of half a century and preparing to downsize into an apartment when he spotted the photo on page 49 of the Fall 2022 issue. “The snoozing frat boy is me,” he writes. “Somehow, I recognized the striped couch at first glance.”

A black and white photo of two people playing chess.

Bill Perkins ’63 saw John Moore on page 53 of the fall issue: “I believe the picture shows Professor Moore, of the classics department, playing chess. He was my professor for humanities in my freshman year. He inspired us to appreciate the wonderful surviving works from ancient Greece.”

A black and white photo of a line of young woman singing outside

Also in the fall issue, one alumna stopped on page 75, at the photo of a group of women. “I saw the picture of the Sabrinas from 1979. I am the tall, short-haired blonde on the far left! I’m Lisa (now Elicia) Laport ’81. Thanks for the shout-out to the first female a cappella group on campus. We had so much fun together.” Billie Julier Wyeth ’80 offered more context on that image and the group: “That’s the Sabrinas, including three of its founding members from the Great Class of 1980: Billie Julier Wyeth, Kathy Blenko and Laura Yerkovich.”

Social Media Comments

Amherst’s LinkedIn and Facebook followers spoke up about three stories from the fall issue: “A Magician Among the Refugees,” by Rand Richards Cooper ’80 about Bill Herz ’79; the interview with President Elliott, which covered, among other topics, the value of the liberal arts, his time as editor of The Amherst Student and his affinity for Antonio’s Pizza; and the Amherst Creates story about the work of DezBaa ’10E (aka Sharon Anne Henderson), Joe Manuel Gallegos Jr. ’05 and Scott G.G. Haller ’85 on the AMC+ show Dark Winds.

A Magician Among the Refugees

Dave Hixon ’75: “Bill Herz is a great magician—saw him in his early days and he blew me away! Nice that Rand was along for the ride.”

Carmen MacDougall ’85: “Good deeds and great story!”

The Michael Elliott Interview

Gillian Smith Murrell: “As a Mount Holyoke College alum, I couldn’t agree more! ‘A diverse democracy,’ he said, ‘needs leaders who have received an education in the liberal arts.’ What a great interview with the new president of Amherst. So many thoughtful remarks.”

Thomas Plate ’66: “Hey, I was managing editor of The Student, 1965–66. How come I didn’t get the gig?”

Matthew Gabin ’96: “Thrilled that Amherst College finally has a president who not only recognizes but has experienced firsthand how important Antonio’s Pizza is to the experience of being an Amherst student!”

Swept Up in Dark Winds

Adam Rankin ’96: “So wonderful to hear Amherst grads are part of New Mexico’s booming film industry and this production in particular.”