The Donut King Widens His Circle

We asked Bryce Bares ’00 (“The Donut King of Nebraska,” Fall 2023) to share some of his experience after the article came out. Bares received hundreds of congratulatory messages from business colleagues and friends who read the article on social media. “Many within Dunkin’ itself read the article and thought it was a good representation of the franchising journey,” he said. “As I’ve gotten to know other franchisees (within and outside of Dunkin’), everyone has an interesting journey. One grew up on a sack of flour in his dad’s Dunkin’ in the ’80s and now owns 40 restaurants. Another worked his way through college as a baker before buying his first Dunkin’. He now has 100 stores. The franchise model is such a wonderful vehicle for entrepreneurship, and I’m glad my story provided a glimpse of that world.”

Bares added, “To have the story told by Ron Lieber ’93 was unbelievably special, and the response was overwhelming. I heard from Amherst alums from all generations, reaching out via email, text and phone calls. We all have memories of our favorite childhood and college food experiences (Antonio’s and Bueno y Sano for me), and it was heartwarming to know so many out there have fond memories of Dunkin’. Others reached out about the journey itself—people found common ground in switching careers and forging different paths. Of course my friends loved the moniker ‘The Donut King of Nebraska,’ and I’m pretty sure I’ll never stop hearing it ….”

Here are some of the notes he got from fellow alums:

I read the piece about you by Ron Lieber in the alumni magazine and really enjoyed it. You sound like you have really found your “sweet spot” (pun intended). A few friends and I here back East, who grew up with Dunkin’ Donuts, have been mystified for years about a burning Dunkin’ question: Why did they abandon their signature donut? As you may have noticed during your college years, Dunkin’ made a donut with a stub of a “handle,” which was literally called the “Dunkin’ Donut.” The handle theoretically facilitated dunking in your coffee, but in reality it was the handle that would fit into a styrofoam cup. The company name and the donut were inextricably tied together. Then—poof—it was unavailable.

Concord, Mass.

I really appreciated the opportunity to learn more about your entrepreneurial journey and approach to business in the recent Amherst magazine article. It’s incredible to see how you have built the company and the culture. Thanks for being such an awesome model entrepreneur for Amherst. :)

Boulder, Colo.

A Moving Masterpiece

About the time that my wife, Janet, and I were watching the last episodes of the PBS Masterpiece series Alice & Jack on our local PBS station, the Spring 2024 issue of Amherst magazine arrived with [Josh Bell ’02’s review] “Taking Love Seriously” about the series and its creator, Victor Levin ’83. We have rarely been more moved by any movie, series or show—all attributable to the marvelous writing and acting that brought to life the unusual relationship portrayed there. We urge anyone able to watch this six-episode series (on PBS Passport and some other streaming services) to do so. We felt it deserved to be denominated a “Masterpiece.”

Bridgewater, N.J.

From One Reader to Another

An illustration of a hand touching a book

I was heartened by Makena Onjerika ’10’s “Reading Lights” (Winter 2024), which argued that literature offered readers the precious opportunity to “see ourselves in others and to see others in ourselves.” Making that connection between the reader and a new corner of the outside world (and the parallel examination of the corners of inner worlds) is exactly the reason I became a voracious reader as a kid. I believe it’s a reason shared by many Amherst graduates.

At Amherst, my excursions in understanding the lives of  others through literature were further supported and enhanced by my professors’ sincere interest in reading what I was writing. The detailed commentaries on my freshman papers not only demonstrated how much I had to learn in the next four years, but also confirmed that the questions I brought up in my papers were worthy of a sophisticated response. I was really heard; therefore, my ideas could make a difference.

After considering Onjerika’s stirring words, I’d like to offer some feedback from an interested reader. Maybe your goal “to change the world” set you up for disappointment? People often use the phrase “change the world” as a synonym for “making people’s lives better,” but have lives  really been made better by “world-changing” goals? Grand visions of “change” often inspire hope and enthusiasm, but how can we actually change the world without violence except through thoughtful dialogue—real or imagined—with people different than ourselves?

Your modesty and your writing (not only your reading) are part of that thoughtful dialogue. It sets a healthy model for others to emulate. More people should be inspired to be thoughtful readers and writers so they can enter these dialogues, representing themselves, as they might in literature. What do you think?


ADHD Stories

Three illustrations of a hand, eyes and faces

Illustrations by Adam McCauley

Carmella de los Angeles Guiol ’09’s article “You Can’t Have ADHD. You Went to Amherst.” (Winter 2024) revealed a few symptoms: procrastination, all-nighters motivated by deadlines, hyperfocus, multiple open projects, forgetfulness, variable sense of time, etc. These caused me to speculate about neurodivergence as a spectrum. I have all those symptoms, as do my wife and children, and yet we have all thrived in society without diagnosis or medication. From the seven testimonials, I conjecture that when we are exposed to recognizing the symptoms, or when we trip over ourselves too much, we see ourselves as divergent from the norm. Otherwise it is the spice of life, and at times we can either exhilarate in artful immersion or muddle along in exasperated discontent. Thank you for exposing me to recognizing these behaviors as symptoms of neurodivergence, and also for my reaction that everyone diverges from the current norm, which itself must morph with a changing society.

Vallecito, Calif.

Social Media Posts

More Thoughts on ADHD

EUNNIE “ROSIE” LEE ’19: I wish I could’ve spoken with Carmella! I’m a neurodiversity scholar with autism and ADHD myself (diagnosed in 2021 and 2019, respectively), and I had to spend a year on leave from Amherst because of how much I struggled with being neurodivergent and undiagnosed. We need community as much as we need alarms and “body doubles”!

MK KIRIGIN ’14: This is an excellent article that captures the experience of having adult ADHD so well. Very much relate to what the author describes. I love the comment from one of the people she spoke with that ADHD is manageable but it’s something that will always need to be managed. It’s a lifelong relationship with our neurodivergent brains that we need to develop and constantly tend to. Having a diagnosis and learning the right tools means we can do that with more care and gentleness rather than frustration or shame. When I was a student, I wasn’t diagnosed until the last semester of my senior year, and I felt very much alone in learning how to manage it while writing my senior thesis. I hope current students have better support from the administration and faculty.

FLORA MARIA STAMATIADES ’88: Over 25 years ago, doctors finally started recognizing ADHD in adult women, but it’s much harder to treat after 25–30 years of having built out coping mechanisms. IMO, you don’t have ADHD; you are ADHD. It is not a possession but part of you who are. Like I am a woman. I am Greek. I am ADHD.

A Swift Response

The bright pink illustration at the beginning of class notes in the Winter 2024 issue caught my eye, and presumably the eyes of many other alumni whose memories go back a bit, with the image of the guy in a cheering crowd wearing a shirt on which appears the name “Swiftie.” Impressed though I am with the rocketing career of Ms. Taylor Swift, when I’m reading about Amherst I know perfectly well that “Swiftie” is Dr. Doug Swift ’70. Our Swiftie was a starting linebacker on the undefeated 1972 Miami Dolphins. (Interviewed for a book about that unmatched team, Coach Jim Ostendarp’s former pupil was asked how he found his way into the NFL. Swiftie replied, “As a fine arts major from Amherst College, what else was I going to do?”)

Florence, Mass.

Well Versed

An illustration of a woman holding a bunch of vegetables and plants

Poet Tess Taylor ’00 shared with us the following correspondence she received from an old friend (geologist and naturalist Pedro Marques ’99) following the publication of her feature “Growing Things” (Fall 2023), which includes poems from an anthology Taylor edited, Leaning Toward Light: Poems for Gardens & the Hands That Tend Them. The two friends have since reconnected.

OMG, Tess, your books! Hard to describe what happened, but your words are on our living room table and I’ve been transported. Working with the earth, I connected so deeply to the poems I’ve read so far. So beautiful. So thankful for what you so amazingly got on paper. I literally have not sat and read poetry in a decade, if not more. Until last night. I’ve been so immersed in science and ecology and work-reading. Your words popped open a love of language I hadn’t felt in years. Thank you!

Missoula, Mont.

Spot On

An old painting of papers and books scattered across a desk

As someone with a lot of experience in Photoshop, let me give major kudos to Joanna Mahoney for her work on this contest (“Further Notice,” Spring 2024). It’s very well done! This one was fun—thanks!



In “At This Exact Moment” (Fall 2023), about the 100th-anniversary reenactment of Calvin Coolidge’s presidential inauguration in Vermont, it was stated that First Lady Grace Coolidge was the first presidential spouse to finish college. That is incorrect. The first was Lucy Webb Hayes, the wife of the 19th president, Rutherford B. Hayes.