Director of Media Relations
AMHERST, MA - Morton Schapiro, the president of Williams College, told graduates at his school's arch-rival that "if you don't feel good when you graduate from Amherst College, you deserve to be miserable." Morton, invited by Amherst's Class of 2001 to give the traditional Class Day address, urged the graduates of elite liberal arts colleges such as Amherst and Williams to "surprise us. With privilege comes responsibility. Use it wisely. There"s a fine line between excellence and arrogance: don't cross it."
Two members of the class also delivered remarks in the ceremony held at LeFrak Gymnasium on a cool damp day. John M. Abodeely related what his father him when he "came out" about his homosexuality: "The love will always be there," and reminded his classmates that "the closet is not only for homosexuals, but for anybody with a secret." David Breslin urged his classmates to also listen the "whimper of insecurity" as they leave Amherst.
President Tom Gerety and Dean of Students Ben Lieber presented the Howard Hill Mossman Trophy for athletic excellence to Brian Daoust, the Psi Upsilon Prize for citizenship to Stephen Ruckman, and the Obed Finch Slingerland Memorial prize for dedication to the liberal arts to Nadya Direkova and Aura A. Elroy-Reveles. Kathrina Pluck was named the valedictorian and received the Woods-Travis Prize.
Daniel Cooper, the class marshal, presented the Student Government Organization Distinguished Teaching award to English professor Andrew Parker.
The class also invited 13 persons from the college's staff and faculty to become honorary members of the Class of 2001. They were Bernice O. Hrpiak, a server in the dining hall; Richard Scorpio, a technical assistant in the fine arts department; Ali Weeks, a campus police officer; Robert "Gramps" Keyes, a server in the dining hall; Charles A. Sorenson, a retiring professor of psychology; Joseph P. Grygorcewicz, a custodian; David A. Cetto, a server in the dining hall. Lanfranco Marcelletti, the director of instrumental music; Donald Kells, the supervisor of the college post office; Robert W. Shea, Jr., the grounds supervisor; and James E. Maraniss, professor of Spanish. Nadia Margolis accepted an honorary membership for her late husband, Peter Marshall, professor of classics; as did Electra Petropulos for her late husband, John Petropulos, professor of history.
Amherst also honored four exemplary secondary school teachers from across the country, chosen by members of the senior class to receive the Phebe and Zephaniah Swift Moore Teaching Awards. The awards went to Oliver Edel, a viola teacher at the Levine School of Music in Washington, D.C., nominated by Steve Ruckman; Ken Neff, a physics teacher and swim coach at Bethlehem Central High School in Delmar, N.Y., nominated by Ben Samelson-Jones; Phyllis Spadafora, a Spanish teacher at North Hollywood High School in California, nominated by Cathleen Sullivan; and Jane Pepperdene, an English teacher at the Paideia School in Atlanta, nominated by Laura Marshall.