Director of Media Relations
AMHERST, Mass.—Under cloudy skies brightened by moments of sunshine, 431 men and women received bachelor of arts degrees today at Amherst College. Amherst President Tom Gerety, in his traditional address, asked the graduates to consider how they can serve. “What is the best way,” Gerety asked, in remarks devoted to patriotism, “to counter the extremes of religious and nationalist fervor?” Taking a quote from the currently popular Spiderman film, Gerety called for a “generous patriotism,” reminding Americans that “knowledge is power, but with great power comes great responsibility.”
Jacob Foster Schulz, a biology major from Philadelphia and a member of the Class of 2002 chosen by his classmates, gave a humorous address about his colorblindness: “Each of us got here by overcoming limitations put on us by a society too blind to see our abilities.”
Nine honorary degrees were also awarded at the ceremony, to Anita Desai, writer; John Dower ’59, scholar of Japanese history; Peter Jennings, journalist; Charles Ogletree, law professor and civil liberatarian; Georges Papandreou ’75, foreign minister of Greece; Ambassador Dennis Ross, Middle East peace process representative of the U.S.; David O. Russell ’81, filmmaker; Philip Simmons ’80, writer and educator; and Helen Vendler, literary critic.
The college also honored Harold F. Still ’44 with the Medal for Eminent Service. Still’s long career in banking culminated in a position as chairman and chief executive officer at Meridian Bank, now Meridian Bancorp.
Amherst recognized three retiring faculty members at the Commencement exercises: Ralph Beals, who has taught economics since 1962; Edward Belt, who has taught geology since 1966; and Richard Cody, who has taught English since 1963.
At Senior Class Day Exercises yesterday, Saturday, May 25, in brilliant sunshine, Peter Jennings, the anchorman and senior editor for ABC’s Word News Tonight delivered the main address. He advised the graduates to “go Greyhound: it is on the road in America, I’m convinced, you will find how exceptional it is, at the beginning of the 21st century, to be an American.”
Three other members of the Class of 2002, chosen by their classmates, offered brief remarks. Rajiv A. D’Cruz, a French and political science major from Livingston, N.J., Jamuna D. Kelley, a religion and law, jurisprudence and social thought major from Freeport, N.Y. and, Kate Levin, an English major from Dumont, N.J.
The College awarded citizenship prizes yesterday. The Howard Hill Mossman Trophy, awarded annually to the member of the senior class, who, has brought, during his or her four years at Amherst, the greatest honor in athletics to hi or /her Alma Mater the worked “honor” to be interpreted as relating both to achievement and to sportsmanship, was given to Cathy Poor ’02, a chemistry and biology major from Harwichport, Mass.
Poor’s father, Thomas M. Poor, Amherst Class of 1965, won the Howard Hill Mossman trophy in 1965. Cathy Poor is believed to be the first daughter of an alumnus who also won the prize to receive the trophy.
The Psi Upsilon Prize, established by the Gamma Chapter of Psi Upsilon in 1941 on the occasion the centennial anniversary of the founding of the Chapter. The prize is awarded to that member of the graduating class who is considered preeminent in scholarship, leadership athletics and character, was also given to Cathy Poor.
The Obed Finch Slingerland Memorial Prize, awarded by the trustees of the college to a member of the senior class, who has shown by his or her own determination and accomplishment the greatest appreciation of and desire for a college education, was given to Melissa Marin Ozaeta ’02E, an economics and psychology major from Woburn, Mass.
The Woods-Travis Prize, an annual gift in memory of Josiah B. Woods of Enfield and Charles B. Travis of the Class of 1864, is awarded for outstanding excellence in culture and faithfulness to duty as a scholar, was awarded to Peter Joshua Juran ’02, a history major from Metairie, Lou.