Amherst College Graduates 431

May 26, 2002
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

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.

http://www.amherst.edu/news/commencement/index.html

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Amherst College Graduates To Study Abroad on Fulbright Grants

May 26, 2002
Director of Media Relations
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AMHERST, Mass.—Five recent graduates of Amherst College have been awarded J. William Fulbright Fellowships for postgraduate study overseas.

Alison Bickford ’02, who majored in neuroscience at Amherst and is the daughter of Debbie Bickford and Robert Bickford of Birmingham, Ala., will study at the Max Planck Institute for Experimental Endocrinology in Hannover, Germany. She will investigate the links between mind and body in the workings of circadian rhythms.

Sam Charap, a Russian and political science major in the Class of ’02 and the son of Karen Gilmore and Mitchell Charap of New York City, will study the intellectual milieu that fostered the recent fundamental changes in Russia’s orientation to the West, especially its relationship with the United States at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations.

Jill Cirasella, a resident of Jersey City, N.J., who graduated in 1998 with a B.A. in computer science, will pursue an interdisciplinary investigation into logic and computer science at the Institute for Logic, Language and Computation at the Univesity of Amsterdam.

Ross O’Connell ’02, the son of Susan and Michael O’Connell of Medford, Ore., was a physics and Russian major at Amherst. O’Connell will study the development of Russian animated film in the 20th century at the All-Russian Government Institute of Cinematography in Moscow, and also in the archives of Soyuzmultfilm, the great Soviet studio that began producing animated films in 1936.

Michael Rosenthal, the son of Julie and Mark Rosenthal of Sierra Madre, Calif., majored in Russian and political science at Amherst and graduated in 2002. He will study economic development in northwest Russia in the Faculty of International Relations at St. Petersburg State University.

Congress created the Fulbright Program in 1946 to foster mutual understanding among nations through educational and cultural exchanges. Senator J. William Fulbright, sponsor of the legislation, viewed scholarship as an alternative to armed conflict. Today the Fulbright Program, the federal government’s premier scholarship program, funded by an annual Congressional appropriation and contributions from other participating countries, allows Americans to study or conduct research in more than 100 nations.

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Amherst College Will Honor High-School Teachers on Commencement Weekend

May 26, 2002
Director of Media Relations
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AMHERST, Mass.-- Four secondary-school teachers who challenged, inspired and moved members of the Class of 2002 will receive the Phebe and Zephaniah Swift Moore Teaching Awards at Senior Class Exercises at 2p.m. on Saturday, May 25, during Commencement Weekend. The Phebe and Zephaniah Swift Moore Teaching Award recognizes teachers and counselors who have been important in the lives of Amherst students.

The awards this year will go to :

-Stephen Farrell, an English teacher at Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford, Conn. (nominated by Emily Lobsenz);

-Helen Crowley Foucault ’85, an English and history teacher at Deerfield High School in Deerfield, Ill. (nominated by David Choffnes);

-Richard Gusick, a history teacher at Conestoga High School in Berwyn, Penn. (nominated by Carolyn Johnson); and

-Lori Morin, an English teacher at Holyoke High School in Holyoke, Mass. (nominated by Jonathan Tisdell).

This is the sixth year that Amherst has presented the award, which is accompanied by a cash prize. The awards are chosen by a committee of seniors, faculty and staff from nominations submitted by graduating seniors.

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Amherst Professor Is Truly a Self-Made Academic

May 26, 2002
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AMHERST, Mass.—With prices for academic gowns ranging from $300 to almost $800, Catherine McGeoch, a professor of computer at Amherst College, decided last August to flex her creative muscle and cut expenses: she sewed her own robe. Her final cost? About $50 and five evenings of her time. She proudly donned her creation at Amherst College Commencement Exercises of May 26.

For her design, McGeoch bought a Butterick pattern for choir robes, then searched the Web for the strict Ph.D gown regulations. These requirements include the familiar bell-shaped sleeves with three black velvet chevrons as well as velvet panels running down the front of the garment, which itself is primarily a light wool. The hardest part, McGeoch recalls, was sewing the velvet, which was both heavy and slippery.

Asked if she would ever attempt the project again, perhaps for her husband who is a colleague in the computer science department, McGeoch protested laughingly that “one is enough!” Nevertheless, she did admit that she dreams of a lighter-weight summer robe and perhaps even a waterproof one for rainy ceremonies.

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Contemporary Women Artists at Mead Art Museum at Amherst College

May 23, 2002
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AMHERST, Mass.—The Mead Art Museum celebrates 25 years of coeducation at Amherst College with The Belles of Amherst: Contemporary Women Artists in the Collections of the Mead Art Museum and University Gallery, University of Massachusetts Amherst. There will be an opening reception at the Mead on Friday, May 31, at 4:30 p.m.; the exhibition will remain on view in the Fairchild Gallery from May 31 until Sept. 8.

For many years, both the Mead and the University Gallery at the University of Massachusetts have been acquiring work by women artists. This exhibition demonstrates their extraordinary and diverse achievement. The earliest material in the exhibit is by two legendary figures, Louise Nevelson and Lee Krasner, and the exhibition also features work by Dotty Attie, Jennifer Bartlett, Andrea Belag, Elizabeth Catlett, Judy Chicago, Sonya Clark, Sue Coe, Lesley Dill, Lydia Dona, Elizabeth Dworkin, Heide Fasnacht, Louise Fishman, Audrey Flack, April Gornik, Jane Haskell, Carol Hepper, Gillie Holme, Louise Laplante, Annette Lemieux, Sylvia Plimack Mangold, Deborah Muirhead, Judy Pfaff, Helen Evans Ramsaran, Betye Saar, Kiki Smith and Joan Snyder. The show includes a wide range of media, style, and content, reflecting many voices and convictions.

In conjunction with this exhibition, the Mead will present a lecture by Deborah Muirhead on Thursday, Sept. 5, at 4:30 p.m. in Stirn Auditorium. Muirhead is a professor of art and art history at the University of Connecticut at Storrs. She recently was awarded a William Randolph Hearst Foundation Fellowship to work on a research project at the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, Mass.

Beginning May 18, the Mead Art Museum is on its summer schedule, open Tuesdays through Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m. More information is available on the Mead’s Website at http://www.amherst.edu/mead or by calling the Mead Art Museum at 413/542-2335.

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Harold F. Still ’44 Receives Eminent Service Medal from Amherst College

May 23, 2002
Director of Media Relations
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AMHERST, Mass.—Harold F. Still ’44, a resident of Philadelphia, will receive Amherst College’s Medal for Eminent Service at the college’s commencement exercises on Sunday, May 26.

The Medal for Eminent Service is presented to an Amherst alumnus who has demonstrated extraordinary devotion to his alma mater.

After his graduation in 1944, Still remained involved with Amherst, holding several class offices, including secretary, assistant secretary, class agent, associate agent and president of the Class of ’44. He also has served on the executive committee of the Alumni Council. He received the Amherst College Distinguished Service Award in 1982.

After his time at Amherst—punctuated by military service as an ensign in the U.S. Navy in World War II—Still studied finance at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, in a selective program sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia to prepare young people for the banking profession. He enjoyed a long career in banking in Philadelphia, beginning at the Central Penn National Bank of Philadelphia, where he was made president and chief executive officer at age 39. Still has served as president of the Pennsylvania Bankers Association and director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Pennsylvania. In 1988 Still retired from his position as chairman of Meridian Bank, now Meridian Bancorp, where he remained a member of the board of directors until 1993.

Still volunteers much of his time to both higher education and civic endeavors. He was chairman of the Board of Trustees of Drexel University and Abington (Penn.) Hospital. He has been active with the Greater Philadelphia Movement, Chamber of Commerce and the United Way, among other organizations. Founded in 1821, Amherst College is consistently ranked one of the nation’s best colleges. Amherst enrolls 1,650 students from nearly every state and more than 40 other countries. Amherst offers the B.A. degree in 33 fields of study.

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Political Science Professor Uday Mehta Receives Carnegie Fellowship

May 23, 2002
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AMHERST, Mass.—Uday S. Mehta, a professor of political science at Amherst College, will receive one of 11 fellowships from the Carnegie Corporation of New York this year. Each Carnegie scholar, chosen in a highly competitive process, will receive up to $100,000, for one to two years to pursue subjects advancing the strategic work of the corporation.

Mehta, a political theorist who has taught at Amherst since 2000, has a B.A. from Swarthmore College and earned M.A. and Ph.D. degrees at Princeton University. The author of Liberalism and Empire (1999) and The Anxiety of Freedom (1992), he will research “Constitutional Configurations of the Past: A Comparative Study of India, Israel, South Africa, and the U.S.” on his Carnegie Fellowship.

Mehta asks how constitutions configure the relationship between the past of a country and its imagined future, focusing on the constitutional orientations, the democratic opportunities and the public policies regarding minority groups in India, Israel, South Africa and the United States. Having completed most of his study of minorities in the U.S., Mehta will conduct case studies of minorities in India, South Africa and Israel as they struggle for political and social recognition. His project will provide insights into the question of constitutional design as it concerns equality and recognition in contemporary politics.

“We want to encourage and support original and creative scholars working on a wide array of social issues who are linked together by their individual commitments to discovering and advancing knowledge and to improving society,” said Vartan Gregorian, president of the Carnegie Corporation of New York. Gregorian inaugurated the Scholars Program in 1999 to renew and invigorate the Corporation’s commitment to encourage innovative individuals who are engaged in promising scholarship that extends the boundaries of the Corporation’s program areas. “We believe that excellent scholarship is a prerequisite for solid policy research and, ultimately, social change,” Gregorian said.

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Annual Emily Dickinson Poetry Walk Set For May 18

May 3, 2002
Director of Media Relations
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AMHERST, Mass.—The Dickinson Homestead and The Evergreens in Amherst will sponsor the annual Emily Dickinson Poetry Walk on Saturday, May 18, at 1 p.m. The walk honors the memory of the poet Emily Dickinson, who died on May 15, 1886. The event is free and open to the public.

The walk will begin at 1 p.m. in the Dickinson Homestead garden at 280 Main Street, and proceed through Amherst, stopping at various sites significant in Dickinson’s life. (A full schedule is attached.) Members of the Amherst community will read a selection of Dickinson’s poems at each location. At 2:30 p.m. the procession will arrive at West Cemetery on Triangle Street to gather at the Dickinson grave, where all are welcome to read their favorite poems and to join in a lighthearted toast to the poet’s memory.

The Dickinson Homestead and The Evergreens will host an Open House after the Walk from 3 to 5 p.m. The houses will be open for self-guided tours during that time, and guides will be on hand to answer questions. No reservations are necessary, and admission is free. The Dickinson Homestead was the birthplace and home of the poet Emily Dickinson and is a National Historic Landmark owned by the Trustees of Amherst College. The Evergreens was the home of the poet’s brother and sister-in-law Austin and Susan Dickinson and is owned by the Martha Dickinson Bianchi Trust. For more information call the Dickinson Homestead at 413/542-8161 or visit http://www.dickinsonhomestead.org.

Maps of the one-mile route of the Poetry Walk will be available at the Homestead. Participants are welcome to join the walk at any point along the route. Those who wish to participate only in the cemetery reading should meet at the Dickinson grave in West Cemetery on Triangle St. at 2:30 p.m.

Emily Dickinson Poetry Walk
Schedule of Readings

1 p.m. Dickinson Homestead garden, 280 Main Street
1:20 p.m. Amherst Train Station, Railroad Street
1:40 p.m. Front steps of The Evergreens, 214 Main Street
2 p.m. Front lawn of the Jones Library, 43 Amity Street
2:20 p.m. Parking lot behind Zanna, 187 North Pleasant Street (next to Ren’s Mobil Service, site of Dickinson home)
2:30 p.m. Dickinson grave site, West Cemetery, Triangle Street

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Fredric Cheyette’s Ermengard of Narbonne Wins Three Awards

May 3, 2002
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—Fredric L. Cheyette, professor of history at Amherst College and the author of Ermengard of Narbonne and the World of the Troubadours ($35, Cornell University Press, Ithaca and London, 2001), has received three major awards: an Honorable Mention (History) from the 2001 Association of American Publishers Awards Program for Excellence in Professional/Scholarly Publishing; the David Pinkney Prize for the outstanding book in French history published in 2001, from the Society for French Historical Studies; and the 2001/02 Eugene M. Kayden Book Award, given by the University of Colorado at Boulder for the best book in the humanities published by an American university press.

Cheyette tells the story of a 12th-century woman in the south of France who “was born into a world of politics and warfare.” Viscountess Ermengard, no stranger to power politics, ruled the major medieval port of Narbonne and much of present-day Languedoc for 50 years. She led her armies personally on several campaigns, joining her soldiers on bivouac before the walls of besieged cities.

The medieval warrior princess Ermengard cuts an obscure figure today. Yet “it was among the poets and songsmiths of her own lands that Ermengard was best known, among the troubadours,” Cheyette writes, asking what role the love poetry of the troubadours might have played in this aristocratic world of war and diplomacy. “The earliest passions she may have learned were the passions for power and for the friendship and loyalty needed to sustain that power.”

Cheyette describes a world in which beautiful women were powerful lords, maintaining the equilibrium of a stateless society through loyalty and family ties, but also preserving their realms by playing pragmatic political games. The cosmopolitan world of Ermengard and the troubadours came to an end when the established church launched the Albigensian Crusade to destroy the heretics in the region and ended by destroying an entire aristocratic way of life. This is the exciting story that Cheyette brings to life.

Cheyette, who has taught at Amherst since 1963, received an A.B. from Princeton University and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Harvard University.

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Student Art at Mead Art Museum at Amherst College Beginning May 9

May 3, 2002
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—On Thursday, May 9, the Mead Art Museum at Amherst College will begin the presentation of three exhibitions of work that reflects the artistic and scholarly efforts of five students from Amherst College and the University of Massachusetts. These exhibitions, sponsored by the Associates of Fine Arts at Amherst, are free and open to the public.

The first exhibition (May 9 through May 26) features the thesis work of two seniors, Emily Lobsenz and Nathaniel Robinson.

Ms. Lobsenz, of Fairfield, Conn., is majoring in fine arts and English. She has produced a short film that “explores the torments of love which bear its delicate and transcendent beauty.” When discussing the film, she alludes to the closing couplet in Shakespeare’s Sonnet 64:

This thought is as a death which cannot choose

But weep to have that which it fears to lose.

The film will be on view in the Eli Marsh Gallery in Fayerweather, open Monday to Friday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Nathaniel Robinson, a fine arts major from East Greenwich, R. I., has produced a large group of paintings in which he examines his immediate surroundings in both a realistic and surrealistic manner. Rather than being landscapes, these works are frozen moments in time. He describes his intentions, stating: “The world’s unity of disparate ‘parts’ is as bluntly factual as it is mysterious. I am exploring the strangeness of our experience as active and interested, yet essentially helpless participants in a disinterested, yet eminently powerful and complex reality.”

La Ville Lumière: Paris in Photographs (May 9 through July 28), the second exhibition, is curated by senior Brad M. Walters, a fine arts and French major from Zeeland, Michigan. From enduring monuments to fleeting moments, this exhibition explores representations of the modern city and French identity. Drawn from the Mead’s permanent collection, the exhibition includes photographs by luminaries such as Baldus, Nègre, Marville, Atget, Brassaï, Kertész, Boubat and Doisneau.

The third exhibition, The Ties that Bind: The Family in European Prints, 15th - 20th Centuries (May 9 through October 11), is curated by Cecily Brewer, a double major in European Studies and French from West Lafayette, Ind., and Allison Sobke, a Graduate Intern at the Mead, who will receive her M.A. in art history from the University of Massachusetts this spring.

Highlighting more than 60 prints from the Mead’s permanent collection, including works by Dürer, Rembrandt, Hogarth, Goya, Blake, Daumier, Kollwitz and other celebrated printmakers, this exhibition explores sacred, secular and historical representations of the family. The show is arranged thematically, encompassing works from six centuries, and exploring the complex bonds that define the family—religious, political, social and emotional. Sacred images range from the Madonna and Child to interpretations of the parable of the prodigal son. In secular prints, genre scenes reveal the intimacy of family relations. Caricature and political satire critique child rearing, the arranged marriage and other social conventions. Historical images of royal families become vehicles for political propaganda.

The Mead Art Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Thursday evenings until 9 p.m., and is closed Mondays and holidays. On May 18, summer hours will begin at the Mead and continue through September 3. The Museum will be open Tuesdays through Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m.

More information can be found on the Museum's Website at http://www.amherst.edu/~mead or by calling the Mead Art Museum at 413/542-2335.

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