March 27, 2003
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass.- Zachary Yorke, a senior at Amherst College, has been awarded a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship and will travel next year to South Africa and Australia to conduct an artistic and anthropological investigation of racial reconciliation. A graduate of Topeka High School, Yorke is the son of Mary Powell and Craig Yorke, Jr. of Topeka, Kan.

An anthropology major at Amherst, Yorke plans to explore the politics of art and racial reconciliation through a series of interviews and paintings. In Cape Town and Johannesburg, he writes in his project proposal, "I hope to engage in and sketch and paint multiple stories about South Africa's past, present and future-to convey in my art competing narratives about the possibility of racial reconciliation." He also plans to investigate the indigenous art of South Africa. In Sydney and Canberra, Yorke will make contact with Australian Aboriginal artists.

Yorke plans graduate study, working toward a doctorate in cultural anthropology or a Master of Fine Arts.

Yorke is one of two Amherst seniors to receive a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship this year. The fellowships provide as many as 60 exceptional college graduates, from 50 of America's leading liberal arts colleges, with the freedom to engage in a year of independent study and travel abroad. The program was begun in 1968 by the family of Thomas J. Watson, Sr., the founder of IBM, to honor their parents' interest in education and world affairs. More than 2,200 Watson Fellows have studied all over the world with the support of Watson Fellowships.