Board of Trustees Appoints Anthony W. Marx 18th President of Amherst College
April 4, 2003
Contact: Stacey Schmeidel
Director of Public Affairs
EDITOR'S NOTE: Marx will meet with reporters at a 12:45 p.m. news conference in the Bruss Room on the first floor of Johnson Chapel. He also is available to the media by phone or in person from 1:40 to 3:15 p.m. today; call Media Relations Director Paul Statt, 413/542-2321.Amherst, MA – The Amherst College Board of Trustees has named Anthony (Tony) W. Marx the 18th president of Amherst College. His appointment, announced at noon today during an all-college meeting at Johnson Chapel, is effective July 1, 2003.
Currently professor and director of undergraduate studies of political science at Columbia University in New York, Marx is a respected teacher and an internationally recognized scholar who has written three books on nation building, particularly in South Africa, but also in the U.S., Brazil and Europe. He also has established and managed programs designed to strengthen secondary school education in the U.S. and abroad. In addition to his faculty post at Columbia, he currently serves as director of the Gates Foundation-funded Early College/High School Initiative at the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, which establishes model public high schools as partnerships between school systems and universities; and he is founder of the Columbia Urban Educators Program, a public school teacher recruitment and training partnership. He also was founder of Khanya College, a South African secondary school that helped prepare more than 1,000 black students for university.
Marx succeeds Tom Gerety, who announced last May that he would step down on June 30, 2003, after nine years as Amherst’s president.
In announcing Marx’s appointment, Amos B. Hostetter, Jr. ’58, chair of Amherst’s Board of Trustees and chair of the presidential search committee, said, "Tony’s career – and his life – reflect the intersection of three strong interests: the social role of education, contemporary world politics, and the workings of history. He has approached these interests both through rigorous scholarship and in practice. Tony’s interests – and the way in which he has engaged them both intellectually and pragmatically – are very consistent with Amherst’s ideals of intellectual curiosity and service, and our commitment to inclusion and access.
" As a teacher, scholar and administrator, Tony Marx has worked hard to realize his tenacious vision of the promise of education in a turbulent world," Hostetter added. "We are delighted that he now has this opportunity to continue his career as an educational innovator in the context of Amherst’s longstanding commitment to excellence in the liberal arts."
Marx said, "It is an honor to be asked to lead Amherst College and to work with the faculty, students, alumni, staff, parents and friends who rightfully love this great place. As we get to know each other, discuss and debate, we will build further on Amherst’s distinguished past and energetic present.
"Amherst is remarkably strong – academically, financially and in spirit," Marx added. "It is an extraordinary institution, with a tradition of intellectual rigor and energetic debate. But we undertake this new beginning in troubled global times. We must be mindful of our responsibilities to understand the world we inherit, to send out the best educated young men and women we can so that they can lead and engage in helping to solve our problems here at home and beyond."
Marx is widely recognized as a scholar. A member of the Columbia faculty since 1990, he is the author of a dozen substantive articles and three books, Lessons of Struggle: South African Internal Opposition, 1960-1990 (Oxford University Press, 1992), Making Race and Nation: A Comparison of the United States, South Africa and Brazil (Cambridge University Press, 1998) and Faith in Nation: Bound by Hatred (forthcoming later this month from Oxford University Press). Making Race and Nation received the American Political Science Association’s 1999 Ralph J. Bunche Award (co-winner for the best book on ethnic and cultural pluralism) and the American Sociological Association’s 2000 Barrington Moore Prize (for the best book of the preceding three years in comparative-historical sociology.
Marx is co-director (with wife Karen Barkey, a professor of history and sociology) of Columbia’s Center for Historical Science. In 2001-02 he was faculty director of Columbia’s Masters in International Affairs program. In that same year he helped establish the Columbia Urban Educators Program, which provides funds that allow recent Columbia graduates to earn a tuition-free M.A. degree while teaching in the New York City public schools.
Before joining the faculty at Columbia, Marx worked in a variety of administrative posts, primarily in organizations connected to education. After graduating from Yale with a B.A. degree in 1981, he worked for more than two years as an aide to Sheldon Hackney, president of the University of Pennsylvania.
In 1984 and 1986, Marx lived in Johannesburg, South Africa, where he helped found Khanya College for the South African Committee for Higher Education (SACHED) Trust. He has served as a consultant to the United Nations Development Programme in South Africa, and also was a consultant to the Southern Education Foundation’s Comparative Race Relations Initiative, which compared educational opportunities in the U.S., Africa and Brazil.
Marx received a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in 1997 (the youngest member of the Columbia political science faculty to be so honored). He also has received fellowships from the United States Institute of Peace, the National Humanities Center, the Howard Foundation and the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation.
Marx attended Wesleyan and Yale, where he graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. degree in 1981. He received his M.P.A. degree from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University in 1986, then earned M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Princeton in 1987 and 1990.
Marx is married to Karen Barkey, professor of history and sociology and director of undergraduate studies in sociology and historical sociology at Columbia. A popular teacher and prominent scholar, she is the author of Bandits and Bureaucrats: The Ottoman Route to State Centralization and co-editor (with Mark von Hagen) of After Empire: Multiethnic Societies and Nation-Building, the Soviet Union and the Russian, Ottoman, and Habsburg Empires. Barkey holds a B.A. degree from Bryn Mawr, and earned her Ph.D. at the University of Chicago.
Marx and Barkey, both 44, have an eight-year-old son, Joshua, and a four-year-old daughter, Anna-Claire.
Departing President Tom Gerety and his wife, Adelia Moore, plan to move to New York, where Gerety will continue to serve on the boards of the International Rescue Committee and Save the Children while considering other professional opportunities, possibly involving humanitarian or global issues.
"Tom has had a remarkably strong run at Amherst," said board chair Hostetter. "Under his leadership, Amherst has more than doubled its endowment, strengthened its admission standards, increased the diversity of its student body and retained its commitment to need-blind admission. Tom leaves a college that is well prepared to advance confidently under Tony’s leadership, and we’re grateful for his good work."
Founded in 1821, Amherst College enrolls 1,600 students from nearly every state and from 30 countries. Amherst awards the B.A. degree in 33 fields of study, and is consistently regarded among the very best liberal arts colleges in the U.S.