July 18, 2005
Director of Media Relations
AMHERST, Mass.—Amherst College has donated $70,000 to the Amherst public schools to support the technology needs of schools in the town of Amherst. “American colleges and universities need to recognize the fundamental importance of the secondary schools,” says Anthony W. Marx, the president of the college. “Education is the best tool we have for making the world a better place, and Amherst College is pleased to support the work of education at its foundations.”
Barry Del Castilho, the town manager of the town of Amherst, says that the gift is “part of an effort to close a $1.7 million budget gap facing the town, schools and libraries for fiscal year 2006.” Amherst Superintendent of Schools Jere Hochman requested $171,400 to replace, repair and maintain computer and communications equipment for the elementary schools. The college's “gift is made in recognition that the college benefits from good schools in the town,” says Peter Shea, the treasurer of Amherst College, “and fits with our mission of education.”
Shea says the college “likes to target its gifts to the town that way, realizing that it frees up other money for the town to spend on other priorities.” Del Castilho puts it this way: “By providing support for this more or less specific, high priority item in the elementary schools' capital request, the college's contribution prevents cuts in town, school and library services.”
Founded in 1821 for “the education of indigent young men of piety and talents,” Amherst College is now widely regarded as the premier liberal arts college in the nation, enrolling a diverse group of approximately 1,600 young men and women. Well known for its academic excellence, Amherst is also consistently ranked among the very best schools in the country in terms of accessibility: The college's financial aid packages are consistently the most generous in the U.S., and among its peer universities and colleges Amherst has the greatest economic diversity. Diversity, in its broadest sense, is fundamental to Amherst's mission. The college enrolls students from every state and more than 40 countries, and for the past several years more than 35 percent of Amherst's students have been students of color. Amherst offers the B.A. degree in 33 fields of study.