April 7, 2006
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass.—Sydney Smith of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., wrote an essay titled The Construction of Suffering that was chosen as one of 13 finalists for the 2006 Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics Essay Contest. Smith is the daughter of Mr. Oscar R. Smith and Ms. Paula R. Smith of Bloomfield Hills.

A senior with a double major in anthropology and sociology at Amherst, Smith has also been active in the Black Women’s Group and the Social Council. Her adviser and sponsor at Amherst, Deborah Gewertz, the G. Henry Whitcomb 1874 Professor of Anthropology, says of Smith’s work, “She thinks and writes with sophistication, care, independence and wit.”

The Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics Essay Contest is an annual competition designed to challenge college students to analyze the urgent ethical issues confronting them in today's complex world. Students are encouraged to write thought-provoking personal essays that raise questions, single out issues and are rational arguments for ethical action.

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.