May 28, 2007
Director of Media Relations
AMHERST, Mass, May 28.—Under warm blue skies, Amherst College celebrated its 186th Commencement Exercises today. The college granted bachelor of arts degrees to 409 members of the Class of 2007 at Commencement Exercises at 10 a.m. in the Main Quadrangle.
Amherst President Anthony W. Marx in his traditional address reminded the class to recall the lessons of the Roman Empire for the global empire they are entering: “If we do not learn from the limits on our victories, we risk the fate of Rome.” “All power,” Marx said “is ephemeral.” Graduating senior Will Havemann of Washington, D.C., chosen by his classmates to speak, said that Amherst turned out not to be what he expected, and that “my time here has been better for this difference. “As much as I enjoyed having my expectations fool me at Amherst over the past four years,” he said, “I look forward now to having them fool me elsewhere.”
Honorary degrees were also awarded at the ceremony today to Patrick Fitzgerald ’82, the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois and special prosecutor in the Valerie Plame leak case; Joel Klein, the chancellor of the New York City Department of Education; and investment consultant H. Axel Schupf ’57, a life trustee of the college and co-chair of The Amherst College Campaign; Valerie Jarrett, the managing director of The Habitat Company, a developer of residential apartments; Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Marilynne Robinson; chemist J. Peter Toennies ’52; Paul Yock ’73, the co-chair of the Stanford University department of bioengineering; and His Eminence Cardinal Joseph Zen, the bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong.
Amherst honored Richard Fink, who is retiring from the chemistry department after 43 years. The college also honored Paul Ruxin ’65 of Bellwood, Ill., with the Medal for Eminent Service. The honorary marshal was Brian Boyle ’69.
The college presented Phebe and Zephaniah Swift Moore Awards on behalf of graduating seniors to three secondary school teachers: Bob Fenster, from Hillsborough High School in Hillsborough, N.J., nominated by graduating senior Thomas Chen; Joanne McClelland, from Chapel Hill High School in Chapel Hill, N.C., nominated by Samuel Guzzardi; and Jim Cortez, from The Bolles School in Jacksonville, Fla., nominated by Alexander Bridges of Ponte Vedra, Fla.
The Obed Finch Slingerland Memorial Prize, given by the trustees of the college to a member of the senior class, who has shown by his own determination and accomplishment the greatest appreciation of and desire for a college education, was awarded to Anthony Abraham Jack of Miami, Fla.
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. It went to Penka Aleksandrova Kovacheva of Plovdiv, Bulgaria.