“You Bring Us Delight,” Dean Epstein Tells Students

College Meeting is the annual awards ceremony for undergraduates of Amherst College and recognizes the outstanding work of first-years, sophomores and juniors throughout the year. Prizes are awarded in 14 areas of study, as well as for notable scholarship and citizenship. The majority of awards are named in honor of notable alumni and faculty, whose enduring legacies still shape the College today.

During her introduction to the 2016 prizes, Dean of Faculty Catherine Epstein said that the gathering in the Cole Assembly Room was a public recognition of the often private endeavors of students in the middle of their Amherst careers.

“I want to underscore just how proud we all are of your achievements,” she said. “Today you are being honored for academic excellence, strength of character and extracurricular undertakings. These are not to be taken for granted, even at Amherst.”

She commended the students on the dedication they had shown and for the extra effort they had dedicated to problem sets, science labs and papers.

“Having students such as yourself is one of the highlights of a professor’s existence: students who excel, students who work hard on complicated problems, students who arrive at novel solutions, students who go the extra mile,” she said. “You bring us all enormous delight.”

The following is a list of the awards and their 2016 recipients. 

(An awards ceremony for graduates, known as Senior Assembly, was held on May 6 in Johnson Chapel.) 


The Samuel Walley Brown Scholarship, established by Samuel Walley Brown of the Class of 1866, is awarded to that member of the junior class who shall, in the estimation of the Trustees, rank highest in his or her class in character, class leadership, scholarship and athletic ability.

Divided among: Jamie Rose Gracie '17, Niyi Obafemi Odewade '17, and Elaine Vilorio '17

The Charles W. Cole Scholarship is awarded each year to the undergraduate with an established financial aid need, who, after two years at Amherst, stands highest in the academic rank of the sophomore class. The recipient will be designated “Charles W. Cole Scholar” and will carry the award for the junior and senior years at Amherst.

Yen Nhi Truong Vu '17 (in absentia)

The Gordon B. Perry Memorial Award is awarded to a first-year in good academic standing whose participation and attitude in first-year athletics and other activities are outstanding.

Debbie Lynn Newmark '19     

The John Sumner Runnells Memorial, established in memory of John Sumner Runnells of the Class of 1865, is awarded to that member of the junior class who shall, in the opinion of the Trustees of the College, be preeminent in zeal for knowledge and industry to attain it.  

Divided between: Shalini Menon '17 and Minjee Kim '17


The Porter Prize, established by the late Eleazer Porter of Hadley, is awarded for prociency in first-year astronomy. 

Michaela Hope Ednie '18


The James R. Elster Award, created in memory of James R. Elster of the Class of 1971, by his parents, Dr. and Mrs. Samuel K. Elster, provides support in the summer months for a research project to be undertaken by an undergraduate in the Department of Biology.

Divided between: Anri Chomentowska '18 and Theresa Chen

The Sawyer Prize is awarded to that second semester sophomore who, in the opinion of the Biology Department, has shown the most promise as a student of biology. 

Nicky Grace Roberts '18


The David R. Belevetz ’54 Memorial Award in Chemistry, established by family and friends of David R. Belevetz ’54, is awarded to support the work of an Amherst student engaged in preparing a senior honors thesis, as determined by the Chemistry Department faculty.

Wai Cheung Chan '17     

The White Prize is awarded by the Chemistry Department to that chemistry major in the junior class who seems most likely to benefit from a summer’s research experience at Amherst. It consists of a summer research fellowship. 

Divided between: Eric Benson Conklin '17 and Niyi Obafemi Odewade '17


The Economics Department Junior Class Prize is awarded to that member of the junior class who, in the opinion of the Economics Department, has achieved a record of excellence in the study of economics at Amherst.

Divided between: Jamie Rose Gracie '17 and Shelly Tang

The Hamilton Prize, established by his former students in memory of Professor Walton Hale Hamilton, distinguished member of the Department of Economics from 1915 to 1923, is awarded to that rst-year student who ranks highest in the economics courses he or she has taken. 

Divided between:   Faith Eun-gee Chung '18  and Simon Carl Essig Aberg '19


The Academy of American Poets Prize is awarded annually for the best poem or group of poems, preferably on nature, submitted by an undergraduate.

Victoria Jean Luizzi '17

The Armstrong Prize, established in part by Collin Armstrong of the Class of 1877 in memory of his mother, Miriam Collin Armstrong, is awarded to members of the first-year class who excel in composition.

Molly Elizabeth Pines '19

The Collin Armstrong Poetry Prize, established in part by Mrs. Elizabeth H. Armstrong, is awarded to the undergraduate author of the best original poem or group of poems.

Divided between: Carol Yasky Carriazo '18 and a senior 

The G. Armour Craig Award for Prose Composition is awarded to that junior or senior who writes the best autobiographical essay on an experience of intellectual discovery.

Divided between: Jin Jin Xu '17 and a senior     

The Peter Burnett Howe Prize, for excellence in prose fiction, was established by a gift of Robert B. Howe of the Class of 1930 in memory of his son Peter Burnett Howe, of the Class of 1960.

Nayereh Doosti '18

The Harry Richmond Hunter Jr., Prize, established by H. R. Hunter and Emma Louise Hunter in memory of their son Harry Richmond Hunter Jr., of the Class of 1929, is awarded to that member of the sophomore class who presents the best essay on a topic approved by the English Department.

Divided among: Faith Eun-gee Chung '18, Bryan Karpel Doniger '18, and Spencer James Quong '18

The James Charlton Knox Prize, established by the friends of Jim Knox of the Class of 1970, to honor his memory and recognize his abiding interest in English Literature, is given to the outstanding English student who demonstrates the greatest integration of scholarship, interest and creativity in the study of English.

Divided between: Katarina Ivette Cruz Padilla '17 (in absentia) and Zachary Yanes '17

The MacArthur-Leithauser Travel Award from an income of a gift by the MacArthur Foundation to the College in 1985 at the request of Brad Leithauser, MacArthur Fellow and Visiting Writer at the College from 1984-85, is given annually by the English Department to a sophomore or junior of creative promise who might most benefit from exposure to a foreign landscape, for the purpose of enabling the student to travel outside the continental United States.

Lumi Youm '18  

The Laura Ayres Snyder Poetry Prize, endowed by a gift from Jeffrey F. Snyder, Class of 1960, in honor of his daughter, Laura Ayres Snyder, Class of 1989, is awarded to a member of the junior class and is intended to subsidize a student-poet during the summer between his or her junior and senior years. The judges of the prize are one faculty member each from the departments of English, Philosophy and Physics. 

Victoria Jean Luizzi '17 


The Jeffrey J. Carre Award, established in 1983 by Professor Carre’s family, friends, professional colleagues and students, is presented to a sophomore or junior who has demonstrated excellence in the French language. The Prize is to be used toward travel in France during the summer following the award.  

Divided between: Lily Caiju Fang '18 and Joshua Lee Harmon '18


The Belt-Brophy Prize is awarded to that undergraduate who, in the judgment of the staff of the Department of Geology, has shown the greatest promise for success as a geologist. The prize is given in honor of Professors Edward S. Belt and Gerald P. Brophy who, through their combined 78 years of teaching, brought Geology at Amherst College into a 21st-century study of the earth and environment. The prize consists of a Brunton compass with field case, the most versatile field tool of the geologist.  

Rachel Welch '17 


The Consulate General Prize for German Studies is made available by the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Boston, and is awarded to that junior or senior who, in the judgment of the Department of German, has made a superior contribution to any aspect of German studies at Amherst College.  

Divided between: Miriam Mulugeta Ferede '18 and Megan Elise Tracy '17


The William C. Collar Prize, established by William C. Collar of the Class of 1859, is awarded to the member of the first-year class who shall make on a written examination the best version in English of a previously unseen page from some Greek author. 

Chenxi Zhang '19


The Billings Prizes were established in memory of Parmly Billings of the Class of 1884. Two prizes are awarded for general excellence in the Latin courses of the sophomore year together with the best essays on special topics connected with the authors read in that year.

First: Josephine Carroll '18
Second: Jenna E. Schumacher '18

The Crowell Prizes were established in memory of Edward Payson Crowell of the Class of 1853. Two prizes are awarded—one for the highest scholarship in the first-year Latin courses and the other to the students who, together with attaining a high average in the Latin courses of the junior year, present the best essays on some approved topic connected with the junior Latin course. 

Junior: First and second combined and divided between: Noel Grisanti and Paul Edward Huston McClean '17
First year: First and second combined and divided among: Nate Vincent Quigley '19, Jack Hugh Crawford Wrigley '19, and Eric Zhou '19


The Walker Prizes, established by William J. Walker of Newport, Rhode Island. Two prizes are awarded for proficiency in mathematics of the first year, and two prizes for proficiency in mathematics of the second year. In each case the award is determined by an examination.  

Sophomore: First: Bowen Yang '18
Second: Hui Xu '18
First year: First and second combined and divided among: Gregory Carroll '19, Alex Filipe Santos '19, and Jamie Roo Tucker-Foltz '19


The Sylvia & Irving Lerner Piano Prize is awarded to that student who has demonstrated the greatest skill and musicianship as a pianist. 

Divided between: Caroline Alexandra Magee '17E and two seniors     


The Bassett Physics Prizes were established by Preston Rogers Bassett of the Class of 1913. Two prizes may be awarded each year to those students who have distinguished themselves by the excellence and maturity of their performance in the class and laboratory work of the first course in physics.  

First: Kai Ellers '19
Second: Divided between: Megan Esposito Shea '19 and Yixin Xiao '19


The Raymond Keith Bryant Prize, an annual gift from Robert E. and Ethel M. Bryant in memory of their son, of the Class of 1936, is awarded to that undergraduate who, in the opinion of the judges, gives the best performance of the year in a Masquers play. 

Divided between:  Lauren Horn '17 (in absentia) and a senior