Homecoming is always a great opportunity to reconnect with Amherst College, but this weekend will also provide a chance to meet the newest face in the family picture: our mammoth.
The traditional Homecoming bonfire, on Friday, Oct. 20 at 8 p.m. on the Valentine Quad, will provide the backdrop for an 8:30 p.m. launch party unveiling and celebrating the official logo for the Amherst Mammoths.
This past spring, Amherst announced the Mammoths as the College’s first official mascot. The Mammoths were selected from among five finalists by a vote of Amherst alumni, students, faculty and staff.
In May, the College hired the Austin, TX-based design firm Pentagram to assist with the design of a mammoth logo, as well as an overall visual identity package for the College. In June, the designers met with groups of students, faculty and staff to identify what the community feels makes Amherst unique.
Over the summer and into September, the designers convened three meetings, in person and via teleconference, with the Amherst College community, to go over proposed designs. College officials selected a final design at the beginning of October, returning it to the designers for final tweaks.
The process, from start to finish, involved more than 50 people on campus from virtually every department.
Matthew Inabinett ’18, a docent at the Beneski Museum of Natural History and expert on the museum’s mammoth skeleton, said he is thrilled that the College’s identifying symbol is loaded with historical and scientific significance.
“I think it’s exciting to have a species that will be new to many people as a representative icon,” said Inabinett, who served on one of the groups that reviewed the logo designs. “I feel that it prompts a lot of room for curiosity, regarding not only the mammoth itself but its history, and can encourage more interest in science generally.”
He said this “is an excellent direction for the College to take, because this magnificent animal—both as an exciting introduction to natural history and Amherst College’s history, and as an awe-inspiring visual icon—stands unrivaled.”
Justin Barry ’18, also a member of a group that reviewed prospective logos, said it was exciting to be part of a process “that honors the parts of Amherst that make us unique.”
“My hope is that the logo lasts for a long time and can become incorporated into the various identities of the campus through a sense that it belongs to a collective Amherst,” he said.
While the unveiling of the logo is mammoth news, and many are in town to catch the football game between Amherst and Wesleyan, there is much more happening at Homecoming.
The Mead, Beneski and Emily Dickinson museums will be open for tours and programs, and President Biddy Martin will hold a conversation in Johnson Chapel, giving updates on curriculum and construction projects.
Special programming will include a celebration of the life of actor Ken Howard ’66 (1944–2016). The Multicultural Resource Center, the Amherst Student newspaper, the chemistry department, and La Causa—Amherst's Latinx affinity group—will all hold receptions for alumni, students and other visitors.
Browse the full schedule of events for Homecoming 2017. We hope to see you there!