Homecoming bonfire

As the Amherst standard “Three Gifts” says, Amherst is “a place right here, a place for roots.” This weekend, alumni will return to where they set those roots, and gather with students currently establishing them, for Homecoming 2018.

Alumni come home to Amherst for a variety of reasons, and as such, a diverse program of events, offered from Friday to Sunday, will welcome them.

“Some come to connect with classmates or faculty,” says Amanda Rivera Lopez ‘93, executive director of alumni and parent programs, “others to walk the campus that was their home during their time as students, others to watch a game or hear a musical performance, and others to participate in some of the special programming that might be taking place.”

New Science Center

For many visitors, this will be their first opportunity to see the completed Science Center, which opened at the end of the summer.

“We encourage alumni to take a look at the building while they are here, even if they aren’t able to catch one of the Friday programs that feature the building,” Lopez says.

On Friday at 1:45 p.m., Chief of Campus Operations Jim Brassord and Jack Cheney, the Samuel A. Hitchcock Professor of Mineralogy and Geology, will lead a presentation on the new building. At 4:30 p.m. in the new building, Catherine Sanderson, the Manwell Family Professor of Life Sciences (Psychology), will deliver a lecture about misperceived social norms related to eating, health and exercise. A 5:30 p.m. cocktail reception will follow, including tours of the center.

Throughout the day on Friday, selected classrooms will be open at the Science Center and all over campus for visitors to observe classes ranging from “Multivariable Calculus” to “Foreign Policy Analysis” to and “Women of Ill Repute.”


Homecoming always brings the Valentine Quad bonfire, to be held Friday at 8 p.m. On Saturday at noon, Amherst’s football team takes on longstanding rival Williams College for the for the 133rd time. As always, the game will be viewable via telecast for alumni who can’t make it to campus.

For early risers interested in getting the inside scoop on the team, Head Football Coach E.J. Mills will give his report for the 2018 season at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday in Alumni Gymnasium’s Conway Classroom.

Another regular attraction is the conversation with President Biddy Martin, to be held on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. in Johnson Chapel. Lively discussion about the College is a given at this event.

Students will lift their voices Saturday afternoon and evening to celebrate “The Singing College.” The Zumbyes, Amherst’s oldest a capella group, which admitted its first female member this year, leads off the performances at 4:30 p.m. in Kirby Theater’s Canfield Lounge. The Choral Society follows with a 7 p.m. concert in Buckley Recital Hall.

The music continues at Buckley Recital Hall with the Amherst College Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of Carl Clements, visiting director of jazz performance, at 9 p.m.

For Alumni and Students

Homecoming includes several opportunities for alumni to meet current students. At Pratt Field before Saturday’s game, student clubs will have tables set up near Hitchcock Gate, ready to connect.

The Association for Women in Science hosts its Fourth Annual Alumnae Panel at 3 p.m. on Friday in Stirn Auditorium. Later, alumni will discuss their career paths in the health professions at a 6:30 p.m. Friday panel in the O'Connor Commons at Charles Pratt Hall.

“These are all valuable opportunities for the Amherst community to come together s,” Lopez says.


While Homecoming offers a chance for alumni to mingle with students, it is also a forum for alumni to plan for Reunion in the spring. Alumni and Parent Programs will hold a session on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. in the Science Center on best practices and tips for running a reunion. The classes of 1969, 1984, 1971, 1979 and 1989 will be holding planning sessions throughout Saturday morning.

Another opportunity to reunite arrives on Sunday at 11 a.m., when the Women of Color Homecoming Brunch will bring together alumnae and students to hear keynote speaker Nalini Jones '93, author of What You Call Winner and recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, Pushcart Prize and O. Henry Prize.

Full Homecoming Schedule