Johnson Chapel on the campus of Amherst College

January brought news of a $3 million gift to support contemporary art acquisitions at the Mead Art Museum. It also brought an appearance at the Sugar Bowl by Amherst quarterback and community volunteer extraordinaire Reece Foy ’18.

In February, Amherst won a $500,000 grant as part of an ambitious effort to diversify the faculty ranks of U.S. colleges and universities. It is funding a program to prepare Amherst students from underrepresented groups for graduate study and academic positions in the humanities.

Professor of Physics David S. Hall ’91, his student research team and collaborators in Finland became the first people in the world to make and observe the elusive skyrmion, as we reported in March—a month that also brought a huge success for women’s basketball, which tallied its second consecutive undefeated national championship.

April included the official launch of Amherst’s Promise campaign, highlights of which included a dorm dedication, academic lectures and scientific demonstrations. Also that month, students in a new Amherst course explored the life and times of Martin Luther King Jr.

At Commencement in May, Amherst awarded honorary degrees to five luminaries, including author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and President Biddy Martin advised the class of ’18, “Let the poetic be your guide.”

In June alumni and their families flew, drove and even pedaled back to the College for Reunion. Also that month, outgoing admission dean Katharine Fretwell ’81 reflected on 30 years at Amherst, including her work in building a generation of classes. Meanwhile, students on and off campus honed their skills in College-funded internships. Amherst capped off August with the arrival of the newest members of the Mammoth herd.

The College welcomed nearly 50 new faculty members in September—part of a years-long hiring spree. Also in September, Amherst’s director of dining services reflected on big changes in the dining hall, and three transfer students revealed the varied experiences that brought them to campus.

The administrative director of the new Science Center had a very busy day in October. Students, faculty, staff and alumni celebrated the building’s grand opening in the most scientific way possible. Meanwhile, volleyball coach Sue Everden became the first coach in College history to reach 1,000-plus career wins.

As we reported in November, the traditional history major is now history. And to mark a century since the end of World War I, we researched three alumni honored on the College’s War Memorial.

Itai Muzhingi ’18 learned in December that he was named a Rhodes Scholar, while Professor William Taubman, author of a critically acclaimed biography of Mikhail Gorbachev learned that his subject is now reading the book. 

On to 2019!