Dean of the Faculty Catherine Epstein looked out at the large crowd of people on Tuesday with some surprise. Students and faculty had filled every seat in the Lewis-Sebring Dining Commons and lined the walls several deep as more continued to squeeze into the room. Epstein welcomed everyone warmly and introduced the event under its new name.
"I want to welcome you to our first Undergraduate Awards Ceremony—or at least the first time we've called it that," she said, adding that the location had also changed from Converse Hall, where it was held in the red-carpeted Cole Assembly Room.
"In the past this event was called College Meeting," she said, adding, to laughter, "I think everyone wondered, 'What in the world is it?' No one knew and as a result no one came."
The annual awards ceremony for Amherst undergraduates recognizes the outstanding work of first-years, sophomores and juniors throughout the year. Prizes are awarded in more than a dozen areas of study, as well as for scholarship, citizenship and public speaking. The majority of awards are named in honor of notable alumni and faculty whose enduring legacies continue to shape the College today.
Epstein, who is also the Winkley Professor of History, said she combed through the archives for a record of past College Meetings, finding references only to various other events that shared the name.
"We do know, however, that there's a very long tradition at the College of honoring undergraduate students," she said, adding that the first such award was in 1828 for public speaking. In a parallel note, the Undergraduate Awards Ceremony included a new public speaking prize this year.
Epstein said how proud students should be of their work. She noted that the awards highlight students' academic excellence, strength of character and extracurricular undertakings.
"You may wear your accomplishments lightly, but to achieve what you have done, you have invested much time, energy and passion," she said. "You bring your professors enormous pride."
The following is a list of the awards and their 2019 recipients.
An awards ceremony for graduating seniors, known as Senior Assembly, takes place Wednesday, May 8, in Johnson Chapel.
SCHOLARSHIP AND CITIZENSHIP
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: John Stewart Ballard '20, Emilie Grace Flamme '20 (in absentia), Gregory David Franklin '20 (in absentia) and Thomas Page Mobley '20
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.
Joseph Lupo '20
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.
Scott Romeyn '22
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.
Soledad Slowing-Romero '20 (in absentia)
The Porter Prize, established by the late Eleazer Porter of Hadley, is awarded for proficiency in first-year astronomy.
Divided among: Joseph Owen Palmo '21, Kathleen Margaret Sullivan '21 and Helena Paige Treiber '22
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.
Divided between: Samantha Yiran Liu '21 and Samantha Emily Rothberg '21
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.
Ezra Arumi Alexander '20
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: Kashmeera Devi Baboolall '20 and Anna Makar-Limanov '20
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 among: Jackson Herrick '20, Peyton Alan Lane '20 and Morgan Yurosek '20 (in absentia)
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 first-year student who ranks highest in the economics courses he or she has taken.
Divided among: Sophia Fikke '22, Sarah Minji Kim '21, Aaron E. Rennert '22 and Benjamin Joonsoo Stick '22
The Academy of American Poets Prize is awarded annually for the best poem or group of poems, preferably on nature, submitted by an undergraduate.
Heather Daly Brennan '20 (in absentia)
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.
Divided between: Caroline Elizabeth Seitz '22 and Mythili Shree Subbanna '22
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 among: Aqiil Muhammad Gopee '20 and Brenna Lane Macaray '21
The Corbin Prize is awarded for an outstanding original composition in the form of poetry or an informal essay.
Divided among: Truth Murray Cole '20 (in absentia), Andrew James Carroll Rosevear '22 and a senior to be named at Senior Assembly.
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: Sommer Michele Hayes '20E and two seniors to be named at Senior Assembly.
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.
Jeremy Nile Thomas '21
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: Kolawole Philip Heyward-Rotimi '20 and Emma Jane Wilfert '20 (in absentia)
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.
Divided among: Jaclyn Chetty '20 (in absentia), Cy Nguyen '21 and Marco Aaron Trevino '20 (in absentia)
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, History and Biology.
Avery Farmer '20
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: Anna K.L. Agathis '21 and Alice Rose Heather Jackson '21
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.
Eric Hasegawa '20
The Harvey Blodgett Scholarship, established by Frederick H. Blodgett in memory of his grandfather, Harvey Blodgett of the Class of 1829, is awarded to aid student work in biology and geology in their educational phases as distinct from their more technical and strictly scientific phases.
The Phi Delta Theta Scholarship, established by The Phi Delta Theta Fraternity, is awarded as a scholarship at the Woods Hole Marine Laboratory to a student for proficiency in biology.
Divided among: Luz C. Lim '20 (in absentia), Olivia Cathleen Moehl '20 (in absentia) and Jessica Andrews Reid '20 (in absentia)
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.
Andreas E. Gilpin-Falk '21
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.
Samuel A. Melcher '22
The Samuel Bowles Prize, established by Samuel Bowles King of the Class of 1902, to stimulate interest in journalism as a career, is awarded to a student who has demonstrated proficiency in journalism.
Shawna Chen '20
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: Gregory Mitchell Kaplan '21
Second: Divided between: Margit Liu '21 and Joshua Hyunbin Whang '21
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.
First Year: First and Second Combined and Divided between: Kayla Mckeon '22 and Virginia Ryan '22
Junior: No award
The Frederick S. Lane ’36 Fellowship For Creative Artists is awarded to students using historical and rare source materials from the archives and special collections towards projects in the arts.
Divided among: Rafael Eduardo D'atri Gonzalez '21, Rachel Sooyeon Kang '21 and two seniors to be named at Senior Assembly.
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.
The Walker Prizes in Problem Solving 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.
First: Divided between: Shu Amano '21 and Kieran Brookes '21
Second: Divided between: Lianbi Ji '21 and Enes Kristo '21
First: Subin Manandhar '22
Second: Divided among: Zhengyu (Albert) Jing '22, Holden Lee '22 and Elizabeth Pratt '22
The Walker Award For Leadership is awarded to a student for outstanding leadership and for contributions to the mathematics and statistics community at Amherst.
Divided between: Sean Y. Gao '21 and Elizabeth Pratt '22
The Walker Teaching Award is awarded to a student for accomplishment and promise in teaching and tutoring of mathematics or statistics.
Divided among: Michael Nuri Bakshandeh '21, Camille Blum '20, Sai Chauhan '20 and Enoch Shin '21
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: David Xu
Second divided among: Ikram Gabiyev '22, Addison Hartman '22 and Sophia Margaret Koh '22
The Kellogg Prizes established by Rufus B. Kellogg of the class of 1858, are awarded to members of the sophomore or freshman classes for excellence in declamation.
First: Dashiell Muir Shulman '21
Second: Tess Grace Gentzler Levenstein '22
Third: Jeremy Nile Thomas '21