504 bachelor of arts degrees conferred. Thousands of guests. One community of families, friends, faculty and staff.
These are just a few numbers related to Amherst’s 2022 Commencement Weekend and this year’s graduates, who have the distinction of being the largest group of students ever to receive their diplomas from the College in a single year.
And what a ride it has been for those 504 soon-to-be alumni. Through it all, the students made music, wrote poetry and conducted groundbreaking research. They played sports, climbed mountains and organized protests. They danced, laughed and sang. They supported each other and together built a community.
Here are a few more facts and figures about this year’s extraordinary graduates, and what went on behind the scenes leading up to Commencement on May 29.
- Number of students receiving degrees: 504
- Number of transfer students: 23
- Nations and states represented by this year’s graduates: 28 countries, 41 U.S. states and Washington, D.C. Students came to Amherst from Azerbaijan, Canada, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Mongolia, Rwanda, Tanzania, the United Kingdom and Ukraine, among other locations
- Most declared majors: Computer science, economics, math and statistics, psychology, and political science
- Number of graduates with more than one major: 249. 240 are double majors, and nine are triple majors.
- Senior theses completed: Nearly 200
- National awards won: 11 as of May 27, including two Watsons Fellowships, six Fulbright grants (an additional four students were named alternates for the Fulbright program), two Critical Language Scholarships and one Marshall Scholarship
- Total number of college courses taken by members of the class over four years, including those taken at UMass and Smith, Mount Holyoke and Hampshire Colleges: 15,802
- Appearances by Amherst teams or individuals in National Collegiate Athletic Association contests or squash postseason competition: 39
- New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) team titles won by members of the class of 2022: 7
- Individual player NESCAC titles: 11
- Cumulative win-loss-tie record for the graduating student-athletes over their academic careers: 718-–324–32
- Record against Williams College: 50–45–2. Not to put too fine a point on it, but that means Amherst athletes beat their archrivals more than half the time the students met in competition. (Just sayin’.)
Commencement Weekend and Exercises
- 2022 Commencement speakers: Two. The ceremony will include addresses by College President Biddy Martin and senior Abdullah Brownel, who was voted the student speaker by his classmates.
- Honorary degrees awarded: Four. They will go to Ken Chenault, chairman and managing director of General Catalyst and former chairman and chief executive officer of American Express; Raj Chetty, the William A. Ackman Professor of Economics at Harvard University; Charles Gilbert ’71, Arthur and Janet Ross Professor and head of the Laboratory of Neurobiology at The Rockefeller University; and Brooke Kamin Rapaport ’84, deputy director and Martin Friedman Chief Curator at New York City’s Madison Square Park Conservancy.
- KN95 face masks made available on campus for members of the community: 35,000. Masks on, tusks up, Mammoths!
- Conway Canes awarded during the weekend: 504. Every Amherst graduate receives a walking stick at Commencement. The canes are a 19th-century College tradition that was revived and reshaped by the class of 2003 to celebrate class unity and spirit. Now known as the Conway Canes in honor of a gift from Brian J. Conway ’80 and Kevin J. Conway ’80 to endow the Fund for College Canes, the Conway Canes are presented to all Amherst seniors to mark their graduation from Amherst and to serve as an enduring symbol of their connection to their class, to a unique tradition at Amherst and to their alma mater.
- Acres mowed the week of Commencement: 120, but with a caveat—those acres are mowed twice in the days leading up to May 29. Two acres are bankings so steep that riding or remote-controlled lawn mowers cannot be used. As such, the grass is cut by members of the grounds crew with Weedwackers.
- Yards of mulch spread around campus: 350
- Tables set up in various locations around campus: 900
- Chairs set up across campus: 12,000
- Tons of clothes and other donations from students that will be repurposed or given to local organizations: 10–15
- Graduates, friends and family members spending the weekend in the Town of Amherst to celebrate Commencement: Approximately 5,000