Comedian and Author Aparna Nancherla ’05e, Six Other Literary Luminaries Headline Amherst College’s Ninth Annual Litfest

Stellar Group of Pulitzer Prize Winners, Former U.S. Poet Laureate, National Book Award Winner to Participate in Feb. 23–25 Festival

LitFest 2024 poster that includes books covers of writers who will speak at the event.

(AMHERST, Mass., Feb. 7, 2024)—From Feb. 23–25, Amherst College will host the ninth annual LitFest, a festival celebrating fiction, nonfiction, poetry and spoken-word performance along with the College’s extraordinary literary life. This year’s lineup of luminaries includes three Pulitzer Prize winners—novelist Paul Harding, poet and memoirist Natasha Trethewey, and science writer Ed Yongas well as National Book Award winner Justin Torres; stand-up comedian, author and actor Aparna Nancherla ’05E; and renowned poets Ilya Kaminsky and Katie Farris

Amherst College Makes $1.325 Million Initial Commitment to Amherst Local Community, Including a $1 Million Gift to Jones Library Building Project, as Well as Support of Cooley Dickinson Hospital and the Drake Arts Center

Additional Donations, Including to Public Schools and Fire Department, are Planned

Aerial view of the town of Amherst.

(AMHERST, Mass., Oct. 31, 2023) — Amherst College has committed an initial $1.325 million to the local community, it was announced today by Amherst College President Michael A. Elliott. The donation includes a $1 million gift to the Jones Library for its renovation and expansion project, as well as donations of $250,000 to the Cooley Dickinson Hospital for its emergency department renovation and $75,000 to the Drake arts and cultural performance venue for sustained programming.

Maura Healey to Speak at Amherst College on Nov. 1

Massachusetts Governor to Discuss the Need for and Benefits of Public Service with College President Michael A. Elliott

(AMHERST, Mass., Oct. 16, 2023) — Amherst College today announced that Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey will participate in a conversation titled “Democracy and the Greater Good: A Conversation with Governor Maura Healey” with Amherst President Michael A. Elliott on Wednesday, Nov. 1, at 6 p.m. at the College’s Johnson Chapel. While the event is primarily intended for members of the College community, a limited number of seats will be available to the general public.

Amherst College Names Sheree M. Ohen New Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer

(AMHERST, Mass., May 25, 2023) — Amherst College today named Sheree M. Ohen its new chief equity and inclusion officer (CEIO). Ohen most recently served as associate dean for equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging at Harvard University’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences. She will report to Amherst College President Michael A. Elliott and serve on his senior staff. Ohen will join the College on June 20.

Ukrainian Human Rights Lawyer Oleksandra Matviichuk to Be Honored at Amherst College’s Commencement on May 28

(AMHERST, Mass., May 18, 2023) — Ukrainian human rights lawyer Oleksandra Matviichuk, head of Ukraine’s Nobel Peace Prize-winning Center for Civil Liberties (CCL), will be honored along with six other influential leaders in the arts, biotech, higher education, environmental journalism, business and literature during Amherst College’s Commencement on Sunday, May 28, at 10 a.m. on the school’s main quad. 

Moderna President, Pulitzer Prize-winning Poet Among Six To Be Honored at Amherst College’s Commencement

(AMHERST, Mass., April 4, 2023; updated May 18, 2003;) — Six influential leaders in the arts, biotech, higher education, environmental journalism, business and literature will receive honorary degrees from Amherst College during Commencement on Sunday, May 28, at 10 a.m. on the school’s main quad. Amherst President Michael A. Elliott will deliver the traditional Commencement address during the ceremony, and each of the honorees will speak in a series of conversations that are free and open to the public on Saturday, May 27. The schedule for the weekend is on the Commencement website and will be updated as more details become available.

Amherst College Kicks Off Extensive Heating and Cooling System Upgrade

Project Signifies Major Step Toward Goal of Decarbonizing Campus by 2030

(AMHERST, Mass., April 6, 2023) — As part of one of the most necessary and ambitious infrastructure projects in the institution’s history, Amherst College has begun transitioning the campus’ heating and cooling systems from steam to a modern, low-temperature hot-water geothermal system. The project is a critical element of Amherst’s Climate Action Plan (CAP) and represents a major step in the College’s goal of decarbonizing the campus’s energy system by 2030.

Angie Tissi-Gassoway is Named Amherst College’s Chief Student Affairs Officer and Dean of Students

(AMHERST, Mass., March 21, 2023) — Amherst College today named Angie Tissi-Gassoway its new Chief Student Affairs Officer (CSAO) and Dean of Students. She will be responsible for all functions of the Office of Student Affairs, including residential engagement and wellbeing; housing and operations; identity and cultural resources; counseling and mental health; student activities and leadership; health and community safety services; accessibility; case management; community standards; new student programs and orientation; and immigration and visa services. The appointment is effective immediately. Tissi-Gassoway has served as the interim CSAO since February of this year, before which they served as the interim Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer for 14 months.

Amherst College Names Michael Thomas Its New Chief Financial and Administrative Officer

(AMHERST, Mass., February 1, 2023) — Amherst College today named Michael Thomas its new Chief Financial and Administrative Officer (CFAO). On the finance side, he will be responsible for all finance functions of the College, including budgeting, accounting, financial reporting, long-range financial planning, and asset, liability, and risk management. On the administrative side, Thomas will oversee facilities, health and safety, and business services (dining and auxiliary), among key operating functions. 

Acclaimed Authors and Poets Headline Amherst College’s Eighth Annual LitFest

Pulitzer Prize winner Hilton Als and Macarthur Fellowship winner Valeria Luiselli among acclaimed authors and poets to headline LitFest, Feb. 23-26.

(AMHERST, Mass., Jan. 26, 2022)—From Feb. 23–26, Amherst College will host the eighth annual LitFest, a literary festival celebrating fiction, nonfiction, poetry and spoken-word performance, along with the College’s extraordinary literary life. This year’s lineup includes Pulitzer Prize winner Hilton Als, MacArthur Fellowship winner Valeria Luiselli, and 2022 National Book Award finalists Meghan O’Rourke and Ingrid Rojas Contreras, among others. 

Jessica Johnson Announces Retirement From Amherst College

(AMHERST, Mass. – December 19, 2022) — Jessica Johnson has announced that she will retire as head softball coach of Amherst College.

Johnson capped off her career stating, "I owe a debt of gratitude to this game and to everyone who has helped shape me and my career along this two-decade journey. From those who got me started in coaching to those who coached beside me along the way, the far-too-selfless and unsung behind-the-scenes supporters, academic partners and campus resources, conference partners, and regional and national peers, I thank you for it all, to endless depths. And to all the players and families that let me into your lives, I am forever grateful and will forever be in your corner. I am deeply proud of my time and work with each team I have had the privilege to lead, and while I look forward to the opportunity to continue to impact this sport in the future, I am excited to now better align my professional commitments with the needs of my daughter and my mental and physical health.”

Siddhartha V. Shah, Curator and Director of Education and Civic Engagement At the Peabody Essex Museum, is Named Director of The Mead Art Museum at Amherst College

Siddhartha Shah
(AMHERST, Mass., Aug. 10, 2022) — Amherst College announced today that Siddhartha V. Shah, director of education and civic engagement and the curator of South Asian art at the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM), has been named the John Wieland 1958 Director of the College’s Mead Art Museum. Shah will take over the reins of the Mead from interim director Michael Kunichika–who is director of the Amherst Center for Russian Culture and an associate professor of Russian at Amherst–on Nov. 15.

In his new role, Shah will oversee the museum’s collections, acquisitions, exhibitions and programs, as well as a variety of initiatives aimed at deepening engagement with the community both on and off campus. He will work closely with faculty members across disciplines to make the Mead’s resources available for their courses, research and creative work; with students to foster their involvement with the museum as interns, docents, artists, scholars and visitors; and with area schools and community organizations to expand programming in the region. In addition, he will serve as the museum’s chief fundraiser.

Amherst College Files Amicus Brief With Supreme Court Supporting the Use of a “Race-conscious” Admissions Process

Amherst College Seal
(AMHERST, Mass., Aug. 1, 2022) — Amherst College today filed an amicus curiae brief with the Supreme Court of the United States in support of Harvard College and the University of North Carolina and the legality of a “race-conscious” admissions process. In doing so, Amherst reinforced its steadfast commitment to the educational benefits of diversity and the inclusion of race as one component of many in its holistic consideration of each admission application.

Amherst initiated and coordinated the brief, which details the “compelling interest” of a racially diverse student body for liberal arts colleges, consistent with the Supreme Court’s decision in the landmark Grutter v. Bollinger case nearly 20 years ago. Thirty-two peer institutions joined Amherst as signatories to the brief.