Martin Garnar is Named Director of the Library at Amherst College

Martin Garnar (AMHERST, Mass., April 27, 2020) — Martin Garnar has been named director of the library at Amherst College, it was announced by Catherine Epstein, Provost and Dean of the Faculty. He joins the College from the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, where he was dean of the Kraemer Family Library and a faculty member. Garnar will assume the position on August 1, 2020.

“Martin was the unanimous and enthusiastic choice of the search committee, which was impressed with his wide range of experience, leadership style, and enthusiasm and support for the liberal arts mission,” said Epstein. “When he visited campus in February, those who met with him were struck by his knowledge, vision, collegiality, and ability to connect with members of the community.”

Legendary Amherst College Men’s Basketball Coach David Hixon ’75 to Retire

Alumnus closes books on storied 42-season career with 800+ wins, eight league championships and two NCAA national titles

Coach Dave Hixon (AMHERST, Mass., April 13, 2020)
— Legendary Amherst College head men’s basketball coach David Hixon ’75, who holds the record for number of wins in a single sport while coaching at Amherst, has decided to retire, Director of Athletics Donald Faulstick announced today. During his storied 42-season career at his alma mater, Hixon was the third coach in men’s basketball history across all National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) divisions to surpass the 800-win mark. His overall record of 826-293 places him 15th on the NCAA’s list of most wins in men’s collegiate basketball.

Additionally, Hixon’s Amherst teams defeated archrival Williams in 17 of the last 21 contests the two schools played.

Amherst Admission Responds to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Changes include a test-optional policy and no advance tuition deposit.

A staff members holds a Welcome to Amherst publication (AMHERST, Mass., April 6, 2020)—In response to the enormous global disruption that has accompanied the rapidly evolving COVID-19 public health crisis, Amherst College has announced a set of modifications designed to help students and families in these extraordinary times.  

The Amherst College Office of Admission, with the consultation and approval of the Faculty Committee on Admission & Financial Aid, will suspend for one year its requirement that students applying for first-year admission submit SAT or ACT scores. This test-optional policy applies to applicants for the first-year class during the 2020-21 admission cycle; students applying for transfer admission to Amherst already have no requirement to submit SAT or ACT scores. Applicants may still submit SAT or ACT scores for consideration. However, first-year and transfer applicants should not submit SAT Subject Tests, as they will no longer be considered in Amherst’s admission process.  

Message to the Community Regarding Men’s Lacrosse

March 20, 2020

Dear students, faculty, and staff, 

We write with an update about the steps the College is taking to address problems with the culture and actions of the men’s lacrosse team. Findings of individual responsibility for violating the Honor Code lie with the disciplinary process in the Office of Student Affairs. That process is underway. Federally mandated student privacy protections mean that those findings will not be shared.

College Statement Related to Possible Use of Racist Slur on Campus

March 13, 2020

There is no circumstance in which any racist slur is acceptable on this campus, and there is no use of any slur that does not provoke anger, fear, sadness, and alienation in those who are targeted or outrage in those who abhor racism. That should include all of us. We condemn in the strongest possible terms the use of the racist slur at the heart of this matter.

New Book By Pulitzer Prize-winning Architecture Critic

A new book by Pulitzer Prize-winning architecture critic Blair Kamin ’79 celebrates Amherst College’s rich architectural legacy and the stories its buildings tell.

A panoramic view of Amherst College campus (AMHERST, Mass., Feb. 20, 2020)—In celebration of Amherst College’s upcoming bicentennial in 2021, Pulitzer Prize-winning Chicago Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin ’79 has written a fascinating new book, Amherst College: The Campus Guide. Published by Princeton Architectural Press, photographed by the acclaimed Ralph Lieberman and commissioned by the College, the book presents an architectural tour of Amherst’s 1,000-acre campus and tells the stories of nearly 100 of its buildings, landscapes, sculpture and interiors. 

Legendary Amherst College Volleyball Coach Sue Everden to Begin Phased Retirement

Sue Everden (AMHERST, Mass., January 29, 2020) — Sue Everden, the Amherst College women’s volleyball coach since 1986 who has amassed more than 700 volleyball wins—and more than 1,000 wins overall in multiple sports, the first Amherst coach to accomplish that feat—will begin a phased retirement at the conclusion of the 2019-20 academic year, it was announced by Don Faulstick, Director of Athletics, and Everden. While her active coaching duties will conclude at that time, Everden will plan and lead a team trip to Japan that is expected to take place in spring 2021.

Emily Dickinson Museum Receives a $22 Million Gift From the Late William McC. Vickery ’57

William Vickery The endowed gift, the largest ever received by the Museum, is to be used for the maintenance and improvement of its buildings, grounds and collections. The remainder will fund the maintenance of pianos for the College’s Music Department.

(AMHERST, Mass., June 5, 2019) — Amherst College today announced a gift of approximately $25 million from the late William McC. Vickery ’57 to the College’s endowment, approximately $22 million of which is designated for use by the Emily Dickinson Museum in Amherst, Mass. The transformative gift, the largest ever received by the museum, will be known as the “William McCall Vickery ’57 Emily Dickinson Fund” and is specifically earmarked for the maintenance and improvement of its buildings, grounds and collections. Vickery, who was a devoted Amherst alumnus, volunteer, employee and supporter, also was a founding member of the Dickinson Museum’s board of governors.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to Visit Campus this Fall

October 5, 2019

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

Ruth Bader Ginsbur: Photo credit: Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States I am delighted to announce that we will welcome U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to campus this fall. On Thursday, October 3, Justice Ginsburg and I will hold an onstage conversation at 5:00 p.m. in Johnson Chapel. Justice Ginsburg has also generously offered to meet with students in Cole Assembly Room in Converse Hall at 3:30 p.m. for a review of cases from the last term. The second woman ever appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court, and the first Jewish justice since 1969, Justice Ginsburg is well known for her clear voice in support of the constitutional rights of all members of our society.  Her early career as a pathbreaking lawyer in defense of fundamental rights, as well as her nearly forty years as an appellate judge and Supreme Court Justice, have been well-documented in many media, including opera, late-night television, and two feature-length films.

This will be Justice Ginsburg’s second visit to Amherst. In 1991, two years prior to her appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court, Amherst College president Peter Pouncey awarded Ginsburg an honorary degree, citing her “lifelong insistence that inequality for some unbalances a society and makes it precarious for all.” Her unwavering dedication to righting that imbalance over the course of her lengthy and principled career as a jurist has made Ginsburg not only a pioneer for gender equality but an inspiration to all who seek to address systematic injustice.

170 Works of Contemporary Art Gifted to Mead Art Museum

Exterior of the Mead Art Museum (AMHERST, Mass., August 8, 2019)
— The Mead Art Museum at Amherst College announced today that it has received a gift of more than 170 works of contemporary art from an anonymous donor, significantly expanding the Mead’s holdings of recent work. To celebrate this donation, as well as the range of other contemporary artworks that have either been given to or purchased by the Mead in the last several years, the Museum will present the exhibition Starting Something New: Recent Contemporary Art Acquisitions and Gifts, opening September 10, 2019, and running through July 26, 2020.

Amherst College Names Letitia Johnson its New Chief Investment Officer

Letitia Johnson, Chief Investment Officer, Amherst College (AMHERST, Mass., August 1, 2019) — Amherst College today named Letitia Johnson its new chief investment officer, responsible for the management and oversight of the College’s $2.9 billion long-term investment pool (LTIP), composed of the endowments of Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts; the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C.; and several long-term College reserves. Johnson joins the College from global investment firm Cambridge Associates. At Amherst, she will report to Chief Financial and Administrative Officer Kevin Weinman. Her appointment is effective Sept. 9, 2019. She succeeds current CIO Mauricia Geissler, who has served in the role since 2003.

Photographer Annie Leibovitz Among Seven to be Honored at Amherst College’s Commencement May 26

Student toss their graduation caps at Commencement at Amherst College (AMHERST, Mass., April 16, 2019) — Seven influential leaders in neuroscience, photography, religion, writing, astrophysics and social justice philanthropy will receive honorary degrees from Amherst College during its 198th Commencement exercises on Sunday, May 26, at 10 a.m. on the school’s main quad. Amherst President Biddy Martin 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 25. The schedule for the weekend is available on the Commencement website.

The Common Magazine Receives $8,000 Amazon Literary Partnership Grant

Front cover the The Common literary magazine Amherst, MA-- The Common magazine, the award-winning literary journal based at Amherst College, has been selected for a 2019 Amazon Literary Partnership grant. Since 2017, funding from the Amazon Literary Partnership has helped further The Common’s mission of publishing and promoting emerging and diverse authors who deepen our individual and collective sense of place.

Since 2009, the Amazon Literary Partnership program has awarded more than $12 million in grants to more than 150 organizations, including the National Book Foundation, PEN America, and Poets & Writers amongst others. Through these grants, the Literary Partnership program helps to uplift and amplify marginalized voices in order to promote a more diverse literary community. In 2019, the Amazon Literary Partnership worked with the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses to establish a new Literary Magazine Fund, and The Common is one of only 15 magazines awarded a grant from the Fund in its inaugural year.

Betsy Cannon Smith ’84 is Named Amherst College's Chief Advancement Officer

A portrait of Betsy Cannon Smith (AMHERST, Mass., May 23, 2019)
— Betsy Cannon Smith ’84, P’15 was named Amherst College’s Chief Advancement Officer today by President Biddy Martin. Cannon Smith, who has been alumni secretary since 1993, has served the College in a number of key leadership positions within the Advancement division since joining that group in 1986, including with alumni and parent programs, the annual fund, and the leadership gifts component of the College’s comprehensive campaigns. The appointment is effective immediately.

“I am delighted that Betsy will lead our talented advancement team and the Promise campaign efforts,” said Martin. “She has earned the respect and trust of generations of alumni, as well as colleagues and leaders on campus and off. Her comprehensive and deep familiarity with alumni, staff, and faculty is extraordinary, as is her devotion to the College and its mission. I feel fortunate to have her as a partner in our efforts to ensure Amherst realizes its promise."