Honorees in the 2017 Commencement Ceremony

May 21, 2017

Watch the segment of Sunday’s ceremony in which President Martin confers the honorary degrees, the Swift Moore awards, and the Medal for Eminent Service.

2017 Honorary Degrees

Six influential leaders in the fields of theater and dance, energy policy, environmental history, poverty and development economics, cancer research and religion received honorary degrees from Amherst College during its 196th Commencement exercises on Sunday, May 21.

Read the honorary degree citations:

group portrait of the 2017 honorary degree recipients

Honorary degree recipients (clockwise from top left) William Cronon, Barrett J. Rollins ’74, Yanira Castro ’94E, Esther Duflo, Peter J. Rubinstein ’64. Photo by Maria Stenzel.


2017 Medal for Eminent Service

Katherine Chia ’88 received the Medal for Eminent Service. The award is presented to members of the Amherst community who have demonstrated extraordinary devotion to the college.


2017 Swift Moore Teaching Awards

Each year at Commencement, Amherst College presents the Phebe and Zephaniah Swift Moore Teaching Awards to three outstanding secondary school teachers who challenged, inspired and moved members of the graduating class. The awards are named for the first president of the College and his wife. Amherst has presented the awards since 1997. This year’s recipients are:

  • Daniel Adler, economics, geometry and government teacher, Long Beach Polytechnic High School, Long Beach, California
  • R. Nicole Gharda, English teacher, Ernest S. McBride Sr. High School, Long Beach, California
  • Elisa Murphy ’94, biology teacher, The Spence School, New York, New York

Class of 2017 Honorary Class Members

The Class of 2017 elected the following Amherst College staff members to be honorary classmates, and honored them at Senior Assembly:

  • Paul Gallegos, Student Affairs
  • Peter McLean, Book and Plow Farm
  • Doralinda Puente, Schwemm's Coffee House
  • Jeanne E. Reinle, Economics
  • Angie Tissi-Gassoway, Diversity & Inclusion