A Conversation with the New Board Chair

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In July the Amherst Board of Trustees elected Cullen Murphy ’74, editor-at-large at Vanity Fair and a critically acclaimed author, as its new chairman. He succeeds Jide Zeitlin ’85, who served in the position since 2005.

Cullen Murphy ’74 Elected Chair of Board of Trustees

Photo by Gasper Tringale
Photo: Gasper Tringale

July 3, 2012

Critically acclaimed author and editor Cullen Murphy ’74 has been elected chairman of the Amherst College Board of Trustees, effective immediately, announced outgoing chairman Jide Zeitlin ’85 on Tuesday.

In announcing the new board chair’s appointment, Zeitlin praised Murphy’s dedication to his alma mater.

“Cullen is admired on the board and beyond as a thoughtful leader with an enormous intellect,” Zeitlin said. “He exemplifies the life of the mind and the values that define our undergraduate liberal arts college. Amherst has benefited from Cullen’s dedicated service during the past 12 years. The Board and I look forward to Cullen’s leadership as he and Biddy and others in the Amherst community work to make Amherst even stronger and more distinctive in the years to come.”

Past is Present

God’s Jury: The Inquisition and the Making of the Modern World, by Cullen Murphy ’74 (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Reviewed by Frederick J. McGinness

Cullen Murphy ’74

Cullen Murphy

Cullen Murphy ’74 has been an Amherst College Trustee since the year 2000. He is a freelance writer and editor-at-large for Vanity Fair magazine.

Murphy holds a B.A. in European studies from Amherst. Before arriving at Vanity Fair in 2006, he was an associate editor of Change magazine from 1975 to 1977, senior editor of The Wilson Quarterly 1977 to 1985 and then managing editor of The Atlantic (also known as The Atlantic Monthly) from 1985 to 2005. His books include Rubbish! The Archaeology of Garbage, with co-author William L. Rathje; The Word According to Eve: Women and the Bible in Ancient Times and Our Own; Are We Rome? The Fall of an Empire and the Fate of America; and, most recently, God's Jury: The Inquisition and the Making of the Modern World. 

Passages of Time: Narratives in the History of Amherst College

Edited and with several selections by Douglas C. Wilson ’62. Amherst, Mass.: Amherst College Press, 2007. 298 pp. $25 hardcover.

Crazy ’08: How a Cast of Cranks, Rogues, Boneheads and Magnates Created the Greatest Year in Baseball History

By Cait Murphy ’83. New York City: Smithsonian Books, 2007. 368 pp.
Cait Murphy '83
To Cait Murphy '83, the 1908 baseball season had
everything: the bizarre, the beautiful, the sublime,
the ridiculous.
$24.95 hardcover.

Are We Rome?: The Fall of an Empire and the Fate of America

By Cullen Murphy ’74. Boston: Houghton Mifflin,
Are We Rome?
2007. 262 pp. $24 hardcover.Reviewed by Fredric L. Cheyette