Tania dias ’13 • students help ceo • Amherst english: an appreciation
No Experience Required
Five students and a CEO Amherst English ends an era How to be happy after college
Henry Bao-Viet Nguyen ’13 and Lacie Goldberg ’13 have never run a hotel. That’s why one CEO sought them out.
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in this issue
➾ summer 2013 | volume 65
16 the fearless underdog interview By brianda reyes ’14
During a remarkably hard year for Amherst, Tania Dias ’13 proved to be exactly the leader the student body needed.
20 the boardroom is not merrill 131 by emily gold boutilier
Frits van Paasschen ’83 is CEO and president of one of the largest hotel companies in the world. So why would he seek advice from a bunch of college students?
26 Amherst English: An Appreciation By rand richards cooper ’80
The English department marked the end of an era this spring with a reception for eight retiring professors. One alumnus reflects on a curriculum that challenged him to be thoughtful.
➾ on the cover
Photograph of Henry Bao-Viet Nguyen ’13 and Lacie Goldberg ’13 by Joshua Paul
2 voices 4 COLLEGE ROW
A Summer Stunt for Niahlah Hope ’15 Love Letters turn up on bathroom walls how to be happy after graduation And more
champs Keri Lambert ’13 is a star runner. Spencer Noon ’13 is the all-time leading scorer for the men’s soccer program
30 BEYOND CAMPUS
geology Andrea Dutton ’95 studies dead coral to predict future sea levels civil war Ronald Bailey ’75 heads the Gettysburg Black History Museum at sea Rev. John Potter ’68 spent a year on a boat small business Sales are up at the local bookshop owned by Jonah Zimiles ’79
36 pOINT OF VIEW
no longer neutral In giving a voice to soldiers who’ve been wronged, Joshua Kors ’01E found his own
38 AMHERST CREATES
fiber arts Animal sculptures by Kiyoshi Mino ’01 Fiction The Gods of Heavenly Punishment, by Jennifer Cody Epstein ’88 biography David L. Roll ’62 on Harry Hopkins documentary Amy Ziering ’84 chronicles military sexual assault memoir Brothers Emanuel, by Ezekiel J. Emanuel ’79
44 remember when
Before frozen food made him famous, Clarence Birdseye collected plant and animal specimens near Amherst
“I had many students come up to me and say that for the first time, they knew who their president was.” tania dias ’13 page 16
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MORE NEWS l Kate Berry ’12 is trying to identify trends in human trafficking through her work at the Polaris Project.
l Nearly 130 students are spending the summer interning with three Center for Community Engagement programs. l Eric Steinbrook ’15 is biking from San Francisco to Boston to raise money for an HIV/ AIDS organization. AUDIO AND VIDEO l Students perform a reading of a new play about five young, undocumented immigrants living in the United States.
j keep an eye out for anther smut, a sexually transmitted flower disease. If you spot it, you can use a new app to help one Amherst professor study its spread. Page 9
Samuel masinter ’04, Rob mattson, Jessica mestre ’10, shana sureck, public affairs office
l The trio de pumpkintown (Tim Eriksen ’88, Peter Irvine ’87 and Zoë Darrow) performs during reunion weekend. l Jeffrey Bleich ’83 gives a reunion talk about his life as U.S. ambassador to australia. l During the annual meeting of the Society of the Alumni, President Biddy Martin answers questions and speaks about the state of the college. PHOTO GALLERIES l find new grads in 434 images from the Senior Dinner photo booth. Also, look for friends in 174 photos from Reunion 2013.
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“Andrew Blum’s journey to find the Internet began in his basement in Brooklyn. Mine began on a rooftop in the Bronx.”
Your piece “Behind the Glowing Screen” (Spring 2013) gave me a chuckle. Andrew Blum’s journey to find the Internet began in his basement in Brooklyn. Mine began on a rooftop in the Bronx. Only, I wasn’t looking for the Internet—it found me. My business start-up began somewhat desperately in the mid-’90s. I took a task others wouldn’t— scouting rooftops on tenement buildings in the South Bronx for expansion of Sprint’s cellular antennae network. My business evolved from rooftop deals, to access agreements in office buildings, to brokering leases for data carriers, to construction of data centers. These nondescript, concrete buildings are incongruously critical to the function of our communications infrastructure. And, just in case Mr. Blum is curious, he need not go in search of “The Cloud.” He found it already. Christopher Murray ’80 Ridgefield, Conn. Clean, consistent and appealing I want to commend you on the Spring issue of Amherst. It is not only well written, but the interior design is gorgeous. I have given up a couple of subscriptions (which shall remain nameless) because their designs became too messy. But yours is clean, consistent and appealing. Good work! There also seemed to be more interesting information on what students (as well as recent gradu-
The Physical Internet
Andrew Blum ’99
ates) are doing. Perhaps I have not paid sufficient attention to past issues, but on this one you and your staff are to be congratulated. Dixon Long ’55 Mill Valley, Calif. Too Select I was intrigued by the idea of “Select Dinners” discussed in the Spring issue (“Elevating the College Party,” College Row). However, I was disappointed that only students of “legal drinking age” are invited. I, and the handful of other grade-skippers in my class, would not
have been able to participate, since we did not turn 21 until after graduation. I would suggest that the college organize at least one dinner in the series to include underage seniors, at which nondrinkers would be welcomed as well. These groups should not be excluded from what sounds like an otherwise excellent new tradition. Stephanie K. Turner ’91 Cincinnati Half of the dinners in the 2013-14 academic year will be for the under-21 group. Each will have a different theme. –Editor
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Samuel Masinter ’04
I’m troubled by the article “Elevating the College Party.” Just when I thought Amherst was serious about curbing its elitism, I find an article touting the celebration of class distinction. This is the college’s Select Dinner Series: a breezy 15-minute lecture affirming that “this will be the American century” followed by a white-linen four-course meal accompanied by the right wines. Is this what’s required for students to break out of their shells and engage in serious conversation? Who’s paying for these dinners? And who gets to attend? Do college students really need to be waited upon? Must deep conversation be alcohol-fueled? This seems to me a training ground for Wall Street interviews rather than an effort to cross social boundaries. Or maybe it’s a new “class” project to bring the now 50-percent nonwhite, 60-percent financial-aid-reliant student body into the elitist fold. When I was an undergraduate we had our own aspirations to nudge the intellectual culture through new din-
On Facebook and Twitter, alumni and students weighed in on stories in the Spring 2013 magazine, including those on the new dinosaur skeleton and the alumni proprietors of Sidehill Farm. social media posts
“Our student-to-dinosaur ratio is pretty awesome.” Will Savino ’14 , via Facebook
ing habits. We cooked cream of celery soup in the kitchen of one of the houses and heard from one of our esteemed professors while we sat around communal tables. Although the soup burned and most of us repaired to Valentine for a proper meal, we weren’t seeking to mimic the high and mighty and instead relished the opportunity college provided to do something for ourselves. I keep hoping that the leadership of Tony Marx and Biddy Martin signal real change, but in this case the professed aspiration for social connection betrays a more basic desire to hold tight to wealth and power. Whether this is borne out of the arrogance or insecurity of the current student body, wouldn’t discussion over coffee or the proverbial latenight pizza suffice? Brenda Chalfin ’86 Gainesville, Fla. Correction The Spring 2013 review of the book Schroder misspelled the phrase “free rein.”
Amy Klippenstein ’89 and Paul Lacinski ’89
“Wait: SideHill Farm yogurt, some of the best yogurt ever, is made by fellow @AmherstCollege alums? Stop the presses! Buy SideHill!” Beth Maynard ’84 , via Twitter “Nice design makeover of the @AmherstCollege alumni mag—kudos.” Ted Loos ’91 , via Twitter
AMHERST volume 65, number 4 Editor
Emily Gold Boutilier (413) 542-8275 email@example.com Alumni Editor
Betsy Cannon Smith ’84 (413) 542-2031 Design director
Katherine Duke ’05 Magazine Advisory Committee
Lawrence Douglas David Hixon ’75 Ron Lieber ’93 Elizabeth Minkel ’07 Megan Morey Alexandra Postman ’90 Peter Rooney Want to Hear From You ➾ We Amherst welcomes letters from
its readers. Please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org or Amherst Magazine, PO Box 5000, Amherst, MA 01002. Letters must be 300 words or fewer and should address the content in the magazine. www.amherst.edu/magazine
Amherst (USPS 024-280) is published quarterly by Amherst College at Amherst, Massachusetts 01002-5000, and is sent free to all alumni. Periodicals postage paid at Amherst, Massachusetts 01002-5000 and additional mailing offices. Postmaster: Please send Form 3579 to Amherst, AC # 2220, PO Box 5000, Amherst College, Amherst, MA 01002-5000. Amherst Summer 2013 3
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news and views from campus
St u n t
Sum me r 5 Niahlah Hope ’15 had an unusual summer goal: to backflip her way to a world record.
ambition U Niahlah Hope ’15 spent much of the summer training to break a world record. While other students were interning in an office, or traveling the world, or studying for the LSAT, she was perfecting her backflip. The gymnast, cheerleader and diver went home to Far Rockaway, N.Y., to train to break the Guinness world record for consecutive back handsprings. Hope’s effort began last year, when she saw a video about Texas high-school cheerleader Miranda Ferguson, whose 35 flips on a football field in October 2012 earned her the record. “I thought it was pretty cool,” Hope says. “I thought to myself, ‘Maybe I could beat it.’” Hope is an economics and environmental studies major who aspires to be a stunt performer. She’s worked as an extra in movies—including, this summer, The Amazing Spider-Man 2. But her interests are varied: She’s also considering careers in business, finance and air traffic control.
Number of consecutive back handsprings needed to break the Guinness World Record
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Choose Your Own Exam
What should every English major have read and watched by graduation?
cable network truTV. “They asked me if I was still trying to break the record,” Hope says. “At the time I wasn’t, but I said, ‘I’ll train for it.’” To build up her strength, she sprinted and lifted weights. Her regimen also included diving and “AntiGravity yoga”—yoga practiced in a silk hammock suspended off the ground. In addition, she interned this summer at AntiGravity, Inc., an acrobatic performance troupe. And she did a lot of handsprings. “I do get dizzy,” she said in midJune, weeks away from her official attempt, “but I don’t really feel it until I stop flipping.” Her training culminated on July 11, when she arrived—unfortunately, with a newly sprained wrist—at a production studio in California. Hope had to do at least 36 back handsprings with no breaks in between. But her injury—and her full stomach—caught up with her, forcing her to stop at 22. Despite a long nine hours on set, she’s glad she made the trip, in part because she got to see other records get broken (she’s not allowed to reveal which ones). And she might make a second attempt at the backflip title. “They want me to come back next year,” she says. E.G.B.
Ideal texts are those that “students should have had an opportunity to read during their four years here, but for some reason or another we haven’t had an opportunity to teach,” writes Associate Professor Marisa Parham on the nominations site. “Ten years from now, I could imagine Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go being on the list, but it would never be on the exam now because several courses are in love with it. But Mark Twain’s Pudd’nhead Wilson could have made it last year because no one had taught it recently, even though 15 years ago all the cool kids were doing it.” Last year’s winners were Adrienne Rich’s A Wild Patience Has Taken Me This Far, Tony Kushner’s Angels in America, Toni Morrison’s Paradise, The Letters of John Keats and Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner.
illustration by nicole kaufman
After seeing the Ferguson video, Hope applied to Guinness World Records Gone Wild, a reality show in which would-be record holders make their attempts in front of an audience. In April she got a call from a California number that she didn’t recognize. It was someone from the show, which airs on the
Since 2012, the English department has been crowdsourcing the required reading/viewing list associated with its senior comprehensive exam, inviting the department’s faculty, staff, current majors and recent alumni to nominate and vote for texts online.
On July 11, despite a sprained wrist, Niahlah Hope ’15 made her attempt in front of a live TV audience.
This year’s nominations ranged from Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom, to Mary McCarthy’s The Group, to Collected Shorter Plays, by Eugene O’Neill. More than 60 people nominated between one and three texts each, and voting was under way at press time. The 2013 list will comprise the winners from each of five categories: poetry, drama, fiction, nonfiction and film. Amherst Summer 2013 5
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Love Letters on the Bathroom Wall 5 Anonymous graffiti artists have added literary touches to two more college bathrooms.
Mischief U Late last semester, missives between two turnof-the-20th-century European intellectuals mysteriously appeared on bathroom walls in Frost Library, just yards from the German literature stacks on B Level. Grout between the cinder blocks served as lines on a page for permanent-markerwielding truants. Technically, the passages—from the letters of Rainer Maria Rilke and the diary of Lou AndreasSalomé—qualify as graffiti, as do drawings that accompany the words. But instead of ordering harsh chemicals to restore the walls to their offwhite blankness, the
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rob mattson (2)
library staff took a bright view of this finde-school-year expression of literary verve. “We admire the creativity and resourcefulness far more than we are troubled by the transgression,” says College Librarian Bryn Geffert. The words will be preserved. But who should get the credit (or blame)? Professor of German Christian Rogowski offers context for understanding the responsible parties. When the bathroom artists struck, he and 15 students were finishing a course on Rilke, one of the most celebrated German poets of the 20th century. Not long before, President Biddy Martin spoke to his class. Martin wrote a book about Salomé, the psychoanalyst and intellectual powerhouse who was remembered mainly for the famous men she knew. “She was a friend of Nietzsche, a lover of Rilke and a student of Freud,” says Rogowski. “Biddy was the first critic to put Salomé back on the map in her own right.” In the passage in the women’s restroom, Rilke, still unknown in 1897, gushes to Salomé, an established (and married) writer. Their ensuing romance helped shape Rilke’s literary identity. The men’s room features Salomé’s reflections, from her diary four years later, about needing to break off from a man 15 years her junior. As Rogowski explains, “To be assigned the role of muse, mother, lover, therapist of this very demanding young man was getting a bit too much for her.” Count Martin among those pleased with the graffiti. She even talked about it in this year’s commencement address: “I never imagined ending up at a place where mischief takes the form of memorializing the love letters of late-19th-century intellectuals and poets on bathroom walls.” In fact, it’s not the first time Amherst students have added literary touches to lavatories. In 1978, passages from James Joyce’s Ulysses showed up in a Johnson Chapel bathroom, where they remain today. And a women’s restroom in Chapin Hall is decorated with quotes from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books. When Rogowski heard about the Frost bathrooms, he went to examine them. His assessment: “It required meticulous planning—the quotes are carefully spread out, and they end at an appropriate moment. This should not be regarded as an act of vandalism, but as an homage to a life of the mind.” Eric Goldscheider
In the men’s and women’s rooms, rilke and salomÉ
Two Join Board of Trustees They are a former Ivy president and a one-time prosecutor.
”[B]ut I took the path toward Ammerland and forgot everything I had been thinking; for the deeper I penetrated into the beech trees’ secrecy, and the farther the flowers and tall gray thistles in the pale meadows beckoned me with their waving, the clearer it became to me: all this is a festival. There was nothing of the everyday up here; only the few times we had walked alone, up above, our souls silent and oh so close, had it been like this.” ”I began, proceeded as if I had neither the novella nor Michael Kramer around my neck, wrote grandly and freely and indulgently. ... Rainer came by in the light of morning, just as I was starting; outdoors an incredibly soft frost full of sun was everywhere. I ran into the woods, then in the dark of evening ran once again down the street. Now I shall sleep —with a bad conscience and a still completely unquenched desire for that wicked band [of characters in her novel Rodinka] on the other side of the wall.”
The Amherst board of trustees has two new members: Shirley Tilghman , former president of Princeton, and Patrick Fitzgerald ’82 , who led the prosecutions of two successive governors of Illinois. Tilghman was chosen by the board; Fitzgerald was elected by his fellow alumni. Tilghman Tilghman, a leader in the field of molecular biology, served on the Princeton faculty for 15 years before being named president in 2001. She famously was asked to resign from the presidential search committee so that she could become a candidate for the job. She stepped down from the presidency this year. Fitzgerald was the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois from 2001 to 2012. In that role, he led many high-profile investigations and prosecutions, including those that resulted in the convictions, on corruption charges, of Illinois Govs. George Ryan and Rod Blagojevich. Named as a special counsel in 2003, Fitzgerald investigated the leak of CIA agent Valerie Fitzgerald Plame Wilson’s identity. Last year he joined the Chicago office of the law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. Tilghman received an honorary doctorate from Amherst in 2008, and Fitzgerald received one in 2007. “Amherst College is very fortunate that it will soon be benefitting from the wisdom of one of academia’s most visionary leaders and one of the legal profession’s most distinguished practitioners,” says Cullen Murphy ’74, chair of the board of trustees. Tilghman, a member of the National Research Council committee that set the blueprint for the U.S. effort in the Human Genome Project, was a founding member of the National Advisory Council of the Human Genome Project at the National Institutes of Health. In 1994, Fitzgerald successfully prosecuted Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman and 11 others charged in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. He served on a team of prosecutors investigating Osama bin Laden and was chief counsel in prosecutions related to the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. The board of trustees consists of President Biddy Martin, 14 term trustees chosen by the board and six alumni trustees elected by the alumni. Peter Rooney Amherst Summer 2013 7
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Times faster than conventional computing
9 A professor tests a new computing system and finds it’s up to 3,600 times as fast as conventional methods. But who needs that speed?
Tech U What’s faster, a quantum computer or a regular computer? In May, a professor’s attempt to answer this question landed her in the media spotlight. First, Catherine McGeoch, the Beitzel Professor in Technology and Society, was hired by the Canadian company D-Wave to test the speed of its quantum computing system against conventional computing methods. As McGeoch prepared to share her findings at a conference in Italy, news outlets came calling: “A Quantum Computer Aces Its Test,” announced a May 8 New York Times headline. Many other publications covered her research, including The Economist and MIT’s Technology Review. The system she was testing has a thumbnailsized chip stored in a dilution refrigerator within a shielded cabinet at near absolute zero. Where conventional computing is binary, 1s and 0s get mashed up in quantum computing, and within that super-cooled (and non-observable) state of flux, a lightning-quick logic takes place, capable of solving problems up to 3,600 times as fast as conventional methods, according to her findings. “Ours is the first paper, to my knowledge, that compares the quantum approach to conventional methods using the same set of problems,” McGeoch says. “I’m not claiming that this is the last word, but it’s a first word.” McGeoch has 25 years of experience setting up experiments to test computing speed. She is a founder of “experimental algorithmics,” a niche 8 Amherst Summer 2013
Conventional computing system
that is increasingly helpful in evaluating computing performance. That’s why she spent a month consulting at D-Wave, which has produced what it claims is the world’s first commercially available quantum computing system. McGeoch says the D-Wave has the most potential in calculations that involve a specific “combinatorial optimization” problem that is comparable in difficulty to the famous “traveling salesperson” problem. The traveling salesperson problem—foundational to theoretical computing—asks: given a list of cities and the distance between each pair of cities, what is the shortest possible route that visits each city exactly once and returns to the original city? The problem can apply to areas such as flight scheduling, search optimization and DNA analysis. “This type of computer is not intended for surfing the Internet,” McGeoch says, “but it does solve this narrow but important type of problem really, really fast—thousands of times faster than anything I’m aware of.” For other problems, it simply “does as well as some of the best things I’ve looked at.” But who needs a quantum machine? For now, not the average personal computer user. “It’s probably going to be big companies like Google and government agencies,” McGeoch says. In fact, Nature reported on May 23 that D-Wave “has secured another customer—a collaboration between Google, NASA and the non-profit Universities Space Research Association.” According to the magazine, “the deal was sealed after” McGeoch’s tests. P.r.
Quantum computing system
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Biology U Combine a new app with a sexually transmitted disease in wildflowers and what do you get? With any luck, “citizen scientists” from around the world who will help Associate Professor of Biology Michael Hood with the Wildflower Health Watch, a project to understand more about how disease is spread in natural populations. If you’ve hiked in the Rockies, the Sierras, or the Swiss, Italian or Austrian Alps, you may have noticed some wildflowers with unusual dark pollen that blemishes their petals. If so, you’ve observed anther smut, a sexually transmitted flower disease that is beMichael Hood
5 Next time you spot a sexually transmitted flower disease, you can help scientists who are studying its spread.
Amherst—the study of anther smut is set to expand in new directions. With weLogger, anyone who sees an infected flower can take a photo and record video and audio, and the app will automatically log the time and GPS coordinates, then store that information in a custom server application, says Scott Payne, director of Academic Technology Services, who created weLogger with Miodrag Glumac. Hood hopes that citizen scientists—amateurs who volunteer to gather data for scientific research projects— will download the app, collect images and recordings of flowers with the powdery fungus and contribute that data to the Wildflower Health Watch. The app has broader potential, too: It could help anyone with a field research project to quickly log visual, audio, geographic and time data. “Whether moths or mice or birds,” Hood says, “this app allows you to collect a lot of very valuable data and to log that data in a secure way. I haven’t seen anything like it. It’s truly exceptional.” p.r.
Kate Beemer ’15
coming a leading model species for scientists to study the biology of infectious diseases. Because it doesn’t kill the flowers it infects or pose any threat to humans, other animals or economically important plants, and because anther smut and the flowers that carry it can be easily grown in labs, it’s “one of the best disease model systems there is,” says Hood. It even intrigued Charles Darwin. Now, thanks to a new, free mobile app called weLogger—developed by IT specialists at
Tracking STDs in Plants
Come Out and Play A new video sends a powerful message to student athletes: Whatever your sexual orientation, your team at Amherst will welcome you. Student Life U “If you can swim, you can swim.” “If you can row, you can row.” So begins a video that Amherst athletes and staff created last spring for the You Can Play Project, a national effort advocating respect for all collegiate athletes, regardless of sexual orientation. It offers a simple yet profound message: “Gay or straight, if you can play, you can play.” “And we want you to play,” President Biddy Martin says in the video, in which more than 90 Amherst athletes spread this message of acceptance, including All-American diver Lizzy Linsmayer ’14, All-American swimmer Connor Sholtis ’15, All-NESCAC tennis player Jen Newman ’14 and All-NESCAC track/cross-country runner Pat Grimes ’13. “Eighteen of the 27 teams are represented,” says Assistant Women’s Hockey Coach Liz Gallinaro, “and it would’ve been more, but it was hard for some of the spring teams.” Kate Beemer ’15, an athletic liaison for the Center for Community Engagement and a video intern, was among the students instrumental in getting the project from script to screen. While there is support for LGBTQIA athletes at Amherst, that support is not always immediately obvious to students, Beemer says: “It’s addressed more in the arts community or even female sports and, I also think, with male individual sports. But as far as maledominated team sports, there is a lack of acknowledgment to bring it up in open conversation.” She says the project “raised the discussion for a lot of people.” The three-and-a-half-minute video also features Athletic Director Suzanne Coffey and several coaches. “Amazing student athletes who come to Amherst join a proud tradition of excellence, diversity and tolerance,” Coffey says in the video. “No matter what their sexual orientation, they support each other, and they get support from coaches, faculty, fellow students and fans.” Or, as Football Coach E.J. Mills says in the video, “When you play for Amherst athletics, what counts is effort.” William Sweet
l F video www.amherst.edu/magazine
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The Mama Noodles economic index in Thailand was based on the theory that sales of instant noodles increased because people could not afford pricier foods.
Momofuku Ando invented Instant noodles in 1958 in Japan, where they became a sign of modernity. Now they are commemorated in three Japanese museums.
In Papua New Guinea, “schoolchildren may purchase cups of instant noodle soup from a mobile cart, drink the liquid and place the remaining noodles in a scone to make a noodle sandwich,” according to The Noodle Narratives.
The World Noodle Association estimates that 95.39 billion packages and cups of instant noodles were sold in 2010.
There are several websites devoted to the meals that U.S. prisoners have created by combining instant noodles with other foods, such as peanut butter and Kool-Aid.
Instant Noodles Won’t Save the World e But here’s how they’ll help it. Research U As government officials and food authorities ponder the ever more urgent question of how to feed a ballooning global population, one Amherst professor is exploring an answer that some experts have suggested: instant noodles. In a new book, anthropologist Deborah Gewertz examines the history, manu-
facturing, marketing and consumption of instant noodles and makes the case that this staple of the American college student diet will play an increasingly significant role on the world stage. “Instant noodles have already shown a remarkable capacity to ease themselves into diverse lives,” says Gewertz, the G. Henry
Whitcomb 1874 Professor of Anthropology. “We expect that the calories provided by the tasty, convenient, cheap, shelf-stable, industrially prepared instant noodles will remain important” as food becomes scarcer. In The Noodle Narratives: The Global Rise of an Industrial Food Into the TwentyFirst Century, Gewertz and
two co-authors, Frederick Errington and Tatsuro Fujikura ’91, focus on three markets: Japan: Instant noodles were invented there in 1958 and were a sign of modernity in the decades after World War II. Later, they came to be seen as a convenient snack. After the Japanese market was saturated in the 1990s,
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student view | Brianda Reyes ’14 manufacturers tweaked flavors, toppings and packaging in order to entice consumers. United States: Here, instant noodles are important to college students, their nostalgic parents, the impoverished and prison inmates. For the latter, they provide a taste of freedom. Papua New Guinea: Instant noodles arrived in the 1980s as a cheap option for the urban poor, who eat them for snacks, meals and while entertaining guests, and who also use the included flavoring packets in other dishes. The noodles are cultivating this group of people as future consumers of other mass-produced items. The book explores how manufacturers might make instant noodles more healthful—by, for example, baking instead of frying them, adding iron or using spices in place of salt. “With 9 billion people in this world by 2050 and most of them living in cities,” Gewertz says, “we know that it is going to take some kind of industrial production to feed them. Instant noodles, as they are right now, are certainly not going to make people healthy. But they do fill bellies, and they will keep people alive. I can’t say that is a bad thing.” As such, “we find it difficult to imagine the increasingly urbanized food future without this humble form of salty, MSGenhanced, oily, and Deborah Gewertz sometimes sugary capitalist provisioning,” the authors write. “Instant noodles will definitely not save the world, but they will continue to help a wide range of people deal with the often harsh exigencies of their lives. With some reluctance, we believe that this is for the better, not for the worse.” Caroline J. Hanna
Political Science Editor-in-chief:
The Amherst Student
I remember when I heard that some students took five classes each semester. I felt like the world’s biggest underachiever, or at least Amherst’s biggest underachiever. For most of my sophomore year, I wondered why I could barely handle four classes when others thrived in five. pushed the editors and Then, one night during writers to pursue in-depth my junior year, as I sat in stories that the student the office of The Amherst body would care about. Student at 5 a.m. editing Our readership saw a small InDesign pages, I realized I boost. did have a fifth class. Being Then, the 2012–13 acathe editor-in-chief of The demic year happened. First Student was my extra class. the amherst student we covered a professor’s I was my own professor, resignation after claims and the readings included 12 weekly pages, each of which I proofed of plagiarism. Then we published a powerful account of sexual assault. That at least three times. I gave a presentastory went viral, and we reported on the tion of my work every Wednesday aftercampus-wide call for culture and policy noon to the entire college. change that followed, as well as a debate During the past three years, I spent about whether there’s a connection becountless hours in The Student’s Keefe tween athletics and sexual assault. Campus Center office reading, writing, Despite the tragic or unfortunate designing and editing, and even more nature of some of those stories, we were time outside interviewing, emailing proud to publish them. We showed that and, most of all, worrying. I never slept The Amherst Student could cover more much on Tuesday nights, not only bethan just lectures. We played an imporcause I stayed up late sending off the tant role in exposing some of the colnewspaper but also because, afterward, lege’s flaws and faults. We changed the I tossed and turned in bed, wondering way our readers perceived us. That is all if we’d spelled someone’s name incorI ever wanted. rectly or credited a quote to the wrong The newspaper still has a long way person. to go. We are struggling to sustain ourIt was a difficult, unpaid and mostly selves financially, we’re short-staffed, thankless job. But whenever I wondered and not every writer is committed to why I was doing it, I remembered the producing quality work. People still call first meeting I attended at the paper, it The Amherst Stupid, but at least they when I asked one of the editors if we read it. should follow Associated Press style. Next year, I will no longer be enrolled He’d never heard of AP style, even in this fifth class. It’s time for someone though it’s the standard for newspapers else to take it. around the country. I made a goal for As both the professor and the stumyself then and there: to improve the dent, I now have to grade myself. I think quality of The Student. I at least passed. But I will leave the letIt was not an easy task. When I beter grade up to our readers. came editor-in-chief in 2012, I recruited Go easy on me. Remember, I took a talented sophomore to revamp and four other classes. modernize the paper’s appearance. I Amherst Summer 2013 11
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How to Be Happy After College
megan robertson ’15
rob mattson Jessica Mestre ’10
Speeches U In her commencement address President Biddy Martin exhorted the 464 members of the Class of 2013 to “hold to your desire for poetry.” “I came here,” she said, “for many of the same reasons you did: because of the strength of Amherst’s faculty, because of the talent of its students and the quality of its educational programs. … I came because of its commitment to a student body that reflects the rich diversity of the country, indeed the world. I came, as you did, to contribute in some way to making Amherst even better.” Martin praised the seniors’ leadership and athletic prowess, as well as their “silliness and mischief, critical elements of a good life.” She read a passage from one of Rainer Maria Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet, noting that humans need connections that are best expressed in poetry. The new graduates understand this, Martin said: One-third of them took a poetry course in college. “I hope you take seriously not only what you build in the way of careers, friendships, relationships, homes,” Martin said, “but that you also … hold to your desire for thought. Hold to your desire for poetry.” Earlier, the audience heard from elected class speaker Reilly Horan ’13, who talked about finding happiness in the “day-to-day grind” after graduating. “Most of the lessons I’ve learned about happiness at Amherst have to do with how I reconcile myself in a room full of others,” she said. “My big takeaway is this: While I’m dealing with my problems and insecurities and dreams, so are other people.” Horan urged her classmates not to worry about how they are being evaluated by others, and to find a community: “The good stuff comes when you stop frantically looking around while you tread water and realize that you’re already buoyant and just start swimming.” c.j.h.
Mischief and community are essential to a good life, say the two commencement speakers.
What’s Next President Martin devoted part of her address to the future plans of the Class of 2013. The most common employment sectors for the new grads are financial services and education (in about the same ratio), sciences and consulting. “It did not surprise me,” Martin said, “to hear that almost 20 percent of your job titles
include the word ‘analyst.’” For those staying in school, 83 percent received one or more graduate-program acceptances. “Seventy-seven percent will attend their first-choice institution, and that’s based only on
the information we have so far,” Martin said. The most common degrees being pursued are the doctorate and the law degree. For those pursuing doctorates, the top three fields of study are in the sciences.
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Amherst awarded seven honorary doctorates during the commencement ceremony. special honors
Freddie Bryant Hollister ’87 (stage name: Freddie Bryant) is a virtuosic guitarist and composer. Madeline Janis ’82 cofounded the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy, through which she led a successful campaign to pass one of the first living-wage laws in the United States. Paul Rieckhoff ’98 is founder and CEO of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.
The 70-Year B.A. Super Senior U Arthur J. Ourieff ’s first semester at college began like any other. He studied hard, goofed off occasionally and went on a few dates. But World War II shifted his plans. He never walked in a graduation ceremony, and he never received his diploma. That changed on May 26, 2013, when, almost 70 years after he was supposed to graduate from Amherst, the 89-year-old Los Angeles resident was awarded an honorary bachelor’s degree alongside the Class of 2013. Ourieff was a 17-year-old Amherst freshman when Pearl Harbor was bombed. Accepted into a Navy program that would allow him to earn his B.A. in three years, get medical training and then serve in the military, he applied to Harvard Medical
Jessica Mestre ’10
5 Decades after World War II, Arthur J. Ourieff ’45 received his Amherst diploma.
School in January 1943. A week later, he was accepted into a class that would start in three months. He called Harvard and said it must have been a mistake: He’d not completed his premedical coursework. But the university could not guarantee him a place in a later class. Ourieff struck a deal with Amherst Professor Donald C. Gregg to condense a year’s worth of organic chemistry into 28 days. “Professor Gregg and I met every day that month, and I was given access to the laboratories 24 hours a day,” Ourieff says. “In the evening of the last day of February, I took my final exam in organic chemistry and passed. In those days, as today, Amherst went all out to provide what students needed, and I am forever grateful.” On April 1, 1943, Ourieff began Harvard Medical School as a uniformed Navy
seaman—the youngest member of the class, he says. Three years later he received his M.D. and was promoted to lieutenant, junior grade, in the Navy Medical Corps. He treated soldiers suffering from symptoms of what is now called post-traumatic stress disorder. Ourieff went on to a career as a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst (he still practices part-time). Two years ago, while reading an Amherst magazine story about World War II vets receiving their long-overdue degrees, Ourieff got to thinking: Would Amherst do the same for him? Encouraged by his son, Bruce Ourieff ’73, he wrote to President Biddy Martin, who had the registrar confirm his good academic standing. As Martin handed Ourieff his diploma on commencement day, the Class of 2013 gave him a standing ovation. c.j.h.
Barry Scheck cofounded the Innocence Project, which uses DNA testing to exonerate those wrongly convicted of crimes. Jim Steinman ’69 is the composer, lyricist, producer and arranger behind such hit songs as “Total Eclipse of the Heart.” He is best known for writing “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” and other songs on Bat Out of Hell and “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)” on Bat Out of Hell II. Diana Chapman Walsh was president of Wellesley College from 1993 to 2007. She is a former Amherst trustee. Robert Yarchoan ’71, P’07, P’13 is a member of the threeperson National Cancer Institute team that developed the first effective therapies for HIV infection. The college awarded Medals for Eminent Service to Alan S. Bernstein ’63 and Kent W. Faerber ’63, as well as Swift Moore Teaching Awards to high school teachers Deborah Hepburn of Clinton (N.Y.) Senior High School; Larry Klein of Harvard-Westlake School in Studio City, Calif.; and Fred Murphy of Frederick Douglass Academy in New York City.
video Talks by honorl ary degree recipients at www. amherst.edu/magazine
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Spencer Noon ’13 is the all-time leading scorer in men’s soccer. Keri Lambert ’13 won a national title.
By Matthew Hart
What’s it like to win a national title? What do conference champion soccer players talk about at dinner? How does Michael Jordan want to be remembered when he dies? Last spring Keri Lambert ’13, a history major, and Spencer Noon ’13, an American studies major, earned All-America honors for their performances on the field and track and were named Academic All-Americans by the College Sports Information Directors of America. In June they answered questions about their athletic and academic careers. Let’s look at some high points during your junior seasons, starting with your national title in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, Keri. What was going through your mind before and after that race? Lambert: Before trials, I was ridiculously nervous. It was my first time in an individual event at nationals, and it was very strange stepping on the line without my teammates. Before the championship, the girl next to me said, “You’re Keri. You must be so excited. You’re going to win.” After the race I was really excited, but I also had to run the 5k that afternoon. 14 Amherst Summer 2013
Spencer, in the final game of your junior year, you became the all-time leading scorer for the men’s soccer program. What was left to do after that? Noon: Senior year, I was really focused on becoming a national champion and also an All-American. We weren’t able to win a national championship, but we never lost a game, and that’s still really special. What courses shaped your academic experience? Lambert: I came in thinking [I’d major in] biology but took a first-year seminar
called “Drugs in History.” I started to realize there’s a lot more to history than a bunch of dead white guys. It was the professors who made the difference. The history department is so full of great characters—you’ll have one conversation with someone and want to go read their latest book. Noon: I took an American studies seminar with [Assistant] Professor Robert Hayashi. The class invites you to pick a topic you’re passionate about and write a pretty long essay about it. I wrote mine on Michael Jordan, relating his Hall of Fame acceptance speech to a psychoPhotograph by Rob Mattson
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Let Yourself Dream Too Big Two new grads look back on the academic and athletic highlights of their exceptional Amherst careers.
logical term called “post-self,” [which relates to] how a person shapes their legacy before they die. The Hall of Fame speech signified how Jordan wanted to be remembered: Most people thank everyone, and he didn’t. He called out everyone, and it fueled the idea that he was the most competitive guy anyone had ever met. What’s the key to combining academic and athletic success? Lambert: Perseverance, letting yourself dream a little too big. Amherst is a special place, in that if you want to do something, have your heart set and want to work hard, you have the resources and the people available to you. Noon: Flexibility is the biggest thing. Your schedule is always going to be changing, but you have to be able to take your time and portion it out. Sports actually make it easier: A lot of studentathletes do better when they’re in season, because you really value your time. Photograph by Megan Robertson ’15
Keri, you recently received a Watson Fellowship for the upcoming year. Describe your project and what motivated you to pursue it. Lambert: I’m taking off on Aug. 7 and planning to go to Ghana, Tanzania and Malaysia. My project is premised on the notion that people’s environments define who they are, that how they interact with the ground beneath their feet is a huge part of their identity. I grew up in Amherst and think of it—the hills I train on, the streams I fish in—as being a huge part of who I am. I’ll be seeing how the production of goods that are consumed on the global scale affects people locally in their day-to-day lives, by going to rubber farms, fisheries, oil plantations. Spencer, you’ll be working in finance. Noon: I was fortunate enough to get a job in New York City with UBS in their wealth management program. Last summer I stayed in Amherst and worked for a socially responsible invest-
ment firm called StakeHolders Capital. I love helping people, so it was a natural thing for me. When your grandchildren ask you about college, what’s the first story you’ll tell them? Lambert: I would probably tell of going to outdoor nationals during Senior Week and how happy and exciting it was to get back to campus. I was bummed with my performance at nationals. To get back and walk into a tent party with people chanting my name was just huge for me. Noon: As soon as I got to Amherst as a freshman, Coach [Justin Serpone] held a team dinner to talk about world issues. We debated immigration reform and got pretty heated. I thought, “This is only possible at Amherst, to have a bunch of soccer players debating immigration.” It was a culture shock at the beginning, but I think it speaks greatly to the kind of place Amherst is. k Amherst Summer 2013 15
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Photograph by Rob Mattson
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interview by Brianda Reyes ’14
During a remarkably hard year for Amherst, Tania Dias ’13 proved to be exactly the leader the student body needed.
While I do not remember the first time I met Tania Dias ’13, I vividly recall the first time she impressed me. At the beginning of the 2012–13 school year, Charri BoykinEast, then the interim dean of students, scheduled weekly meetings with Dias and me. The dean believed that meeting with the president of the student body and the editor-in-chief of The Amherst Student would be a good way to keep up with student affairs and concerns. At one meeting, we talked about the college’s drinking policies. Students felt that these policies were becoming stricter. Boykin-East insisted that was not the case, but Dias expressed that the students’ perception was problematic nonetheless and that the perception indicated a deficient relationship between students and administrators. Dias pushed Boykin-East for clearer communication between the two groups. Week after week, I saw Dias represent the student body fearlessly.
When Dias was running for president of the Association of Amherst Students in 2012, she was the underdog. Students, myself included, had concerns about her lack of experience. Throughout the campaign, however, she stressed that experience comes second to dedication. Once elected, she did not disappoint. In what was perhaps the toughest year for Amherst in recent memory, Dias proved to be exactly the leader the student body needed. In October 2012 The Amherst Student published Angie Epifano ’14’s account of being sexually assaulted on campus; the issue of sexual misconduct framed Dias’ entire presidency. The campus conversation on sexual assault led to others about support for students, particularly through the Multicultural Resource Center and Women’s Center. As Dias guided the student body through difficult discussions, she also tried to put the Association of Amherst Students back on the students’ radar. She fought the perception that student government was inefficient and the reality that it is majority male. Some of her decisions were controversial: Many criticized her selections for a student panel that met with trustees about Epifano’s article. And while a majority of polled students opposed a plan to move the popular game room, she supported putting the Multicultural Resource Center in its place. Now that she has graduated, Dias continues to involve herself in the life of the campus: This summer she’s working for the Women’s Center, researching female activism at Amherst, and she will soon become a research assistant for the provost. Defeating sexism is one of her life goals. “Let’s not kid ourselves,” she says: “The world is not an equal playing field. It’s not, but we can try and make it so. Every little girl deserves to have the same opportunities as every little boy.” You are originally from Portugal. What made you decide to come to Amherst? I had visited a couple of schools around the area, and Amherst blew me away. It was very beautiful. I also remember
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What were some of your expectations as a first-year, and how did your perception of the college change? I came to Amherst because I felt that what brought us together as a student body was that we all had dreams and ideas to shake up the world, to make it a little better. Though I think we’ve all become more realist, there’s still this same sense. What was your experience with the Association of Amherst Students before you decided to run for president? Honestly, I had not heard about the AAS until I attended a town hall meeting entitled “What Is the AAS?” [in the] spring of my sophomore year. My dorm neighbor, who was in senate, encouraged me to run for a seat. I realized I loved Amherst, so why not go for it? Why not try? I ran as a write-in candidate, and that’s how I joined. When I ran for senator, I could not have imagined I would eventually run for president. During the run-up to the presidential elections, various people had approached me to run, but I had dismissed the whole thing because I didn’t have a lot of AAS experience. The day before the deadline for [declaring] our candidacies, I was with some good friends in town, and they put me on the spot and asked me why exactly I wasn’t running. I couldn’t come up with an argument that convinced them or me that I would be a bad candidate; instead I found myself telling them why I’d be good. That night I decided to run. Did you know you’d also be writing a thesis? [I’d] had my thesis topic ready since I was a sophomore. However, when I became president, over my junior summer, I decided I would focus on my
presidency and that writing a thesis would be a lot to juggle. When I came back in September, I spoke to my adviser about my new plans, but he made me realize that my thesis was personal. It was my father’s history and story. My thesis is on a group of white Portuguese who were born in colonial Angola during the 1950s to early ’70s and who then “returned” to Portugal during the decolonization of Angola. I studied their identity transformation through time, understanding how their concept of home, nationalism and citizenship changed [or did not change]. My father was part of this generation, and so my thesis was a documentation and dissection of stories like his own. What issues or problems did you see on campus that motivated you to run for president? Though I had many things I wanted to address, I had two main ones. The first was increasing the sense of an Amherst community with programs like a college Community Hour. The second was increasing student awareness and education on sexual assault. Two of my very good friends were survivors, and I had begun working on this issue as a junior senator. I wanted to further address this as president. During your tenure you made at least one decision that went against what the student body wanted: You recommended moving the game room to make way for the Multicultural Resource Center. What did this decision teach you? I’m really proud of that moment. I felt that I stood up [for] my principles as president. It was a dilemma between doing what the majority of students wanted, which was to not move the game room, and what the minority [was] telling me. The AAS poll had pit a majority against a minority. It had become a matter of what was more important: a game room or a multicultural resource center. The question had been framed in such a divisive way that a huge rift was emerging [in] the student body. The way I saw it, the MRC was erroneously being construed as a minority organization. In truth, a fully functional
mark idleman ’15
my tour guide. He was very relaxed, very friendly. I remember thinking he was the kind of person that I would like to go to college with. I never really expected to get into Amherst. My sister was with me when I got the acceptance e-letter. For the first time in my life, I couldn’t stop screaming. I have never reacted like that in my life.
MRC would bring tremendous benefits to the whole student body. In the long term, the benefits [of] a fully functioning MRC [will] outweigh the short-term repercussions (if we can call them so) of moving the game room one floor up. That instance taught me what kind of leader I want to be. I want to be someone who stands up for people who aren’t necessarily heard. Less than a third of AAS senators are female. You were the first female president of the student government since 2001. Do you think the AAS is sexist or unfriendly to women? The problems in the AAS are problems reflected in our society. I don’t think the AAS is more sexist than any other group on campus. The proportions are off because we have to do a far better job of recruiting women. That being said, I can’t sit here and tell you that the AAS is not sexist. Being a president who is female in a group that is majority male opened my eyes to what a lot of women face in society. I felt that because I was a woman who was small and smiley, I had to prove myself more. I had to act tougher than other presidents who had not been held to the standards I was. The founding [last year] of the Amherst Women’s Network [which promotes a sense of solidarity among women in the college community] is, I think, a great step forward in supporting Amherst women. Why aren’t there more female AAS members? This year, I think the perception of the
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“This year opened my eyes to the importance of female leadership,” says Dias.
AAS has started to change. The AAS is back on the map, and it is being taken seriously. Students may criticize us, but that is democracy at play. I had many students come up to me and say that for the first time, they knew who their president was. I made myself visible and approachable, and I think I’ve been able to help the AAS in that way. Students, especially women, no longer are so intimidated by the AAS. We are making a particularly active effort to recruit women. The truth is that women are equally as good senators as men. I’ve heard people say, “Women are just less debate-y or less argumentative.” That’s false, and in fact, to be a good senator, you don’t have to be debate-y or argumentative. Quite the opposite: you have to be a doer. Angie Epifano’s account of being sexually assaulted and her subsequent struggle with the college’s administration reverberated throughout the school year. How did the issue of sexual misconduct shape your presidency? When I read her account, it touched me profoundly, because I have friends who are survivors. Her story, I would say, framed my presidency. The theme of voices that have to be heard, that are not accounted for, are disrespected or are forgotten—those voices have to be brought to the forefront. That is what I tried to do as president. How do you think that being a multiracial woman affected the decisions that you made? The majority of survivors on our campus
are women (not to say that men aren’t sexually assaulted). That [makes the issue] very personal. I got what Angie was saying. I got what survivors were trying to tell us. As a woman and as someone who has had much contact with survivors, my reactions were based on experience, gut and connection. The Multicultural Resource Center issue was different. I don’t think being of color affected my decision regarding the MRC. What really did is the fact that I’m a black studies major. I’ve had to study racism, affirmative action, the construction of race and privilege. I have the same intellectual background as many of the most vocal MRC advocates. I understood where they were coming [from] in a way that most AAS senators did not. Is there something you wish you’d have done differently during your presidency? When Angie’s story came out, Biddy gave me the opportunity to assemble a group of students to speak to the trustees. Because of time constraints, I picked students who I thought would bring different perspectives to campus. I spoke to people who were very involved and asked them for referrals. Going back, I would have opened the process to the whole student body. They could write statements and I would read over them and make my choices based on those applications. In sum, I would have made it as transparent and democratic as possible. In 30 years, what will you remember about your presidency? I will look back and see that this was a remarkably hard year for Amherst. I had the opportunity to guide the student body through it. It was an incredible opportunity. Going in, some people criticized me because they didn’t think I had the experience or knew what I was doing. I showed them that you don’t necessarily need [a lot of] senatorial experience to do a good job. I think I did a good job of advocating for the student body. From being part of changing our school’s sexual assault policies, to starting pub nights at Schwemm’s, I am proud of my year as president.
Importantly, I learned what kind of leader I would like to be in the future. I want to be someone who is humble, empathetic and listens always. If you stop listening, you’ve stopped doing your job. How do you want students and alumni to remember you? I hope they remember me as someone who looked beyond politics or arguments. For me, it was not about the AAS as a student government but the AAS as the Amherst student body. This year was ultimately about what was best for our community and what kind of community we want it to be in five years and in 40 years. What are your plans for the future? This year opened my eyes to the importance of female leadership and women’s empowerment. I want to combine that with my interest in refugees and human rights. I don’t know how yet. Would you ever consider a career in politics? Though I am political and follow politics closely, I don’t think I would throw myself into a domestic or national political arena. However, I do like the idea of working on issues at a global level. I could see myself working for international organizations in the future. How will you use your experience as AAS president? This year has marked me in such profound ways that I still haven’t been able to fully grasp or understand it. However, I know I’ve honed my skills as a diplomat, learning how to be a bridge between people and achieving compromise. Whatever I end up doing, I have no doubt that the skills I have begun to learn this year will be fundamental to the person, woman and professional I will become. When I look back 20 or 30 years from now, I’ll be able to see the extent to which this Amherst year has marked me. k Brianda Reyes ’14, a summer intern at Amherst magazine, was editor-in-chief of The Amherst Student for the 2012–13 academic year. Amherst Summer 2013 19
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By Emily Gold Boutilier
not Merrill 131
You’re CEO of a major hotel brand. Why would you seek advice from a bunch of college students?
As part of the case study, Amherst seniors created and administered a survey that helped them figure out what fellow “millennials” might want in a hotel. Here are some of the survey questions.
Frits van Paasschen ’83 is CEO and president of one of the largest hotel companies in the world. He oversees 1,150 properties and 171,000 employees in nearly 100 countries. Danielle Amodeo ’13 holds a B.A. in European studies. She was president of a film forum and started her own jewelry line. It’s easy to imagine how van Paasschen could help Amodeo. It’s harder to see how she could help him. Last semester, they helped each other. Van Paasschen commissioned a team of Amherst seniors, including Amodeo, to study marketing and branding trends as they pertain to young adults. The students got to apply their liberal arts education to a real-world problem, while van Paasschen got to hear from the business travelers of tomorrow. “Part of being an innovative company,” says van Paasschen, of Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, “is encouraging ideas not only from people in the company but also from the outside.” Or, in the words of Joshua Levitt ’13, who recruited, assembled and led the Amherst team: “We weren’t tainted by the professional world. Starwood was able to get a lot of creativity out of us—ideas that people in their late 30s, 40s, probably aren’t going to think of.” The “Live Branding Case Study” was the first of its kind at Amherst. It was also a first for Starwood, which often works with hospitality schools but has never, until now, collaborated with a liberal arts college on this type of endeavor. The project asked the Amherst team to analyze
1 2 What are your favorite brands?
Imaginechina via AP Images
The Boardroom is
What are the three coolest and most innovative mobile apps, and why?
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Innovative companies encourage ideas from the outside, says Frits van Paasschen â€™83.
3 4 What is the best vacation or hotel you remember?
Thinking broadly, as a millennial consumer, what would you like to see companies spend more resources on nowadays?
Just an exercise: If you were the CEO of a global hotel company, what innovative strategies would you pursue?
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and answer a series of questions. Among them: What are your generation’s biggest concerns? How will these concerns influence your purchasing behavior? What three initiatives would you commission if you were Starwood’s CEO? The company asked for data to support each answer. “I wanted to create an opportunity for students to think, in a very interdisciplinary way, about the challenges that businesses face,” van Paasschen says. “The world of technology is changing so quickly that the perspective of an Amherst student can be fundamentally different from even what mainstream business travelers are telling us today.” So it came to be that the team of five seniors— Levitt, Amodeo, Jeehae Kim Goddard, Lacie Goldberg and Henry Bao-Viet Nguyen—devoted much of their final semester in college to brainstorming answers, surveying their peers and, ultimately, recommending ideas to Starwood executives. In between classes, thesis writing and job hunting, the students met regularly, sometimes in the Lord Jeffery Inn, but more often in the two-room double that Goddard and Goldberg shared in
Expanding the Project
Ursula Olender, director of Amherst’s Career Center, hopes the Starwood case study will be the first of many similar efforts between the college and alumni. “I think we could replicate this model in other fields,” she says, from health care, to the arts, to science and technology, to education, to law. She imagines, for example, students doing research for an alumni-headed nonprofit in cooperation with the college’s Center for Community Engagement. “I hope this story motivates other alums to think big about how to get involved with our students,” Olender says. In turn, Starwood CEO Frits van Paasschen ’83 views the case study as just the beginning of his relationship with the Career Center. His company is already thinking about possible case study topics for next year.
“I was thinking very specifically about me in five years, about what I’d want,” says Danielle Amodeo ’13.
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Seelye (the former Phi Upsilon house). “Half of us would be on the floor,” Amodeo says, “half of us on college chairs.” There they hashed out marketing and branding plans aimed at fellow “millennials” —people who hardly remember a world without iPhones and social media, who view room service as inconvenient if they have to talk to a real person to place the order. Long before he was a CEO, van Paasschen arrived at Amherst with plans to be a doctor. He ended up with a double major in biology and economics. “I decided not to apply to medical school,” he told The Amherst Student in 2011, when he spoke to pre-business students on campus, “and as I was getting close to graduation I had to find something to do.” After reading a Harper’s article about consulting, he looked up firms, went on interviews and landed a job. “I came to the college without any business experience,” he said in a phone interview in June. “I also left the college without any business experience and went into a business job.” He describes the shift into the workforce as “very abrupt”; that’s one impetus behind the Amherst-Starwood case study. “The transition from college life to business work life,” he says, “is in making the move from having interesting ideas and expressing them clearly to finding which ideas actually make practical sense.” Eventually, van Paasschen became president and CEO of Coors Brewing Co. before joining Starwood in 2007. He came to believe that one way to ease the transition from school to work would be for college students to work on a business problem that wasn’t merely theoretical. The case study would not replace his firm’s market research and industry expertise, he decided, but would supplement those things. Van Paasschen sees value in getting into the minds of people new to the working world. “In some respects, experience matters far less than it ever did before,” he says. “There’s nobody who has 20 years of social media experience. If you have five years, you have as much as anyone else on the planet.” From the start, van Paasschen viewed the case study as a way to leverage the interdisciplinary nature of a liberal arts education. “It used to be that your IT department, your marketing department and your operations organizations worked almost separately,” he says. “IT was working on back-office projects. Marketing was doing print ads and events. The operations organization was managing hotels. Today when we think ‘marketing,’ we think mobile apps. Marketing has to be hand and glove with the technology team.” Or, to put it more broadly, interdisciplinary thinking is ever more im-
portant in today’s workplace. Shortly after van Paasschen’s 2011 talk to the pre-business group, from college one of his employees reached out to Ursula Olender, director of Amherst’s Career Center, with the idea life to business for a case study on marketing to the younger generation. “I thought it was a terrific idea,” says Olender, work life is in who, at the time, was new to her job at Amherst. “Students are very making the move comfortable in the classroom. Seeing how theoretical things they’re learning in class can be applied in a from having workplace allows them to figure out what strengths they have and what interesting ideas they’re good at.” Olender’s office announced the partnership in January 2013 and put and expressing out a call for groups of students to apply. Out of four applications received, Starwood selected Levitt’s them clearly to team. “Our professional experience runs the gamut, ranging from finding which fashion, to real estate, to finance, to media, to contemporary art,” Levitt wrote in the application. ideas actually “Additionally, interests in entrepreneurship, luxury branding, and make practical sustainability permeate throughout our endeavors.” The team represents six nationalities. Their majors sense.” include economics, Russian and architectural studies, among others. Collectively, they speak eight languages. “We were a nice cross section of millennials,” says Levitt. “I wanted to take all of these people’s interests and act as a guiding force for the project.” The five students came in as friends but had to learn to work as colleagues. “It wasn’t easy,” Levitt says. “We’re all very strong personalities.” Their main concerns varied, as did their worldviews. And at the time, none had a plan in place for after graduation, which meant that each was interested in parlaying the study into a job offer. “So we all “Everything had an agenda, too,” Levitt says.
they brought was fresh,” says Ursula Olender, who heads the Career Center. “It wasn’t based on industry knowledge.”
Goddard and Goldberg’s dorm room became the team’s de facto conference space. “Every other week we’d sit down, sometimes over coffee, sometimes over wine, and dissect the problems and questions,” Amodeo says, “and, in typical Amherst fashion, come up with 30 different responses and go through them all. We made it into a very critical exercise.” Bao-Viet conceived and designed the online Amherst Summer 2013 23
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“I was thinking very specifically about me in five years, about what I’d want,” she says. She knew she’d use such a resource. But as van Paasschen points out, the move from college to business life brings the lesson that not every good idea makes practical sense. Did this one? On a Saturday afternoon in early April, the five students came to the Career Center to prepare Amodeo for a visit from van Paasschen. With help from wondered: Olender, they set the mood for an informal conWhat if a versation, placing chairs in a circle and laying out traveler could cheese and bottles of beer (which went mostly igrent or borrow nored). When van Paasschen arrived, the students a trench coat when it rains, took turns discussing the survey and their various a sari when proposals, not only for “The Closet” and the moin India or bile app but also for a roof garden, bamboo lamp a suit for shades and several other ideas related to environa business mentally sustainable design. dinner? “Part of what I got out of the project,” van Paasschen says, “was a corroboration of dynamics we’re seeing in the marketplace already: a much greater interest in sustainability and global citizenship among companies, an appetite for technology and innovation as a way of making experiences easier and more personalized. And what was especially striking to me was the importance of design, in and of itself, as part of the experience that people are expecting.” Van Paasschen was gratified to know that millennials are thinking “What was creatively about sustainability: “Social responsibility and global citizenship especially are fundamental to good business.” In May, around an enormous table at Starwood headquarters in Stamford, striking to Conn., the team presented its work to a panel of executives. (Van Paasschen was not in the room. Nor was Levitt, me was the who had a family emergency, so BaoViet, who was already running parts of importance of the project, stepped in as team leader.) The executives critiqued the students’ performance, saying, for example, that design, in and of there should be five slides, not 48. “It was not a typical business pitch,” itself, as part of Amodeo admits. “We went for an academic style, laying out ideas, facts and images like in a classroom lecture. the experience They gave us a reality check, I suppose, and made us realize that the that people boardroom is not Merrill 131.” Starwood may now use the case study findings however it wishes. “The are expecting.” Closet was the idea that seemed to resonate most” with the executives,
survey, then the team members administered it to their peers. They received 81 responses—a small but fruitful sample. The survey asked, among other things, about the factors that influence purchasing behavior. “Word of mouth” and “online reviews” proved the most common. “It matters less and less what companies say about themselves,” Bao-Viet says. “That was one of the first things we realized.” The survey revealed that millennials consider themselves independent, ambitious and optimistic, and that they want the businesses they patronize to devote more resources to technology and environmental sustainability. The data also showed that—no surprise—millennials are attached to their smartphones. As such, the team decided that Starwood should enhance its mobile app so that, with the convenient touch of a button, guests might order room service (even while still on the plane) or network with other travelers. “As you walk into a hotel,” Bao-Viet says, “you’d have the option of turning on your Starwood identity app or Starwood profile” to connect with a fellow professional for lunch, for example. As the semester wore on, the team began to see hotels as more than just collections of beds, gyms and restaurants. As one survey response suggested: “They can have actual galleries with thoughtprovoking exhibitions (not just a series of artworks hung for decorative purposes); they can host concerts (not just some light music for café background music); they can have book clubs and meetings.” Goddard wondered if hotel lobbies might be re-envisioned as salons, with guest lectures. The students fleshed out ideas for making hotels more personal and environmentally conscious, too: Maybe guests could “meet” (through photos, maps and text) the people who farmed the sustainable cotton in their bedsheets. Some ideas were outlandish. Amodeo, for instance, imagined a fleet of Lamborghinis available for guests to drive. Her teammates brought her down to earth. “That crazy dream scenario,” she says, “made it possible for me to think of the hotel as an interface for other things”—which led, ultimately, to her big idea, which she calls “The Closet.” The idea behind “The Closet” is personal. As Amodeo explains, she was thinking about what she and her friends always say when they’re traveling: “I don’t have anything to wear.” She then wondered: What if she could rent or borrow an item of clothing—a trench coat when it rains, a warm cardigan when she has a chill? What if a tourist had the option to wear—but not buy and take home—a sari in India or a Burberry coat in London? What if a business traveler could use an extra suit jacket? 24 Amherst Summer 2013
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Lacie Goldberg ’13 and Henry Bao-Viet Nguyen ’13 at Starwood’s St. Regis Hotel in Manhattan.
says Olender, who drove the students to Stamford. Indeed, van Paasschen says “The Closet” could be interesting for two Starwood brands, W and Aloft, whose clientele he views as most likely to use such a service. “I thought of it as Zipcar for wardrobes,” he says of the idea. Whatever comes of the students’ proposals, van Paasschen and Olender hope the Live Branding Case Study will be the first of many similar collaborations, both between Amherst and Starwood and between Amherst and other firms. Levitt hopes so, too: “Every student is going to have to take this liberal arts education and transform it into something they can use professionally. Taking students with varied academic backgrounds and forcing them to collaborate is an excellent exercise to prepare for the working world.” Case studies teach students to channel their creativity and think broadly, he says. As Amherst and Starwood consider future part-
“It matters less and less what companies say about themselves. That was one of the first things we realized,” says Bao-Viet.
nerships, the students are moving forward, too. Levitt will attend the Harvard Graduate School of Design, where he’ll study real estate development, urban planning and sustainability. Goldberg is in the midst of a summer internship in food and beverages at Starwood’s St. Regis Hotel in Manhattan. Bao-Viet is considering various offers, including one with Starwood in New York City. Amodeo turned down a master’s program and a more permanent job offer in order to intern in sales at Starwood’s W New York–Downtown, where she hopes to see if her “very theoretical framework of an idea” is realistic. “I preferred the uncertainty of this, with the perks of being able to think creatively,” she says. “I’m going to try this out, and if I like it, I’m going to pursue it aggressively.” k Emily Gold Boutilier is the editor of Amherst magazine. Amherst Summer 2013 25
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By Rand Richards Cooper ’80
He thought he was getting away with something. But really he was learning something.
Appreciation The number kept changing. Was it 374 years, as President Biddy Martin stated in her congratulatory remarks? Or 421 years, as listed on the invitation? Or some other figure? Any way you tally it, the collective amount of time notched by the members of the English department who were formally retired last spring is daunting, and a grateful appreciation of their service—its quantity and quality—brought scores of former students to the Lord Jeffery Inn in May to celebrate and thank Professors Cameron, Chickering, Guttmann, O’Connell, Peterson, Pritchard, Townsend and von Schmidt. The teaching careers of the most senior retirees go all the way back to 1958—the year I and my now middleaged mates in the Class of 1980 were born. In the America of that distant year, Eisenhower was president, Beatles were pests in your garden and Vietnam was an obscure French colonial struggle. As for Amherst, it was 900 white males in ties,
Illustration by Keith Negley
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Saturday classes, compulsory chapel and a student handbook containing such urgent directives as “Freshmen are forbidden to wear preparatory school insignia; sweaters carrying such insignia may be worn inside-out.” I am lucky to have known this cadre of retiring Amherst English professors unusually well. I took classes with four of the eight (plus David Sofield, not yet retiring but taking practice swings in the on-deck circle) and enjoyed acquaintanceships with the others when I returned in the early 1990s as visiting writer. Their individual differences are many, yet most shared certain assumptions about reading and writing, assumptions that shaped those of us who sat in their classrooms. The Amherst English my generation experienced traces its lineage to the
there were three who felt challenged to rise to the occasion, spurred on by what one student called “this ‘we-aretearing-you-down-so-that-you-will-putyourself-back-together’ attitude.” By the time I arrived at Amherst in the mid-1970s, English 1 had given way to English 11. The course now had a reading syllabus, and its belligerent pedagogy had been toned down, but still it aimed to shake you, wake you and remake how you had learned to write about books in high school. “In The Grapes of Wrath,” I’d written in one typical high school paper, “John Steinbeck portrays a family whose experiences mirror the economic hardship of the 1930s and delineate a universal theme: the spiritual dislocation of man.” There was something presidential about sentences like that, I thought, like a miniature Rushmore. Recently I unearthed my old English 11 papers from the attic to see how, bit by bit, Amherst English chiseled away at my Rushmore. My teacher, John Cameron, rejected the dutiful trotting-out of literary terminology in my response to a Tennyson poem, advising me to stop being “fussy about imagery, personification, etc” and try instead to “move with the poem—for the sake of the reading.” All fall he filled the margins of my papers with questions and proddings. Cameron wanted me to be less secure, less certain that I fully understood the text in question. And more personally invested. “Though you read these poems with some attention to detail, it is not really clear just what you want to say about them. What particularly interests you in them?” My reeducation culminated junior year with Professor Bill Pritchard ’53 and his course in modern satire. The class was held in a crowded Red Room, where I sat up in the rows with Michael Gorra ’79 (now an English professor at Smith), the two of us trying to grasp a lecturing style that presented no extended argument, but rather a series of noticings, pointings-to and questions.
I unearthed my old papers from the attic to see how, bit by bit, Amherst English chiseled away at my Rushmore. reign of Professor Theodore Baird and the legendary freshman composition class he created in the 1940s and ’50s. English 1 had no reading list. Students wrote for every class, assignments in which such seemingly simple writing prompts as “How do you operate a machine or play a game, and what does it mean to ‘play’?” traced issues of epistemology or ontology (“though we never used these words,” Baird explained years later). Class time was devoted to dissecting the student responses—often pitilessly. Robin Varnum’s excellent 1996 book, Fencing With Words, a history of writing instruction at Amherst under Baird, describes the “boot camp” ethic of a “pedagogy modeled on combat,” in which “conflict served as a spur to learning.” Instructors sounded a frequent note of sarcasm, even belittlement; a friend of mine from the Class of 1964 recalls Baird contemptuously scattering an entire set of papers on the classroom floor. Yet for every student who felt bullied
Considering a passage, Pritchard would summarize a conventionalwisdom reading and then ask, “Is there more to it than that?” The “more” was an invitation for us to comment on a writer’s style. Paper assignments worked likewise, posing various questions that were really one question: What interests you in this writer? An assignment on Samuel Beckett’s novel Murphy instructed us to inspect a specific scene and asked: “What is the pleasure of reading Beckett?” My pleasure in writing those papers verged on the illicit. Quickly I discovered that you could do anything in a Pritchard paper, bring in anything— jokes, parodies, strange comparisons, song lyrics, advice your mother gave you—if it helped you describe a writer and his or her effect on you. Paper after paper came back graced with approving exclamation marks in precisely those places I felt I had pushed the limits. I thought I was getting away with something. But really I was learning something. All good writing, Amherst English taught, was a performance that captivated and surprised; the challenge in responding to it was not to squash that performance with the steamroller of what Pritchard called “grad-school English,” but rather to keep it in play a little longer. Good writers were never boring, never dull; why should you be? You had to answer style with style. Pritchard encouraged students to “put a high premium on literary performance as something to admire, both in works of art and in the critic’s sentences about those works,” as he reflected years later in his memoir, English Papers. For me these were revelations of lasting consequence. Would I have ended up becoming a writer and critic had I not experienced the supremely writerfriendly training provided by Amherst English? I’m not sure. I do know that the lessons we learned describe precisely what one does when setting forth to review a book: 1) read locally rather than globally, slowing down to spend time in this line or that passage; 2) begin our sentences with “Joyce wants…” rather than “Stephen Dedalus wants…”; and 3) focus our attention on “the experience of reading” the text in question. We also
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John Cameron Professor of English, Emeritus
Recent courses: “Proust,” “Coming to Terms: Cinema” Howell “Chick” Chickering G. Armour Craig Professor of Language and Literature, Emeritus
Recent courses: “Chaucer: The Canterbury Tales,” “Old English and Beowulf” Allen Guttmann Emily C. Jordan Folger Professor of English and American Studies, Emeritus
Recent courses: “Romanticism and the Enlightenment,” “The Embodied Self in American Culture and Society” Barry O’Connell James E. Ostendarp Professor of English, Emeritus
Recent courses: “American Literature in the Making,” “Democracy and Education” Dale E. Peterson Eliza J. Clark Folger Professor of English and Russian
Recent courses: “Encounters with Eurasia,” “Reading Story Sequences” William Pritchard ’53 Henry Clay Folger Professor of English, Emeritus
Recent courses: “Modern British and American Poetry, 1900-1950,” “Readings in English and American Fiction: 1950-2010” Kim Townsend Class of 1959 Professor of English, Emeritus
Recent courses: “Friendship,” “Non-Fiction Writing” Helen von Schmidt Senior Lecturer in English, Emeritus
Recent courses: “Film and Writing,” “Composition”
were taught to write with a certain experimental pragmatism. As Dale Peterson, who arrived in 1968 at the very tail end of English 1, once put it, an Amherst student learned that “what really mattered was what works. Try this, try that, try something else.” One classmate of mine who became an English professor calls the kind of literary approach we encountered at Amherst “too much geared toward sensibility-training and too little concerned with knowledge and method.” And it is true that you could be a successful English major and never consult a secondary source. Yet a few years after graduation, when I asked Michael Gorra—then in grad school at Stanford—how well Amherst English had prepared him, he answered that while he felt behind in critical theory and breadth of reading, he was way ahead as an active critic. “I know how to read a novel,” he said, “and respond to it.” Of course, most of us were being prepared not to be scholars or writers but lifelong civilian readers. We were being trained to think on our feet and to pay attention to the words on the page—a helpful habit, as Peterson reminded Varnum in Fencing With Words, when “compositions out there in the world have designs on us.” Most of all, we were learning to become thoughtful human beings. Such assignments as “Describe your interest in this passage” seemed deliberately vague to some, no doubt. But such a question challenges us in a deep way; it implies, it demands, the existence of a self who can be interested. Who were you, reading this book? The only retiring member to speak at the Jeff that night in May was Pritchard, who, with characteristic wryness, quoted a late writing of William Dean Howells on old age and its consolations (“[W]e are at least not dead, and there we are at least equal with younger men”). New members of the department were introduced. Their youthful and notably casual presence signaled the historical sweep of academic and pedagogical history contained in the room. The Amherst English experienced by my cohort emerged, during the long Baird era, from the mists of
premodern practices—the bookman ethic of genteel cultivation, lectures on literary history, belletristic rhetoric, philology. And Amherst English since our time has changed drastically, reflecting the balkanization of the discipline (English 11 fell apart in the early 1990s, when the department could no longer agree on what books to teach or how to teach them). The focus once placed on style, voice and performance has shifted to cultural criticism and various approaches grounded in social, historical, theoretical or political concerns. Just as important are big changes in the way faculty members in today’s colleges see their role. A vastly increased emphasis on research and publication; a steady reduction in classroom hours; much more travel to conferences and other external commitments: it all amounts to a de facto shift of emphasis away from the total involvement in campus life presupposed by the old, boot-camp approach. Amherst remains a place where teaching is highly valued. But times have changed. Imagine today’s professors (or students) confronted with Saturday classes and a composition course requiring 30 short papers per student per term! In 1980 our teachers still bore the imprint of that earlier era and its expectation of an extensive, demanding and intimate involvement with teaching first and foremost. So in the end it’s not only the years put in that impress, but the hours within those years. Will future generations of American students, watching their professors remotely via MOOCs and other still hardly imaginable modes of distance education, marvel at what we experienced, seeing in it another form of craftsmanship that has gone out of the world? I am grateful for the artisanal education in reading and writing we received at Amherst. As Baird said to Varnum, looking back at what Amherst English aimed for with its students: “I would say the purpose of our course was to make their lives richer.” Thanks for that. k Rand Richards Cooper is a film critic for Commonweal and a restaurant reviewer for The New York Times. Amherst Summer 2013 29
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alumni in the world
5 A geologist studies dead coral to predict future sea levels.
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The Rise of the Oceans
this dating method can tell her where sea level was at a particular time in history. Her work adds to data suggesting that, if ice sheets keep melting as polar temperatures tick upward, the average global sea level will rise by 20 to 30 feet. An unanswered question is how quickly that will happen. “That is a huge number,” says Dutton of the predicted sea level rise. “We are only talking about a few degrees warmer at the poles than 125,000 ago, and projections from climate models are that we will surpass those temperatures in the next few decades.” Last year Dutton and a colleague, geoscientist Kurt Lambeck, published a paper in Science, “Ice Volume and Sea Level During the Last Interglacial,” that raised the profile of her work in the popular press. Hurricane Sandy also drew attention to her research, because it prompted concern about how rising sea level might affect cities as climate change speeds up. Scientific consensus is forming
By Eric Goldscheider Climate change U
Thanks to records derived from ice core samples, geoscientists can identify, with considerable accuracy, the average temperatures at the Earth’s poles over the past 400,000 years. We know less about how those temperatures correlate to the rise and fall of global sea level. That is where researchers such as Andrea Dutton ’95 come in.
“Coastlines are going to retreat significantly,” but the effects of melting polar ice sheets will vary.
around the idea that “coastlines are going to retreat significantly,” says Dutton. However, she says, the effects of melting polar ice sheets will vary around the world, because of such things as local topography and ocean currents. The bad news for much of the Atlantic coast of the United States is that the land is sinking, which means the region may see a rate of sea-level rise that is higher than the global average. A factor that contributes to this sinking is the lingering settling effects from when ice sheets receded 18,000 ago—“a blink of an eye,” she says, in geologic time. Places like Seychelles are fruitful for Dutton’s research because they are far from the expanding and contracting ice sheets in the northern hemisphere that influence the volume of the oceans over time. “Sea level [in Seychelles],” she says, “is very close to the global average signal we want to reconstruct.” Goldscheider is an Amherst-based freelance writer.
Dutton and a colleague in Seychelles. Page 30: Dutton sits in a fossil coral head in the Bahamas.
Courtesy Andrea Dutton ’95 (3)
An assistant professor of geological sciences at the University of Florida, Dutton is interested in where the oceans met the land 125,000 years ago, during the last period between ice ages. Polar temperatures at that time were slightly warmer than they are now but slightly cooler than what scientists predict for the near future, making that era “a very good analog for thinking about what’s going to happen” to our oceans, says Dutton. This summer Dutton headed to Seychelles, an island country in the Indian Ocean, near the equator, to probe dead coral formations on land that was once under water. Using a dating method that looks at the decay of uranium and thorium isotopes over time, Dutton can pinpoint the age of coral at various elevations to within 500 years. Because coral lives just below the surface of the water,
Andrea Dutton ’95
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Beyond the Battlefield
When tourists and re-enactors come to Gettysburg, Pa., shouldn’t they hear more about freedom and slavery? By Eric Goldscheider Civil War U During most of the 150
years since the Battle of Gettysburg, says Ronald Bailey ’75, the history presented at the Civil War landmark has been primarily about glorifying soldiers—on both sides—and reconciling divisions between white Americans.
AP photo/matt rourke (2)
Questions about slavery and emancipation rarely intrude. As president of the Gettysburg Black History Museum, an institution more notional than actual until recently, Bailey is intent on seeing beyond “the bullets and bayonets, canons and military tactics” that brought some 200,000 tourists to the Pennsylvania town this summer to mark the battle’s anniversary. He also wants to contribute to a national discussion about the meaning and legacy of slavery. Bailey, a businessman and evangelical minister, became the museum’s first president in 2010. His passion for the project comes out of his trips to West and Central Africa, where he became increasingly aware of his physical resemblance to Ashanti shipped to the Americas in bondage. He also witnessed the Truth and Reconciliation process while living in South Africa. He believes that white America has yet to take full responsibility for the cruelties and dehumanization wrought by turning human beings into cargo: “How could we have taken millions of people and reduced
them to the level of chattel? And we still haven’t taken those chains off, even today.” Someday soon, he hopes, the Gettysburg Black Ronald History Museum will be a physical museum, but for Bailey now he is more interested in propagating ideas than ’75 in displaying artifacts. “Our physical city is a standHe often ing, living museum,” he says. He wants visitors to hears hear stories of slave catchers coming to Gettysburg laments to abduct free blacks, for example, and of confederthat ates searching house-to-house during the battle “to Gettysburg attracts few find black people who were considered contraband.” AfricanThe museum has acquired a 600-square-foot American space in the Gettysburg tourist district to welcome tourists. guests and advertise dramatizations and lectures that will be central to the museum’s living history program. At the moment, visitors can contact the museum (www.gettysburgblackhistory.org) to book a 90-minute black heritage tour that draws on the local African-American experience. For example, guides describe how slaves in the 1700s built some of the historic structures that tourists now flock to. In the 1800s, Gettysburg—which is only seven miles from the Mason-Dixon line— was home to a small community of successful free blacks, including Daniel Alexander Payne, a minister and educator who became the first president of Wilberforce University. “There is a major humanizing story here that plays against the whole history of dehumanization,” says Bailey. As the only black member of the Gettysburg Adams Chamber of Commerce, Bailey often hears laments that the Bailey wants to contribute to a area attracts few African-American national discussion tourists. That will change, he predicts: about slavery. “We will bring a whole new demographic to Gettysburg. The tourists are asking for this.” Among the special events he envisions is an annual Sept. 22 ball that commemorates the preliminary issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1862. “I am not seeking to be divisive; I am seeking to create community by exposing reality,” Bailey says. “White America is ready to hear this story. As we reveal these truths, it sets two [groups of] people free.”
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MAINE, AGAIN Flew home for Thanksgiving camden, maine Set out to sea in July 2001
BACK TO CHURCH He was surprised to return feeling refreshed.
Give the Pirates Your Whiskey And other lessons from a minister’s year at sea
REST STOPS Most nights, he anchored at an island.
SECRET SERVICE As a practice, he did not tell people he met about his line of work.
n Potter spent a year in the Caribbean, mostly alone aboard his 39-foot Allied Mistress ketch, the Renaissance. He says he “just wanted to do something challenging.”
By William Sweet Sailing U When a tooth-
less character reeking of dead fish demands liquor from you and there’s nothing around but miles of ocean, what’s a good Christian to do?
If you’re the Rev. John Potter ’68, you give the man your liquor. At Reunion 2013, Potter, minister of the First Congregational Church in Wiscasset, Maine, gave a talk about the year he spent in the Caribbean aboard his 39-foot Allied Mistress ketch, the Renaissance. The pirates Potter encountered weren’t the lovable Johnny Depp sort, but thankfully, they weren’t very swashbuckling—or ambitious—either. In July 2001, Potter set out to sea from Camden, Maine. “There might have been a part of me that just wanted to do something challenging,” he says, “something to say, ‘I did it.’” His wife, Marcia, was keener on being a grandmother than an
Rev. John Potter ’68
“A good way to kill the conversation is to tell them you are a minister.”
ST. THOMAS Family joined him for Christmas
PIRATES! They offered fish heads and asked for whiskey. hurricanes Endured Michelle and Gabrielle, though not on the open sea
explorer. She stayed back. This was hardly the voyage of the Kon-Tiki, and Joshua Slocum’s spot in history as a solo navigator remains unchallenged. Potter started the Caribbean leg by putting the Renaissance aboard a yacht transport from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to St. Thomas. Most nights, he anchored at an island. He flew home for Thanksgiving, and the family joined him in St. Thomas for Christmas. Marcia visited every two months. There were rough patches, though. He endured two hurricanes (Michelle and Gabrielle), though not on the open sea. And, he reports, he must have been the last U.S. citizen to find out about 9/11. And there were pirates. With 20 miles to go from the Dominican Republic to the Turks and Caicos, Potter anchored for the night at an out-of-the-way atoll. “All of a sudden, there was this small speck on the horizon. Sure enough, it’s a little boat coming closer and closer, and it turns out to be an about-17-foot aluminum boat, with three pretty roughlooking guys. They pull up alongside my boat—their boat was stinking of fish—and I thought, ‘Oh boy, I’m dead.’ “I said, ‘What you want?’ They said, ‘We want whiskey.’” As it turns out, the whiskey sour has long been the cocktail of choice in Potter’s family, at least
on Christmas and Easter, and he happened to have an unopened bottle of Jim Beam in the hold, purchased the previous yuletide. “I pulled out the bottle and said, ‘Will this do?’ They gave me these toothless grins, so I tossed them the bottle. They said, ‘Would you like some fish heads?’ I said, ‘No, but I appreciate the offer.’” As a practice, Potter did not mention his line of work to those he met on the journey. “One of two things usually happens: they either get really weird on you—everyone starts hiding their rum—or they are really nice to you. A good way to kill the conversation is to tell them you are a minister.” Twelve years later, the voyage has had a lasting impact. “If there are any learning experiences from this trip, one is that life is about relationships. There were times when I was very lonely, just wishing that I was with my friends and family, when I felt, ‘Oh my God, I wish Marcia could see this.’” He missed the parish, too. “The ministry is a job where no two days are ever anything alike. I can go from a sick bed in a hospital where someone is dying to a family that is going to do a baptism.” He came back refreshed. “And that’s something,” he says, “that kind of surprised me.” Sweet is a writer in the public affairs office at Amherst. Amherst Summer 2013 33
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Words of Encouragement
Who would open a bookstore in the Amazon age? Jonah Zimiles ’79
By Katherine Duke ’05 Small business U
In an era when many neighborhood bookstores are closing down, [words] in Maplewood, N.J.—run by Jonah Zimiles ’79 and his wife, Ellen—has succeeded by opening things up: opening its doors to families of children with autism, and opening up vocational and recreational possibilities for those young people.
n In addition to all of the standard bookshop offerings, visitors can find many autismrelated books. E The store has attracted such Amherst authors as Harlan Coben ’84. Q Teens work to attach stickers to shopping bags at the store.
Courtesy [words] bookstore (4)
In 1998 the Zimiles’ then-3year-old son, Daniel, was diagnosed with autism. Jonah, a lawyer by training, was director of planned giving and endowments for The Jewish Federations of North America, but coordinating his son’s appointments with doctors, teachers and therapists became so time-consuming that he made it his full-time job. Six years later, as Daniel’s schedule stabilized, Jonah enrolled in business school at Columbia, where he focused on social entrepreneurship, aspiring to raise money for autism research and services and to launch a job training facility for autistic people. But his plans changed again with the 2008 economic downturn, which struck the New York City suburb of Maplewood hard. Ellen read a sign at the town’s bookstore, Goldfinch, saying the business would shut down unless a local resident could buy it. “This idea flashed into her head,” says Jonah: What if they launched the training program as part of a business? So the Zimileses purchased Goldfinch and moved it to a larger downtown storefront. The new, bracketed name, [words], would
Sales have increased by 10 to 20 percent every year, but “that’s not really what we’re about.”
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“emphasize the double mission of the bookstore: to provide terrific reading for local residents and to assist individuals with autism, many of whom have significant language challenges,” Jonah says. Today, in addition to the usual bookshop offerings, visitors can find many autism-related books, as well as greeting cards and calendars designed by artists with autism. Extra-wide aisles accommodate kids—autistic and typical—who prefer lots of space to move around. When a family comes in with an autistic child, Zimiles is “like a fireman jumping on the pole,” he says, racing out of his back office to welcome them. The staff has undergone sensitivity training, and, according to Zimiles, two of the permanent employees are on the autism spectrum themselves. A free event series allows kids with autism and other special needs to sample classes in sewing, karate, yoga and more. A training program has brought in more than 50 teens and young adults with autism to do various jobs around the store, depending upon their skills and interests. In fact, Zimiles has spoken on MSNBC about using the same strategy with typical employees: fitting the job to the person, rather than the person to the job. The store has earned write-ups in Entrepreneur magazine and Publishers Weekly, and New Jersey Monthly has named it the state’s best independent bookstore. It’s attracted such speakers as former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo. Many Amherst authors have done readings there, and Maplewood neighbor David Schwab ’79 sometimes drops by. Sales have increased by 10 percent to 20 percent every year, Zimiles says, but he downplays the financial success. “That’s not really what we’re about,” he says. “It’s really a social enterprise.”
France Aubrey Jones ’13 won a French Government Teaching Assistantship and hopes to make a career out of teaching French language, literature and culture. Germany Timothy Poterba ’13, a Fulbright scholar at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, plans to pursue a doctorate in biochemistry with a concentration on aging. Jenna Troop ’13 will be a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant. She hopes to pursue a transnational career. Romania As a Fulbright Scholar, Ioanida Costache ’12 will research lăutari music, a Romanian/Romani musical tradition that she hopes to continue studying and performing in the future. Vietnam Jasmine Hardy ’13, a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant, chose to work in Vietnam because of its historical emphasis on education.
Russia Mark Hellmer ’13 will teach at a technical institute in Siberia and conduct fieldwork in geology for a future Ph.D. dissertation. He won a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship and a Fulbright Critical Language Enhancement Award.
Eirene Wang ’13, a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant, hopes to increase her knowledge of Russian language and culture and to promote crosscultural discourse. South Asia, South Africa and Central America Watson Fellow Lindsay Stern ’13 will introduce her creative arts program to five orphanages. In between, she’ll live and write in neighboring cities. Ghana, Tanzania and Malaysia Keri Lambert ’13, a Watson Fellow, will write about the producers of rubber, Nile perch and palm oil (see page 15).
Nine recent graduates just won fellowships to teach or conduct research around the world. Here’s where they’re going.
Duke is the assistant editor of Amherst magazine. Amherst Summer 2013 35
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➾ point of view
No Longer Neutral In giving a voice to soldiers who’ve been wronged, one reporter found his own.
36 Amherst Summer 2013
By Joshua Kors ’01E
On my wall I keep a framed photo of Army Specialist Jon Town. He is out of uniform, wearing a gray suit and crimson tie, yet he is standing at attention, a look of determination in his eyes. The photo was taken in the halls of the U.S. Capitol on July 25, 2007, the day Town and I testified before the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.
I’d met Town 10 months earlier, shortly after he returned home from Iraq. I had been volunteering for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, producing a series of soldier profiles for the group’s website. The soldiers’ stories were extraordinary. One sergeant met his wife in Afghanistan; another ushered sick Iraqi children into Jordan for medical treatment. Town was supposed to be the fifth soldier in the series. His story struck me as deeply troubling. Town had been serving in Ramadi, Iraq, when a 107-millimeter rocket exploded in the doorway two feet above
his head, knocking him unconscious. The blast left him with severe hearing loss, and he was awarded the Purple Heart for his wounds. But when it came time to discharge him, Town’s doctor declared that he wasn’t wounded, that his deafness was caused by a pre-existing “personality disorder.” Discharging him with that diagnosis, the Army prevented Town from collecting disability pay and receiving long-term medical care. Over the next 10 months I uncovered dozens of cases like Town’s. One soldier was punctured by grenade shrapnel in Iraq; his wounds were blamed on personality disorder. Another soldier developed an inflamed uterus during service. Her Army doctor linked her profuse vaginal bleeding to personality disorder. I examined medical and discharge records and spoke with officials who said a massive fraud was under way. More than 31,000 soldiers have been wrongfully discharged with this pre-existing condition, saving the military $17.2 billion in disability and medical benefits. In April 2007 The Nation published my article “Thanks for Nothing: How Specialist Town Won a Purple Heart and Illustration by Oliver Munday
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Lost His Benefits.” It set off a firestorm. Town’s story was picked up by CNN, NPR, the BBC and Washington Post Radio. It was even dramatized on NBC’s Law & Order. My life changed, too. After graduating from Amherst, I’d spent six years writing insignificant fare for small-town papers: profiles of the local ice cream man, details of the new regulations for park bench dedications. In giving a voice to Town and the other soldiers, I had found my own. For uncovering the personality disorder scandal, I won the National Magazine Award and was named a finalist for the American Bar Association’s Silver Gavel Award. ABC News’ Bob Woodruff and I collaborated on a Nightline piece about Town, part of a series that won the Peabody Award. The public reaction was enormous. One wounded veteran began donating his disability benefits to Town’s family. Rock star Dave Matthews got involved, placing a petition on his website urging Congress to investigate. Within weeks, it had 23,000 signatures. Three months later there I was, at the witness table in a packed room on
Capitol Hill, sitting before the House VA Committee. As a swarm of photographers snapped photos, I took a deep breath, reached for the microphone and laid out the harrowing details I had uncovered. In addition to Town’s case, I described the struggles of soldier Chris Mosier, who was wounded in Iraq, then discharged with pre-existing personality disorder and denied benefits. Without adequate medical care, Mosier returned home to Iowa, then shot himself. My words were met with stunned, sympathetic expressions. I had struck a chord, one that echoed quickly throughout the capitol. Barack Obama, then a senator, introduced a bill to halt all personality disorder discharges. Rep. Bob Filner introduced a matching bill in the House. President Bush signed a law requiring the Pentagon to investigate my reporting. Encouraged, I pushed forward, eventually triggering a second Congressional hearing. As my investigation continued, I felt my identity as a neutral reporter beginning to evolve. Night after night I received phone calls from wounded soldiers desperate for assistance. As a neutral journalist, my obligation was to tell
them, “Sorry, I’m just a reporter.” But I didn’t. First, I connected them with veterans’ advocates. When the requests became overwhelming, I created a list of resources for wounded vets and included it in my Huffington Post column. One day it clicked: This is who I am. An advocate, not a reporter. I look back at my opening statement during that first Congressional hearing and smile. In my closing moments, my voice tinged with emotion, I said, “As a journalist, it’s not my role to make any recommendations. But I do want to share with you the hopes of the wounded veterans I spoke to this year, which is a hope that someone be held responsible.” Turns out, to paraphrase President Obama, I was the someone I had been waiting for. I turned to Amherst and was awarded the college’s Charles B. Rugg and C. Scott Porter ’19 Memorial Fellowships, financial support I am using to attend law school. This week I begin studying at Vanderbilt University. My reporting on wounded soldiers has led others to help them. Soon I will be able to step forward in a court of law and help them directly. k Amherst Summer 2013 37
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By Katherine Duke ’05 Fiber Arts U Kiyoshi Mino ’01 is constantly surrounded by animals. When not tending to the live ducks, chickens, bees, pigs, sheep and steers on the 10-acre farm that he founded with his wife, Emma Lincoln ’02, he’s sculpting birds and mammals out of wool through a technique called needle felting.
Mino starts with a clump of wool that is somewhat like a large cotton ball. Every time he pokes a specialized needle into it, small notches on the needle hook onto microscopic scales on the fiber and push the wool inward, making the clump smaller and tighter at a particular point. Through 10 to 30 hours of strategic prodding, Mino incorporates multiple colors and textures of wool, as well as flexible wire, until a creature emerges: A goldfinch grips a branch with its talons, wings lifted as though about to take flight. A miniature three-toed sloth dangles by its long limbs. The Dramatic Prairie
Hooked Courtesy Kiyoshi Mino ’01 (6)
arts news and reviews
Kiyoshi Mino ’01 turns clumps of wool into animal sculptures that “blow taxidermy away.”
38 Amherst Summer 2013
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short takes Mino (pictured with Lincoln) has made woolen creatures such as a Tibetan mastiff, a cardinal, an Icelandic ram, a goose and (below) YouTube’s Dramatic Prairie Dog.
Dog glares just like it does in the viral YouTube video. Growing up in Chicago as the son of two art historians, Mino always had a casual interest in drawing and in animals. At Amherst he majored in evolutionary biology. He joined the U.S. Army after graduation—just before 9/11—and served three tours in Afghanistan. “I liked Afghanistan,” he says. “I liked learning the language and meeting the people out in the remote areas.” After the Army he spent an additional year there as an aid worker, but he grew disillusioned with development work, finding that “a lot of it is just an excuse to make money for American companies” and that Afghan farmers and villagers seemed happy living as they had for centuries without foreigners’ help. Meanwhile, Lincoln, then a preservation librarian, was “getting more and more horrified” as she read about the impersonal, big-business way that most of the U.S. food supply is produced. So, in 2010, the couple enrolled at The Farm School in Athol, Mass. While learning how to raise crops and livestock, they took a “sheep-to-sweater” class on shearing, processing and working with wool. That’s when Mino got hooked on needle felting. His first project was a tiny chicken for his wife. “And then he made a rooster to go
with it,” she says, followed by “a portrait of the dairy cow that we milked at Farm School, complete with udder.” A friend helped him set up an Etsy shop and a website, kiyoshimino.com, to sell his creations. In 2011 Lincoln and Mino settled in Forrest, Ill., and became the owners and sole employees of Lucky Duck Farm. Mino kept making sculptures, including a life-sized barn owl for the Rocky Mountain Soap Co. Japanese architect Tadao Ando, a family friend, commissioned Mino to craft a “pet portrait” of his dog. This past winter two designers from Chicago visited the farm and bought practically every piece that Mino had on hand, to sell under their “small-batch design brand” ODLCO. As soon as they featured his work on their blog, other design bloggers followed suit, including those at Fast Company and Martha Stewart Living. “Kiyoshi Mino’s Amazing Felt Sculptures Blow Taxidermy Away” read the headline at inhabitat.com. And the orders rolled in. “I’ve got work to do for the rest of the year, basically, just from a few commissions,” he says. Eventually, Mino would like to try making cuttlefish, salamanders and octopi, using shinier wool to simulate slime and scales. “Well, and our own pets would be nice,” Lincoln adds. “He’s done all these pet portraits and hasn’t had time to do our own dog and our cat.” Duke is the assistant editor of Amherst magazine.
➾ Summer’s the time to trek around the globe and back through history with Amherst authors. A journey of 50,000 miles begins with William A. Stoever ’62’s Hitchhike the World, Book I: America, Europe, Africa (selfpublished). Dixon Long ’55 shows us Markets of Paris, Second Edition: Food, Antiques, Crafts, Books, and More (co-authored with Marjorie R. Williams, The Little Bookroom), as well as Love, Maybe (CreateSpace). John Patrick Walsh ’93 studies the Free and French in the Caribbean: Toussaint Louverture, Aimé Césaire and Narratives of Loyal Opposition (Indiana University Press). Richard Davidson ’63 has co-edited The 1854 Diary of Adeline Elizabeth Hoe with Helen Taylor Davidson (Peter E. Randall Publisher). John J. Geoghegan ’79 dives deep into Operation Storm: Japan’s Top Secret Submarines and Their Plan to Change the Course of World War II (Crown Publishers). That war shatters the tranquility of Tuscany in Chris Bohjalian ’82’s latest novel, The Light in the Ruins (Doubleday). Through The Fields of Light: An Experiment in Critical Reading (Paul Dry Books), the late Harvard Professor Reuben Arthur Brower ’30 is our guide, and William H. Pritchard ’53 provides a foreword. Bradford R. Collins ’64 writes on Pop Art (Phaidon) from 1952 to 1990, and philosopher J. David Velleman ’74 lays Foundations for Moral Relativism (Open Book Publishers). Katherine Duke ’05 Amherst Summer 2013 39
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Choosing to Survive In The Gods of Heavenly Punishment, Jennifer Cody Epstein ’88 weaves personal stories around an upending central act: the 1945 firebombing of Tokyo. Reviewed by Sue Dickman ’89 Fiction U In 2012 the book I recommended to everyone I knew was Edmund de Waal’s The Hare with Amber Eyes, a memoir that traces his family’s history through a collection of Japanese netsuke. These tiny carvings, which once served as toggles on kimono ties, traveled from 1890s Paris to turn-ofthe-century Vienna to postwar Japan and finally to present-day London. It is the memoir of a remarkable family, but it is also the story of how objects can reflect families and histories and lives. The question that concerns de Waal is how “objects embody memory—or more particularly, whether objects can hold memories.” Because The Hare with Amber Eyes spans the 20th century, it is also the story of how people’s lives are upended—sometimes in an instant—by the tide of current events. It is a testament to Jennifer Cody Epstein’s skills as a writer of historical fiction that de Waal’s book was among the first I thought of on reading her accomplished second novel, The Gods of Heavenly Punishment (W.W. Norton).
Amherst Reads featured book: www.amherst.edu/magazine Michael Epstein
Epstein’s novel feels like a spiritual cousin to de Waal’s memoir in the way her characters adapt to the conflicted times in which they live. The central act in the book is the March 1945 firebombing of Tokyo, in which half of the city— with 100,000 of its residents—was destroyed. Epstein weaves around this horrifying event the personal stories of several American and Japanese families, particularly that of one woman, Yoshi Kobayashi. The novel begins with two brief scenes set in 1935: a courting couple on a Ferris wheel at a county fair in upstate New York and a dinner party at the Tokyo-area home of Anton Reynolds, a Czech-born American architect who helped to build the Tokyo of the 1920s and ’30s. Anton, his French wife and their young son, Billy, are entertaining Anton’s best builder, Kenji Kobayashi, his wife, Hana, and their precocious trilingual daughter, Yoshi. Relationships are set in motion in these two scenes, which echo and reverberate through the novel. One of Epstein’s smartest moves—and one of the most enjoyable aspects of the book—is the structure itself. The book is divided into nine sections set between 1935 and 1962. Some take place in Tokyo, oth-
Epstein uses an ornate ring to link her characters across space and time.
ers on an aircraft carrier in the Pacific and in Japanese-occupied Manchuria, among other places. The point of view shifts with each section, giving the reader a multifaceted and complex view of the choices people make in order to survive in a shifting world. Yoshi is the center around which the novel turns, and three sections are told from her point of view, but the choice to share the narration among other fully fleshed characters is key to the novel’s success. Anton, for example, loves Japan and its architecture but also agrees to assist the U.S. Air Force in determining the best way to destroy it. Yoshi’s father spends the war years building up the Japanese colony in Manchuria. Her mother is glamorous and unhappy, considering her marriage “like death. Or maybe the beginning of dying.” Epstein instills objects with meaning and uses them to link her characters across time and space. She does this primarily through an ornate silver ring with a green stone. This ring originally belongs to Lacy Richards, wife of one of the “Doolittle Raiders” who launch the first air attack on Japan in April 1942. It ends up on the hand of 15-year-old Yoshi, who is wearing it almost three years later when Tokyo is bombed directly by the Americans. Epstein has clearly done prodigious amounts of research into World War II, but the book carries its weight gracefully, and I never felt like I was being given a history lesson, though I did finish the book more knowledgeable about the era than when I began. She’s woven a compelling story of how ordinary people survive in extraordinary times, and she’s done it in a way that makes the book assured, evocative and a pleasure to read. Dickman’s essays have appeared in The Washington Post and elsewhere.
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Everyone Liked Harry
Kai-shek and Free French leaders Jean-François Darlan and Charles de Gaulle have in common? Aside from mutual dislike, not much. FDR loathed de Gaulle and tired of Churchill, whom he saw as a booze-soaked self-aggrandizer. Roosevelt needed an intermediary and found one in Hopkins. Everyone, it seems, liked Harry, who became, among other things, FDR’s unofficial ambassador to Churchill. Historian Warren F. Kimball likened Roosevelt’s wartime diplomacy to that of a “juggler,” but Roll thinks it was Hopkins who kept the balls in the air. Critics called Hopkins a “Rasputin,” but that’s reductionist; Hopkins was Roosevelt’s confidant, friend, sounding board, muse, diplomat and fixer.
The Hopkins Touch, by David L. Roll ’62, is about the FDR loyalist who mediated the monumental egos within the alliance to defeat Hitler.
Biography U December 1943, Tehran, Iran. The Allies have just agreed to invade France in the spring. The official photo placed a confident U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the middle, with Soviet leader Joseph Stalin ramrod straight on his right and Britain’s Winston Churchill glumly on the left, looking away from the camera. After two years of opposing a third front, Churchill had finally capitulated. The man who convinced him is missing from the picture: FDR adviser Harry Hopkins. Give David Roll credit for moxie. His fascinating new biography, The Hopkins Touch: Harry
Hopkins and the Forging of the Alliance to Defeat Hitler (Oxford University Press) joins at least six other scholarly works, including Robert E. Sherwood’s 1948 Pulitzer Prize-winning Roosevelt and Hopkins. Roll’s contribution is his focus on World War II; the “touch” in his title refers to Hopkins’ ability to mediate the monumental egos within the Allied leadership. Thoughts of World War II invariably conjure images of battlefield valor and military strategy, with political conferences an afterthought. Roll reverses the gaze to make us see the cat-and-mouse diplomacy that dictated how the war was fought. What did Roosevelt, Churchill, Stalin, China’s Chiang
Hopkins (with second wife, Barbara, and above) was FDR’s sounding board.
Franklin D. Roosevelt Library (2)
Reviewed by Robert E. Weir
He even lived in the White House. Hopkins battled Congress to secure the controversial 1941 Lend-Lease Act; made sure war matériel got to Britain, the Soviet Union and China; and sacrificed his health in endless shuttle diplomatic missions. Roll reminds us how grueling crossAtlantic diplomacy was in the era when a meeting with Stalin meant several days of rigorous travel and more than 25 hours of flight time. Hopkins isn’t an official casualty of World War II, but he literally gave his life for his country. He battled stomach cancer starting in 1931. The treatments left his body unable to absorb nutrients, and he required numerous hospitalizations before, during and after missions. He
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Weir is a visiting professor of history at UMass.
Beyond the Personal
Dick and Ziering examine how the military’s restricted environment quickly becomes an incubaIn The tor for sexual predators. As retired reviewed by Paul Rieckhoff ’98 Invisible War, Brig. Gen. Loree Sutton, a former Amy Ziering DocumentaryU At first glance, The In- U.S. Army psychiatrist, says in the ’84 chronicles visible War may look like yet another film shed- film: “To work within a relatively sexual ding light on a niche, though horrific, problem closed system like the military, assault in the military. it becomes a prime target-rich within a small community. Yet, this incredibly important project is already helping to shape a environment for a predator.” Because of the chain of comnational conversation. mand, too often victims must first report their The film, directed by Kirby Dick and rape to the attacker or the attacker’s friend. produced by Amy Ziering ’84, chronicles the The military has produced a system where growing prevalence of sexual assault in the officers with little to no legal training have military and the historical and widespread the power of judge, jury, prosecution, defense, inability to effectively end it. The Invisible investigator and executioner. War goes beyond simply exposing injustices Particularly in the case of rape, servicemen to peeling away the layers of an institutional and servicewomen are denied access to the failure across the American military. The film features several stories of rape and civilian justice system and, until recently, were the prolonged impact of each attack. We watch able to report rape and sexual assault only to their commanders. For many victims, this Kori Cioca, a Coast Guard seaman whose jaw leads to professional repercussions: retaliation, was dislocated during her rape, sort through charges of adultery, loss of rank. The injustices dozens of bottles of medication, wait on quickly add up. multiple calls to the Department of Veterans Watching The Invisible War leaves one with Affairs and describe the ongoing physical and a deep sense of outrage. As a former infanpsychological fallout from her attack. We hear from Ariana Klay, a Marine lieuten- try officer myself, I wonder: How can we ask people to protect our country when we can’t ant, about her downward spiral that led to keep them safe? Unfortunately, the increasa suicide attempt in 2011. And we see her ingly public acknowledgement of widespread husband, a Marine himself, break down as he retells the story of trying to prevent her from problems has not led to meaningful action. That could be changing. After watching The killing herself. Invisible War, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta These stories are horrifying not only beannounced new policies aimed at ending the cause they happened at all, but also because permissive culture around sexual violence. they weave into a larger and familiar narraThese policies include using more-senior oftive with other victims’ stories. Furthermore, ficers to handle sexual assault complaints and because rape breaks the hallowed bonds for increasing the amount of preventative training. which the military is so well known, the asWhile the victims have heard plenty of lip sault seeps beyond the personal and into the service in the past, this film has helped to igprofessional. nite a movement. Now it’s up to us. In the film, Kori Cioca, a Coast Guard seaman, describes the physical and psychological fallout from her rape.
ignored doctors, did what his country asked of him and was just 55 when he died in 1946. Roll mines some new sources on Hopkins: KGB files, as well as new documents concerning leaders with whom Hopkins met. Roll also interviewed Hopkins’ relatives, though little in the book will startle specialists. The book’s biggest revelation is Roll’s demolition of the spurious charge unleashed by anti-FDR conservatives that Hopkins was a Soviet agent. KGB files prove its falsehood. But whether one is a specialist or a general reader, Roll’s attention to detail will fascinate. He gives a warts-and-all David L. Roll ’62 portrait of world policymakers, compete with hard drinking, womanizing, ribald humor and prickly egos. We learn that the only thing worse than eating White House food was drinking one of Roosevelt’s cocktails. More substantively, we see that World War II was fought as much in smokefilled conference rooms as upon smoke-filled beachheads. The book also dismantles the “betrayal”-at-Potsdam myth advanced by postwar anticommunist zealots. Roll notes that the Allied delay in opening a front in France in 1942 cut the Soviets adrift and guaranteed that, if the USSR survived, the West would be in no position to dictate terms to Stalin. Another dimension of the myth holds that, with FDR dead and Churchill out of office, Stalin had his way with neophytes Harry Truman and Clement Attlee. That story overlooks the Potsdam presence of the war’s most experienced negotiator: arm-twister Harry Hopkins.
Rieckhoff is founder and CEO of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (iava.org), which works with organizations such as the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network to assist survivors of military sexual trauma.
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What did Zeke Emanuel’s mother put in the cereal? Brothers Emanuel is not a political or celebrity tell-all, although it does expose some childhood mayhem. memoir U Why write a memoir? Ezekiel J. (“Zeke”) Emanuel ’79 suggests a reason for his, Brothers Emanuel: A Memoir of an American Family: “For years,” he writes, “I had been jotting down random stories and memories I wanted to share with my children.” As family lore, Brothers Emanuel excels. It’s funny and poignant, a ’60s childhood starring three little rascals who try their parents’ patience with their pugnacious pranks. Zeke, the oldest, was studious and bossy but got into plenty of mischief. So did Rahm, who became mayor of Chicago, the city where they grew up, although he was “quiet and observant.” Baby Ari, now a fabulously successful Hollywood mogul, the model for the abrasive Ari Gold on HBO’s Entourage, was “forceful, rambunctious, highly social and hyperactive.” Perhaps the leading American bioethicist, Zeke is vice provost for global initiatives and chair of the Department of Medical Ethics & Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania. He served in the Obama White House and chaired the bioethics department at the National Institutes of Health. But this is not an intellectual autobiography. Neither is it a tell-all political or celebrity memoir, although it does expose some childhood mayhem. There was vociferous arguing around the Emanuel dinner table, fisticuffs with neighborhood kids and scrapes with teachers and police, all happening amid the social and political upheavals of the ’60s. The boys’ mother was an early and active supporter of labor and urban civil rights. The issues of the day were their daily bread. A revealing chapter in his education and this book comes when Zeke, after his bar mitzvah, takes up study of the Pirkei Avot, a compilation of Jewish ethical teachings and maxims. The story of the way he learned to understand his family’s ethical foundation is best understood by reading it, but he summarizes it neatly: “Somehow, we all feel obligated to do good.” We hear less about Emanuel’s education at Amherst, where he wasn’t all that happy. One of his college buddies meets Emanuel’s mother, of whom the friend recalls, “She always seemed a tiny bit dangerous.” Dangerous and fascinating: Marsha Emanuel emerges from Brothers Emanuel as the character you wish had a bigger role. “My mother seemed a sort of expert nurturer, a woman who could make any child feel safe, secure, and valued,” Emanuel writes. “She was a highly intelligent, energetic, and motivated woman who was denied other careers, and motherhood was her profession. At the time it was a logical and productive way
Amherst Reads featured book: www.amherst.edu/magazine
to channel her energies. I suspect that millions of other mothers in these pre-women’s-liberation days did the same.” That passage’s uncritical acceptance of early-’60s sexism begs for deeper reflection. Marsha suffered “emotional storms,” as Zeke recalls them, and “tempestuous moods.” Why so moody? An intelligent, educated woman gives up career for family, has to explain to others that her political activism is not harmful to the children and then sits glumly in the station wagon on family vacations. Her problem, you might say, has no name, except that Betty Friedan exposed it in 1963 as “the problem that has no name.” The boys also suffer under uncritical gender essentialism. Their angry and sometimes violent acts are praised. “[W]hen problems arose we did not have many ways to discuss them deeply. … So early on we internalized the notion that it was easier to give someone a kiss or a hug or a punch than to struggle to elucidate the nuances of our private feelings and emoZeke Emanuel ’79, tions.” Emanuel says this is a brother of Rahm “paradox” in a family that liked and Ari to talk so much. But might the boys’ violence have some relation to their mother’s silence? Emanuel also suggests a second reason for writing a memoir: to answer “the cereal question.” The New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd once begged him to introduce her to his mother, “to find out what she put in the cereal.” Brothers Emanuel provides a sort of answer: travel, love and laughter, mixed with Jewish social gospel. If this is unsatisfying as a “how-to” guide for perplexed parents, Emanuel eloquently concludes that he is the product of an improvisatory riff of “jazz parenting.” That explanation works, especially if you believe what Louis Armstrong said when asked to define jazz: “Man, if you gotta ask, you’ll never know.” As Emanuel writes of his childhood, “I saw that a man’s work was important, that he must pursue it tirelessly, and that it might require certain sacrifices.” I learned to write at the same time and place as Zeke Emanuel did; I’m sure that by “man” he means “person.” The person whose work and sacrifices I want to hear more about is Marsha (Smulevitz) Emanuel, the mother of three remarkable boys, whose tantalizing tale remains to be told. k ©Lynn Goldsmith/Corbis
Reviewed by Paul Statt ’78
Statt is a communications consultant in Philadelphia. Amherst Summer 2013 43
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Long Frozen Evenings By Michael Kelly Fans of Mysteries at the Museum on the Travel Channel may have seen its recent piece on the Clarence Birdseye field journals, which are held in Archives & Special Collections at Amherst. The two-minute clip covered the basics, but there’s more to the story. Clarence Birdseye arrived at Amherst in 1906, following in the footsteps of his father, Clarence Frank Birdseye, Class of 1874, and his older brother Kellogg, Class of 1902. As Mark Kurlansky writes in his book Birdseye: The Adventures of a Curious Man, Clarence developed a reputation at Amherst as an outsider. Already a dedicated naturalist, he spent much time in college roaming nearby fields and streams in search of interesting specimens. He also earned spare cash by trapping live rats and 44 Amherst Summer 2013
© Bettmann/CORBIS; journal: amherst archives
A factory worker surveys boxes of Birds Eye “frosted foods,” founded by Clarence Birdseye, Class of 1910. At left, one of Birdseye’s journals from frozen Labrador.
frogs to sell to research scientists and zoos. That reputation is reflected in the 1910 Olio. The quote that accompanies Birdseye’s yearbook photo— “I ain’t afeer’d o’bugs, or toads, or worms, or snakes, or mice, or anything”—is a fabrication of the editors. The Olio makes reference to Birdseye’s absence after sophomore year, which came as a result of a reversal of the Birdseye family fortunes. No longer able to afford the cost of college, young Clarence never graduated. The 13 manuscript volumes in the college’s Clarence Birdseye Journal Collection cover the period from November 1910 through July 1916. For most of that time, Birdseye was in Labrador, a sparsely populated frozen land known for abundant fish and game, including animals valued for their furs. Furs, not frozen food, were where
Before packaged vegetables made him a household name, Clarence Birdseye roamed streams near Amherst and kept field journals in Labrador. Birdseye imagined he could make his fortune. Although furs were his primary interest, his voracious curiosity about the natural world led him to record his observations on all sorts of flora and fauna, plus everything from dried trout to molasses pie. Birdseye was nothing if not methodical, and he passed the long, frozen evenings by preparing indexes to each of his field journals—a gift to researchers today. In September 1916, while living in Labrador, Clarence and his wife, Eleanor, had their first
child, a boy they named Kellogg. The demands of new fatherhood may explain why Birdseye stopped keeping his field journals that year. Birdseye’s observations in the frozen wastes of Labrador certainly influenced his thinking about food and freezing, but it would be nearly a decade before he turned those thoughts into a profitable technology. He spent most of the 1920s attempting to perfect a method of quick-freezing foods, starting with fish. His Aug. 12, 1930, U.S. patent—for a machine that freezes food into a block while retaining flavor—marks the beginning of the modern frozen food industry. By the 1950s, Birds Eye frozen foods had changed the way Americans eat their vegetables. k Kelly is the head of Archives & Special Collections at Frost Library.
l F Watch the Travel Channel video www.amherst.edu/magazine
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THANK YOU! Together, we did it.
When the Lives of Consequence campaign launched in 2008, it was dedicated to furthering Amherst’s educational mission and strengthening the College for the future. One of its highest priorities was securing for a new century Amherst’s historic commitment to admitting students based on their achievements, talents and promise, without consideration of their families’ financial situation. An overall goal of $425 million was set for scholarships, curriculum and faculty support, learning outside the classroom and campus upgrades. Now, five years later, we can only marvel at all that has been accomplished. Thanks to the generosity of alumni from every Amherst class and every corner of the globe, as well as parents and friends of the College, the campaign surpassed its goal and raised a record-setting $502 million. In the midst of unprecedented economic challenge, you stepped forward—as previous generations have done—to ensure that Amherst remains a beacon for young men and women of exceptional talent. Along the way, our personal connections to the College and to our classmates and friends have grown stronger. Many of us have embraced new opportunities to sponsor internships, mentor students, host or attend alumni events and take advantage of new platforms the College provides in the virtual world to keep in touch. We are grateful to the volunteers and donors whose dedication made the campaign’s overwhelming success possible. Please join us on September 20–21 as Amherst hosts a celebration on campus to recognize these shared accomplishments. Until then, we extend our deepest appreciation for all you have done and continue to do for Amherst. It has been a privilege to serve as co-chairs for this remarkable campaign.
Brian J. Conway ’80
Hope E. Pascucci ’90
Jide J. Zeitlin ’85
8/1/13 11:50 AM
the historic success of the lives of consequence campaign speaks volumes about the dedication of Amherst College graduates. Throughout the campaign, more than 17,000 of you stepped forward, both as volunteers and donors. You hosted gatherings for association events, alumni-student networking events and summer send-off parties for incoming Amherst students. You reached out, urging classmates to return to campus at homecoming and reunion. You sent emails and letters and made phone calls on behalf of the Alumni Fund. You also solicited feedback to help shape the College’s
Brad Richter ’87
Currently head of the Trusts and Estates Department at Fried Frank in New York, Richter started volunteering for Amherst as a student tour guide and has volunteered in some capacity ever since. Richter served as 25th Reunion Co-Chair, has spent more than a decade on the New York Amherst Association board and annually coordinates the New York City metro-region admitted student reception for the Admissions Office. “Amherst was a privilege to attend and has meant a great deal to me,” says Richter. “I appreciate the experience more and more as I go on in life. It’s wonderful to be able to give back in some way.”
path and progress. These contributions have lasting impact and advance the College’s legacy. We celebrate that Amherst is foremost a community whose graduates, in so many ways, ensure that terras irradient remains the College’s guiding principle.
Quiet Phase July 2007
Amherst announces it will eliminate loans in favor of scholarships and grants in all financial aid packages beginning in 2008.
The Center for Community Engagement opens with the support of a $13 million grant from the Argosy Foundation and John Abele ’59.
The first Koenig scholars arrive on campus. Arthur W. Koenig ’66 created the scholarship fund to expand and strengthen recruitment of talented students in Latin America and Africa.
Laurie and Ted Beneski ’78, P’08 make a $15 million gift to fund the Beneski Earth Sciences Building and Beneski Museum of Natural History.
The Dwight Goldthorpe ’41 estate bequeaths $23 million to the College for campus improvements.
Amherst receives two extraordinary and recordsetting anonymous unrestricted gifts of $25 million and $100 million.
The Class of 1985 gives $14.4 million to the College, the largest 25th Reunion gift.
The Mead Art Museum receives an exceptional painting by Alfred Sisley through a planned gift from Chara and John C. Haas ’40.
Two professorships— the Paula R. and David J. Avenius 1941 Professorship and the Howard M. and Martha P. Mitchell Professorship— are established to recognize faculty excellence.
The campaign reaches its initial goal of $425 million.
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Ana Salas Siegel ’91
alumni fund chairs Chris Noyer Seaver ’81, Leo Arnaboldi ’81, and Aimee Carroll ’99
A senior vice president at Fox International Channels, Salas Siegel is active with the Amherst Association of Miami and served on the Presidential Search Committee that selected Biddy Martin, Amherst’s 19th President. “My work on the committee allowed me to forge an even deeper relationship with the College. I am excited by how the changing demographics of students and faculty are enriching an Amherst education, and the success of the campaign will expand the possibilities even more.”
As energetic and dedicated Alumni Fund Chairs, Noyer Seaver, Arnaboldi and Carroll have paved the way for consistent alumni participation. Along with providing leadership and strategy for the Fund, they have personally connected with hundreds of alumni each year to encourage gifts that initiate or continue membership in the 1821 Society. The trio’s service has been invaluable, and special thanks go to Arnaboldi and Noyer Seaver, who have served as chairs since the campaign’s launch in 2008.
2004 Class Agents Annie MacRae ’04, Courtney Knowlton ’04, Matt Murumba ’04 and Blake Sparrow ’04 A literary manager, teacher, actor and attorney, respectively, the 2004 Alumni Fund Class Agents continually inspire their classmates to support and connect with Amherst. Expertly organized and fueled by a motivated group of Associate Agent volunteers, the 2004 team achieves benchmark participation each year, resulting in strong class engagement. The excitement is already building for their 10th Reunion.
Kirsten Poler ’88
Doug Grissom ’89
Currently President of the Society of the Alumni, Poler also has volunteered in a range of positions over the years, including as Alumni Fund Associate Agent and a member of the 25th Reunion Gift Committee for her class. “Fundraising for the 25th Reunion connected me to Amherst in a new way,” says Poler. “It has been amazing to see how Amherst has changed and to get to know the people behind inspiring initiatives and new programs. I’ve also come to appreciate my time at Amherst more and more.”
The Regional Leadership Giving Chair for the Midwest, Grissom regards Amherst as a life-changing catalyst. Now a Managing Director at Madison Dearborn Partners in Chicago, Grissom—a longtime Alumni Fund volunteer who now co-chairs the Class of 1989’s 25th Reunion Gift Committee—credits the College with teaching him how to read, write and think critically. When asked to assist with the campaign, he happily accepted: “I wanted to be part of this effort to strengthen Amherst for current and future students.”
Official launch March 2008
The Trustees adopt a needblind admission policy for all international students, making Amherst the 8th academic institution in the country to do so.
The Class of 1958 raises $26.5 million, the largest 50th Reunion gift in Amherst’s history.
The Annual Fund reaches $10.7 million, the highest total since its establishment by alumni in 1924.
Amherst launches the Lives of Consequence campaign with a weekend of on-campus seminars and speakers.
The Virtual Lecture Series premieres with a faculty talk. The series, in conjunction with Amherst Reads, spurs the growth of Amherst Connects online programming.
A group of donors join together to fund significant renovations to the Pratt Field complex.
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awards a three-year $724,000 grant to expand a pilot project for collaborative humanities research, resulting in a dozen faculty members mentoring 100+ students.
The largest campaign in Amherst’s history concludes at $502 million, thanks to the remarkable generosity of alumni, parents and friends.
Sept. 20–21 2013 You are invited to an on-campus celebration to recognize the many contributions of the Amherst community during the campaign.
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The AMHERST CAMPAIGN: how you did it
donors to the campaign
of alumni gave to the campaign, a remarkable
new donors to the campaign
98% did so through the Annual Fund
of alumni and
alumni, parents and friends attended an Amherst event on or off campus over the course of the campaign
alumni connected virtually through the alumni directory or online programs
54% of parents engaged with the College over the course of the campaign
exceeding our $425 million goal
You made an impact
103,519 gifts to Amherst over the course of the campaign
in Annual Fund giving— support for current-use and emerging College priorities
for the endowment— to strengthen Amherst’s fiscal foundation
for scholarship and access— donors established or added to 230 endowed funds
for faculty and curricular support—donors established or added to 86 endowed funds
for facilities—643,000 square feet of dormitory, classroom and social spaces were renovated or constructed
donors became Johnson Chapel Associates by including Amherst in their estate plans
alumni connected with or mentored current Amherst students
events were held on campus, across the country and around the world over the course of the campaign
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Through your involvement, service and generosity, the College raised a record-setting $502 million, and 86 percent of alumni and 54 percent of parents connected with Amherst students, faculty or one another during the Lives of Consequence campaign.
Your contributions have ensured that an Amherst education is open to all promising students. The campaign’s success also measurably strengthened the faculty and academic programs at the heart of all we do.
NOW JOIN US
YOU DID IT!
Thank you for your support! We invite you to celebrate this remarkable success on SEPTEMBER 20–21, 2013, at the Lives of Consequence Campaign Celebration Weekend at Amherst College.
SEPTEMBER 20–21, 2013
CREATING CONNECTIONS c3-c4_AmherstSummer2013.indd 3
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THEN & NOW
In the 1950s a not-angry mob of torch-wielding students came together for a campus bonfire. This June student interns drove tomato stakes into the soil of the â€œFlorida fieldâ€? (so named for its shape) at Book & Plow Farm, a four-acre operation on college land. The internships allow students to sample the life of an organic farmer (which, if they're lucky, now includes sampling the fruits of this earlysummer labor).
1950s College Bonfire
2013 Book & Plow Farm
Bonfire photo from Amherst college archives & special collections. farm photo by Rob Mattson
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