Amherst College

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Amherst College
motto Terras irradient ( Latin ) ("Let them give the world the light")
founding 1821
Sponsorship Private
place Amherst (Massachusetts) , United States
President Carolyn Martin
Students 1,817 (October 2012)
Employee 443
including professors 253
Foundation assets US $ 1,641 billion (June 2012)
Networks Five College Consortium
The college's Johnson Chapel (1826–1827)
Amherst College location

The Amherst College [ æmərst kɒlɪdʒ ] is a very prestigious private liberal arts college in Amherst (Massachusetts) in the United States of America . It was founded in 1821 and today has more than 1,600 students with a bachelor's degree and a good 170 professors and lecturers.

As one of the Five Colleges, it has been cooperating with four other universities in the area since 1965. The university colors are purple and white.

Amherst College is the namesake of the asteroid Amherstia , which was so named by its discoverer, former Amherst student Raymond Smith Dugan .


Johnson Chapel and Dormitories before 1915

Amherst College is the successor to Amherst Academy , which was named after the small town of Amherst and attended by Emily Dickinson and Noah Webster , among others . When Williams College further west of Massachusetts was threatened with temporary relocation or closure due to financial problems and its remote location, Amherst College was founded in 1821. In 1825 the first 25 students graduated.

The first black student graduated in 1826 - that is, in the second year that Amherst even awarded degrees, and only three years after what is believed to be the first student with black ancestry ( mixed-race ) obtained a bachelor's degree from a US university ( Alexander Twilight at Middlebury College ).

Since 1975 female students have also been admitted.


College Row's typical brick-style dormitories

Amherst College is located directly south-southwest of the center of the small town of Amherst on a hilltop. The area is characterized by the largely old development by American standards and the park-like landscaped grounds around the buildings.

The campus is laid out around a tree-lined central lawn which, due to its roughly square shape, is called the Main Quadrangle or Quad for short . The main library is on the north side of the lawn. The sides are lined with brick buildings with white elements (window and door frames), which mainly accommodate student dormitories; Set back a little to the west is the Johnson Chapel, which is now used for offices. The south side of the lawn is not built on. Here, the terrain, which slopes sharply towards the sports fields, behind a memorial for fallen soldiers, offers a view of the Mount Holyoke mountain range in the south of Amherst. A little further to the west of the campus, on the highest point of the hilltop, there is a small former observatory.

Academic quality

Amherst College competes with Williams College for the reputation of the best liberal arts college in the United States. In the controversial university rankings of the US News & World Report magazine, one of the two colleges has always taken first place in recent years, followed by the other; In the 2007 ranking edition, Amherst was in second place.

Amherst College is considered the US college with the highest percentage of alumni donations - currently about 61% of alumni donate. His endowment funds are now 1.66 billion dollars and most recently brought 27.8 percent and thus 461 million dollars in income per year (as of 2007). In addition, there is the usual income, in particular from tuition fees and research funds.

Study conditions

Amherst College offers over 800 courses in 33 subjects. Due to the cooperation within the framework of the Five Colleges , students can also take courses from the other four universities (and vice versa), in individual cases also courses for students beyond the bachelor's degree at the University of Massachusetts Amherst . Due to the cooperation, the university libraries are also networked.

The tuition fees at Amherst College are high, but not exceptional for a US university of its repute: the total cost (including living expenses, i.e. mainly dormitory fees) for the academic year 2006/2007 was $ 43,360. 66% of its students receive financial assistance from Amherst College, which can range from a reduction in tuition fees to full coverage.

Cultural institutions beyond the campus

Amherst College owns and administers the Emily Dickinson Museum, which includes Emily Dickinson's birth and residence and her brother's house next door. The college also owns about half of the poet's manuscripts.

According to the will of his former student Henry Clay Folger , the college also heads the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC - an independent research library with the largest Shakespeare collection in the world and an attached theater, which, in addition to research and restoration of old documents, also offers a diverse cultural program offers.


Since 1899, Amherst sports teams have competed regularly with students from Williams College and Wesleyan University . The competition was initially known as the Triangular League (triangular league). In the 1920s, the name Little Three ("little three"), which is still used today, emerged , in contrast to the corresponding rivalry between the Big Three ("big three": Harvard University , Yale University and Princeton University ).

More recently, Amherst students have also competed with students from other colleges in several college leagues: the Third Division ( Division III ) of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) , the Eastern College Athletic Conference, and the New England Small College Athletic Conference .

The future US President Calvin Coolidge (1872–1933) during his time as an Amherst student


The third president of Amherst College was geologist Edward Hitchcock from 1845 to 1854 .

Hermann J. Muller , who was a biology professor at the college from 1940 to 1945, won the 1946 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine . The poet and four-time Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Frost was an English professor in Amherst from 1916 to 1938; The main library is named after him today. Three- time Pulitzer Prize and Screenplay Oscar winner Archibald MacLeish taught English from 1963 to 1967. Alfred F. Havighurst was Professor of History from 1931 to 1970. The mathematician and economist Charles Wiggins Cobb also held a chair.

Lewis Spratlan , who received the Pulitzer Prize of Music in 2000 , taught in the music department of Amherst College from 1970 to 2006.

Many later scholars went to Amherst College. They include the economist John Bates Clark (graduated in 1875), the astronomer Raymond Smith Dugan (1899), the sociologist Talcott Parsons (1924), the mathematician Stephen Cole Kleene (1930), the physicist Henry Way Kendall (1950) and the economist Edmund Phelps (1955).

The 30th President of the USA, Calvin Coolidge (1895), the incumbent Prince of Monaco, Albert II (1981), the President of El Salvador (1999-2004), Francisco Flores Pérez (1981), went into politics , the Kenyan presidential candidate and opposition leader Uhuru Kenyatta (1985) and the former prime minister of Greece Giorgos Andrea Papandreou and the civil rights activist Albert S. Bard .

The later Nobel Prize winners were the students Henry W. Kendall (1950; Physics 1990), Edmund Phelps (1955, Economics 2006), Harold E. Varmus (1961; Medicine 1989) and Joseph E. Stiglitz (1964; Economics 2001).

Additional information


Web links

Commons : Amherst College  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d e Amherst at a glance ( English ) Amherst College. Retrieved November 19, 2013.
  2. a b Common Database 2012-2013, General Information ( English ) Amherst College. Retrieved November 19, 2013.
  3. Joint database 2012-2013, number of professors and students ( English ) Amherst College. Retrieved November 19, 2013.
  4. a b Amherst at a Glance on the Amherst College website (29 September 2007)
  5. no author / no date . Alexander Twilight.  ( Page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. on the pages of the Old Stone House Museum (accessed February 28, 2010)@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /  
  6. a b America's Best Colleges 2008 , from (accessed September 29)
  7. Jessie Oh (September 19, 2007): Endowment Grows for Fifth Year, the Amherst Student ( November 24, 2007 memento in the Internet Archive ) (September 29, 2007)
  8. Areas of Study on the Amherst College website (accessed September 29, 2007)
  9. Linked information on the Amherst College homepage on September 29, 2007 in the style of an advertisement 66% PERCENT OF AMHERST STUDENTS RECEIVE SOME FORM OF FINANCIAL AID. Learn more in "Can I Afford Amherst?"

Coordinates: 42 ° 22 '14.9 "  N , 73 ° 31' 1.4"  W.