Narrated by Award-Winning Actor Jeffrey Wright ’87, “Amherst at 200: Celebrating Mind, Heart, and Community” Features Conversations With Accomplished Alumni and Past and Current Presidents
(AMHERST, Mass., Nov. 12, 2021) — As part of a host of activities and initiatives marking its Bicentennial year, Amherst College has launched a compelling new podcast showcasing the Amherst experience and the liberal arts. Titled “Amherst at 200: Celebrating Mind, Heart, and Community” and narrated by award-winning actor Jeffrey Wright ’87, the series kicks off with a moderated conversation between College President Biddy Martin and two of her predecessors, Anthony Marx, now president and chief executive officer of the New York Public Library, and Tom Gerety, former New York University Law School professor and executive director of NYU’s Brennan Center for Justice who has since retired. Ten remaining episodes—plus three special encore episodes of conversations between Martin and other alumni—are devoted to the individual stories of extraordinary Amherst graduates. The first two episodes will be available for download on Nov. 12, with new episodes released now through December.
“In my years as president, I have had the privilege of seeing and hearing firsthand what many of our graduates have gone on to do and to contribute to the world after leaving Amherst,” said Martin. “I am delighted to give over a dozen of them the platform to share their stories. I hope our listeners will enjoy learning from and about them as we celebrate the enduring benefits of an Amherst education.”
In addition to Martin, Gerety and Marx, individuals interviewed for “Amherst at 200” include Anthony Jack ’07, sociologist and Harvard University professor, who explores how race and class impact the academic experience; Kathy Chia ’88, co-founding principal of the Desai Chia Architecture firm, who discusses how the liberal arts can inform the architectural design process; and longtime Amherst professor William Pritchard ’53, who describes how the College can change and grow without sacrificing what makes it special. Other podcast participants are musician e ’17, attorney Patrick Fitzgerald ’82, physician Meron Hirpa ’11, paleontologist and museum aFreddie Bryant ’87, law and master of business administration student Christine Croasdaile’17, Kirk Johnson ’82, political consultant Chris Lehane ’90 and global health and social justice advocate Becky Rwakabukoza ’14.
What follows are just three excerpts from a few of the episodes:
- “Biden, without missing a beat, turns to me and says, ‘Great, let’s go get some pizza, and we’ll hang out.’”
—Chris Lehane ’90, in Episode 6 of Amherst’s new Bicentennial podcast series, on meeting Joe Biden, who was then a U.S. senator, after Biden spoke at Amherst in the late 1980s
- “I know that people say math and music are connected, but for me, it’s music and prose. It’s music and words, it’s music and stories, it’s music and history, it’s music and struggle.”
—Freddie Bryant ’87, in Episode 2 of Amherst's new Bicentennial podcast series, narrated by Jeffrey Wright ’87
- “Like the museum I run, Amherst is a product of the 19th century, and it is living in the 21st century, with its eyes on the 22nd century.”
—Kirk Johnson ’82, Sant Director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, in Episode 10 of Amherst's new Bicentennial podcast series
Produced by Cadence13, in collaboration with Amherst College. All of the episodes will be available on all major podcast platforms.
Amherst College prepares students to use ideas to make a difference in the world. Since its founding, in 1821, in Western Massachusetts, Amherst has demonstrated steadfast confidence in the value of the liberal arts and the importance of critical thinking. Today, its financial aid program is among the most substantial in the nation, and its student body is among the most diverse. Small classes, an open curriculum and a singular focus on undergraduate education ensure that leading scholars engage daily with talented, curious students, equipping them for leadership in an increasingly global and complex world. The College is marking its bicentennial in 2021.