Tom Gerety

Doctor of Laws

Tom Gerety led Amherst for nine years with principle, humor, and heart.

A lawyer and philosopher by training, he came to Amherst from the presidency at Trinity, and immediately demonstrated an understanding of and commitment to the distinguished history and unique character of this complicated place. A self-proclaimed ’60s radical, he reveled in the College’s “feistiness” and delighted in the dialogue that characterizes Amherst.

He helped maintain Amherst’s commitment to need-blind admission and financial aid, and built upon the College’s diversity. Under his leadership, the College’s endowment more than doubled, and The Amherst College Campaign raised nearly $270 million to support teaching, research, and scholarship. Most of Amherst’s academic and athletic buildings have been renovated during the last nine years, and an ambitious rethinking and renovation of student dormitories is now under way.

Even while managing the business of the College, he remained committed to students and the classroom. He taught first-year seminars on inner-city America and on philosophy, and met regularly with student leaders.

He was similarly dedicated to building community at Amherst. He established a common orientation for first-year students, and helped integrate staff into the life of the College. He encouraged students to become active in public service, and established fellowships and internships to support community service in the U.S. and abroad. In the face of personal loss, he brought humanity to his work with students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents, and friends.

Gerety will leave Amherst at the end of June to become the executive director of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law. He also will serve as the Brennan Center for Justice Professor at NYU. Gerety and his wife, Adelia, have four sons: Finn, Carrick, Amias, and Rowan.

Gerety has said that leading Amherst has been the most challenging, and the most rewarding, job that he has ever had. Now, he looks forward to new challenges and new rewards. New York, the Brennan Center, and the defense of justice await. As he prepares for his next career, for life after this College, we are mindful that he will always be part of Amherst; and we hope that Amherst will always be part of him.

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