Doctor of Laws
Tom Gerety led Amherst for nine years with principle, humor,
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.