Official opening of renovated Montague House


CIE was proud to welcome the campus community and many Amherst-area graduates to the official ribbon-cutting ceremony for Montague House on a rainy Tuesday on November 29, 2016. Montague House was the original home of CIE in the 1970s before it moved to Hills House, returning now 45 years later. 


Current CIE Director Joe Berger served as master of ceremony for the event.  During his opening remarks, he thanked the Montague family, represented by Steve Montague who lived in the house as a boy and was present with his wife and son. He also thanked members of the renovation team who did a masterful job in overseeing the renovations.


UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy thanked the donors whose contribution helped make the renovation of Montague possible, after it had stood empty for some years and was in fact being considered for demolition. He also acknowledged the crucial role of former College of Education Dean Christine McCormick in championing the project.  


Interim Dean of the College of Education, Robert Feldman, hailed CIE as “a beacon of light to the international community,” citing examples of recent faculty and student activities around the world. 


David R. Evans, CIE’s Founding Director, was honored by the speakers for his leadership of CIE during the past 45 years. His contributions were acknowledged to be considerable in building and directing CIE.


Also notable, CIE graduates Nigel Brissett (Ed.D. 2011) and Valerie Haugen (Ed.D. 1997) made remarks sharing their experiences at CIE and their impact on their subsequent professional careers.


Nigel, who is now Assistant Professor of International Development and Social Change at Clark University, cited the “degree of freedom” to pursue his multidisciplinary interests; faculty engaged in practical ways in the Global South; and the warm sense of community as reasons he chose the program.


He described how his current pedagogy and interactions with students has been shaped by CIE, as he seeks participatory, intellectually challenging approaches and relationships “based on empathy and mutual respect.” He noted that CIE has now been active for almost 50 years, and was confident that its “aspirations of a socially just world will continue to flourish.”


Valerie, an educational development consultant has a long list of places, people, and subsectors she has been able to work with as a result of the “broad as well as deep” skills and knowledge acquired at CIE.  She also emphasized the community ethos of the Center.  She shared anecdotes to illustrate how she has met other CIE graduates, sometimes unexpectedly, in many of the 35 countries where she has worked. “We spoke the same language,” she said, “and it wasn’t English.” It was “the language of a community committed to social justice and liberation and praxis.


Many Amherst-area graduates were on hand for this momentous occasion.  Others, not able to attend, sent notes of congratulation to many of the CIE faculty.


Guests were invited to tour the house after the ceremony.