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University of Massachusetts Amherst

University of Massachusetts Amherst

College of Humanities and Fine Arts

New & Noteworthy


FACULTY: Please click here to access information about the HFA Online Program Development Fund

For a list of upcoming events, please visit our calendar.

In Loving Memory

Walter Kamys, esteemed professor of Art, died on Saturday, August 10, 2013 at the Elaine Center in Hadley, MA just months after celebrating his 96th birthday with family and friends at his home in Sunderland, MA.

Walter received his degree from the Art Institute of Chicago in 1943. In 1962, Walter accepted a temporary position with the Art Department at UMass Amherst—a position which quickly became permanent. By the end of the decade, Walter was awarded tenure and a full Professorship. He went on to found and direct the Art Acquisition Program, which focused on works on paper and its collection grew to more than 600 pieces before his retirement in 1987.

A prolific artist, Walter's passion for painting and drawing informed his approach to art education. He brought the excitement he expereinced in his studio with him into the classroom. (See Walter's work here.)

Walter Kamys lived a full and productive life on his own terms, touching the lives of thousands of students, friends and colleagues. He will be remembered and missed by many.



Commencement 2013

For information on the UMass Amherst Class of 2013 Commencement Ceremony and the College of Humanities and Fine Arts Senior Recognition Ceremony please visit our Commencement information page. Updates will be made to this site frequently and questions can be directed here as well.




Classics student selected as a Rising Researcher

As we celebrate our sesquicentennial, the campus launches "Rising Researcher" - a new program to honor students whose achievements exemplify the quality of research, scholarship, and creative activity conducted by UMass Amherst undergraduates. The "inaugural four" are ones to watch as they build a record of success in their chosen fields. Tess Brickley ’15, Commonwealth Honors College classics major is working with digital archaeological materials from the Pompeii Quadriporticus Project under the supervision of Professor Eric Poehler. Brickley so impressed Poehler as a freshman in his Roman archeology class that he offered her a research assistant position. “Tess has truly excelled in every task she has been given. One of the first was analyzing data from 74 columns in our building, the Quadriporticus at Pompeii, and discovering patterns within the hundreds of holes cut into those columns. Thinking through the process of the task I gave her was itself challenging, but then visualizing the results was especially impressive. I presented the results at a major international conference in January to great interest,” says Poehler.


2013 Distinguished Alumni Awards

The Alumni Association's 2013 Distinguished Alumni Awards was a wonderful event that had over 200 guests in attendedance. The ceremony in the Massachusetts State House included a number of state legislators as well. Fred Feldman (Philosophy faculty) and Mel Yoken ('60 and '72 PhD) were among the honorees at the event. Mel Yoken received a Distinguished Alumni Award while Fred Feldman received a Distinguished Faculty Award.


UMass Professors awarded the American Academy Rome Prize

The American Academy in Rome is pleased to announce the winners of the 2013-14 Rome Prize. The Academy, through its annual Rome Prize competition, has conferred 31 awards to artists and scholars representing a variety of disciplines. Winners of the Rome Prize will reside at the Academy’s 11-acre center in Rome and receive room and board, a study or studio, and a stipend. Included among this year’s Rome Prize Winners in Historic Preservation and Conservation is Max Page, a Professor of Architecture and History in the Department of Art, Architecture, and Art History at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and Ruth Noyes a visiting professor of Art History who was awarded the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Post-Doctoral Prize.


UMass Marimba band held workshops with Springfield students

Thom Hannum took the UMass Marimba bands on a day trip to Springfield where they performed at both Springfield Central High School and Springfield SciTech.  In addition to give performances at both campuses, the marimba groups gave a clinic, with Thom as instructor.  Our students worked side by side with Springfield students.  It was direct interaction, and the point of the clinic was directed towards the Springfield students. In July student percussionists from Springfield Central are looking to come up to our campus, and have two days of workshops with Thom.

University of Massachusetts Chorale performed on WGBY's Together in Song

The UMass Amherst Chamber Choir performed in the third season of Together in Song a celebration of the rich choral tradition in western New England. Episodes were aired from March 23 to April 13 and the UMass performance can be viewed on WGBY's Together in Song website.

Professor John H. Bracey awarded by the College of Wooster

The College of Wooster awarded Afro-Am professor John H. Bracey with the Honorary Degree, Doctor of Humane Letters in recognition of his accomplishments as a distinguished social historian and pioneer of Africana Studies and his commitment to and influence on the study of the history of race, identity, and gender.



Professor Fred Feldman recipient of the 2013 Samuel F. Conti Fellowship

Professor Feldman was recently honored with a Distinguished Faculty Award bestowed to him by the UMass Amherst Alumni Association as well as the Samuel F. Conti Fellowship. The Distinguished Faculty Award was presented to him at the State House on April 3rd in the presence of Hilary Kornblith and Kumble Subbaswamy (shown at left). The Conti Fellowship will be formally presented to Professor Feldman at the Faculty Recognition Dinner on April 29.


Congratulations to Francisco Fagundes on receving the Medal of Honor for Culture

Francisco Fagundes was awarded the Medal of Honor for Culture and launched the translation of his autobiography in the Azores. Professor Francisco Fagundes published his own translation of his autobiography Hard Knocks: An Azorean-American Odyssey (memoir). No Fio da Vida (São Miguel, Azores: Ver Açor, 2013) was launched at the University of the Azores, São Miguel, and also at a special ceremony in Fagundes’s native city of Praia da Vitória, Terceira, Azores.  On the occasion of the launching in Terceira, the City Hall of Praia da Vitória awarded him the Medalha de Mérito Municipal – Valor Cultural (Medal of Honor for Culture).


Chinua Achebe acclaimed author and former UMass professor has died

Chinua Achebe, the internationally celebrated Nigerian author, UMass Professor, statesman and dissident who gave literary birth to modern Africa with "Things Fall Apart" and continued for decades to rewrite and reclaim the history of his native country, has died. He was 82. (Associated Press, Mass Review)




Congratulations to José Angel Hernández on winning the William M. LeoGrande Prize for the best book on U.S.-Latin American Relations from American University.

José Angel Hernández, an assistant professor of history at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, is the recipient of this year's LeoGrande Prize. Professor Hernández is recognized for his book, Mexican American Colonization during the Nineteenth Century. This study is a reinterpretation of nineteenth-century Mexican American history, examining Mexico's struggle to secure its northern border with repatriates from the United States, following a war that resulted in the loss of half Mexico's territory. The William M. LeoGrande Award and William M. LeoGrande Prize were established in 2012 to honor his tenure as Dean of American University's School of Public Affairs from 2003 to 2012. Professor LeoGrande continues to serve as a professor of government at American University. The endowed award program was made possible through the financial support of alumni, friends, and colleagues of Professor LeoGrande. One of the world's most accomplished scholars in Latin American politics and U.S. foreign policy, Professor LeoGrande has been a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow, and a Pew Faculty Fellow in International Affairs. He has written five books, including Our Own Backyard: The United States in Central America, 1977 - 1992. His articles have appeared in various international and national journals, magazines and newspapers. Most recently, he was co-editor of A Contemporary Cuba Reader: Reinventing the Revolution 


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