March 2012

A Tribute to Richard Yarde


The extraordinary life and artistic works of Professor Richard Yarde, Art, were celebrated this semester in a special exhibition on campus. In this video, many of his admirers recall Yarde's legacy. Yarde, who died last Dec. 10, is recognized as a master watercolorist who shared his talent and insights with students as a professor of painting from 1990-2010.




Reading: Tony Horwitz

Pulitzer Prize winner Tony Horwitz gave a public talk and book signing on March 13th in the Student Union Cape Cod Lounge. Horwitz, the author of Confederates in the Attic and Midnight Rising: The Raid That Sparked the Civil War, is the History Department's 2012 Writer-in-Residence. His talk was mostly about his newest book, Midnight Rising: The Raid That Sparked the Civil War, about the attack on the United States Arsenal at Harpers Ferry, led by abolitionist John Brown. More...




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February 2012

The 19th Annual Massachusetts Multicultural Film Festival: "Intersections: Fiction/Non-Fiction"

The 19th Annual Massachusetts Multicultural Film Festival headlines award-winning narrative features and documentaries from France, Iran, Germany, Mexico, Israel, United Arab Emirates, Canada, Australia, Finland, Guatemala, Palestinian Territory, and the USA. The lineup showcases several New England premiers and hosts five acclaimed women filmmakers and video artists who will be present for discussion. This season explores the hybrid interconnections and boundaries between documentary and fiction, beyond and across borders and genres — geopolitical, transnational, generational, artistic, cultural and historical — offering a wealth of visual pleasure for every taste.


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November 2011


Dedication of the Minuteman Marching Band Building

On Nov. 5, UMass Amherst dedicated its $5.8 million Minuteman Marching Band Building, a new energy-efficient facility that will serve as the permanent home for the 300-member band. The building is named after the late George N. Parks, the music professor who led the Minuteman Marching Band to national prominence during his 33-year tenure. Officials in attendance were Robert L. Caret, UMass president; Robert C. Holub, UMass Amherst chancellor; Timothy T. Anderson, director of the marching band; Thomas P. Hannum, associate director of the marching band; Jeff R. Cox, chair of the department of music and dance; Jeanne Parks, spouse of George N. Parks; and Heidi I. Sarver, director of the University of Delaware Blue Hen Marching Band and former Minuteman Marching Band member. More...


Laudationes: A Celebration of Research and Creativity in the College of Humanities & Fine Arts

The College of Humanities & Fine Arts celebrated the research and creativity coming out of the college on November 9th in the Amherst Room on the 10th floor of Campus Center. The event showcased faculty members' scholarly and creative work from all the departments, from Afro-Am Studies to Linguistics to Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies as well as celebrating those who have won awards and grants recently. Check out the photo album!



Rand Lecture: Molly Smith

The UMass Amherst Department of Theater presented the 2011 Rand Lecturer on November 10th; the speaker was Molly Smith, artistic director of Arena Stage in Washington DC and a long-time ardent supporter of new theater. Among the playwrights she has supported is UMass Theater's own Marcus Gardley, whose every tongue confess inaugurated Arena's new Kogod Cradle last year. The New England premiere of his play Hell in High Water served as the catalyst for their invitation to Smith.

Over the past 13 seasons, Molly Smith has been instrumental in leading the re-invention of Arena Stage. Ms. Smith has been a passionate leader in new play development for the past 30 years while at Arena Stage as well as at Perseverance Theatre in Alaska, the theater she founded and led for 19 years. She has commissioned or championed numerous world premieres, including Paula Vogel's Pulitzer Prize-winning How I Learned to Drive and Mineola Twins; Zora Neale Hurston's lost American play, Polk County; Karen Zacarías' Legacy of Light; and Passion Play, a cycle by Sarah Ruhl. She founded Arena's downstairs series, which has read or workshopped some 60 plays. In 2009, two shows nurtured at Arena Stage (33 Variations and Next to Normal) moved to Broadway. Ms. Smith's directorial work has also been seen at the Shaw Festival in Canada, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Trinity Repertory Company, and Centaur Theatre in Montreal.


September 2011


College of Humanities & Fine Arts Welcome Event

HFA welcomed students back to campus on Monday, 9/12 with food, music & more. The welcome event featured the HFA Student Leadership Board, Career Services, Domestic Exchange, Study Abroad, the Library staff and the HFA Advising Center. Check out photos on HFA's Facebook Page and click here to view HFA's Welcome Video. See the students, faculty, and staff that contribute to making HFA full of exciting and rewarding opportunities!



Seventh Annual Faculty Convocation

The Seventh Annual Faculty Convocation was held on Friday, September 16th, 2011. During the ceremony, nationally and internationally acclaimed faculty members were presented with the Award for Outstanding Accomplishments in Research and Creative Activity. The 2011 award recipients were:

Julie A. Caswell, Professor of Resource Economics
Lori A. Clarke, Professor of Computer Science
Peter Gizzi, Professor of English
Joseph I. Goldstein, Distinguished Professor of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering
Marla R. Miller, Professor of History
Thomas P. Russell, Distinguished Professor of Polymer Science and Engineering


Public History 2036: The Next 25 Years

The Public History program celebrated its 25th anniversary with a landmark conference that brought together many of the nation's leading public historians to contemplate the most exciting emerging trends in the field, and to share the ideas that will shape the next quarter-century of practice. Beginning at 9:00 a.m. on Friday, September 23rd, a series of speakers, each in conversation with a member of the UMass Public History community, offered reflections on the present and future of Public History practice. The talks concluded at lunchtime Saturday, and were followed by two events: a workshop by Nina Simon, a museum consultant who through her work--including the widely-read blog Museum 2.0--is prompting the field to rethink the "Participatory Museum;" and "Snapshots from the Field," a series of short talks by eleven UMass alumni on the State of the Field as it looks from their respective vantage points. The day concluded with a capstone talk given by NPS curator Patricia West, author of Domesticating History: The Political Origins of America's House Museums.


Exhibit: The Instant of Combustion

When Barbara Morgan moved to New York City in 1930 she soon became the premier photographer who documented the fervent years of American modern dance. Her focus was the fusion of reality, art, and time when she photographed the dance works of Martha Graham and many modernists of the period - Pearl Primus at the 92nd Street Y; Doris Humphrey, or Charles Weidman. In arrested motion the photographs validate the power of the dancing spirit and confirm the power of dance to inspire, heal, and create a deep sense of community - and they confirm Morgan's deep and enduring love of dance, dancers and dancing. Her photographs are portraits of energy; energy of imagination and energy of motion transfixed by light energy. This exhibit ran from September 9th through October 16th, earning rave reviews along the way. On Wednesday, Oct. 5th, there was a lecture by Camille Brown, who is called one of the most talented young dancers in the U.S. today, and has performed nationally and internationally to enthusiastic acclaim. She talked about the influences in her career as a dancer.
See photos from the opening reception here!

The Boston Globe says about it, "It makes you want to dance, too." Read the review here.


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April 2011


Declamation Day 2011


Declamation Day was a huge success! It was held on April 11th with Mike Haley '65 as Master of Ceremonies. There were over 20 competitors and the judges this year were Thomas Bezanson, Amy Johnson, Arthur Kinney and Sabina Murray. Congratulations to 1st place winner Timothy Colby for his selection from Julius Caesar; Runner Up Linda Tardiff for her performance of the poem "This Type Love;" Audience Choice Tatsuro Fukushima for his rendition of tweet messages from! More...



8th Annual Pops Gala

The 8th annual pops gala, featuring musicians and dancers performing light classics, movie music, and more was held on Saturday, April 30th. The performers were: Pops Orchestra, Symphony Band, and University Dancers. Lanfranco Marcelletti, Jr., James Patrick Miller and Billbob Brown served as directors. Pops Music from Outer Space was performed by the Symphony Band and excerpts from Saturday Night Fever was performed by the Pops Orchestra and University Dancers.

Click here to download the flier.


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March 2011


Institute for Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies opens

The campus' newly established Institute for Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies will open its doors Monday, March 28 at its new home at 758 North Pleasant St. A public event marking the opening has been scheduled from 3-4 p.m.

The institute will be directed by Distinguished University Professor James E. Young, an internationally renowned scholar of Holocaust and memory studies. It will also be the new home of a permanent Holocaust teaching exhibition, "A Reason to Remember," formerly housed in the Hatikvah Holocaust Education Center in Springfield, Mass., and generously donated to the university by the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts in November 2010. More...


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February 2011


The 18th Annual Massachusetts Multicultural Film Festival: Migrations

The 18th Annual Massachusetts Multicultural Film Festival highlights interconnections among cinema, migration, war and memory in the context of contemporary cultural and ethno-national landscapes, screening award-winning documentary and feature films from South Africa, Bosnia, Russia, Israel, Mauritius, Iran, Palestine, Spain, Mexico and the U.S. From February 2 to April 27, this season explores the primordial role played by filmmakers working in partnership beyond and across borders, whether geographical, psychological, socio-economic, cultural or historical.


Jessica Jackley, co-founder of comes to UMass

Jessica Jackley, co-founder of, came to UMass Amherst on Feb. 10 to present a lecture titled, "Love, Money, and Work: Social Entrepreneurship as a Career." is an organization that allows people to lend money via the Internet to microfinance institutions in developing countries around the world through $25 increments. Since its launch in 2005, Kiva has facilitated nearly $150 million in loans, connecting lenders and entrepreneurs in 196 countries. Jessica Jackley drew on an unlikely background - studying philosophy and art - for her career. Seeing microfinance firsthand in Africa, she earned an MBA at Stanford while launching Kiva and became one of the world’s leading female entrepreneurs. In this lecture, she discussed how her background in humanities shaped her own and the company's goals and how was established not from a typical business standpoint. Read more...


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January 2011


Lián Amaris' Swimming to Spalding comes to UMass

Performance artist and writer Lián Amaris '02 never met Spalding Gray, but she saw him perform live four times and as a drama professor she taught the filmed version of his monologue, Swimming to Cambodia, dozens of times. After years of experimental theater projects, including the internationally-covered public event Fashionably Late for the Relationship, Amaris turned to Gray's work as the basis for a project unlike any other she had produced. The result of two years of research and development, Swimming to Spalding, will receive its area premiere at her alma mater on Jan. 29 and 30.

Directed by Richard Schechner (of East Coast Artists and formerly, The Performance Group where he directed Gray in six productions), Amaris goes in search of Spalding Gray's "perfect moment" by following the map of experience described in Gray's masterpiece Swimming to Cambodia, nearly a generation later. The original 2009 production enjoyed a successful run at the HERE Arts Center and was favorably reviewed by a number of publications and blogs, including the New York Times and Backstage. Read the NY Times review here. Read about her in the Valley Advocate.


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November 2010


Assistant Professor of African-American Theater and Playwriting, Marcus Gardley's Every Tongue Confess to open Arena Stage Theater in Washington D.C.

A play by Marcus Gardley, Assistant Professor of African-American Theater and Playwriting, had the honor of opening the newly renovated Arena Stage Theater in Washington D.C. in November. Every Tongue Confess opened Nov. 9 and ran through Jan. 2, and starred renowned stage and screen actress Phylicia Rashad. Read about it here. It has been reviewed by both The New Yorker and The Washington Post! More...


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Summer 2010


LA Theater Trip

Earlier this year, the theater department received an email from alumnus Michael Walton '01 that he was putting together his dream project: a production of Suzan-Lori Parks' Pulitzer-winning Topdog/Underdog. It was the kick in the pants they needed to set in motion a plan that was long overdue: Chair Penny Remsen and performance faculty member Julie Nelson traveled to Los Angeles to catch up with the alumni who'd made the West Coast their home.

The itinerary was a busy one: stops at the Geffen Playhouse, Bill Pullman's home, the legendary Formosa Cafe and the Lillian Theatre.  Read about their trip here.

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May 2010


Commencement 2010

Congrats to the 2010 graduates! On May 15, 2010, the HFA graduates walked up the podium in Herter Hall and received their medals. More...


Play In A Day '10

The best in fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants productions! We gave a half-dozen writers the night to create brand-new works. Come morning, we handed the pages off to the directors, actors, and stagehands who had until 8 p.m. to figure out a way to bring those works to life on the stage. It was nerve-wracking, it was exhausting, it was hard — and it was an absolute blast! We re-inaugurated this popular benefit event for the Department of Theater with a crew of artists including talented students, loyal community supporters, and a familiar name or two from among our alumni.




7th Annual Pops Gala

The 7th Annual Pops Gala featured former New York City Opera soprano Amy Johnson performing songs from Puccini's La Bohème and the Tony Award-winning Broadway show "On the 20th Century." UMass Pops Orchestra, Marimba and Percussion Ensembles and Dancers also performed. The ensemble directors were Lanfranco Marcelletti, Jr., Billbob Brown, Paul Dennis, Thomas Hannum and Ayano Kataoka.




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April 2010


Declamation Day 2010

Students demonstrated their oratorical skills by reading aloud from a text of their choice during the third Annual Declamation Day. Readings ranged from poems to political speeches, comic stories to eulogies, folk tales to satire, and came from any time period, place, or culture. Their efforts were evaluated by a panel of judges that included Mr. Thomas Bezanson, Professor William Hite, and Ms. Valerie Martin.

The event also featured guest performances by Professors Joselyn Almeida-Beveridge, Sabina Murray, and Ron Welburn. More...



ISHA Residency Spring 2010: Writing/Migration- Caryl Phillips

The Interdisciplinary Seminar in the Humanities and Fine Arts welcomed the renowned writer Caryl Phillips for its inaugural residency in the ‘Beyond Borders’ residency program. The weeklong event, on the theme of ‘Writing/Migration’, took place from April 5th-9th, 2010, with major funding from a College of Humanities and Fine Arts Visioning Grant. Through Caryl Phillips’s examination of migration and exile in settings ranging from Africa, to Europe, to the new world, he has founded a body of work that is both relevant and timely as well as innovative in form and approach. He joined the University community in a full spectrum of activities, including a fiction reading, a lecture, a screening of one of his films, and a reading of one of his plays. More...

Listen to his interview with WFCR!










NCTDR Transatlantic Symposium and Events Series, Murals and Peacemaking "The Art of Conflict Transformation in the North of Ireland/Northern Ireland"

The National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution, with partners at UMASS Amherst and in Belfast, offered a Transatlantic Symposium and Events Series at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 2009-2010. The first set of events took place March-May, 2009 and included virtual and in-person class visits, panel discussions on the relationship between truth recovery, reconciliation, and public space with renowned academics and artists, and cross community mural painting.

In Spring 2010, Muralists Danny Devenny, former Irish Republican Army (IRA) prisoner, and Mark Ervine, son of David Ervine, former Progressive Unionist Party leader and Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) member both of Belfast in the north of Ireland/Northern Ireland worked with UMASS community members to create a massive mural for the campus, which was unveiled on April 5th. They also guest spoke in UMASS classes and gave a public lecture on their separate careers in mural work during The Troubles as well as explore their recent joint productions as part of reconciliation efforts across communities. More...


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March 2010


Tim Crouch comes to UMass with England and An Oak Tree

Tim Crouch, one of the most exciting and intellectually engaging theatre artists working today, brought to the Valley this month his plays, England, co-starring Hannah Ringham and An Oak Tree. England is the story of one thing placed inside another: a heart inside another person’s body, a culture inside another country’s culture, theatre inside a gallery, a character inside an actor, a play inside its audience. It has won major acclaim at recent theatre festivals and is currently on tour worldwide, winning an impressive array of international awards. An Oak Tree is a unique play about loss, suggestion, and the power of the mind. It requires a different guest actor for each showing, with the guest actor having never seen or read the play … until they are in it! This is a breath-taking projection of a performance, given from one actor to another, from a hypnotist to their subject, from an audience to a person.

Read what the Hampshire Gazette has to say!


Guest Artists' Festival: Jon Nakamatsu and Jon Manasse


This March, internationally-known duo, pianist Jon Nakamatsu and clarinetist Jon Manasse came to UMass as guest artists. For the festival, they held masterclasses open to students at UMass and also performed at two concerts, one with the University Orchestra.

Jon Nakamatsu and clarinetist Jon Manasse are represented by Thomas Parker, a UMass alum.



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February 2010


Celebrating Thirty-Five Years of Women's Studies at UMass Amherst

This Spring, the University of Massachusetts Amherst celebrated both the 35th birthday and the new identity of the Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies program. Thirty-five years ago, feminist faculty, undergraduate and graduate students, and interested staff met to discuss what some called an impossible goal -- a major in Women’s Studies. The founding of the program required both expertise in the new field and political action, and the group rose to the challenge. By the Fall of 1974, their hard work and dedication paid off: UMass began offering an undergraduate major in Women’s Studies.

Today, it is a vibrant program with seven faculty, an undergraduate major, a minor, and a graduate certificate in advanced feminist studies. Since 1974, thousands of students have taken classes in the program and approximately 1500 undergraduates and more than 50 graduate certificate students have graduated. Courses on women, gender, and sexuality studies are now offered widely across the Five Colleges.

And what about that name change? The program is recognized as one of the national leaders in the paradigm shift from an almost exclusive focus on women to an intersectional analysis, one that places women and gender into a complex matrix of the interlocking axes of race/nation/ethnicity, class, and sexuality. The new name reflects this maturation of the field and lights the path ahead.

To celebrate the 35th anniversary of the Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies program at UMass Amherst, a panel of distinguished scholars and activists reflected on changes in the field and envision future directions. Panelists included were Beverly Guy Sheftall, Mary Hawkesworth '74, Judy Norsigian, and Jasbir K. Puar.


17th Annual Massachusetts Multicultural Film Festival

The Interdepartmental Program in Film Studies presented the 17th Annual Massachusetts Multicultural Film Festival, "Cinematic Cities," opening its spring season on Wednesday, February 3, 2010 with Claire Denis' sublime 35 Shots of Rum/35 Rhums, set in a Parisian banlieue community of Caribbean family, friends and railroad workers.

With screenings from February 3 to May 5, the Festival selection included productions from France, Brazil, the U.K., Germany, Afghanistan, Israel, Jamaica, Portugal, Italy and the U.S. and showcases newly restored silents, documentaries and short subjects, as well as the latest award-winning features from the international circuit.


Five College Student PoetryFest

Last Wednesday, the eighth-annual Five College Student PoetryFest took place at Mount Holyoke College. This event features students from each of the Five Colleges, selected by their home campuses for extraordinary talent in poetry. Shelby Kinney-Lang and Caitlin McLaughlin represented Umass. The PoetryFest was sponsored by the writing programs of each of the Five Colleges, the Poetry Center at Smith College, and Five Colleges, Incorporated, alongside contributions from the Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley, Broadside Books in Northampton, and Amherst Books in Amherst. The event was coordinated by Carol Aleman of Five Colleges, Inc, and a committee of professors of English and Writing from each of the colleges: Daniel Hall of Amherst, Deb Gorlin of Hampshire, Robert Shaw and Sara London of Mount Holyoke, Ellen Watson of Smith, and John Hennessy of UMass. This event was highly successful, with a large and engaged audience and impressive performances from each of the students.

Stand With Haiti: A Benefit Concert for Partners In Health

On February 11, a benefit concert was held to raise funds for the Haiti relief effort. The concert featured both local and student performers: The Young at Heart Chorus, Tehillah (St. Johns Congregational Gospel Choir), Joe Velez Quintet, A cappella sensation Sonos, UMass Jazz Ensemble I, FlavaEvolution Jazz Quartet and special guests.

All proceeds went to Partners in Health.


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January 2010



For the second year in a row, the Department of Theater has received a Visioning Grant from the College of Humanities and Fine Arts to develop new work. In this case, the department is partnering with The Misa Table, a company that creates theater pieces through collective research, writing, and studio composition, to mount a production of its innovative new multi-media project, 1905. This piece combines theater, live music, and film to tell a story of a group of immigrants from Russia, Germany, and Mexico coming together in rural Nebraska in 1905 to create a new community. Through personal stories, the play deftly outlines the larger story of the rapidly evolving American society of the time, with new ideas pushing against old world traditions.

Read about it in the Gazette!

Read about it in the Amherst Bulletin!

Listen to an article on it on NHPR!


DEFA goes to the NY Jewish Film Festival

The DEFA Film Library is pleased to announce the very first appearance of a DEFA film at the annual New York Jewish Film Festival: The Axe of Wandsbek (Das Beil von Wandsbek), 1951, will premiere at the Festival on Sunday, January 17th 2010 at 1:30pm in Lincoln Center.

Read the article


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December 2009


Troy Lecture Series 2009: Sherman Alexie

Sherman Alexie, the author of Ten Little Indians and The Business of Fancydancing, spoke to over 2,000 students on December 3rd at the English Department's Troy Lecture Series in the Student Union Ballroom. More...


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November 2009


20th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall Marked at UMass Amherst with Reception, Film Screening, History Exhibit

Two decades after the Berlin Wall fell, the University of Massachusetts Amherst commemorated the historic event that led to Germany’s reunification with a reception, film screening and the opening of a public history exhibit on Tuesday, Nov. 10.

The reception marked the official opening of an exhibit on the history of the Berlin Wall created by graduate students in the public history program at UMass Amherst.

UMass Amherst was one of 28 campuses across the United States chosen by the German government to receive support for “campus weeks” commemorating the 20th anniversary of the 1989 turning point in German history—the Wende—that led to the reunification of Germany. Last year, German Ambassador Klaus Scharioth invited Chancellor Holub to submit plans to mark the anniversary. A proposal submitted by Barton Byg and Skyler Arndt-Briggs of German and Scandinavian studies and Jon Olsen of the history department was selected in April. More...

Here's a photo gallery from the Wall reception.


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October 2009


Edgar Allan Poe Conference: Oct. 29th-31st, 2009

To mark the 200th anniversary of Edgar Allan Poe's birth, and to examine his relationship with New England and his profound influence on and dialogue with generations of New England’s writers, poets, visual artists and composers and musicians, the University of Massachusetts-Amherst presented a conference on Halloween weekend, October 29th to 31st, 2009. The program included papers and panels featuring scholars, writers and artists discussing Poe, his work and his world, and his influence on past and present creative work in New England. The weekend also featured public readings, book signings, a concert and exhibition of Poe-inspired visual arts, a Poe film series, and other campus events. More...


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