In Memoriam, Amanda Fadum Hall (1995-2017)

Amanda Fadum Hall, 21, died on May 6, 2017, at University Hospital in Boulder, Colorado.

Amanda was an English major at UMass Amherst and a student at the Commonwealth Honors College. Prior to her death, she was on track to complete her spring coursework and honors thesis, and to graduate with the UMass Amherst Class of 2017.

Amanda started as a work study student at the School of Public Policy (SPP)—then the Center for Public Policy and Administration (CPPA)—in September of 2015, using her knowledge of website development and graphic design to support CPPA’s communications and outreach efforts. When CPPA communications director Michal Lumsden left later that fall to take a job in publishing, Amanda increased her hours to play a larger role in CPPA’s communications work.

Amanda was instrumental in so many ways at SPP that it’s hard to name them all. During the spring of 2016, when CPPA moved from being a Center to a School, Amanda worked diligently to help rebrand CPPA’s online presence. Because she didn’t want CPPA’s website to be down at peak hours during the transition, she changed her work schedule temporarily so that she could complete updates on weekends.

Amanda was also a key player in SPP’s 2016 annual newsletter. She conducted interviews with alumni, designed new page layouts, and worked with the printer to ensure that her vision for the publication was realized. You can see her byline on page 2 of the publication.

As happens for many communications professionals, Amanda’s excellent work was sometimes invisible to those who benefited from her efforts. She put out a biweekly job bulletin that was widely appreciated by students and alumni alike. Her posters helped publicize such CPPA/SPP events as the annual faculty colloquium and talks by notable campus speakers. She designed banners and signs that will continue to be used by SPP for years to come. No matter where you look at SPP, there’s something of Amanda there.

Amanda’s interest and training in website development and graphic design started early, when she was a student at  Barnstable High School in Hyannis, MA, and continued as she earned her associate’s degree at Cape Cod Community College. Her stellar performance at the latter earned her one of UMass Amherst’s inaugural Honors-to-Honors scholarship awards and a slot in the Commonwealth Honors College Class of 2017.

Amanda was the consummate problem solver. For example, whenever a technical issue came up with SPP’s website or databases, she simply figured it out through researching the problem or calling a friend who she knew could help. Indeed, it was sometimes hard to remember that Amanda was so young because her work was consistently marked by the kind of professionalism expected of those much older.

Amanda was also passionate about social justice and social equity, and was especially committed to justice and equality around reproductive rights and issues affecting our most vulnerable citizens (including our four-legged community members). She found much in common in this regard with her SPP friends and colleagues. Indeed, one of Amanda’s favorite posters she designed was for advertising a lecture series about social justice issues in nearby Springfield, MA.

Although SPP was coming to terms with Amanda’s departure upon her impending graduation, we weren’t imagining a world without her in it. Her passing leaves us at a loss for words, and certainly a hole in our vision of a world that we knew Amanda would help make better.

Amanda is survived by her father, Matthew Hall; her grandparents, Rhonda and Ole Fadum of Boulder, CO, and Joan and Bob Siteman of Hyannis, MA; her aunt and uncle, Elisa Fadum-Montoya and Andrew Montoya of Thornton, CO; and numerous cousins. The family’s obituary is available here