College Spotlight: Amherst College

The PowerScore College Spotlight gives you a snapshot of a different college or university each week. For more information about each profiled institution, be sure to check out the school's website.

Amherst College is today's College Spotlight. From the school's website:

In 1821 a broad group of local people in and around Amherst worked together to create an institution of higher learning for the education of indigent young men of piety and talents for the Christian ministry (as the call for donations to the initial endowment, the Charity Fund, phrased it).

Noah Webster, already well known from his textbooks and dictionaries, played a vital role in fundraising and in shaping the institution. He had served as a trustee of Amherst Academy since its incorporation in 1815, and was president of its board of trustees during the critical 1820-21 period, when Amherst College was formed.

Webster had been on the committee formed in 1818 by the Academy's trustees to call a regional convention regarding founding a new educational institution — that which eventually materialized as Amherst College.

In addition to educating the indigent, the new college showed awareness of and early support for others who might not commonly have had access to higher education. The college's first African-American graduate, Edward Jones, was a member of the Class of 1826; he eventually settled in Sierra Leone and became principal of the Fourah Bay Christian Institution (forerunner of Fourah Bay College). Amherst's first Japanese graduate, the young samurai Joseph Hardy Neesima, Class of 1870, fled Japan when foreign travel was still prohibited. Neesima converted to Christianity and returned to Japan in 1875 to found the school that would become Doshisha University, Amherst's sister institution in Kyoto.

Amherst College first admitted women in 1975. Today the diverse and international student body includes men and women from a wide variety of ethnic, cultural and socio-economic backgrounds from all over the United States and more than 40 other countries.

Type of school: Private

Setting: Rural

Size: 1,795 (total undergraduate enrollment)

Incoming class size: 490 (first-time degree-seeking freshmen)

Student-to-faculty ratio: 8 to 1

Acceptance percentage: 15%

Tuition and fees: $40,862 (2010-2011)

Room, board, and additional expenses: $10,660 (2010-2011)
Address: PO Box 5000, Amherst, MA 01002-5000
Phone: 413.542.2328
Twitter accounts: @AmherstCollege
Facebook: Amherst College

All information was gathered from the school's profile on the website, the school's website, and the school's U.S. News & World Report profile. Please consult the school's website and Office of Admissions with questions regarding this information. 

To see other schools in the College Spotlight series, click here.