Carolyn Martin new Amherst College president

By Collegian News Staff

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Carolyn Arthur “Biddy” Martin, the former chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has assumed the reigns of the presidency of Amherst College.



Martin, who’s the very first woman to lead the prestigious liberal arts college, was tapped to become the next president of the school in June by the college’s Board of Trustees.  She arrived on campus a few weeks ago to begin her formal duties as president, Jide Zeitlin, the chairman of the Board of Trustees, said in a phone interview.

Zeitlin described Martin as possessing an innate understanding and compassion for undergraduate liberal arts education. He also said Martin is “engaging, personable and warm.”

Zeitlin spoke about the college’s pride in socioeconomic, racial, ethnic, gender and international diversity and said Martin “understands those issues quite well.”

Martin graduated from William and Mary College with a bachelor’s degree in English literature, according to a biography posted on Amherst College’s website. She also earned a master’s degree in German literature from Middlebury College while studying in Germany, and then obtained a  doctorate in German literature from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Martin began her academic career as an assistant professor of German and women’s studies at Cornell University, and later became the chair of the German studies department and senior associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences there, the biography states. Martin also served as provost of Cornell University for eight years.

According to the biography, Martin’s accomplishments as chancellor of University of Wisconsin-Madison include initiatives in financial aid, undergraduate research, student advising and faculty diversity.

Martin is also the author of the book “Femininity Played Straight: The Significance of Being a Lesbian.” She also wrote a book called “Woman and Modernity: The (Life)Styles of Lou Andreas-Salome.”

Martin succeeds previous Amherst College President Anthony Marx, who left the school after eight years to become the CEO of the New York Public Library.