The War Memorial at Amherst College, with its panoramic view of the Holyoke Range, and the Main Quadrangle, with its lush carpet of grass and soaring tree canopy, almost surely are the most beloved outdoor spaces at Amherst College. Each appears inevitable, timeless, as if it had always been there. In fact, both are relatively recent additions to the campus, which looked very different before their creation in 1939 and 1946, respectively.

Last spring, Pulitzer Prize-winning architecture critic Blair Kamin, Amherst College class of 1979, spoke to us about the building of Amherst College’s Johnson Chapel. On Friday, September 9, at noon, he will return to discuss how the Great New England Hurricane of 1938 and World War II led to a profound reorientation of Amherst’s hilltop campus. He will also paint a portrait of the little-known landscape architect who designed these signature spaces. The lecture will conclude with an analysis of the War Memorial’s original design as well as an appreciation of how the passage of time has transformed the memorial into the campus icon it is today. A question-and-answer session will follow.


This lecture will be on Friday, September 9, at noon, over Zoom; the link is