Provost and Dean of the Faculty; Henry Steele Commager Professor of History
As dean of the faculty since 2014 and provost since 2019, Catherine Epstein works to promote and maintain Amherst’s commitment to excellence in teaching and research. She oversees all academic departments and programs, hiring and retention of faculty, and broad curricular and pedagogical initiatives. Many administrative departments report to her, including the library, museums and academic support centers, as well as Athletics and the Loeb Center for Career Exploration and Planning.
Catherine’s disciplinary focus is modern German and Central European history. Since coming to Amherst in 2000, she has taught a wide range of European history classes, including courses on the Holocaust, Nazi Germany and World War II. Catherine is the author of four books, among which are Model Nazi: Arthur Greiser and the Occupation of Western Poland (2010), which won the Arthur Kronthal Prize, and Nazi Germany: Confronting the Myths (2015). She serves on the Academic Committee of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and as a member of the board of the American Friends of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Brown University, a master’s degree from the London School of Economics and a Ph.D. from Harvard.
Chief Communications Officer
Sandra Genelius has served as chief communications officer since joining the College in February 2017. She is responsible for developing and implementing a strategic communications program for the College and oversees all aspects of that effort, including the website, social media, media relations, crisis communications, internal communications, event production and editorial/content production (which in turn includes magazine, photography, videography and graphic design).
Sandy’s career spans more than three decades. She has previously held senior communications roles at Sony Corporation of America, CBS News and CBS Sports, and served as a communications consultant in the corporate and nonprofit sectors. Sandy holds a B.A. in communications from New York University.
Chief Information Officer
David Hamilton serves as Amherst’s chief information officer, overseeing the Information Technology division’s 44 staff members in seven departments, notably including Academic Technology, Enterprise Applications, Systems and Networking, and Support Services.
David’s journey at the College began in 2006 with a director role, and after twice serving as interim IT leader, he assumed the permanent position of CIO in 2015. Throughout his career, David has ushered in technological change, beginning with assisting print publications in transitioning to digital pre-press in the early 1990s. He then aided media properties in moving online with the rise of the World Wide Web, before transitioning to higher education in 1999.
At Amherst, he has helped incorporate software into teaching and learning processes. In senior management roles, David digitized paper-based business processes and guided the institution through transitions to web, mobile and cloud technologies. As we enter the era of AI, David embraces tools like ChatGPT, which he used to help construct this bio.
David’s career path was deeply influenced by the works of Ted Nelson, who coined the term hypertext in the 1960s and envisioned significant aspects of today’s information technology landscape. David first encountered Nelson’s work while earning his B.A. in English at the College of Wooster.
Professor of Chemistry; Interim Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer
Sheila Jaswal is a professor in the Department of Chemistry and the Program in Biochemistry and Biophysics and was named the College’s interim chief equity and inclusion officer in February 2023. As faculty equity and inclusion officer since July 2021, Sheila has been an advocate for equity and inclusion in the overall academic program, partnering with the provost and dean of the faculty to support individual faculty members and academic departments. Sheila spearheaded the collection and streamlining of resources to support faculty search committees in applying inclusive practices at each step of the hiring process. She was part of the team that created and launched the Faculty and Staff of Color Mentorship Program and the inclusive onboarding checklist for faculty and academic departments.
In 2016, with Amherst students, Sheila co-created “Being Human in STEM” (HSTEM), a unique course model that empowers students, staff and faculty to reshape their classrooms, laboratories and departments to create an equitable community that enables humans of all identities to thrive and flourish. The HSTEM model has been adopted by Yale University and Pomona College, among many other institutions nationwide, and a book, Being Human in STEM: Partnering with Students to Shape Inclusive Communities, co-authored by Sheila and two Amherst colleagues, Sarah Bunnell and Megan Lyster, was published in April 2023.
Dean of Admission and Financial Aid
Matthew L. McGann has served as dean of admission and financial aid since joining the College in 2018. Matt is responsible for overseeing all aspects of access and affordability at the College, including recruitment and admission for first-year and transfer students, and financial aid and student employment for all students.
Before arriving at Amherst, Matt served as director of admissions at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is a first-generation college student who received his bachelor’s degree from MIT in management science. He earned his master’s and doctoral degrees at Northeastern University.
Chief of Staff
Kathleen C. Pertzborn joined Amherst as Chief of Staff in January 2022. Kathleen serves as a thought partner to the president and liaison to the Amherst College community. She is responsible for directing and coordinating presidential priorities and initiatives, the work of the senior leadership team, and the work of the Office of the President and the Office of the Board of Trustees.
Before arriving at Amherst, Kathleen was at Mount Holyoke College since 2011, serving in multiple roles including Chief of Staff to the president and Assistant Dean of Faculty. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Kathleen holds a bachelor’s degree in English literature and fine/studio arts, and a master’s degree in school business management.
Kathleen Pertzborn joined Amherst as chief of staff in January 2022. Kathleen serves as a thought partner to the president and liaison to the Amherst College community. She is responsible for directing and coordinating presidential priorities and initiatives, the work of the senior leadership team, and the work of the Office of the President and the Office of the Board of Trustees.
Before arriving at Amherst, Kathleen was at Mount Holyoke College since 2011, serving in multiple roles, including chief of staff to the president and assistant dean of faculty. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Kathleen holds a bachelor’s degree in English literature and fine/studio arts, and a master’s degree in school business management.
General Counsel & Senior Advisor to the President
Lisa Rutherford is general counsel and senior advisor to the president. She serves as the chief legal officer, with responsibility for Amherst’s legal strategy, and as a strategic partner to the president, providing support on institutional priorities and management issues. Lisa oversees the Office of General Counsel and the Office of Human Resources and is also responsible for oversight of enterprise risk management and institutional compliance. She joined Amherst in 2013.
Before coming to Amherst, Lisa served for 20 years as in-house counsel for the University of Wisconsin—Madison. She was named director of the legal office in 2008, serving as the chief legal officer for the institution. She earned a B.A. with distinction from Hamline University and a J.D. from the University of Wisconsin.
Chief Strategy Officer
Catherine (Kate) Salop joined Amherst College in the newly created position of chief strategy officer in March 2020. Reporting to the president, Salop is charged with providing thoughtful and intentional leadership for presidential priorities and initiatives. In collaboration with key partners, Salop is responsible for providing facilitation and leadership to translate strategic vision into actionable initiatives and follow-through.
Prior to joining Amherst, Salop held the position of senior administrative dean at the Brandeis International Business School for three years and chief of staff at Wellesley College for 14 years. She is a graduate of Wellesley and has an M.A. ABD in political science from Boston University.
Chief Advancement Officer
Betsy Cannon Smith ’84 was appointed chief advancement officer in May 2019. Betsy, who has been alumni secretary since 1993, has served the College in a number of leadership positions since joining the Advancement division in 1986, including in Alumni and Parent Programs, the Annual Fund and the leadership gifts component of the College’s comprehensive campaigns. She first served on an Amherst campaign as a member of the Student Campaign Committee from 1981 to 1984, and she has worked on every campaign since then. Betsy has also served as liaison with the Board of Trustees for areas including trusteeship, honorary degrees and advancement.
She collaborates with a talented advancement team that aspires to be a resource for alumni, families and friends of Amherst—the College’s greatest advocates—providing them with opportunities to make a difference in the world through their support of Amherst and their shared connection to the Amherst community.
Chief Financial and Administrative Officer
Mike Thomas joined Amherst as chief financial and administrative officer in March 2023. He is responsible for all financial functions of the College, including budgeting, accounting, financial reporting, long-range financial planning and treasury management. Administratively, Mike oversees facilities-related operations, including dining, construction, and health and safety, as well as other key operations and business functions. He shares oversight of the College’s IT division with the president.
Before coming to Amherst, Mike was at Middlebury College for nearly 10 years, serving in multiple roles, including vice president for administration and chief risk officer and vice president for finance and assistant treasurer. He is a certified public accountant and has a B.S. in mathematics from Union College and an M.S. in accounting from the University at Albany.
Chief Student Affairs Officer and Dean of Students
Angie (she/they) ensures the implementation and assessment of the strategic and critical work of Student Affairs at the College. Angie is responsible for all functions of the Office of Student Affairs, including residential engagement and wellbeing; housing and operations; identity and cultural resources; counseling and mental health; student engagement and leadership; health and community safety services; student accessibility; class dean academic support; case management; community standards; new student programs and orientation; and immigration and visa services. Angie is dedicated to working with our remarkable students, engaging our collective community, and leading the extraordinary team of Student Affairs to collaboratively advance the work of community, equity, wellbeing and belonging at the College.
Angie has been the chief student affairs officer and dean of students since February 2023. Before that, she served the College since 2012 in various roles in Student Affairs and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Angie holds a master of education degree in social justice education from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and bachelor of science and master of public health degrees from Oregon State University.