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The college was originally suggested as an alternative to Williams College, which was struggling to stay open.
Although Williams remained open, Amherst was formed and diverged from its Williams roots into an individual institution.
The institution was named after the town, which in turn had been named after Jeffery, Lord Amherst, a veteran from the Seven Years' War and later commanding general of the British forces in North America.
On November 18, 1817, a project was adopted at the Academy to raise funds for the free instruction of "indigent young men of promising talents and hopeful piety, who shall manifest a desire to obtain a liberal education with a sole view to the Christian ministry." During the fundraising for the project, it became clear that without larger designs, it would be impossible to raise sufficient funds.
CBC reaffirms its policy of equal opportunity regardless of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, disability or status as a disabled veteran or Vietnam era veteran.