Williams and Amherst are inextricably linked by history, tradition, athletics and academics.
So it's no surprise that once again the two ancient rivals are rated highly in U.S. News & World Report's annual rankings of the country's top liberal arts colleges.
In this year's poll, Williams is ranked first, and Amherst second. Both schools have topped the U.S. News & World Report rankings in previous years, and even finished tied for the top spot in 2008. The magazine began ranking the nation's top colleges in 1983.
For those who don't know, the two colleges have a unique history that enhances their rivalry. Williams was founded in 1793, but was in so much financial trouble by 1815 that then-college president Zephaniah Swift Moore took several students with him to the Pioneer Valley to form a new school that became Amherst six years later. Moore originally took the Williams job under the premise that the college would move east.
The rivalry is most visible in athletics -- Williams and Amherst have the country's fourth-oldest college football rivalry, and played the country's first collegiate baseball game, which took place in Pittsfield, in 1859.
They are also part of the mythical Little Three conference with Wesleyan. Wesleyan doesn't win many Little Three titles, and doesn't threaten Williams and Amherst when it comes to the annual Liberal Arts College rankings either. Wesleyan is a distant 17th this year.
The magazine's 2013 national university rankings are dominated by Ivy League schools with Princeton, Harvard, Yale and Columbia ranked first through fourth, respectively.
For students, learning how to prepare a nutritious meal goes-hand-in-hand with receiving a good education.
Food Adventures, a program of The Nutrition Center, a Pittsfield-based nonprofit in collaboration with The Berkshire Co-op Market, is preparing for the new academic year by scheduling classes from North Adams to Great Barrington.
The program is a hands-on, standards-based cooking and nutrition program that is designed to teach students basic cooking techniques in a fun, upbeat atmosphere. Food Adventures also is intended to provide students with important nutrition issues and exposure to healthy food choices.
During the 2012-13 academic year, Food Adventures held more than 250 classes all over the Berkshires.
The instructors received positive feedback from several participants including teachers, school nurses, and parents of participating students.
"It was terrific," said Mary-Jo Erickson-Connor, a school nurse in the Central Berkshire Regional School District. "The sixth-graders ate it up, literally!"
TNC provides community-based nutrition education, cooking classes and clinical nutrition counseling, with offices in Great Barrington and Pittsfield. For more information on Food Adventures, visit www.thenutritioncenter.org, or contact Peter Stanton at (413) 329-0422.
Want to learn more about the real Josh Billings? Go to the Lenox Library on Saturday.
On the eve of the 37th annual Great Josh Billings RunAground Triathlon on Sunday, the library is hosting a program depicting the historic Berkshire humorist titled "Josh Around Town: The Man. The Legend. The Aphorisms."
Actor Jeff Kent, with an assist from Kevin Coleman and Govane Lohbauer of Shakespeare & Company, will portray Lanesborough native Henry Wheeler Shaw, who used the pen name Josh Billings.
According to library development director Kelly Wickliff, "the event of wit and wisdom will explore the life of the humorist for whom the triathlon is named."
The performance involves a one-act play authored by Lenox native David Fromm. Kent will be joined by Amy Lafave, the information services librarian, in an exploration of "life, love and local lore," Wickliff stated.
The program, a benefit for the Lenox Library, will take place from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Saturday at the library. Admission is $20 for adults, $10 for those under age 21, and includes beverages and snacks.
Tickets are available by calling Wickliff at (413) 637-2630, ext. 121.