Listen to the interview (24.5 MB)
Helene Tieger, '85
Bob Amsterdam came to Bard because he knew it was “a place to develop creative talents,” and he wanted to be a writer. Though Amsterdam ultimately did not pursue writing beyond Bard, he remembers his time here as formative.
Amsterdam worked as a waiter in the dining hall, and on the switchboard. He went to dances each weekend, and still recalls the names of the girls he convinced to dance with him. He appeared in a play by Peter Stone (who would go on to success as a playwright) at the Carriage House Theater. His freshman year, Amsterdam was close friends with Larry Hagman (later of Dallas), and he remembers the two sneaking on to the Blithewood grounds – then not a part of the college – and swimming at the waterfall late at night.
Amsterdam only spent two years at Bard. Though he took many courses he loved – including Heinrich Bleucher’s four year survey on world civilization, and a Werner Wolff class on ‘Art and Imagination’ – Amsterdam had trouble with how much freedom he was provided here. [At that time Bard had no distribution requirements.] “I wanted a more disciplined environment,” he recalls.
Amsterdam went on to receive degrees in architecture from CCNY and in systems analysis from Rutgers. But Bard is the only of his colleges he wishes to give back to. “Bard gave me a major scholarship. It’s a beautiful campus. I made good friendships here. In opening horizons for me, it was very, very important for me in my life.”
James H. Case, Kappa House, Larry Hagman 53, David T. Bazelon, William 'Bill' Humphrey, Blithewood, South Hoffman, Bob Smith, Heinrich Bleucher, Peter Stone '51, Carriage House Theater, Werner Wolff, Irma Brandeis, Bill Lensing
BardCorps Trailer, Main Campus
Amsterdam, Bob, "Bob Amsterdam, '53 (BardCorps)" (2012). Oral Histories. 26.
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