“Nate? After I joined club soccer, Nate became something of an older brother to me,” said Phil Corbo ’22, one of his teammates. “I couldn’t imagine a better role model for our class,” said another, Luis de Pablo ’22.
Nate Quigley ’19 is a double math and history major known on campus as a convivial student who spends his time writing papers, playing soccer and being with his friends, and for serving as the editor-in-chief of The Amherst Student. As the captain of the club soccer team, Amherst Football Club (AFC), he is described by his teammates as a reliable defenseman and natural leader on and off of the field. Quigley wrote his history thesis about Allan Octavian Hume, the founder of the Indian National Congress.
Quigley grew up just outside of Boston in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In high school, he discovered his love for both math and history, which some may say is an “odd combination” of interests.
Though he does admit that history and math do not seem to have much in common, Quigley sees parallels between these disciplines, which he says may be responsible for his profound interest. In general, he loves the logical reasoning behind solving a math problem, while in his history essays, he enjoys examining the causal relationships between different events.
Quigley first discovered his interest in history when he realized he was the only one of his peers to “enjoy” his Advanced Placement U.S. History class. The class was interesting to him because it was the first time that he began to think about forming arguments rather than just learning facts.
What unites these disparate disciplines for Quigley, is the critical thinking involved with the processes behind obtaining a solution, whether that be an unknown variable or a new narrative about a previously unwritten story. Quigley’s love of math, he says, stems from the math classes he took in high school and at the Harvard Extension School, classes taught at Harvard for non-Harvard students, where he learned to “seriously think about problem solving.”
Transition to Amherst
Quigley stayed close to his roots and decided to attend Amherst, just an hour and a half from his home in Cambridge and the alma mater of both his parents. His parents met when his father was a sophomore majoring in American studies and his mother a senior earning her degree in political science.
Nothing, however, helped him in his transition more than the Amherst club soccer team, Quigley said. Three years after he first attended a practice at the bottom of Memorial Hill as a first year, Quigley became captain of his beloved team.
Throughout high school, Quigley played on a travel soccer team as well as his high school team. There, he made his closest friends. Similarly, when he joined AFC during his first year at Amherst, he found friends that would “last a lifetime.”
Editor-in-Chief of the Newspaper
Quigley began his career at The Student in the spring of his first year. Upon arriving at Amherst, he had no plans to write for the paper. It was only once he was reeled in by a friend and presented with the challenge of covering a sports team, that he became engaged with The Student.
His passion for sports and creating narratives led him to become a valued member of the sports section of the newspaper and he started covering the women’s tennis beat. While some may say it must have been less than thrilling to cover the sport for his first semester, he enjoyed the difficulties in presenting a sport that rarely makes top headlines in a thoughtful and engaging way. His talent for writing and his passion for sports clearly captured the attention of his editors, as he became the managing sports editor his sophomore year.
His leadership skills and his commitment to the paper framed him as the ideal candidate for the editor-in-chief position his junior year. His sophomore spring, the editors-in-chief pulled him out of The Student’s office and offered him the position.
As any member of the newspaper will attest, being an editor, let alone an editor-in-chief, is a heavy time commitment. As a history major, Quigley planned to study abroad in Rome his junior year, which would have conflicted with running the paper; new editors-in-chief take over in the spring of their junior year and continue through the fall of their senior year.
In addition to his growing restlessness in having a similar routine on campus for the past two years, Quigley looked forward to escaping the Amherst bubble and participating in what he called the “classic Amherst tradition” of leaving campus to study abroad. As such, the decision to become editor was not so clear.
After deliberating with his advisor, Dwaipayan Sen, a professor in the history department, Quigley decided that he would never be granted the opportunity to “frame the narrative of a prestigious academic institution like Amherst ever again, more than [he] could by becoming [Editor in Chief].”
Upon becoming editor-in-chief alongside Isabel Tessier ’19, Quigley was immediately faced with what seemed like an insurmountable challenge facing the paper.
After years of decreasing revenue from advertisements, the newspaper had racked up almost $10,000 worth of debt to its printers. Recognizing the importance of print, Quigley and Tessier navigated the Association of Amherst Students to obtain discretionary funding for the paper’s weekly operations.
Quigley and Tessier also dealt with the question: how do we make The Student a 21st century newspaper? It is a question future editors-in-chief will have to answer for the next five to 10 years, Quigley said.
“We incorporated new ways of getting our stories out and bringing in new revenue,” he said. One of his longer lasting legacies of being editor-in-chief, Quigley said, is updating the website, and thinking about The Student in a new way.
“It was very challenging, but also rewarding,” Quigley remarked. “My job at the newspaper was to, basically, set it up so it could be successful in the future”
Outside of his love for history, math and writing, Quigley has an obvious inclination for soccer. Not only can you find him around campus wearing his favorite Manchester United jersey, but you may have seen him on the fields behind the Greenway dorms captaining his beloved club soccer team AFC.
Soccer, to Quigley, has never just been about winning a game — though he does concede he is extremely competitive after growing up with two younger brothers. Instead, Quigley sees soccer as a way to grow closer with his peers.
For his history thesis, Quigley wrote about Allan Octavian Hume, the founder of the Indian National Congress. According to him, it was the most rewarding experience he had at Amherst, due to both the originality of his research and the experience of telling an untold tale. Photo courtesy of Nate Quigley '19.
His best friends in high school came from his club soccer travel team, and he has formed his closest bonds at Amherst with friends he plays with on the pitch.
For Quigley, serving the team as a captain has been a privilege, but it was also an opportunity to showcase his leadership qualities by organizing practices and commanding the team during games.
Writing a Thesis on an Untold Story
While his two majors, athletic involvement and duties as editor-in-chief were gratifying, Quigley said his history thesis has been his most rewarding experience at Amherst. He says that he enjoys writing about Hume for two reasons. First, the stories and history about Hume have rarely been told.
Quigley enjoys the experience of writing about people, and he adds that because of a lack of public information about Hume, he “has the most knowledge of Hume” of any modern historian, which in his words, is “remarkable.” Writing his thesis has also honed his thinking and synthesizing abilities more than any other experience at Amherst. The sheer amount of writing, he says, has surely enhanced his writing abilities.
Adam Sitze, professor of law, jurisprudence and social thought and previous professor of Quigley, describes Quigley’s writing as one defined by “poise.” Sitze adds that Quigley has the unique ability to read with “laser beam” attention, and he does not miss a detail.
At the same time, Quigley is able to “back up and write a synoptic narrative” of a person or event as a whole, Sitze says. Quigley’s unique ability to incorporate a larger narrative interlaced with crucial details allows his writing to quite accurately paint an unseen version of events.
One thing that Quigley has learned from writing his thesis is that what is more important to his story is not the writing, per-se, but rather the ideas on the page. After being editor-in-chief of the newspaper, giving up his perfectionist tendencies has been quite a challenge, but also enlightening.
Following graduation, Quigley looks forward to going home for the summer in Cambridge and then working as a paralegal at a larger company in the sports industry. He says he would like to combine his interests of sports, analytical thinking and writing in the position.
In the future, he would like to attend law school.
Whatever he pursues, he’ll do so with the confidence of a leader who helped transform The Student and leave its mark on campus. And he’ll be remembered as a friend, teammate and scholar who was committed to the community.