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Hampshire College president marries gay partner of 27 years


The president of a small liberal arts college in western Massachusetts and his male partner of 27 years have married.

Ralph Hexter, the 55-year-old president of Hampshire College, and Manfred Kollmeier, 60, exchanged vows over the Labor Day weekend. The couple made the marriage public with an announcement Tuesday at a reception celebrating the start of a new academic year.

The pair planned a celebration with students on campus Wednesday.

Kollmeier, a native of Munich, Germany, is retired and serves on the board of directors of the Commonwealth Opera of Western Massachusetts.

“This is our way of celebrating Hampshire College, which so warmly welcomed us as a couple when I was named president in 2005, and of celebrating the state of Massachusetts and all those who helped it become a pioneer in recognizing and upholding the right of gay couples to be legally married,” Hexter said.

Kollmeier said the pair had made a lifelong commitment to each other years ago, but felt it was important to exercise their right to marry in Massachusetts, the only state that allows gay marriage.

“Massachusetts should be the first, not the only state where this is possible,” he said.

Hampshire allows its 1,350 students to create their own program of study. The school is listed in The Princeton Review’s annual guide to schools under the category “Birkenstock-Wearing, Tree-Hugging, Clove-Smoking Vegetarians.”

– Associated Press

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