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Thackurdeen Memorial, Kurt Wulfmeyer, in collaboration with the Thackurdeen family

Art and Nature Thus Allied

Fall 2015 / Issue I / CXIII

Shortly after Parrish Hall opened its doors on rolling farmland in 1869, nearby Philadelphia was busy enhancing its fledgling Fairmount Park with statuary.

Nearly a century later, Swarthmore began acquiring its own outdoor sculptures, coinciding with a resurgence of interest in the subject in Philadelphia. As the city passed a landmark law requiring a percentage of building budgets to support public art, large-scale, abstract sculptures proliferated.

Judy Richardson ’66, H’12, center, sitting in at the Toddle House in 1963 with fellow members of SNCC in Atlanta.

Freedom Fighters

Fall 2015 / Issue I / CXIII

Susan Preston Martin ’63 lay on a thin jail cot mattress and ran her hands across her belly and understood for the first time how noticeable her pregnancy had become. She was 21 and had graduated just a month earlier. Save for the rare moments when it was quiet enough to tap on a pipe in her cell and whisper to the women caged adjacent to her in the colored cell, she was alone. Arrested together, they were jailed separately after the white men in an integrated group decided to “liberate” the colored bathrooms and drinking fountains during a ferry ride from Plaquemine, La.—where they were registering black voters—to New Orleans. 

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President Valerie “Val” Smith enjoys a few moments on Magill Walk, the sight that captivated her on her first visit to campus.

Fostering Openness and Collaboration

Fall 2015 / Issue I / CXIII

Before Valerie Smith entered the presidential search, she thought she should see Swarthmore’s campus. She drove to the College on a Saturday in early November—Garnet Weekend, it happened to be—to take a tour and sit in on an admissions information session incognito. When she arrived, she asked a passing student to show her the way to Parrish Hall. It was a gray, rainy day, but her first sight of Parrish Beach from above stunned her still.

 

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Close-up photo of Carl Levin ’56

Great Lakes Gladiator

Spring 2015

Tax evaders, beware.

They may have smiled two years ago when they heard the good news. Their nemesis, relentless Carl Levin ’56, the senior senator from that old rustbelt state, had announced his retirement. For only two more years would they turn on the network news and see his blue eyes peering over those glasses slung low on his nose, hear that voice with its flat Michigander vowels drilling, drilling for the truth as he led a Senate hearing investigating offshore subsidiaries devised by corporations to evade the taxman. 

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Betsy Bolton (left), who is paired with Tomoko Sakomura, associate professor of art history and department chair.

'Hey, Coach, What Did You Think of My Class?'

Spring 2015

Coaching is typically associated with activities such as sports, singing, or SAT prep. Yet, two years ago, after reading physician Atul Gawande’s 2011 essay “Personal Best” in The New Yorker, about the lack of mentors for doctors, Kenneth Sharpe, working on a Templeton Foundation project on Institutional Design for Wisdom, had a question: “Why shouldn’t faculty members be coached—even coach one another?” The seed for the Faculty Teaching Seminar was sown. 

Sharpe pitched the idea to Professor of History Timothy Burke, then recruited Professor of English Literature Betsy Bolton.

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Aligning Aspirations

Spring 2015

If you’ve read Zola, you may have seen the term charrette in his 1885 novel L’Oeuvre/The Masterpiece. To the French author, a charrette was a handcart that 60 frantic architecture students collaboratively commandeered in a mad rush to transport design projects to an evaluation site. To the 100 Swarthmoreans who collaboratively attended a two-day sustainability charrette, the term meant “a thoughtful and deliberate opportunity to evaluate proposals, compare priorities, and eventually coordinate aspirations with budgetary realities,” as Interim President Constance Cain Hungerford noted in her introduction to the February event.

Hungerford, who has chosen sustainability as her presidential priority, stressed the urgency of the issue.

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Would You Do the Honors?

Spring 2015

Honors students are oblivious to time when they’re in the classroom. Three-hour evening seminars extend into discussions lasting until after midnight. When a professor stands to announce the end of class, students cluster like bees around a honey pot, protesting and pleading: “But we’re not done yet!” “Just one more question?” Professors leave only when each student is satisfied.

Two members of the College faculty have experienced honors as both students and teachers. 

Richard Valelly ’75, Claude C. Smith ’14 Professor of Political Science, says, “The idea that intellectual life is not only intense but also pleasurable was the principle I took away from honors. ...

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Vishu Lingappa ’75 in his lab.

The Science of Siblings

Spring 2015

When you meet Vishwanath “Vishu” Lingappa ’75, one of the first things you notice is his voice. In a blog for National Geographic, Carl Zimmer calls it a “radio-talk-show-host” voice. Other descriptions could equally well apply. It is a CEO’s voice and an orator’s voice. A simple interview with Lingappa has more dramatic pianissimos and booming crescendos than a Beethoven symphony.

Most of all, though, it is a big brother’s voice, loud and encouraging and demanding at the same time.

In a literal way, Vishu has always been there for Jairam and his sister Jaisri ’79. 

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Wearing a white blazer is Diana Judd Stevens ’63, women’s teams had to transport themselves to away swim meets. “The College had a couple of station wagons. I got authorized to drive one to Chestnut Hill, and the engine died on Route 320. We got it fixed and made it to the meet on time.”

100 Years of Fortitude

Winter 2015

More than a century ago, 70 years before Title IX, Swarthmore women were eager to play sports. In the early 1900s, while male students played football and lacrosse against Penn, Temple and other schools, the women created their own athletics organization, initially named the Girls’ Athletic Club, later the Swarthmore Women’s Athletic Association (SWAA), then the Women’s Athletic Association (WAA). All female students were encouraged to play.

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Dark, artistic drawing of Wall Street with sliver of light shining in between two enormous buildings on to a tree surrounded by people and birds.

Social Change and Business Methods Intersect

Winter 2015

Social entrepreneurship could be defined as “doing good by doing well,” says Joy Charlton, executive director of the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility. Swarthmore students are intensifying their exploration of this business model, in which the social rather than the financial value is the primary driver.

 

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