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Parlor Talk

By Jeffrey Lott

parlor_talk_lott.jpgFollowing completion of the January 2012 issue, scheduled to go to press in late December, I will leave the editorship of the Bulletin. I will not be leaving Swarthmore College, however; in January, I will begin a part-time position editing and writing a book about the College—part history, part contemporary accounts, and lots of great images—to be published just before the College’s 2014 sesquicentennial. (Publication of the as-yet-untitled book is being underwritten by generous contributions from an alumnus.)

It has been a singular privilege to edit your college’s magazine. Along the way, I have met and worked with hundreds of fascinating students, faculty and staff members, and especially alumni. I have learned from and valued every interaction—and I am constantly reminded of the fierce love that Swarthmoreans have for this place. I don’t think there’s a better perch on campus than the one I have occupied for the past 21 years. I have felt from the beginning that my work has been to tell Swarthmore’s many stories and thus to keep Bulletin readers connected to each other and to this special institution.

A search will begin this summer, leading to the appointment of a new Bulletin editor to succeed me in January. Details are in the news article.

Luck has always played a part in my life. I learned about this wonderful job because of a chance meeting with Avery Rome ’69 at the Philadelphia Inquirer in summer 1990—a meeting that occurred because I was having lunch with writer Art Carey, whom I knew from a brief stint as director of publications at his alma mater The Episcopal Academy. Avery had recently received a letter (remember those?) from Maralyn Orbison Gillespie ’49, stating that Swarthmore was looking for a new managing editor. She picked up the phone and called Maralyn. At the time, I had heard of Swarthmore but had never been on the campus.

I was grateful to get an interview—and the best job of my life. I worked with Maralyn until her retirement in 1992 and have been editor-in-chief since. Adding my years to her long tenure, we have a sum total of 57 years with just two editors of the magazine. Along the way, we’ve told hundreds of stories about Swarthmore and Swarthmoreans—two entities that are, to my mind, one and the same.

I am also grateful for my next opportunity. They say there’s a book in everyone, and it appears that this one may be mine. And, happily, it will be about a place that I have come to love—Swarthmore College.

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