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Barr Interview Stirs Reflections

The January interview with Bob Barr led me to reflect on interactions at Swarthmore that proved to be pivotal in my life. The first was with Gilmore Stott, who asked in my admissions interview, “So what books have you been reading lately?” This question and the ensuing discussion led as much as anything to my choosing Swarthmore.

The second was with Bob Barr (then dean of men), who called me into his office in the midst of my largely self-inflicted sophomore slump. He snapped me out of it by gently letting me know that he and others had higher expectations of me. As we opened the door after the meeting, we were told that President Kennedy had been shot in Dallas.

The third interaction (or series of interactions) was with Philip Mayer, a night watchman at the College. He had a degree from Starr King Seminary but had found the life of a Unitarian minister constricting and full of contradictions. Instead, he lived in Swarthmore with his wife, creating fine black-and-white photographs by day, and allowing students like me to accompany him on his evening rounds, often exploring important philosophical concerns. For me, he provided a model of a life well lived with integrity.

Ron Hale ’65
Santa Fe, N.M.

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