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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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Men gathered for Thanksgiving in 1919 in the Conscientious Objector Prison Camp dining hall at Fort Douglas, Utah.

Bearing Witness In War And Peace

Winter 2015

On a summer day in London during this centenary of the Great War, sadness salts the air where I stand. A remembrance garden of red poppies adorns the grounds of London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral, a symbol seen all over a country that lost a generation of young men from every walk of life.

Also worth remembering is Quaker nonviolence during wartime and revolution. The College—and its people—played an important role in the violent drama of World War I a century ago.

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A man and a woman stand beside each other and face the camera.

Faces of Civility

Winter 2015

The face is a familiar one—the crown of white hair, wire-rim glasses, a touch of chin hair—a hirsute style he’s recently returned to after a few decades. Last time he sported that look, his hair was black.

Maurice Eldridge ’61 cuts a tall, straight-backed, dignified figure. As vice president for College and community relations and executive assistant to the president, he’s a staple at events on and off campus. He’s that friendly smile, calm voice during tense negotiations, whether between Swarthmore borough residents displeased with College upgrades to roads or with Mountain Justice students urging the College to divest its endowment from fossil fuel funds.

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 Tyler Lyson holding a Hawksbill sea turtle.

Turtles All The Way Down

Fall 2014

Tyler Lyson uncovered his first mystery of paleontology as a 6-year-old boy in remote southwestern North Dakota. He was hunting rabbits with his brother “because that’s what kids do out there,” he says, when they came across a dinosaur jawbone half-buried in the earth. “My brother gave it a kick or two and took off after the rabbit. I stayed back with a stick and slowly carved out the jawbone. I kept it and still have it.” 

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