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Completing the Narrative

Summer 2015

Few incidents in Swarthmore’s history are more storied than the sit-in by 20 determined black students in Parrish Hall early in 1969. During a tense several days, they occupied the admissions office to stress their demands for more black faculty, greater enrollment and support of black students, and the creation of a Black Cultural Center and black studies program. 

 

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A black and white photo circa 1970s with students in period clothing climbing an enormous tree.

The Then and Now of the Yearbook

Summer 2015

The Halcyon is an imperfect but important field guide to student life at Swarthmore. Just how that time is represented is something that the editors grapple with anew each year in revealing, often soul-searching and entertaining forewords. 

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Steadily Engaged

Summer 2015

Gil Kemp ’72 graduated with honors from Swarthmore with a B.A. in sociology and later earned an MBA from Harvard Business School. Besides serving until this May as chair of the Board of Managers, Kemp, who joined the Board in 2001, has chaired the College’s Annual Fund and Strategic Planning Council, which produced the College’s strategic plan. 

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Multicolored artwork depicting various symbolic representations of happiness.

Happiness is ...

Summer 2015

Ever since July 4, 1776, citizens of the United States have been encouraged to engage in the “pursuit of happiness”—one of the three inalienable rights, along with life and liberty, deemed vital ingredients for the human condition and included in the country’s Declaration of Independence. 

But what does it mean—to pursue happiness?

 

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Cartoon rendering of Wolf and Clark as superheros

Pioneers of the Internet

Fall 2015 / Issue I / CXIII

The Internet is unique among human creations in many ways. There’s only one of it. It had many inventors, rather than just one. We perceive it more as a community than as a thing. But unlike most communities, it charges no admission fee, collects no taxes, imposes no rules, and has no visible authority. You can use it to learn, to laugh, to chat, to buy; or you can use it to spam, to flame, to steal, to spy. 

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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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