The Inauguration of Valerie Smith

The inauguration of Valerie Smith as the 15th president of Swarthmore College took place on Sat., Oct. 3, 2015. Of the 84 delegates representing 81 institutions in attendance, 14 are College faculty and staff members.

In her address to the more than 1,200 gathered in the Lamb-Miller Field House, Smith affirmed her commitment to expanding access and to the transformative power of education.

The afternoon of Fri., Oct. 2, a tree planting in front of Parrish Hall commemorated the original planting in 1869 by Swarthmore’s founders. That evening featured a performing arts celebration in the Lang Performing Arts Center (LPAC). The night included a variety of music, dance, and theatrical performances featuring the Swarthmore College Chorus, the Small Chamber Ensemble, the Alumni Gospel Choir, Jazz Ensemble, and more, including readings from faculty, staff, and students.

During the Changing Lives, Changing the World Symposium held in the LPAC prior to the installation ceremony on Oct. 3, faculty-moderated panels of alumni discussed two critical areas: access and activism. They explored these topics within the context of defining and affirming the leadership role that Swarthmore College and liberal arts education played in their own lives.

A campus celebration Saturday evening featured student a cappella groups, spoken word poetry from OASIS (Our Art Spoken in Soul), and dance performances by Terpsichore, Rhythm n Motion, and Isaac Akrong and the African drum and dance ensemble.

The weekend closed with students, faculty, staff, and alumni enjoying music during a DJ dance party under a big tent on Parrish Beach.