1970 First McCabe Mile and Its Namesake
The McCabe Mile consists of 18 laps around the basement stacks in McCabe Library. The race tests not only running endurance, but also the athlete's ability to make 72- to 90-degree turns on bright orange carpet. In addition, it is a match of aggression as throngs of athletes compete for the limited running space in the library's narrow corridors.
The race was first held in 1970 by two "Sewer Rat" Swatties - students who studied in the basement. The following year, 18 people showed up to participate after the event was advertised in the dining hall. As the numbers grew, a system was developed to organize how the runners lined up: freshmen who did not run cross-country or track, then freshmen who did, followed in the same order by sophomores, juniors, and seniors. However, if a runner can identify a quote that is read before the start, that person can move to the front of the line.
The book from which the quote is read is then slammed and the race begins. The winners, one man and one woman, receive a roll of toilet paper, in honor of the race's namesake, Thomas B. McCabe, Class of 1915 and former president of Scott Paper.
McCabe joined Swarthmore's Board in 1938 and was among the first non-Quakers to serve. As chairman of the Board's finance committee, he was instrumental in investing the endowment in common stocks, a departure from the more common practice at the time of investing in bonds. Having a high commitment to equities is now commonly accepted by institutional investors. Swarthmore's investment policy under McCabe's leadership was at the forefront of developing endowment management strategy.
In addition to his tenure at Scott Paper, McCabe was chairman of the Federal Reserve Board and later public governor of the New York Stock Exchange. For more than 50 years, a scholarship in his name has provided full tuition to several students in each year's entering class.