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All-Alumni Weekend 2014

More than 2,800 people celebrated a party 150 years in the making, reveling in the postcard-perfect weather and dynamic programming of All-Alumni Weekend. "It's seeing old friends catching up and the kids climbing the big Adirondack that makes the weekend special," says Director of Alumni Relations Lisa Lee '81.

Held in honor of the College's sesquicentennial, the event drew a record-breaking turnout that included members of 72 classes dating back to 1934, drawing from throughout the U.S. and 24 countries, including Kenya, Venezuela, and New Zealand. The largest Parade of Classes in College history processed from Magill Walk to the Scott Outdoor Amphitheater, energized by the spirited drumming of Alex Shaw '00 and Alô Brasil. Leading the parade was Louise Stubbs Williams '34, 100, the oldest alum in attendance. With the assistance of her son, and with her graddaughter Erika '01 in attendance as well, a radiant Williams led the procession of alums into the Ampitheater for award presentations and a Collection from U.S. District Court Judge Jed Rakoff '64.

Other highlights from an eclectic array of programming included:

  • A sesquicentennial tree planting, in which Scott Arbortuem staff recreated the tree planting from the inauguration of Swarthmore College, complete with hats from the era and an "appearance" from College founder Lucretia Mott.
  • A talk from Jeopardy! celebrity Arthur Chu '06. In front of a highly-engaged and capacity crowd at the Admissions Commons, Chu described how he sees Swarthmore contributing to his success.
  • In front of another overflow crowd - this time at the Black Cultural Center - Don Mizell '71 donated his 2005 Grammy Award to the College. Vice President for College and Community Relations Maurice Eldridge '61 introduced Mizell, who explained why he feels he would not have won the Grammy had it not been for the College.
  • Multiple screenings of "Minding Swarthmore," a film by documentary filmmaker Shayne Lightner '87Andrea Meller '99, Emily Topper '99, and Lane Clark commissioned for the event. 
  • A walking tour led by Chris Densmore, curator of Friends Historical Library, on connections between Swarthmore families and the Underground Railroad.
  • A sesquicentennial cabaret hosted by Pittinger Crumhenge (Quinn Bauriedel '94) and starring Martha Graham Cracker (Dito van Reigersberg '94).
  • A special Bathtub Debate, in which faculty from social sciences, natural sciences, and the humanities hashed out which discipline would be best positioned to rebuild society after a zombie apocalypse. While the social sciences did not come out on top, Associate Professor of Political Science Ben Berger drew applause with his literal interpretation of the "zombie apocalypse" which included pulling a brain out of a cooler and eating it.

The event created quite a buzz, generating coverage of the once-in-a-lifetime gathering in the Philadelphia Inquirer, CBS-3, and 6ABC. Many alums took to Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to share their memories by using the hashtag #Swat150. The weekend concluded with a service project as hundreds of volunteers carried items to the Lamb-Miller Fieldhouse for the annual student-run Trash 2 Treasure yard sale that raises money for organizations in Chester, Pa.