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Alumni Weekend 2020

alumni parade

Department Overview

Update on Alumni Weekend 2021

The following message was sent to all Swarthmore alumni, families, and friends on July 31, 2020.

Dear Alumni, Families, and Friends,

As I reflect on this past spring, I am inspired by how many of you embraced the sudden transformation of in-person events into virtual ones. Lifelong Learning at Swarthmore offered its first online course — and sold out in less than an hour. The COVID-19 SwatTalks series broke attendance records over and over again as hundreds of you logged on to hear from outstanding alumni and faculty. And thanks to the leadership of our volunteers, classes offered reunion events including organized lectures, themed discussions, and happy hours over Zoom. Looking forward, I am excited for what College Advancement will be able to provide for you with a little more planning and preparation this year.

Given the uncertainty ahead of us, College Advancement has made the difficult decision to pause planning for in-person events during the 2020–21 academic year. Instead, we will expand our virtual event offerings and find new ways to engage the Swarthmore community across the country and around the world. While circumstances may change, this means that our two largest events for alumni and families — Garnet Weekend and Alumni Weekend — which require months of planning and preparation, will not have an in-person component this year. Plans for Commencement are still to be determined. Garnet Weekend will be replaced with Garnet Gatherings, a monthlong series of virtual programs to be held during October. In place of Alumni Weekend, we will celebrate milestone reunion classes with a year of virtual events tailored just for them. 

As we considered how best to serve all of you while maintaining our commitments to the on-campus community, we recognized that the only way to protect the health and safety of all is to encourage physical distancing and reimagine our programs accordingly. We are energized by the opportunity this presents us to think creatively, make our programming more accessible, and expand our definition of what it means to engage with the community.  

We look forward to sharing a robust schedule of events for the fall semester in the coming weeks. In the meantime, if you have any ideas or suggestions for virtual programs, or would like to volunteer to help plan a virtual event, please contact

While we can’t wait to bring you back to Swarthmore once again, we hope that you’ll join us this year as we bring a piece of Swarthmore to you.


Liam McAlpine
Interim Vice President for College Advancement