Thank you, Maxine

Fall 2019

It is wonderful to learn that Maxine Frank Singer ’52, H’78 was being honored with a science building in her name. When I was a freshman, I spent study time in a small women’s lounge in Parrish. There I met Maxine. She was kind enough to help me through my struggles with Advanced Algebra. I got a B in the course, but I don’t recall thanking her properly for her support and generosity. I would like to thank her now; not for passing the math course, but for being there at a difficult time.



Story Pitch

Fall 2019

I recently read a 1927 Grantland Rice article in an anthology of great sportswriting (The Great American Sports Page, John Schulian, ed.). In his article, about the deciding game of the 1924 World Series, he referred to a Washington Senators pitcher, Warren Harvey Ogden, as “The Sheik of Swarthmore.” It piqued my curiosity, so I googled him and found a bio on sabr.org, the site of the Society of American Baseball Research. ... I miss the stories from Swarthmore history that were a regular feature of the Bulletin. Even if this suggestion doesn’t make the cut, I would like to see more such stories.

—JACK RIGGS ’64, Washington, D.C.


Shortfall of 'Icarus'

Fall 2019

In response to the summer 2019 Bulletin column about the “Fall of Icarus”: As far as I remember, this part of the story of Daedalus and his son was traditionally interpreted as an object lesson in hubris. ... Therefore, I must object to your idea that, without the humanities, “we float uninformed into the universe and, like Icarus, into dangerous territory without the benefit of the right tools.” What Icarus lacked was not the right tools—his wings permitted him to escape from the labyrinth—but respect for the limits of his abilities and those set by nature. What makes the universe dangerous is creating and using tools for a vain or destructive purpose.

—JEAN-MARIE CLARKE ’74, Staufen, Germany


Royal Memories

Fall 2019

The story about May Queens in the summer 2019 Bulletin (“Crowning Glory”) brought back memories. I was a member of Swarthmore’s faculty from 1957 to 1961, and in the spring of 1960, my daughter Melissa, then 5 years old, participated in the May Queen celebration by carrying the crown. Melissa earned an engineering degree from Montana State University, where I was a faculty member and administrator, and later received an MBA from the University of New Mexico. For many years, she was a staff member in Hewlett-Packard’s research and development operation. When she retired, her name was on 40 patents.

—IRVING E. DAYTON ’48, Corvallis, Ore.


Collective Reflection

Fall 2019

In “Collective Reflection” (summer 2019), President Valerie Smith said that “exclusive, dues-paying social organizations no longer effectively meet the needs of our residential liberal arts environment.” Delta Upsilon played a huge role in helping me succeed at Swarthmore. It was the affinity group that provided those of us with a less-than-ideal, small-town secondary education with the fellowship that helped us cope with Swarthmore’s stress and intellectual demands. Without the fraternity, I don’t believe I would have graduated. I contend that even today, students with backgrounds like mine need a place where they can feel safe and relax with others who are having trouble with the rigors of Swarthmore. Note, too, that the dues paid by members allowed DU to sponsor inclusive parties for the entire campus.

President Smith has said that “civility and dissent must coexist.” Apparently, and unfortunately, intimidation trumped civility this spring, and I am concerned that the Swarthmore I knew is being replaced by one that doesn’t foster open discourse and peaceful resolution. I’m afraid that being “politically correct” is now more important than being inclusive of all points of view. Swarthmore needs to be careful that it doesn’t become a school solely for the brightest, most liberal and academically driven students. Personal and professional success, to a large degree, is based on common sense and strong social and emotional skills. Fraternities attract students with those traits; they provide diversity to the campus and can help other students understand the “real world.”

President Smith wrote me in mid-May and said: “I share your deep concern that the spirit of intolerance that has pervaded so much of the national culture seems to exist at Swarthmore. We must actively resist this tendency, though I have no easy solutions to offer.” Please help Preseident Smith find solutions.

—RANDALL LARRIMORE ’69, Bethany Beach, Del.



Fall 2019

So grateful for my feature in the Swarthmore College alumni magazine! Featured alongside other physicians, I talk about how studying religion and biology as an undergrad influenced my practice of #medicine. #compassionateleadership

—KENDRA McDOW ’07, Washington, D.C., via LinkedIn