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In My Life

A Civil Right

By Stannard Baker ’68

When my husband Peter Harrigan and I were plaintiffs in the 1997 Vermont Freedom to Marry lawsuit, press asked us: Why did you decide to do this? Our answer: Because we fell in love. After four years together, we wanted to have a legal bond joining us, and we wanted to be able to proclaim [...]

‘Where Happiness Dwells’

By Robin Ridington ’62

During my sophomore year, former Dean Everett Hunt gave a Collection talk. While praising what was special about the College, he mentioned two former students, Eric Freedman ’59 and Johanna “Jimmi” Mead ’58, who had left before graduating to plan their move to a remote wilderness location. I met them that winter and agreed to [...]

Talking So People Will Listen, Listening So People Will Talk

By Laurie Gerber ’96

Sophomore year, 1993, Will Craig ’96 and I met in an education class. We married five years later in the amphitheater. Less than 10 years into our marriage, we lived in Manhattan with two toddlers. I was running a tutoring company, and Will was running a home day care while trying to renovate a townhouse [...]

C’est l’Afrique!

By Richard S. Wilson ’73

The first time we encountered Burkina Faso was in 2007—while visiting our son who was there with the Peace Corps. While there, we met Abga, an ecoguide with whom my wife Emily ’72 has since kept up via email (in French, Burkina Faso’s official language) and who adopted her as his mother. When we went [...]

Musical Fun in a Golden Time (VIDEO)

By Ralph Lee Smith ’51

After graduating from Swarthmore in 1951 and serving in the Air Force, I moved to New York. In 1957, I rented a one-room apartment at 21 Jones St., in the heart of Greenwich Village for $78 a month. My timing was fortunate. In 1957, Greenwich Village was poised to become the national and world epicenter [...]

Analyze and Evaluate

By Charlie Huntington ’12

It was only as the plane made a sweeping turn over Cairo proper, and I glimpsed the Nile River, a surprisingly slender blue vein almost lost in the sprawl, that I had my Dorothy moment: I most certainly was not in Swarthmore anymore. I’d spent four years hardly ever leaving Swat, even filling the summer [...]

Long-Run Prospects

By Ed Ayres ’63

For the October 1966 Bulletin, three years after my graduation, I wrote an article with the whimsical title “What Are You Running in Your Underwear For?” It was not common to see people running along public roads in those days, and the bright athletic apparel we have now was not yet available in stores. All [...]

Swarthmore in Brooklyn

By Abby Kluchin ’03

In the fall of my senior year, Professor Mark Wallace announced to our Postmodern Religion Thought honors seminar that we could understand the 20th century as a choice between Roland Barthes and Karl Barth. Naturally, this inspired Christine Smallwood ’03, one of my first-year roommates, and me to go straight home to make matching hand-lettered [...]

The Great History Hoax of 1959

By The Sherkites

We freshmen in the Class of 1963 arrived at Swarthmore on a wave of euphoria born of freedom from parental control, the beauty of the campus, and the excitement of meeting talented peers from across the country. Quite soon, reality hit. All freshmen in those days had to take five full-credit courses. Each course, it [...]

“Lincoln Was a Hero—and Robert Pattinson is Ugly”

By Tatiana Cozzarelli ’08

My seventh-grade students walk into an unfamiliar school, where we have been invited to hear visiting author Julia Alvarez. The girls are highly excited at the prospect of meeting the famed Dominican-American writer, but it’s the host school that quickly draws their attention. They have never seen anything like it. They are astounded at how [...]