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Sally Ride at Swarthmore

Most of the obituaries of Sally Ride ’72 have not mentioned her Swarthmore connection. Sally was in my second-semester Intro to Physics class in spring 1969. She had come to Swat because of the national reputation of our then–tennis coach Ailyn Terada. Sally was a notable and promising future physics major in her freshman year.

I was on research leave the next academic year. When I got back, I was sorry to learn that Sally had found our academic program was not leaving her enough time for her devotion to tennis, and so she had transferred to Stanford. Swat’s loss, Stanford’s gain.

By coincidence, the first moon landing, the premier landmark of the space program, occurred that summer of 1969. The Heald family was at our Ontario island camp on that occasion. Daughter Kathy, 12, and I watched the event live on Bill Elmore’s TV in his picturesque log cabin on another island in our lake—way out in the boonies of rural Ontario. On our way home across the lake by outboard skiff, late that evening, we looked up at the bright moon overhead with new appreciation.

Mark Heald
Professor Emeritus of Physics

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