Welcome and Reading
Salem Shuchman '84
Good morning everyone. Welcome to Swarthmore College’s 146th Commencement ceremonies! Let's take a moment to join together, in silence.
Thank you. My name is Salem Shuchman.
I’ve been honored to serve Swarthmore as a member of the Board of Managers since 2000, and to this year step into the role of Board Chair. As a graduate of the Class of 1984, I have been grateful for the opportunity to give back to the school that played a significant part in not only my own journey, but also that of my family: my wife is a member of the Class of 1986, and my daughter, Michaela, a member of the Class of 2016.
This place has forged many memories for us, as I know it has for you over the last four years. In the flurry of exams, final papers, and graduation, it may be challenging to feel anything more than exhaustion and relief. And you should feel relieved that you’ve made it this far as well as incredibly proud of all you’ve accomplished during your time on campus!
You are undoubtedly eager to take on whatever comes next, but what I hope you carry with you, beyond our beautiful green spaces, are the values that distinguish Swarthmore: a recognition of our interconnectedness, and an understanding that your own story is indelibly linked to those of friends, colleagues, neighbors, and strangers. Swarthmore reminds us that we are part of something larger than ourselves, that the skills of critical thinking, innovation, and creativity fostered here are most powerfully realized when applied to the pressing civic and social issues of our time, used to illuminate injustice and better the world around us.
President Smith and our three honorary degree recipients will all soon share their own wisdom and help usher you into a global community of Swarthmore alumni. As you join their ranks, remember to both rejoice in this accomplishment, and build on this foundation.
So on behalf of the Board of Managers, I want to once again welcome everyone to this special day. And to the members of the Class of 2018—congratulations!
Bennett Lorber '64
From a poem by Daniel Hoffmann, beloved Swarthmore professor and the 22nd Poet Laureate of the United States:
And they shall come together in a city.
City of lovely purposes.
Espaliered on walls,
And windows reeling with cerulean light.
Where each breath’s an anthem
And each glance a hymn.
Here is the spirit’s home.