Skip to main content

Welcome and Reading

Hello everyone and good morning. I am Salem Shuchman, chair of the Board of Managers. I am delighted to welcome all of you here today to Swarthmore College’s Commencement, the first in-person ceremony since 2019. What a tremendous day this is! 

Let’s begin our time together this morning with a moment of silence. 

Thank you. As a Swarthmore graduate, one half of a Matchbox couple, and a proud Swarthmore parent, it has been my honor and privilege to serve the College as a member of the Board of Managers since 2000 and Chair of the Board since 2018. I am grateful for the opportunity to give back to this special place and to a community that has meant so much to me and to my family over the years, and that I know means so much to you who have gathered here today.

I want to begin by congratulating the Classes of 2022 and 2020!

We are here today to celebrate your hard work, dedication, and achievements — all of you should be tremendously proud of all that you have accomplished, particularly as you navigated part of your College career in the unexpected and often uncertain landscape of a pandemic. However, your resilience and strength serve as reminders that college is a time of growth, self-reflection, and discovery, an opportunity to learn about yourself and the world around you. It is where you learn to ask important, and at times, difficult questions. It is also where you build the skills to seek answers, framed with meaning and purpose.

I believe it is a great privilege to do this learning at Swarthmore, surrounded by your smart, passionate, thoughtful peers and the talented and committed faculty and staff that have shaped your experiences here. Swarthmore teaches us the importance of community, and of striving for a common good. It teaches the power of curiosity, of intellectual inquiry. As you look forward to whatever comes next, I hope you remember an essential lesson of Swarthmore — that we are strengthened by our connections, to this place, and to each other. 

On behalf of the Board of Managers, I want to once again welcome everyone to today’s celebration. You will soon hear from President Smith and our honorary degree recipients who will share their perspectives with us. To the members of the Classes of 2022 and 2020, I want to wish you once again a huge congratulations.

Remarks as submitted to Swarthmore College