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Commencement 2019 By the Numbers

Member of the grounds department sets up chairs in Scott Amphitheater

Members of the Grounds & Horticulture Department set up 2,276 chairs in the Scott Amphitheater in preparation for Commencement Weekend.

It’s Commencement Weekend at Swarthmore, the culmination of four years of exploration and growth for seniors, spirited instruction and collaboration from faculty, and multifaceted support of staff from all corners of campus. The product of extensive planning and execution, Commencement is a celebration for and by the entire College community. But before final touches are made and the regalia is adorned, let’s examine Swarthmore’s Commencement—its 147th—by the numbers.

395:  Seniors graduating

395:  Roses and Itea sweetspire shrubs that will be given to seniors by the Scott Arboretum, in keeping with tradition

73:  Students who were first in their family to attend college (i.e., neither parent had a four-year college degree)

25:  Staff who volunteered to work Commencement, mostly as ushers, from all across campus

41:  Environmental Services staff on campus Sunday—30 working Commencement; 10 tidying up the campus afterward; and one, supervisor Ursula Young, walking in the ceremony

87:  Students receiving honors

301:  Written honors exams taken, across 129 subjects and 27 disciplines

352:  Oral honors exams taken (162 in the social sciences, 96 in engineering and the natural sciences, 83 in the humanities, 11 interdisciplinary)

138:  External honors examiners hosted, from across the U.S. and the Netherlands, Germany, and Canada

1:  Cohort—the first—of Swarthmore Summer Scholars to graduate 

82:  Students with the most popular major, Economics

149:  Students with double majors

62:  Students with special majors, including 14 in Peace & Conflict Studies and 12 in Neuroscience 

213:  Students with a minor

3:  Students with the College’s newest minor, Global Studies

4:  First-time special majors: Indigenous Sociopolitical Studies; Political Science, Conservation Biology, and Environmental Justice; Interdisciplinary Race and Ethnicity Studies; Philosophy of Language

310:  Procession steps between the entrances of Dean Bond Rose Garden and Scott Amphitheater

1,580:  Tickets issued

3,000:  Programs printed

2,276:  Chairs set up in the amphitheater

3,800:  Total chairs, as well as 50 extra tables, ordered to cover the weekend’s events

2,000:  Compostable ponchos (new this year) ordered in case of rain

2,000:  Compostable cups at water stations around campus

18:  Golf carts to ferry people around campus

48:  Barricades 

2,000:  Cookies (approximate) for the post-ceremony reception

44:  International students from 32 countries, as well as 19 U.S. citizens who have dual citizenship in 14 additional countries

41:  States represented by students, including Washington, D.C.

23:  Students with one or more parent who is an alum

5:  Students with one or more grandparent or great-grandparent who is an alum, all of which also had one or more parent who is an alum

27:  Other students with any Swarthmore family connection (sibling, cousin, aunt, or uncle)

3:  Honorary degree recipients 

11+:  National award winners, including three Fulbright grantees, a Truman Scholar, a Watson Fellow, a Boren Scholar, a Goldwater Scholar and Honorable Mention, a Beinecke Scholar, a Forum on Education Abroad Award winner, a Udall Scholar, and a U.S. State Department Critical Languages Scholar (Zack Lash) 

4:  Students who earned Pennsylvania teaching certification

165 (and counting):  Donors to the Senior Class Gift 

2:  Board members of the Swarthmore chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers

21:  Athletes from the senior class who reached the NCAA quarterfinals or beyond (2015 women’s soccer, 2017 volleyball, 2018 baseball, and 2018 and 2019 men’s basketball)

16:  Art majors who exhibited their capstone works this spring

4:  Students (Nick Barton, David Chan, Amy Kim, and Tiyé Pulley) to have their work featured at one or more Tri-Co Film Festival

1:  Arrangement of Beatles songs in the processional, “Let It Be”

3:  Languages in which Commencement is broadcast (English, Spanish, and Mandarin)

500+:  Expected unique views of the ceremony’s livestream, across multiple countries and continents

3:  Locations on campus to watch the livestream in air-conditioned comfort

3:  Social media channels on which the College’s Commencement program will be featured: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

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