Students, faculty, staff, and alumni put the Swarthmore ethos into action this past academic year, connecting disciplines, opening doors, working for the common good, and reimagining the lived environment. Below are some highlights from 2018-19.
Connecting the Liberal Arts
Sixteen senior art majors showcased their thesis exhibitions in the College’s List Gallery this spring. Representing the capstone of each student’s course of study at Swarthmore, the work varied in media from functional ceramics and light sculptures to paintings, prints, drawings, architectural studies, and collages.
Students and faculty from the Departments of Film & Media Studies and Theater presented Percepticon in October. This interactive, three-room installation blended elements of escape rooms and museums to rattle the perspective of its participants and shatter their status quo.
The Center for Innovation and Leadership (CIL) organized its annual CIL @ SF trip over spring break, giving 10 students the chance to engage with Swarthmore alums and tour social impact-related companies in the San Francisco and Silicon Valley areas of California. Built upon the class Be the Change! Social Entrepreneurship Principles in Practice, the group visited social change organizations such as the Emerson Collective and the Delancey Street Foundation, a nonprofit that provides residential rehabilitation services and vocational training.
Swarthmore introduced a new program in global studies this fall that is focused on understanding and analyzing global processes, systems, and phenomena, and that brings together courses across the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences/engineering.
Enhancing Our Social Impact
The College commemorated and honored the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a Day of Service, at which students, staff, and faculty from across campus donated and packaged school supplies and crafted holiday cards for 165 Chester, Pa., students.
This spring, the Our Food garden outside Sharples Dining Hall served as an experiential space for students to learn about plant development, soil biology, and the process of growing food. The garden, a component of a biology and environmental studies course, connected students and community members to larger food systems.
Student and alumni representatives - including the Lang Scholar Class of 2021 (above), the Chester Community Fellows, the 2018-19 Lang Social Impact Fellows, youth empowerment advocate Ferial Berjawi ’19, and Next Generation Peacemaker Award winner Layla Hazaineh ’20 - helped the Lang Center for Civic & Social Responsibility continue its mission this year.
The College’s connections to the Tri-College Consortium and the City of Philadelphia, as well as its commitment to deepening and broadening engagement in STEAM fields, grew this year, thanks to a new Philadelphia program in collaboration with Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges, and to a new early medical school acceptance program with Thomas Jefferson University.
Political scientist Ben Berger promoted engaged scholarship through prison education; a Swarthmore delegation, including Betsy Bolton and Christopher Graves, attended international climate negotiations; a book from sociologist Daniel Laurison ’99 explored the “class ceiling,” and economist Syon Bhanot (above, third from left) was honored by the City of Philadelphia and Mayor Jim Kenney (right) for his and his students’ efforts to encourage innovation in government.
Building a More Inclusive Community
This spring, students (from left) Kendre Thomas '20, Richmond Mensah '21, Jessica Lewis '19, Quentin Millette ’20, and Julius Miller '19 rekindled Swarthmore’s chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers on campus, cultivating community and boosting representation.
The first cohort of the Swarthmore Summer Scholars Program graduated in May. The program, originally conceived by students, supports students who have an interest in STEM fields and are the first in their family to attend college, come from a low-income background, or belong to a traditionally underrepresented group.
Swarthmore welcomed international students to campus five days before orientation began in late August. The program walked students through the ins and outs of the College and the array of support available to them—from academic planning to getting a job.
Friends, Peace, and Sanctuary, a multivenue book arts show held in March, raised the creative voices of resettled Syrians and Iraqis now living in Philadelphia. The program activated archival materials to connect to contemporary experiences, sharing displacement narratives that reflect multiple cultures and offering interventions to support refugee resettlement.
The College’s Learning for Life program celebrated its 20th anniversary with 14 partnerships of students and staff sharing and creating new interests—among them yoga, cooking, embroidery, theater arts, and radio (above). Additionally, the College Access Center of Delaware County was revived as the the Marie and Cynthia Jetter ['74] College and Career Center.
Creating Vital Spaces
The eagerly anticipated new building for biology, engineering, and psychology will be named for Maxine Frank Singer ’52, as proposed by the family of Eugene Lang ’38, H’81, to recognize Singer for living a life of science “exemplary in every dimension,” and also to raise the profile of Swarthmore women who have made significant marks on the sciences. Phase One opens this fall.
Thanks to James Hormel ’55, H’09, and Michael Nguyen ’08 (above), the College community celebrated the dedication of the Hormel-Nguyen Intercultural Center this fall, deepening its commitment to inclusivity and diversity and to educating the whole person.
Swarthmore announced a full renewal and replacement program to address the Lang Music Building’s infrastructure and programmatic needs. Managers Jane Lang ’67 and Lucy Lang ’03 announced the designation of $7 million from the Fund for the Future to upgrade and renovate the building and issued a challenge that raised the total figure to $9 million.
The College announced plans for a major renovation of Sharples Dining Hall to better meet the needs of students and to offer a dedicated space to foster relationships and build community. Funded in large part by Giles “Gil” Kemp ’72 and Barbara Guss, the project will bring to life students’ vision for increased food choices, shorter lines, and a central commons.