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ICYMI: Top 20 Web Stories of the Year 2014

From the most tweeted College image to the story that elicited more interest than any other in both traditional and social media, this past academic year had a little bit of everything - including an alum becoming an unlikely Jeopardy! celebrity, a student-created hydrogen powered-car, and the largest gathering of Swarthmore alumni in history. So ICYMI, below and in chronological order are some of the most popular Swarthmore College web stories of the 2013-14 year.

  1. Swarthmore Produces Most Social Sciences Doctorate Recipients in the Nation


    Swarthmore College has the country's highest production rate of doctorate recipients in the social sciences, according to the National Science Foundation's survey of earned doctorates. During the 10-year period studied and examined by Swarthmore's Office of Institutional Research, 2001-02 through 2010-11, 135 Swarthmore graduates received a doctorate degree in a field within the social sciences. Swarthmore is also among the top five highest producers of doctorate recipients in the humanities, life sciences, and all sciences combined over the same time period. The study found that over 20 percent of Swarthmore graduates go on to earn a doctorate degree.

  2. Swarthmore "Matchbox" to Support Wellness, Fitness, and Theater


    At its September 2013 meeting, Swarthmore's Board of Managers announced plans for a new building that will significantly improve the facilities available for Garnet athletics, theater rehearsal space, and wellness programming. The Board also announced two lead gifts totaling $2.5 million to support the project, including $1.5 million from Salem Shuchman '84 and spouse Barbara Klock '86. Scheduled for completion this year, "The Matchbox" is a tangible result of the College's Strategic Directions plan, which calls for increased support of fitness and wellness initiatives that benefit the whole campus community.

  3. Faculty in the News


    The work of Swarthmore's faculty continues to be recognized by local and national media. Political scientist Dominic Tierney (left) offered his thoughts on conflicts in Syria and Ukraine, appearing on both CNN and MSNBC to discuss each and penning popular articles for The Atlantic. Economist Ellen Magenheim discussed the Affordable Care Act on Yahoo! Finance, the Delaware County Daily Times, and Her study on flu vaccinations with colleague Erin Todd Bronchetti also made news. Psychologist and TED All-Star Barry Schwartz spoke at the TED2014 Conference in March.

  4. Swarthmore College Launches Instagram Account


    Swarthmore expanded its social media efforts by launching an Instagram account - @swarthmorecollege - in early August. Along with the launch, the College developed a monthly #SwatPhoto contest, with the winner having their work featured on the College's social media platforms. From October to May, we received over 1,000 photos - and 800 new followers - using the hashtag #SwatPhoto. Another popular initiative - #SwatTakeover - allowed Swarthmore students to run the Instagram account for a day.

  5. Alumni Serving as College Presidents


    Two Swarthmore alums were inaugurated as college presidents at liberal arts colleges this year - Sean Decatur '90 at Kenyon College and Kimberly Wright Cassidy '85 at Bryn Mawr College.

  6. Muralist Dee Craig Leaves His Mark on Campus


    As part of the Mellon Tri-College Creative Residency Program, muralist Dee Craig collaborated with students, faculty, staff, and other members of the Swarthmore borough community on a new work, now on display at the College's Science Center. For almost a month last fall, Craig painted and worked out of a purpose-built studio tent adjacent to the Science Center wall that his mural now covers. Watch a video of the mural.

  7. Hayden Dahmm '15 and the Power of Community


    The story of Hayden Dahmm '15, an engineering major who is also blind, first appeared in the September Bulletin. Local media took notice, as did the social media crowd, of both his successes and the efforts of his professors and fellow students to help make abstract engineering concepts "visible" to him - ensuring everyone's improved understanding of the work and making Dahmm and his dog, Fathom, stars on campus.

  8. Swarthmore Kicks Off Sesquicentennial Celebration


    Swarthmore launched its sesquicentennial website in mid-December to celebrate the College's 150th anniversary. Site highlights include a college history timeline, a collection of historic videos, and the Swarthmore 150, a list of things current and past Swarthmore students have said they need to do before graduating. These features continue to be popular on social media, while the site serves as a one-stop source of information for all sesquicentennial events, those past and still to come. The first event of the year? A ceremonial cake-cutting of an entirely edible, three-dimensional Parrish Hall rendered in vanilla, chocolate, and lots of icing.

  9. $1 Million Grant for Stormwater Research Team Led By Engineer Art McGarity


    In an effort to find a sustainable solution to control Philadelphia's water pollution problem, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded a $1 million research grant to Swarthmore College and a team led by Professor of Engineering and Environmental Studies Art McGarity. "The fact the College is leading this effort," McGarity says, "is a tribute to the institution's strong support for scholarly achievement and community engagement among its faculty and students."

  10. Arthur Chu '06: A Star Is Born


    Arthur Chu '06 became a media sensation as his unorthodox approach to Jeopardy! netted him nearly $300,000 on the popular show earlier this year. Not only was he profiled by virtually every national media outlet during and after his run, he generated some of the highest levels of interaction on the College's social media platforms, including a record-setting number of likes for a single Facebook post congratulating him on his 11-game streak. Chu was a hit on campus, as well, packing Parrish Commons for a talk during All-Alumni Reunion Weekend.

  11. Let It Snow!


    Time and time again, Mother Nature attacked the eastern coast of the United States, ringing in the New Year and the spring semester with several feet of snow, power outages, and icy conditions. The wintery onslaught took its toll on some, and yet what lovely images it made! Check out a Facebook gallery of the best student photos.

  12. Advancement of the Liberal Arts: Part One


    Swarthmore's capacity to advance liberal arts education both in the U.S. and worldwide received a major boost from a $5 million commitment from James '79 and Anahita Naficy Lovelace to endow the Frank Aydelotte Foundation for the Advancement of the Liberal Arts. At a time when critics around the nation allege that liberal arts education is too impractical, the Foundation will highlight the benefits of the liberal arts both for individuals and for thriving democratic societies. News of the gift appeared in the Chronicle of Higher Education and Philadelphia Inquirer, among other outlets.

  13. Advancement of the Liberal Arts: Part Two


    In February, Swarthmore hosted a thought-provoking symposium on the future of the liberal arts. The event, part of the College's sesquicentennial celebration, featured distinguished alumni leaders in higher education, including keynote speaker Mary Schmidt Campbell '69, dean emerita of NYU's Tisch School of the Arts.

  14. Swarthmore Drops "R" in Name, Changes Name to "Swathmore College"


    In an effort to fix 150 years of pronunciation confusion, Swarthmore College announced it dropped the first "R" from its name and would now be known as "Swathmore" College, effective immediately. The April Fool's prank, complete with a video of Phineas the Phoenix getting in on the fun, was a hit in traditional and social media, scoring the biggest response across all platforms of any single story. Reed College in Oregon even played along, issuing a press release claiming that it had "acquired" our "extra R" to become "Reedier" College.

  15. Alumni Speak on "My Swarthmore"


    This spring, in honor of the College's sesquicentennial, alumni from the '30s to the '13s spoke, in 150 words or less, about the significance of Swarthmore in their lives. Said one: "Swarthmore nurtured a sense of unshakeable purpose at the heart of my personal life and my professional aspirations."

  16. Student-Developed Eco-Vehicle Races at National Competition


    A team of Swarthmore engineering students developed an energy-efficient vehicle that can run 1,300 miles on one gallon of gas. Led by Neil Macfarland '15, the Swarthmore team's vehicle competed in the Shell Eco-marathon Americas in Houston this spring.

  17. Students Receive National Accolades


    Fulbright, Watson, Keasbey, and more - this spring, Swarthmore students received numerous awards and scholarships representing fields across the disciplines.

  18. Commencement


    At Swarthmore's 142nd commencement on June 1, scholar and writer Thomas Laqueur '67, documentary photographer and author Barbara Norfleet '47, vocalist and composer Vaneese Thomas '74, and Congressman Christopher Van Hollen '83 received honorary degrees. In addition, 367 undergraduates were awarded degrees at the ceremony, including Morgan Williams '14, who gave a memorable senior speech, and Zhengyang Wang '14, who provided a simultaneous Mandarin translation of the ceremony. Also impressive - pro cyclist and Manayunk native Robin Carpenter '14 graduated and then competed in the Philly Cycling Classic the same day. In addition to local news coverage, a photo of Carpenter wearing his mortar board in the race set a College record for the most likes of a single tweet.

  19. All-Alumni Weekend


    More than 2,800 people celebrated a party 150 years in the making. Held to mark the College's sesquicentennial, the event drew a record-breaking turnout that included members of 72 classes, dating back to 1934, and 24 countries, including Kenya, Venezuela, and New Zealand. The College's largest Parade of Classes processed from Magill Walk to the Scott Outdoor Amphitheater, energized by the spirited drumming of Alex Shaw '00 and Alô Brasil. Louise Stubbs Williams '34, 100 and the oldest alum in attendance, led the parade, with the assistance of her son and granddaughter, Erika '01, into the Amphitheater for award presentations and a Collection from U.S. District Court Judge Jed Rakoff '64. A photo of Williams also proved to be the most popular of the weekend across Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

  20. Alums in New Places: Darko Tresjnak '88 Wins Tony Award, Ashwin Rao '99 Goes to the Super Bowl


    Darko Tresnjak '88 won the Tony award for his work on A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder. The production, Tresjnak's Broadway debut, also took home three additional awards, including Best Musical. Tresnjak's win has the extra distinction of completing an EGOT - Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony - held by Swarthmore alums. Seattle Seahawks team physician Ashwin Rao '99 describes how Swarthmore prepared him for his career - and whether or not Richard Sherman would fit in as a Swattie.

Submissions Welcome

The Communications Office invites all members of the Swarthmore community to share videos, photos, and story ideas for the College's website. Have you seen an alum in the news? Please let us know by writing