Thanks to a $2 million campaign commitment from James ’79 and Anahita Lovelace, the Swarthmore Summer Scholars Program (S³P) has reached its goal to create a $5 million endowment fund to support the program in perpetuity.
The fund ensures that S³P will continue to support 16 students each year who are first-generation, low-income, or underrepresented in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Summer Scholars learn to be academically successful in challenging, college-level classes while building relationships with professors and classmates before the full pressure of the academic year.
“I am absolutely thrilled that we have been able to fully fund the Swarthmore Summer Scholars Program,” says Isaac H. Clothier Jr. Professor of Biology Amy Cheng Vollmer, director of the program. “I am grateful for the enthusiastic support from former acting President Connie Hungerford, President Smith, former Provost Tom Stephenson and Provost Sarah Willie-LeBreton, and other members of senior leadership. When talking with alumni all over the country with the advancement team, it was so easy for me to describe the program in terms of goals and quantified outcomes, as well as with narratives of individual student stories. It’s the scholars themselves whose experiences provide the best stories!”
The impact of the program’s success is evident in the first cohort to graduate:
- One scholar had a paper published following a summer internship in environmental justice.
- One was accepted to every astrobiology graduate program to which she applied.
- One received the “Best Poster” award at a major science conference.
- One received a Goldwater Scholarship Honorable Mention.
S³P is one of the ways in which Swarthmore is building a more inclusive community—a priority of the Changing Lives, Changing the World campaign. While financial aid is a critical first step toward increasing access to a Swarthmore education for more than half the student body, some students need additional support to ensure their success once they arrive on campus.
More than 15 alumni have generously contributed to the S³P endowment. Critical to the success of the program was the philanthropic support of Richard '76 and Renee Barasch. Their early investment allowed for an additional, fourth year of funding during S³P’s pilot phase. Two existing endowment funds will be added to the S³P endowment: The Waksman Fund for Summer Scholars, established in 2016 by the Board of Trustees of the Waksman Foundation for Microbiology; and The Denison Fund for Summer Scholars. Combined, the two funds supported three of the 16 Summer Scholars.
S³P’s endowment guarantees a source of operating support for the program in perpetuity. The endowment fund will be invested with the rest of the College endowment, which, in 2017–18, distributed $82 million (48 percent of College expenses).