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Swarthmore Bids Farewell to Pair of Retiring Faculty Members

White Adirondack chair on Parrish Beach

This spring, the College celebrates the retirement of two esteemed faculty members — Henry C. and Charlotte Turner Professor of Educational Studies Lisa Smulyan and Professor of Mathematics & Statistics Thomas Hunter.

Though they will be missed on campus, each leaves behind an indelible legacy, fostered through notable scholarship, devoted mentorship, and lasting commitment to the liberal arts.

Lisa SmulyanHenry C. and Charlotte Turner Professor of Educational Studies Lisa Smulyan ’76 has been teaching at Swarthmore since 1985, starting out as an assistant professor and working her way up to full professor. She has chaired the Department of Education several times, for a total of over 10 years. She has also served the College as associate provost, Social Science Division chair, chair of the Women’s Studies Program, director of the Writing Program, and on several committees. Swarthmore courses she has taught include Adolescence, Gender and Education, Comparative Education, Educational Research, and Social and Cultural Perspectives on Education. She has also supervised many theses, independent studies, and student teachers.

Her publications include the books Adolescent Portraits: Identity, Relationships and Challenges (2011), the Handbook of Gender and Education (2006), Balancing Acts: Women Principals at Work (2000), Collaborative Action Research: A Developmental Process (1989), and articles in many academic journals. Before coming to Swarthmore, Smulyan lectured at the University of New Hampshire and Lesley College, and taught in Brookline public schools and Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School in Massachusetts.

In 1989, she was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Warwick in Coventry, England. She holds a B.A. in history from Swarthmore, where she graduated with High Honors; a Master of Arts in Teaching from Brown University; and Doctor of Education degree from Harvard Graduate School of Education.

“I've learned so much from colleagues and students during my years at Swarthmore. I've appreciated those opportunities to explore, to challenge myself and others, and to engage in the process of working for change,” says Smulyan. “There is so much left to do to make education equitable and just for all people; I hope Swarthmore and I will both figure out how to continue to grow in that direction.”

Thomas HunterProfessor of Mathematics & Statistics Thomas Hunter has been teaching at Swarthmore since 1991, starting out as an assistant professor and working his way up to full professor. He has taught over 20 courses at the College, ranging from Calculus I to Advanced Topics in Geometry, including an Honors seminar in Linear Algebra. He served as chair of the Department of Mathematics from 2003 to 2004 and again from 2011 to 2014. He also served on several committees during his tenure at Swarthmore, including the Equal Opportunity Advisory Committee, Tenure Review Advisory Committee, Science Center Planning Committee, and College Institutional Review Board.

His research has been published in the Electronic Journal of Linear Algebra, Transactions of the American Mathematical Society, Proceedings of the American Mathematical Society, and the Journal of Biomechanics. Before coming to Swarthmore, Hunter taught at Wellesley College, the University of Kentucky, and MIT. While on leave from Swarthmore, he participated in the research communities at Johns Hopkins University, Purdue University, and the University of Bielefeld (Germany). He is a member of the American Mathematical Society, Mathematical Association of America, Sigma Xi, and Phi Beta Kappa. He holds a B.S. in mathematics from The University of Chicago and a Ph.D. in mathematics from MIT.

“It has been a tremendous honor and an even greater privilege to have worked in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at Swarthmore College for the last three decades and a bit,” says Hunter. “I am deeply grateful and a little bit stunned to have been so fortunate. I will treasure the memories of time spent sharing a mathematical joie de vivre with students and colleagues.

“In the near future, I plan to stay in the area, continuing my studies, reading and writing at whatever pace seems natural,” he adds. “I hope to continue to enjoy the many extracurricular pleasures offered by the Swarthmore community and Greater Philadelphia. In particular, you may see me (and maybe also my family and our dog) enjoying a walk in the Crum Woods or the idyllic Scott Arboretum campus grounds. I will always enjoy catching up with the students, faculty, and staff who have been my friends and inspiration over all these years.”

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