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Watch: Tom Spock '78


Good afternoon, everyone. I’m Tom Spock, Class of 1978, and chair of the College’s Board of Managers. I’d like to begin with a moment of silence in memory of Sam Jenkins from the Class of 2019, who tragically passed away last week.

Thank you, and welcome.

I have a very small role here today – I’m just introducing the main attraction, our great President, Valerie Smith.  But standing here, something occurred to me that I wanted to say first.

So – it’s March 31st. That’s actually a very significant date for me. I was in my senior year, in the Honors Program. Back then you had to take six seminars rather than four, and there were no grades or tests of any kind until the external examiners came in May. (Shout out to Connie Hungerford, who taught my Modern Art seminar!) I had decided that as of April 1st, I really needed to knuckle down, move into McCabe, and dedicate all my waking hours to the six oral and written exams I was going to have to take. So March 31 was pretty much the end of my life as I’d known it.

So to me, this is a perfect day for a party! And we DO want this day—and this event—to be a fun celebration.

Three years ago, the College celebrated its first 150 years. Today we celebrate our future—a future that will rely on the comprehensive campaign that we are embarking on today.

The campaign you’re going to hear about today will help underwrite our laser-like focus on remaining need-blind in admissions. It will enable us to build an even more diverse and inclusive community, including by creating more comfortable spaces for students to convene and converse. It will result in greater interdisciplinary learning in a liberal arts context. And it will ultimately enable the college and its graduates to become more prepared to serve the common good.

President Valerie Smith began at Swarthmore almost two years ago. She’s spent much of that time meeting with many people both on and off campus as a part of an extensive dialogue to determine the College’s highest priorities. Her values—as well as the wisdom of her experience—are written all over this campaign effort.

It is my great, good fortune to have the opportunity to work with President Smith, whom I admire tremendously.  Val – you’ve enriched my life.

With that – and yes, thanks for asking, I did fine on my exams – friends, please welcome President Valerie Smith.


Watch: Tom Spock '78

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