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A Message from the President

A rose garden in the foreground with Parrish Hall in the background

President Valerie Smith shared the following message with the community on October 4, 2017:

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

As we learn more about the devastating massacre that occurred in Las Vegas on Sunday evening, we struggle to make sense of this depraved act of violence. In the aftermath of what has been described as the most deadly mass shooting in recent American history, let us pause to hold the families and friends of the victims – 58 murdered and at least 527 injured – in our thoughts and prayers. If you are moved to do so, please consider sending a donation to these organizations:

GoFundMe launched by Steve Sisolak, Clark County Commission Chair from Las Vegas -

The National Compassion Fund -

American Red Cross, Southern Nevada Chapter -

In this period of national mourning, we can draw inspiration from the innumerable acts of courage that followed the shooting – the first responders who acted fearlessly and quickly to diffuse the situation, transport victims to trauma centers, and move thousands of people out of harm’s way; the individuals who shielded their loved ones from raining bullets; the off-duty nurses, doctors, paramedics, policemen, security guards and others who returned to the scene to help those who were wounded; strangers who risked their lives to comfort the dying; Las Vegas residents who waited in line for hours to donate blood; the medical staff who worked furiously to keep patients alive; and the many others who performed acts of heroism. Their courage and compassion acknowledge and express the depth of our shared humanity.

Whether you are grappling with this national tragedy or seeking peace during these turbulent times, I urge you to consider attending Collection this Friday afternoon at the Friends Meeting House at 12:30 p.m. The theme is resilience, but you may use this shared time to meditate in silence, to calm your mind, or to share a reflection on any subject.

If you need support, please remember the available resources on campus:

For students:

Student Affairs Division ( or 610-328-8365).  

CAPS (Counseling and Psychological Services) (610-328-8059 or at the 24/7 on call number 610-328-7768). You can also schedule an appointment here:

Religious Advisors from the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life:

For staff and faculty:

Swarthmore’s confidential employee assistance program, Carebridge, at 1-800-437-0911 which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

We find ourselves in a season when each week seems to bring news of yet another national or international disaster. I hope that we are able to find some measure of comfort and solace among our loved ones and within our own community. Let us care for ourselves so that we can care for others and thus allow our acts of kindness and generosity, rather than violent acts of depravity, define the community in which we live and work and the world we seek to build.


Valerie Smith