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Community Message from President Rebecca Chopp


June 12, 2014


Dear Faculty, Students, and Staff,

I write to share the news that I have accepted the position of chancellor at the University of Denver, where I will begin this fall. Gil Kemp, the chair of the Board of Managers, will notify you shortly about plans to name an interim president for the College, effective July 14. The Managers and I are deeply committed to a smooth transition and I am confident we will meet that goal.

It has been an extraordinary privilege to serve on behalf of such a remarkable group of faculty, students, staff, alumni, and parents at Swarthmore. I will remain forever inspired by the brilliance of this special place and its people and also proud of all that we have accomplished during the five years I have been president. Together we have created a strong and vibrant strategic plan for the College and its future, and that is something that we can all be proud of.

This decision has been one of the most difficult ones of my professional life, and it has been driven by both personal and professional desires.

At the heart of this decision is that my husband, Fred, and I long to return to our beloved city of Denver, where our closest family members live. We have lived away from our family since the 1980s, and it feels important and right to be with them now, particularly since Fred has been experiencing a number of challenging health issues in this last year or so.

In addition, the University of Denver has earned its reputation as one of the most collaborative institutions in the country, and is devoted to both scholarship and teaching and learning. This is an institution that combines the best in a residential liberal arts undergraduate experience with a broad array of nationally ranked graduate and professional programs, all focused on quality and value. More than anything, and resonating with my own deepest values, is that the University of Denver, in its 150-year-history, has always stayed true to its vision to be a private university in service to the public good, preparing students to live lives of meaning, purpose, and accomplishment. Very much like Swarthmore, its long and proud tradition is to use the knowledge and experience of its faculty, students, alumni, and staff to resolve core problems for its region, the nation, and the world.

In closing, let me say that I believe with all my heart that there is no other college in America that has accomplished so much in the last five years as Swarthmore, and no other college that has realized, in this generation as in previous ones, the importance of academic vigor and support for individual student success. It has been an honor to serve as your president, and I will continue to be amazed by the exceptional achievements of Swarthmore faculty, students, staff, and alumni on our campus and all over the world.

With great respect, affection, and gratitude, I remain truly yours,

Rebecca Chopp