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Looking Ahead

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff Members,

We hope this message finds you well. As you may know, President Smith has begun her well-deserved sabbatical. While we look forward to welcoming her back to campus in August, we are honored and excited to serve as acting co-presidents in her absence.

We want to share a bit more about how we plan to work together, and work with you, during the next six months to ensure that College operations continue as smoothly as possible. As you might imagine, the responsibilities of the President’s Office are vast. We will meet regularly — often daily — to address the work that needs to be done. We are also dividing some of the work in ways that align with our regular roles as senior staff members. For example, Provost and Dean of the Faculty Tomoko Sakomura will play a leading role on matters pertaining to academics and the faculty; Vice President for Finance and Administration Rob Goldberg will take the lead on staff and operational matters. We are looking forward to engaging with students, and will work together in collaboration with Vice President for Student Affairs Stephanie Ives on matters related to the student experience. 

On some logistical matters, Rob will move into the President’s Office in Parrish Hall during this time to be in proximity with Tomoko. If you have any questions or comments for the two of us, please use this email:

We have a lot to look forward to this semester. In just a few short weeks, we will celebrate the opening of Sharples Commons, where students will have a place to dine, play, relax, and socialize on campus. This beautifully reimagined space will be Swarthmore’s first true student center in decades, and we hope students — and the campus more broadly — will enjoy it for generations to come. Sharples Commons will also be the new home of the Office of Student Engagement. We will celebrate the Dining and Community Commons more formally at a later date, but in the meantime, we invite you to enjoy, explore, and experience the Commons when it opens on Feb. 29.

We are also excited to begin implementing Swarthmore Forward: A Plan for Our Future. Approved in December by the Board of Managers, Swarthmore Forward outlines a future lined with new initiatives, academic offerings, and programs that reinforce the strengths of a liberal arts education, ensure equity and access, and reaffirm our commitment to building community and educating the whole student. We will be inviting students, faculty, and staff to participate in implementation efforts and will have more to share on this process in the coming weeks.

We will have many more opportunities to come together for fun, joy, and celebration this spring: academic achievements, student performances, the Chester Children’s Chorus’ 30th anniversary, Garnet Days, and all of the activities in May leading up to Commencement, to name a few. We look forward to working with all of you during what we believe will be an exciting, joyful, and successful semester.

Thank you for your support, 

Tomoko Sakomura
Acting Co-President
Provost and Dean of the Faculty and Professor of Art History

Rob Goldberg
Acting Co-President
Vice President for Finance and Administration