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Swarthmore in the News January 21, 2011


Winston-Salem Journal (NC)

Easing Transition to Higher Education

By Lisa O'Donnell

January 20, 2011

Omari Simmons went to high school in rural Delaware with a lot of smart kids.

But while Simmons headed south to study at Wake Forest University, not many of his classmates chose to go to college.

"When I think back, these people were lost in the transition," said Simmons, now a professor of law at Wake Forest. "That's one of the things that inspired me to go back and help."

He did so by starting the Simmons Memorial Foundation, a nonprofit organization that equips kids at risk of not going to college with the nuts-and-bolts information they need to make that leap.

...The program is open to high-achieving students who need extra assistance with all the steps involved in going to college. They might be first-generation college students or come from low-income households.

... Students in the program get help preparing for the SAT and selecting and applying to colleges. They are introduced to a range of career possibilities.

...The program also tries to expose students to a range of schools -- big universities, historically black colleges and highly selective colleges. Students often avoid highly selective schools because they assume they can't afford them. However, these schools can usually offer grants to make tuition affordable.

Each year, the foundation sponsors a tour of colleges. In October, about 20 local high school students visited schools in the mid-Atlantic, including Swarthmore College, Georgetown University, Howard University and the University of Richmond.

Alumni of the program met with the students.

...Program participants have gone on to graduate from the University of Pennsylvania, Swarthmore, Wake Forest and William and Mary.  ...



Targeted News Service

Delaware Supreme Court Justice to Receive National Award

January 20, 2011

The American Judicature Society issued the following news release:

Hon. Randy J. Holland, Justice of the Delaware Supreme Court, has been selected as the recipient of the Seventh Annual Dwight D. Opperman Award for Judicial Excellence. Justice Holland was chosen by the three-member panel:

Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard, Indiana Supreme Court and last year's AJS Opperman Award recipient; Judge Cara Lee Neville, Hennepin County District Court (MN), and Judge Steve Leben, Kansas Court of Appeals.

Chief Justice Shepard, chair of the selection panel, said "Randy Holland is an icon among American lawyers and judges, and the nation is a more decent place because of his commitment to the cause of justice. Justice Holland's career has been a special gift to those of us in the legal profession for whom he has been a genuine inspiration." In his nomination letter, former Delaware Chief Justice E. Norman Veasey said of Justice Holland, "behind his impressive credentials are his true passion for the law, unselfish devotion to fairness, unimpeachable integrity, civility, professionalism, open-mindedness to all situations, and unfaltering work ethic."

Justice Holland was appointed to the Delaware Supreme Court in 1986. Prior to appointment, he practiced at the firm of Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell in Georgetown. He is a graduate of Swarthmore College and earned his J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and his L.L.M. from the University of Virginia School of Law.  ...


The Philadelphia Inquirer

Campus Skill Swap

A Swarthmore College program pairs students and staff members to teach and learn from each other. The mutual respect and friendships fostered often continue past graduation.

By Lini Kadaba

January 19, 2011

On the surface, Adam Bortner and Donzella "Donnie" Franklin appear unlikely friends.

He's 21 years old; she's 45. He's a sociology and anthropology major at Swarthmore College; she's working her 20th year as a custodian there. He hails from suburban Baltimore; she grew up in hardscrabble Chester. He's white; she's black.

Yet the two have found much common ground. On a recent morning, they walk across campus in easy conversation, catching up on his school life, her family life, and coming student concerts. "It's sort of like being a big sister," she says. "I should say 'mom.' "

Franklin and Bortner are partners in Swarthmore College's unusual Learning for Life program, entering its eleventh year. It has brought together hundreds of students and staff members in a two-way swap of skills and knowledge that promises to break down barriers of race, class, and campus hierarchy, one partnership at a time.

Together, they play piano duets. Thanks to Bortner, Franklin has figured out the mysteries of texting on her phone (well enough to keep in touch with him over summer break) and created a powerful digital video story for an ailing relative. On this day, she's returning the favor with a long-promised line-dancing lesson.

"It's almost like an exchange of gifts," said Diane Downer Anderson, the associate dean of academic affairs at Swarthmore who helped establish the program, known as L4L on campus. (more)


Delaware County Daily Times (PA)

Education, Service Honor Life of Civil Rights Pioneer

By John Kopp

January 18, 2011

CHESTER - Lauren and Stephanie Oaster sat with their father, Jeff, at a table on the second floor of the Chester YWCA Monday morning organizing books for the organization's library.

Every year, the young sisters accompany Jeff to a service project on Martin Luther King Day. Usually, they head to Widener University, where Jeff works.

This year brought them to the YWCA, where they joined more than 300 volunteers from various organizations in participating in "Pieces of Peace: Nonviolent Initiatives in Honor of Dr. Martin Luther King."

The volunteers hailed from Widener University, Swarthmore College, Unity Center, United Way, the YWCA and Chester High School, among other organizations.

"It's very uplifting seeing everybody from the community celebrating this day," said Juanita Weeks of the Widener Rotaract Club.

All three floors of the YWCA were filled with volunteers assisting in various service projects. They pieced together peace flags and made a quilt collage to adorn the outside wall of the YWCA. In the coming months, more collages are expected to be made and hung throughout the city.
The volunteers also organized the library and attended workshops on anger management and conflict resolution. Blood pressure screenings were also available. ...


States News Service

Sandra Faber Honored by American Astronomical Society

January 18, 2011

The American Astronomical Society (AAS) has awarded the 2011 Henry Norris Russell Lectureship to Sandra Faber, University Professor and chair of astronomy and astrophysics at the University of California, Santa Cruz. The Russell Lectureship, awarded annually on the basis of a lifetime of eminence in astronomical research, is one of the most prestigious awards given by the AAS.

With this award, AAS is honoring Faber "for a lifetime of seminal contributions to galaxy evolution and dynamics, the distribution of the mysterious 'dark matter' in the universe, for leading the construction of astronomical instrumentation, and for mentoring future leading astronomers."

...Faber has received many honors for her accomplishments, including the Franklin Institute's Bower Award and Prize for Achievement in Science, the Centennial Medal of Harvard University's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and election to the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. She joined the UCSC faculty in 1972 and in 1995 was made University Professor, the highest honor for faculty in the UC system. She earned a B.A. in physics from Swarthmore College and a Ph.D. in astronomy from Harvard University.

The Last Speakers: K. David Harrison & the Quest to Save Endangered Languages

By David Miller

January 18, 2011

In The Last Speakers, part travelogue and part linguist's notebook - K. David Harrison urges readers to consider the consequences of language loss around the world and to realize what we can do to help reverse it.

"What hubris allows us, cocooned comfortably in our cyber-world, to think we have nothing to learn from people who a generation ago were hunter-gatherers? What they know-which we've forgotten or never knew-may someday save us." -K. David Harrison

Oftentimes I've wondered how the Americas would've evolved if it were somebody else besides Columbus who landed here.

I've always been fascinated by those ultra rare examples of men (and women) who, for a brief window in the 18th and 19th centuries, didn't come as conquerors (see John Bartram, Lewis and Clark), and were able to travel, visit, and live among native peoples in a way that had never happened before or since.

There's a danger in these kinds of musings however. They can lead to thinking in terms of people and culture in past tense, the kind of thinking that goes: well they ran off the Cherokee and now we have subdivisions named after them. Meanwhile, at ground level, the descendants of those conquered people (whatever of them still exist) continue struggling somewhere.

Reading The Last Speakers, it wasn't so much the chronicles of reaching super isolated communities in Asia or South America, nor the folktales and actual words recorded; what really moved me was the powerful reminder that conquest and decimation of cultures and languages around the world continues right now, most likely right in your hometown without your even knowing it.

Harrison, a National Geographic Society fellow and co-star of the Sundance documentary film The Linguists, writes, "we live at a time when we can still hear their [vanishing cultures'] voices, albeit muted, sharing knowledge in 7,000 different ways of speaking."

Over the last couple months, Dr. Harrison and I corresponded via email about The Last Speakers and also his current National Geographic expeditions. In the weeks ahead, Matador will be publishing photos and field reports from his latest expeditions to language hotspots, or areas with a high concentration of endangered languages. (more)

Note: Dr. Harrison is an Associate Professor of Linguistics at Swarthmore College.

The New York Times

Transforming Africa Through Higher Education

By Nazanin Lankarani

January 16, 2011

DOHA, QATAR - When Patrick Awuah left his native Ghana in 1985 to study abroad, he had little notion of the opportunities that would await him back home 13 years later.

More than a decade of peace, democracy and prosperity made it possible for a Western-educated professional like Mr. Awuah to leave a successful career in the United States and return home with the single objective of improving African society through education.

In 2002, Mr. Awuah founded Ashesi University College, a private, liberal arts college in Labone, a suburb of Accra, Ghana's capital, with a small class of 30 and big dreams of transforming the continent.

"Africa has reached an inflection point with the march of democracy across the continent," said Mr. Awuah, speaking at the World Innovation Summit for Education in Doha in November, before an audience of education professionals gathered in the Qatari capital to address issues in global education. "We can bring change in one generation. How we train our leaders will make all the difference."

According to Mr. Awuah, the goal of Ashesi, whose name means "beginning" in Akan, the local language of Ghana, is to train a new ethically responsible educated elite to break the cycle of corruption on the continent.

"We want to play a role in the renaissance of Africa," he said.

While in the United States, Mr. Awuah learned certain guiding principles as a student both at Swarthmore, a private college near Philadelphia and at Berkeley's Haas School of Business, and later as a program manager at Microsoft in Seattle.

...So he has made sure Ashesi was equipped with modern computer facilities, with the help of his supporters at Microsoft. The school's four-year bachelor's program designed in collaboration with professors from Berkeley, Swarthmore and the University of Washington, offers degrees in business administration, management information systems and computer science. (more)



The New York Times

The Spirit of the Mensch

By Bryan Burrough

January 15, 2011

What is it about businesspeople and self-help books? ...

...Thus, my first impulse upon opening Practical Wisdom: The Right Way to Do the Right Thing (Riverhead), by Barry Schwartz and Kenneth Sharpe, was to light some incense and put on the sitar music; it all sounded very Eastern. It's not. By "practical wisdom," the authors, a pair of Swarthmore College professors, mean applied or situational wisdom, which might have made better titles. ("Practical" would seem to be implied. Who's going to read a book about impractical wisdom?)

As the authors see it, practical wisdom roughly amounts to being a mensch - that is, having honor and integrity, but also rising above workaday ephemera to recognize and enact wise decisions for the greater good.

They are primarily interested in calling for an infusion of this kind of wisdom into the professions, especially medicine, law and business, all of which, let's face it, could use some. They have valid, thoughtful points to make but, by and large, this is not "Ten Ways to Be a Mensch by Tuesday." Rather, the book appears to be aimed at managers and especially at educators in position to introduce the spirit of the mensch into their organizations.

This is high-concept stuff, and a lot of it is pretty obvious. Still, it's comforting to know that smart people at Swarthmore worry about such things. The basic problem, Mr. Schwartz and Mr. Sharpe argue, is that too many doctors, lawyers and business types must operate under too many rules and regulations, which by their very existence are intended to reduce discretionary behavior - free thinking being the basis for wise decision-making.

...Practical Wisdom  is strongest in discussing ways to improve the education of professionals. Too many graduate schools - especially law schools, with their emphasis on impersonal case studies - tend to force-feed information into young minds rather than teach them how use this information to make wise decisions. (more)





The Philadelphia Inquirer

The Inquirer Academic All-Stars - These players, who excel both as students and athletes, were selected as the - top players by the Philadelphia Area Sports Information Directors Association.

January 18, 2010

Men's Soccer

Player of the Year

Swarthmore goalie David D'Annunzio made 66 saves while allowing just 11 goals in posting a 0.51 goals against average. The Piedmont, Calif., native started all 21 games for Swarthmore , helping his team to a 16-1-4 overall mark and a Centennial Conference championship. The Garnet, ranked ninth nationally, ended their season with a scoreless tie with Medaille in the NCAA tournament, with the Mavericks advancing to the Division III Sweet 16 via penalty kicks. D'Annunzio, who ranks second on the all-time Swarthmore list with 31 shutouts, made six stops in the match and turned back two shots in the shoot-out. A junior engineering major with a 3.91 cumulative grade point average, D'Annunzio is a two-time Academic All-Star honoree and a two-time member of the Centennial Conference honor roll.


Men's Soccer

Player School, Class Major
David D'Annunzio Swarthmore , Jr. Engineering

Micah Rose Swarthmore , Jr Sociology


Player School, Class Major
Allison Coleman Swarthmore , So. Biology



Delaware County News Network (PA)

Delaware County Sports Facts

By Rich Pagano

January 18, 2011

...-The Maxwell Club, which is the oldest club of its kind in the country, is named after Robert "Tiny" Maxwell, who played football at Swarthmore College. He later became a sports writer and the Sports Editor of the Philadelphia Record.

...-Eliot Asinof, who played baseball at Swarthmore College and a short time with the Philadelphia Phillies, wrote the book, Eight Men Out. The book detailed the 1919 Black Sox World Series scandal. Later, it was made into a play and popular movie.

...-William Sproul, a former governor of Pennsylvania, was an outstanding lineman on the Swarthmore College football teams of the 1880's. ...