Skip to main content

Swarthmore in the NewsJanuary 20, 2012

The New York Times

Is Banking Bad?

By Nicholas D. Kristof

January 19, 2012

When I spoke at Swarthmore College recently, I was startled by one question: Is it immoral for students to seek banking jobs?

The corollary question, with Mitt Romney's business career under attack even by staunch Republicans, is this: Is it unethical to make millions in private equity?

My answer to both questions: no.

I've been sympathetic to the Occupy Wall Street movement, but, look, finance is not evil. Banking has contributed immensely to modern civilization. By allocating capital to more efficient uses, banking laid the groundwork for the industrial revolution and the information revolution.

Likewise, the attacks on private equity seem over the top. Private equity firms like Bain Capital, where Romney worked, aren't about destroying companies and picking over the carcasses. Rather, the aim is to acquire poorly managed companies... and then resell them at a profit. That's the merciless, rugged nature of capitalism.

Liberals should also be wary of self-selecting out of certain occupations. After Vietnam and revelations of C.I.A. abuses in the 1970s, many university students avoided the military and the intelligence agencies. So slots were filled disproportionately by ideological conservatives in a way that undermined everyone's interests. We would have been better off if more Swarthmore idealists had become generals and C.I.A. officers -- and we may be better off if some idealists become bankers as well.

Now for my caveats. ...

(Note: This article also appeared in The International Herald Tribune, Sydeny Morning Herald (Sydney, Austrailia), Guelph Mercury (Ontario, Canada), North Adams Transcript (Mass.), Indian Express (India), Charlotte Observer (NC), The Bulletin (Bend, Ore.), The Berkshire Eagle (Pittsfield, Mass.), Waterloo Region Record (Ontario, Canada), and San Jose Mercury News (Calif.), Huffington Post

Baltimore Sun

Laurel students make dean's lists and graduate from college

January 18, 2012


Ogechi Irondi, of Laurel, a senior educational studies major at Swarthmore College, in Pennsylvania, has been selected for this year's class of the Woodrow Wilson-Rockefeller Brothers Fund Aspiring Teachers of Color. She is an intern for the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development Whole Child Initiative; a coordinator, mentor and tutor with Swarthmore's Dare 2 Soar program; and a member of her college's track team. The Fellowships for Aspiring Teachers of Color were created to help recruit, support and retain individuals of color as public education teachers and administrators. Ogechi will receive a $30,000 stipend to complete a master's degree in education, preparation to teach in a high-need public school, support throughout a three-year teaching commitment and guidance toward teaching certification.


BaskingRidge Patch

Sixth-Grader Writes About Sleepaway Math Camp

January 15, 2012

By Hitha Santosh

Editor's Note: The following column was submitted by Hitha Santosh, 11....  Hitha wrote a review of [the Colorado] sleepaway math camp, MathPath, which she attended last summer. The camp, for students ages 11 through 14, is run through a math professor [Stephen Maurer] at Swarthmore College....

"When I told my friends that I was going to a math camp, they all screamed some variation of 'OMG! Math camp? Poor you!' I know that most kids think like that; in fact, I did too, at first," Hitha wrote the Patch in an email. However, she said she found the camp to be a great experience, and she enjoyed the counselors and campers and the fun things she did. She said she wanted to share that experience with other kids in Basking Ridge.

...Well, first of all, MathPath is a great place for all math lovers. ...

When you think of the word "lecture," a picture of a dull, boring speaker droning on and on may come to mind. Well, at MathPath, the lecturers are actually really interesting ... and informative. We have a lot of guest speakers .... In addition ..., Mr. M [Steve Maurer], the MathPath academic director, teaches us about mathematical writing. ...


Indian Express

Tongue in Chic

January 15, 2012

By Express Features Service


NAME: Maithili Ahluwalia, CEO and creative director of Bungalow 8, a lifestyle store that's consistently found itself in wallpaper and other design bibles as one of the best stores in the world.

AGE: 34

PROVENANCE: She's the daughter of marketing guru and former CEO of AC Nielsen India, Titoo Ahluwalia, and the famed costume jewellery designer Jamini. Jamini hails from the old textile family, the Morarjis. Her brother is the filmmaker, Ashim Ahluwalia. ...

EDUCATION: High-schooled at the United World College of South East Asia, Singapore, Maithili went to college at America's number one liberal arts college, Swarthmore. She also went to London School of Economics during a gap year and lived and worked as a management consultant in New York City until she moved back in 2003 to start Bungalow 8.

FAMOUS FRIENDS: She has many pals, she's even hosted Madonna and Sting during their Mumbai visits. But her inner circle is small, elite and very tight - right from the reclusive politician Milind Deora to art consultant Priya Jhaveri to Janice Blackburn of Sotheby's and eco-queen Christina Kim. ...

FASHION QUOTIENT: She's almost always in bohemia from her own label, The Bungalow.... "You should wear fashion, not the other way around," Maithili lets in her motto. "Fashion is about the perfection of imperfection," she adds.


DEFINITION OF A GOOD TIME: "Being around people that inspire me intellectually, aesthetically, emotionally, spiritually."



Tampa Tribune

Revisiting the 'soft bigotry of low expectations'

By Kerri Briggs, special to The Tampa Tribune

January 15, 2012

Eleven states are anxiously awaiting the decision on federal waivers that would "provide relief" from many No Child Left Behind (NCLB) requirements. While we will have to wait to see the results of this waiver campaign, if it undermines accountability it will be a deeply misguided effort. ....

NCLB's accountability measures have helped drive improvements in student performance. Research conducted by Professors Thomas Dee of Swarthmore and Brian Jacob of Michigan found that average fourth- and eighth-grade math scores have seen significant improvements since the law was enacted....

Bangkok Post (Thailand)

Buddhist texts go digital

January 14, 2012

By Nattaya Chetchotiros

Venerable Phra Brahmagunabhorn (P.A. Payutto) is one of Thailand's most highly respected monks and a leading scholar of Thai Theravada Buddhism... He is also well informed about current social issues, knowledgeable about modern fields of study and has been able to apply Buddhist teachings to analyse and solve problems facing society these days.

For the past several decades, he has penned more than 350 books on Buddhism and its relevance to society and its application to numerous areas of modern sciences and disciplines.

His followers and students recently came up with a project to convert all of his literary output into e-book format so his works can reach a wider audience.


The total of 350 books he has written have been turned into e-books to give greater access to his work to the younger generation.


P.A. Payutto has dedicated his entire life to spreading Buddhist teachings through literary works, giving sermons and lectures at several universities at home and abroad. He has been a special lecturer teaching Buddhism at the University of Pennsylvania, Swarthmore College and at Harvard University in the US.



U.S. News & World Report

Students Keep Learning From Martin Luther King: College students honor the famed leader through service, discussion, and celebration.

By Laura McMullen

January 13, 2012


At Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, students are also encouraged to apply King's historic lessons to the world today.

"I think the classic story is, 'Black folks were slaves, and Martin Luther King came and advocated nonviolence, and now everybody's free because the laws are changed.' But there's a complicated set of historical intersections," says Nina Johnson, visiting assistant professor of Black Studies at Swarthmore. She says she asks her students, "How can we think about what intersection we're at right now?"

To give her students hands-on experience, Johnson took some of her students to Occupy Philadelphia, where she challenged them to think about strategies developed by leaders such as King and apply them to issues relevant to themselves or their lives, such as graduating into a rough economy.


"Students, wherever they live, should take the initiative to go out and to be part of some kind of service project because that's what it's all about," says Crawford. "It's about: How can we serve? How can we make a better world? How can we get us out of ourselves and help others?"

And, Johnson points out, helping others is something that everybody can do.

"You don't have to be the great Martin Luther King," she says. "He was a father and a son and a person, just like we all are. If we just go out there and participate, we'd see some change."

States News Service

The Rockefeller Foundation appoints new managing directors

January 12, 2012

NEW YORK-The Rockefeller Foundation today announced that Nancy Kete, Scott Leeb and John Irons have been appointed to the role of Managing Director. ...

I am thrilled to welcome these three extraordinarily talented individuals to the Foundation, said Judith Rodin, President of the Rockefeller Foundation. They bring significant expertise in their field, a passion to make the world a better place and a commitment to help the Rockefeller Foundation maximize its impact.

John Irons has been named Managing Director and will be focused on the Rockefeller Foundations work within the United States. His first area of concentration will be the jobs crisis. ...

"I have spent my career analyzing the U.S. economy and domestic economic policies to better inform public policy decisions. I am excited about the opportunity to continue and expand the work at the Rockefeller Foundation, including projects targeted at impacting the ongoing jobs crisis," said Dr. Irons. "I hope my experience as an economist, with a background in policy analysis, will contribute to the Rockefeller Foundations work on jobs, economic opportunity, and the economic security of all Americans."

Dr. Irons joins the Foundation from the Economic Policy Institute, where he was Research and Policy Director. ... John holds a Ph.D in economics from MIT and a B.A. in economics from Swarthmore College.


States News Service

Incubating innovation in U.S. health care policy: Lynn Etheredge's ideas facilitate policy to improve quality and reduce costs

January 12, 2012

PRINCETON, NJ - ... Innovative ideas with the potential to improve health care quality and reduce costs often fall prey to partisan politics focused on short-term political objectives. ...

Lynn Etheredge has spent much of his career working behind the scenes to build widespread support for new paradigms in health care delivery and financing. ....

... Etheredge's career in health care policy followed an undergraduate degree in economics from Swarthmore College. "I had been a high school debating state champion and I was drawn to public affairs. I thought economics was better training and more substantive than other options, such as law or political science," Etheredge recalls.

He also attended graduate school, studying economics at the University of Wisconsin. But instead of completing the degree, he took a job at the Office of Management and Budget in 1969, following a summer internship at the agency. "They really wanted me to stay on, and I thought it was more interesting than finishing my dissertation," Etheredge says.

The job was the start of a long stint on the professional staffs of both the Office of Management and Budget and the Department of Energy and in the federal government's Senior Executive Service. This included serving as the chief of the Office of Management and Budget's health branch from 1978 to 1982.

Since then, Etheredge has worked on numerous health care projects, primarily as an independent consultant and policy analyst. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Etheredge was a member of the Jackson Hole Group-an assembly of policy experts, business leaders, and public officials that developed the concept of managed competition, an approach to health insurance the Clinton administration embraced in its health reform proposal of the early 1990s.


The Health Insurance Reform Project. After the Clinton health reform plan failed, Etheredge and Stanley B. Jones, also a Washington-based independent consultant (now retired), launched the Health Insurance Reform Project at George Washington University in 1995. "Our idea was to look at issues that had the potential to emerge as major national policy, but that weren't yet on the political radar. You could call it an incubator role," Etheredge said.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) has been funding this work since the beginning. "Etheredge is a big picture thinker. He takes big concepts and plays with them and sees where they go in terms of helping to address issues in health and health care, primarily how to improve quality and control costs," says Nancy Barrand, MPA, senior advisor for program development in RWJF's Health Care Group, who has been Etheredge's program officer for most of this funding.

Incubating health care policy involves working with the staff of government agencies such ... and ongoing information dissemination, discussion, and networking. "In Washington, the professional government staff working in health care has a large role in shaping agendas and moving legislation," says Etheredge, "I am able to talk with these people and engage them on these issues."



The Evening Sun (Hanover, Pa.)

Swarthmore's big surge overwhelms McDaniel women

January 10, 2012

Swarthmore College outscored McDaniel by 24 points over a 7-minute stretch in the first half en route to a 65-49 Centennial Conference women's basketball victory on Tuesday at Swarthmore.


Katie Lytle and Eliza Polli paced the Garnet (5-7, 3-5) with 12 points each while Genny Pezzola chipped in 11.

Trailing 4-2, Nicole Rizzo hit a 3-pointer with 14:05 to play to spark a 25-1 run over the next 7 minutes, 10 seconds to turn the two-point deficit into a 27-5 lead.

College Planning & Management

Healthy from the ground up

December 2011 issue

Swarthmore College is a private independent liberal arts college located in Swarthmore, Pa. In 2010, several members of the Swarthmore community began collaborating on an extensive project to create an organically maintained lawn at the heart of campus. The group includes current students, alumni, and faculty and staff members, and represents the College's ongoing commitment to a healthier, more sustainable campus. Their goal is to maintain a five-acre campus field with compost instead of standard synthetic herbicides and fertilizers. College gardener Nicole Selby '02, who originated the experiment after being inspired by a similar project at Harvard University, said at the outset: "My biggest hope for this project is that our example gives other public institutions the confidence to try managing their landscapes with an organic approach. Right now, I think a lot of places feel that they have to choose environmental values or aesthetics and efficiency. Hopefully, we will hone a system that satisfies all of these priorities."


Selby received a grant from the Swarthmore Foundation-which supports students, staff, and faculty to become involved in community service and social action for her work, along with support from Professor of Engineering Carr Everbach and Associate Professor of Biology Jose-Luis Machado. Everbach, co-chair of the College's Sustainability Committee. Andy Bastian '12 also helped by designing two solar-powered compost tumblers.