Swarthmore College, commonly referred to as Swarthmore (/ËswÉ'ËÎ¸.mÉ"r/ SWAHTH-mor locally, or /ËswÉ"rÎ¸.mÉ"r/ SWAWRTH-mor), is a private liberal arts college located in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, 11 miles (17.7Â km) southwest of Philadelphia.
Founded in 1864, Swarthmore was one of the earliest coeducational colleges in the United States. The school was organized by a committee of Quakers from three "Hicksite" yearly meetings: Baltimore, New York, and Philadelphia. Many of the founders were prominent in the abolitionist and women's rights movements and other social concerns and included Edward Parrish, (1822-1872), Deborah and Joseph Wharton, Benjamin Hallowell, and James and Lucretia Mott, (1793-1880). Swarthmore was established to be a college, "...under the care of Friends, at which an education may be obtained equal to that of the best institutions of learning in our country." By 1906 Swarthmore dropped its religious affiliation, becoming officially non-sectarian.
Swarthmore is a member of the "Tri-College Consortium", a cooperative arrangement among Swarthmore, Bryn Mawr, and Haverford Colleges. The consortium shares an integrated library system of more than three million volumes, and students are able to cross-register in courses at all three institutions. A common Quaker heritage exists amongst the consortium schools and the University of Pennsylvania also extends this cross-registration agreement to classes at the University of Pennsylvania's College of Arts and Sciences.
Swarthmore's campus and the Scott Arboretum share the same borders.
The name "Swarthmore" has its roots in early Quaker history. In England, Swarthmoor Hall in the town of Ulverston, Cumbria was the home of Thomas and Margaret Fell in 1652 when George Fox, (1624-1691), fresh from his epiphany atop Pendle Hill in 1651, came to visit. The visitation turned into a long association, as Fox persuaded Thomas and Margaret Fell and the inhabitants of the nearby village of Fenmore of his views. Swarthmoor was used for the first meetings of what became known as the "Religious Society of Friends" (later pejoratively labeled ""The Quakers").
The College was founded in 1864 by a committee of Quakers who were members of the Philadelphia, New York and Baltimore Yearly Meetings of the "Religious Society of Friends" ("Quakers"/"Hicksite"). Edward Parrish, (1822-1872), was its first president. Lucretia Mott, (1793-1880), and Martha Ellicott Tyson, (1795-1873), were among those Friends, who insisted that the new college of Swarthmore be coeducational. Edward Hicks Magill, the second president, served for 17 years. His daughter, Helen Magill, (1853-1944), was in the first class to graduate in 1873; in 1877, she was the first woman in the United States to earn a Doctor of Philosophy degree, (Ph.D.) - hers was in Greek from Boston University in Boston, Massachusetts.
In the early 1900s, the College had a major collegiate American football program during the formation period of the soon-to-be nation-wide sport, (playing Navy, (Annapolis), Princeton, Columbia, and other larger schools) and an active fraternity and sorority life. The 1921 appointment of Frank Aydelotte as President began the development of the school's current academic focus, particularly with his vision for the Honors program based on his experience as a Rhodes Scholar.
During World War II, Swarthmore was one of 131 colleges and universities nationally that took part in the V-12 Navy College Training Program, which offered students a path to a U.S. Navy commission.
Wolfgang KÃ¶hler, Hans Wallach and Solomon Asch were noted psychologists who became professors at Swarthmore, a center for Gestalt psychology. Both Wallach, who was Jewish, and KÃ¶hler, who was not, had left Nazi Germany because of its discriminatory policies against Jews. KÃ¶hler came to Swarthmore in 1935 and served until his retirement in 1958. Wallach came in 1936, first as a researcher, and also teaching from 1942 until 1975. Asch, who was Polish-American and had immigrated as a child to the US in 1920, joined the faculty in 1947 and served until 1966, conducting his noted conformity experiments at Swarthmore.
Some sources, including Greene's Guides, have termed Swarthmore one of the "Little Ivies".
In its 2013 college ranking, the national news magazine, "U.S. News & World Report" ranked Swarthmore as the 3rd-best liberal arts college in the nation, behind Williams and Amherst. Since the inception of the "U.S. News" rankings, Amherst, Williams, and Swarthmore are the only colleges to have been ranked "Number One" on the liberal arts rankings list, with the three colleges often switching places with one another. Swarthmore has been ranked the number one liberal arts college in the country a total of six times (the most recent being in 2002).
In its 2014 ranking of undergraduate programs, Forbes magazine ranked Swarthmore as third in the nation. In the March/April 2007 edition of Foreign Policy magazine, a ranking of the top twenty institutions for the study of international relations placed Swarthmore as the highest-ranked undergraduate-only institution, coming in at 15. The only other undergraduate-focused programs to make the list were Dartmouth and Williams, although neither school is exclusively undergraduate.
Swarthmore ranks 10th in The Wall Street Journal's 2004 survey of feeder schools to elite business, medical, and law schools.
Swarthmore ranked fourth among all institutions of higher education in the United States as measured by the percentage of graduates who went on to earn Ph.D.s between 2002-2011. Only Caltech, at number one, Harvey Mudd, in second, and Reed, in third, outranked Swarthmore, with Carleton, MIT, Grinnell, University of Chicago, Princeton, and Harvard rounding out the top ten, respectively.
Swarthmore ranked tenth among all colleges and sixth for liberal arts colleges only in the amount of schools that selected it as a peer institution. Swarthmore selected Amherst, Bowdoin, Carleton, Davidson, Haverford, Middlebury, Oberlin, Pomona, Trinity, Wesleyan, and Williams as schools of comparable academic quality.
In 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2013, Swarthmore was named the #1 "Best Value" private college by The Princeton Review. Overall selection criteria included more than 30 factors in three areas: academics, costs and financial aid. Swarthmore was also placed on The Princeton Review's Financial Aid Honor Roll, along with twelve other institutions, including Caltech, Harvard, and Williams, for receiving the highest possible rating in its ranking methodology.
The college is considered by U.S. News & World Report as "most selective" in the country, with 12% accepted of the 7,817 applicants. Of those admitted, the college reports that of the 44% who reported rank, "33 percent are valedictorians or salutatorians.Â  percent are in top two percent of their high school class and 94 percent are in the top decile." In 2013, the average SAT scores ranged from 1370-1520 for math and critical reading, and 680-770 for writing; the average ACT scores range from 31-34.
In 2012, The Princeton Review gave Swarthmore a 99 out of 99 on their Admissions Selectivity Rating. In the November 2003 selectivity ranking for undergraduate programs, The Atlantic magazine ranked Swarthmore as the only liberal arts college to make the top ten institutions, placing Swarthmore in tenth place.
Swarthmore's Oxbridge tutorial-inspired Honors Program allows students to take double-credit seminars from their junior year and often write honors theses. Seminars are usually composed of four to eight students. Students in seminars will usually write at least three ten-page papers per seminar, and often one of these papers is expanded into a 20-30 page paper by the end of the seminar. At the end of their senior year, Honors students take oral and written examinations conducted by outside experts in their field. Usually one student in each discipline is awarded "Highest Honors"; others are either awarded "High Honors" or "Honors"; rarely, a student is denied any Honors altogether by the outside examiner. Each department usually has a grade threshold for admission to the Honors program.
Unusual for a liberal arts college, Swarthmore has an engineering program; at the completion of four years' work, students are granted a B.S. in Engineering. Other notable programs include minors in peace and conflict studies, cognitive science, and interpretation theory.
Swarthmore has a total undergraduate student enrollment of 1,534 (for the 2013-2014 year) and 178 faculty members (98% with a terminal degree), for a student-faculty ratio of 8:1. The small college offers more than 600 courses a year in over 40 courses of study. Swarthmore has a reputation as a very academically oriented college, with 90% of graduates eventually attending graduate or professional school. Alumni earn graduate degrees most commonly at institutions including University of California-Berkeley, University of Michigan, Harvard, Columbia, NYU, University of Pennsylvania, Oxford, Johns Hopkins, Stanford, and Yale.
Swarthmore is a member of the Tri-College Consortium (or TriCo) with nearby Bryn Mawr College and Haverford College, which allows students from any of the three to cross-register for courses at any of the others. The consortium as a whole is additionally affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania, and students are able to cross-register for courses there.
While many in higher education recognize the college's relative lack of grade inflation, there is some controversy over the accuracy of such perceptions. One study by a Swarthmore professor in 1993 found "significant grade inflation." However, other professors and students dispute the findings based on their own experience. Some have pointed out that statistics suggesting grade inflation over the past decades may be exaggerated by reporting practices, and the fact that grades were not given in the Honors program until 1996. In the end, many still credit Swarthmore with having resisted grade inflation, bucking the perceived trend amongst peer institutions.
Since the 1970s, Swarthmore students have won 30 Rhodes Scholarships, 8 Marshall Scholarships, 151 Fulbright Scholarships, 22 Truman Scholarships, 13 Luce Scholarships, 67 Watson Fellowships, 3 Soros Fellowships, 18 Goldwater Scholarships, 84 Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowships, 13 National Endowment for the Humanities Grants for Younger Scholars, 234 National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowships, 35 Woodrow Wilson Fellowships, and 2 Mitchell Scholarships.
Tuition and finances
The total cost of tuition, student activity fees, room, and board for the 2013-2014 academic year was $57,870 (tuition alone was $44,368).
One hundred percent of admitted students' demonstrated need is offered by the college. In total, about half of the student body receives financial aid, and the average financial aid award was $38,701 during the 2013-14 year. As a need-blind school, Swarthmore makes admission decisions and financial aid decisions independently.
Swarthmore's endowment at the end of the 2010 fiscal year was $1,249,254,000. Endowment per student was $819,720 for the same year, one of the highest rates in the country.
Operating revenue for the 2010 fiscal year was $108,600,000, over 40% of which was provided by the endowment. As is the case with most elite institutions of higher education, actual costs as measured on a per-student basis far exceed revenue from tuition and fees, and so Swarthmore's endowment serves to offset ever-rising costs of education, subsidizing every student's education at Swarthmoreâ"even those paying full tuition. For the 2008-2009 year, tuition, fees, and room & board charges ($47,804) fell well short of the actual cost of education per student, which was approximately $81,073 in 2007-2008.
Swarthmore ended a $230 million capital campaign on October 6, 2006, when President Bloom declared the project completed, three months ahead of schedule. The campaign, christened the "Meaning of Swarthmore," had been underway officially since the fall of 2001. 87% of the college's alumni participated in the effort.
At the end of 2007, the Swarthmore Board of Managers approved the decision for the college to eliminate student loans from all financial aid packages. Instead, additional aid scholarships will be granted.
The campus consists of 399 acres (1.61Â km2), based on a north-south axis anchored by Parrish Hall, which houses numerous administrative offices and student lounges, as well as two floors of student housing. The fourth floor houses campus radio station WSRN-FM as well as the weekly student newspaper, The Phoenix.
From the SEPTA Swarthmore commuter train station and the ville of Swarthmore to the south, the oak-lined Magill Walk leads north up a hill to Parrish. The campus is also adjacent to the Scott Arboretum, cited by some as a main staple of the campus's renowned beauty. In 2011, Travel+Leisure named Swarthmore as one of the most beautiful college campuses in the United States.
The majority of the buildings housing classrooms and department offices are located to the north of Parrish, as are Kyle and Woolman dormitories. McCabe Library is to the east of Parrish, as are the dorms of Willets, Mertz, Worth, Alice Paul, and David Kemp Hall. To the west are the dorms of Wharton, Dana, and Hallowell, along with the Scott Amphitheater. The Crum Woods generally extend westward from the campus, toward the Crum Creek. South of Parrish are Sharples dining hall, the two non-residential fraternities (Phi Psi and Delta Upsilon), and various other buildings. Palmer, Pittenger, and Roberts dormitories are south of the railroad station, as are the athletic facilities, while Mary Lyon dorm is off-campus to the southwest.
The College has three main libraries (McCabe Library, the Cornell Library of Science and Engineering, and the Underhill Music and Dance Library) and seven other specialized collections. In total, the libraries hold over 800,000 print volumes as well as an expanding digital library of over 10,000 online journal subscriptions, reference materials, e-books, and other scholarly databases.
Friends Historical Library
Friends Historical Library was established in 1871 to collect, preserve, and make available archival, manuscript, printed, and visual records concerning the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) from their origins mid-seventeenth century to the present. Besides the obvious focus on Quaker history, the holdings are a significant research collection for the regional and local history of the middle-Atlantic region of the United States and the history of American social reform. Quakers played prominent roles in almost every major reform movement in American history, including abolition, African-American history, Indian rights, women's rights, prison reform, humane treatment of the mentally ill, and temperance. The collections also reflect the significant role Friends played in the development of science, technology, education, and business in Britain and America. The Library also maintains the Swarthmore College Archives and the papers of the Swarthmore Historical Society.
Clubs and organizations
Founded in 2000, the Swarthmore Mock Trial program has won numerous accolades and boasts a team of over 25 members for the 2013-2014 season. The 2010-2011 competitive season resulted in all three teams competing at Regional Championships, two teams going on to Opening Round Championships, and one team qualifying and competing at the 2011 National Championships held in Des Moines, Iowa, where the team placed 15th in their section. Mock Trialâs A Team placed first out of 28 teams in the Philadelphia Regional Championship on February 20, 2011.
The Amos J. Peaslee Debate Society, named after a former United States Ambassador to Australia, is one of the few independently endowed organizations on campus. Members of the Society debate on the American Parliamentary Debate Association circuit in addition to traveling abroad to Britain, Canada, and the World Universities Debating Championship for British Parliamentary Style tournaments.
Two Greek organizations exist on the campus in the form of fraternities, Delta Upsilon and local Phi Psi, a former chapter of Phi Kappa Psi. A third, Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity, maintained a chapter on campus from 1906 to 1991 and continues strong alumni involvement.
Sororities were abandoned in the 1930s following student outrage about discrimination within the sorority system, and leading to a 79-year ban. However, in September 2012, the college announced that the ban on sororities would be reversed citing Title IX regulations, as of the 2013 term. This prompted Kappa Alpha Theta to plan establishment of a chapter the following spring. The announcement sparked controversy on campus; a petition seeking a referendum to continue the ban was dismissed, again citing a legal opinion that to disallow the sorority chapter would be a violation of Title IX regulations. The sorority admitted its first pledge class in the Spring of 2013. A further non-binding referendum was later distributed, but by then the controversy had cooled: Of the six items on the referendum, only one passed, which asked "Do you support admitting students of all genders to sororities and fraternities?" No action was taken on the referendum.
Swarthmore offers a wide variety of sporting teams with a total of 22 Division III Varsity Intercollegiate Sports Teams. 40 percent of Swarthmore students play intercollegiate or club sports. Varsity teams include badminton, baseball, basketball, cross country, field hockey, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, track and field and volleyball. Notably lacking among these teams is football, which was controversially eliminated in 2000, along with wrestling and initially badminton. The Board of Managers offered a number of reasons for eliminating football, including lack of athletes on campus and difficulty of recruiting. Swarthmore also offers a number of club sport options, including men's and women's rugby, ultimate frisbee, volleyball, fencing, and squash.
Swarthmore is a charter member of the Centennial Conference, a group of highly selective private colleges in Pennsylvania and Maryland.
Swarthmore has two main student news publications.
The weekly newspaper is called The Phoenix, is published nearly every Thursday. Founded in 1881, the paper began putting stories online in 1995. Its current tabloid format is more similar to a newsmagazine than a newspaper, with a color front cover. Two thousand copies are distributed across the college campus and to the Borough of Swarthmore. The newspaper is printed by Bartash Printing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
There are a number of magazines at Swarthmore, most of which are published biannually at the end of each semester. One is Spike, Swarthmore's humor magazine, founded in 1993. The others are literary magazines, including Nacht, which publishes long-form non-fiction, fiction, poetry, and artwork; Small Craft Warnings, which publishes poetry, fiction and artwork; Scarlet Letters, which publishes women's literature; Enie, for Spanish literature; OURstory, for literature relating to diversity issues; Bug-Eyed Magazine, a very limited-run science fiction/fantasy magazine published by Psi Phi, formerly known as Swarthmore Warders of Imaginative Literature (SWIL); Remappings (formerly "CelebrASIAN"), published by the Swarthmore Asian Organization; Alchemy, a collection of academic writings published by the Swarthmore Writing Associates; Mjumbe, published by the Swarthmore African-American Student Society; and a magazine for French literature. An erotica magazine, ! (pronounced "bang") was briefly published in 2005 in homage to an earlier publication, Untouchables. Most of the literary magazines print approximately 500 copies, with around 100 pages. There is also a new photography magazine, Pun/ctum, which features work from students and alumni.
The school's yearbook, The Halcyon, has been published annually since 1887. Because Commencement is such an important event, The Halcyon includes professional photos of the ceremony and is therefore printed later, in the fall. The new alumni, however, receive their book in the mail over the summer. The Halcyon is free to all students who attended Swarthmore for at least one semester during the academic year it covers. As a result, The Halcyon is the college's most costly student publication and there is currently a movement to offer books free only to seniors, and to reallocate money towards subsidizing student textbook costs.
As of the 2013-2014 school year, there are five active a cappella groups. Sixteen Feet, founded in 1981, is the College's oldest group, as well as its first and only all-male group. Grapevine is its corresponding all-female group, and Mixed Company is a co-ed group. Chaverim is a co-ed group that includes students from the Tri-College Consortium and draws on music from cultures around the world for its repertoire. Lastly, OffBeat was founded in the fall of 2013 as a co-ed group. Once every semester, all of the school's a cappella groups collaborate for a joint concert called Jamboree.
WSRN 91.5 FM is the college radio station. It has a mix of indie, rock, hip-hop, folk, world, jazz, and classical music, as well as a number of radio talk shows. At one time, WSRN had a significant news department, and covered events such as the "Crisis of '69", extensively. Many archived recordings of musical and spoken word performances exist, such as the once-annual Swarthmore Folk Festival. Today WSRN focuses virtually exclusively on entertainment, though it has covered significant news developments such as the athletic cuts in 2000 and the effects of 11 September 2001 on campus. War News Radio and The Sudan Radio Project (formerly the Darfur Radio Project) do broadcast news on WSRN, however. Currently, the longest running show in WSRN's lineup is "OÃdo al Tambor", which focuses on news and music from Latin America. The show has been running non-stop, on Sundays from 4:00 to 6:00Â p.m., since September 2006. After its members graduated in December 2009, the show's concept was revived by the show "Rayuela", which has been running since September 2009.
Swarthmore Fire and Protective Association
Swarthmore College students are eligible to participate in the local emergency department, the Swarthmore Fire and Protective Association. They are trained as firefighters and as emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and are qualified on both the state and national level. The fire department responds to over 200 fire calls and almost 800 EMS calls a year.
Swarthmore College Computer Society
Swarthmore College Computer Society (SCCS) is a student-run organization independent of the official ITS department of the college. In addition to operating a set of servers that provide e-mail accounts, Unix shell login accounts, server storage space, and webspace to students, professors, alumni, and other student-run organizations, SCCS hosts over 100 mailing lists used by various student groups, and over 130 organizational websites, including the website of the student newspaper, The Daily Gazette. SCCS also provides a computer lab and gaming room, located in Clothier basement beneath Essie Mae's snack bar. The SCCS staff consists of a group of students selected by existing staff and approved by members of a student body-elected policy board.
In September 2003, the SCCS servers survived a Slashdotting while hosting a copy of the Diebold memos on behalf of the student group Free Culture Swarthmore, then known as the Swarthmore Coalition for the Digital Commons. SCCS staff promptly complied with the relevant DMCA takedown request received by the college's ITS department.
SCCS was noted in PC Magazine's article "Top 20 Wired Colleges" as one of the reasons for ranking Swarthmore #4 on that list. During the 2004-2005 school year, the SCCS Media Lounge served as the early home of War News Radio, a weekly webcast run by Swarthmore students and providing news about the Iraq war, providing resources, space, and technical support for the project in its infancy.
Three SCCS-related papers have been accepted for publication at the USENIX Large Installation System Administration (LISA) Conference, one of which was awarded Best Paper.
Swarthmore's alumni include five Nobel Prize winners (second highest number of Nobel Prize winners per graduate in the U.S.), including the 2006 Physics laureate John C. Mather (1968), the 2004 Economics laureate Edward Prescott (1962) and the 1972 Chemistry laureate Christian B. Anfinsen (1937). Swarthmore also has 8 MacArthur Foundation fellows and hundreds of prominent figures in law, art, science, business, politics, and other fields.
- Suffragist and National Women's Party founder, Alice Paul belonged to the class of 1905;
- Nancy Roman NASA's first Chief of Astronomy in the Office of Space Science, 'mother of the Hubble telescope'
- Michael Dukakis (1955) was the Democratic nominee in the 1988 presidential election
- Novelist James A. Michener (1929) left his entire $10 million estate (including the copyrights to his works) to Swarthmore.
- Robert Zoellick (1976), former president of the World Bank.
- John C. Mather (1968), American astrophysicist, cosmologist, and Nobel Prize in Physics laureate for his work on COBE with George Smoot.
- David K. Lewis (1962), ground-breaking philosopher known for his work in Analytic Metaphysics, rated by fellow academics as one of the fifteen most important philosophers in the past 200 years.
- Isabel Briggs Myers (1919), co-creator of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment.
- Thomas B. McCabe (1915), 8th Chairman of the Federal Reserve and the President and CEO of Scott Paper Company.
Other prominent alumni: Astrophysicist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory Walid Abdul Majid (1986); Fashion designer Joseph Altuzarra (2004); Seventh Circuit Judge Frank Easterbrook (1970); Congressman Christopher Van Hollen (1983); Senator Carl Levin of Michigan (1956); Author Mark Vonnegut (1969); musical composer and satirist Peter Schickele (1957); astronomer Sandra M. Faber (1966); The Corrections and Freedom author Jonathan Franzen (1981); New York Times theater critic Ben Brantley; Long-time Variety editor, Peter Bart; Caltech president and Nobel laureate David Baltimore (1960); University of Southern California Cultural Historian Leo Braudy (1963); Former Georgetown University Law Center Dean T. Alexander Aleinikoff (1974); Berkeley Law Dean Christopher Edley, Jr.; philosopher and Nietzschean scholar Alexander Nehamas (1967); Justin Hall (1998), widely considered to be the first blogger; eminent Polish theatre director Michal Zadara (1999); Wall Street magnate and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. founder Jerome Kohlberg, Jr. (1946) who also founded the Philip Evans Scholarship Foundation in 1986 at Swarthmore; Jed Rakoff (1964) US District Judge for the Southern District of New York; Kenneth Turan (1967) film critic for the Los Angeles Times; Faux-Christian Music/Comedy duo God's Pottery Krister Johnson (1995) and Wilson Hall (1995); The Gregory Brothers, of internet series Auto-Tune the News fame, Evan Gregory (2001) and Andrew Gregory (2004); Author Kurt Eichenwald; Long-time editor of The Nation, Victor Navasky (1954); Eugene Lang (1938), founder of the I Have a Dream Foundation, who has endowed many buildings and programs on campus, including, as noted above, the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility; Eugene's son, film star Stephen Lang (actor) (1973); Cynthia Leive Glamour Magazine Editor-in-Chief; Patrick Awuah founder of Ashesi University; Lisa Albert Emmy Award winning writer and producer for AMC's Mad Men; Micah White one of the original creators of the Occupy Wall Street movement; Neil Gershenfeld head of MIT's Center for Bits and Atoms; Social Entrepreneur Mark Hanis (2005) is the founder of United to End Genocide; Nick Martin (2004) founder of TechChange, the Institute for Technology and Social Change.
Points of interest
- Scott Arboretum
- List of Swarthmore College people
- Official website
- Official athletics website