Swarthmore College

Swarthmore College

name=Swarthmore College

country=United States
campus=Suburban, convert|357|acre|km2
president=Alfred Bloom
colors=Garnet and Gray
nickname=The Garnet
website= [http://www.swarthmore.edu swarthmore.edu]
endowment=1.44 billion [ [http://swarthmore.edu/quickfacts.xml Swarthmore at a Glance data] ]

Swarthmore College is a private, independent, liberal arts college in the United States with an enrollment of about 1,500 students. The college is located in the borough of Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, 11 miles (17.7 km) southwest of Philadelphia.

The school was founded in 1864 by a committee of Quakers who were members of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends. Swarthmore dropped its religious affiliation and became officially non-sectarian in the early 20th century. The college has been coeducational since its founding.

Swarthmore is a member of the Tri-College Consortium, which allows students to register for courses at both Bryn Mawr College and Haverford College. Swarthmore, like the other consortium members, has resisted grade inflation. [ [http://www.law.ucla.edu/sander/Systemic/supp/NatGrd.pdf Supplemental Information on the “National Grade”] , Richard Sander, June 2005] ]

"Swarthmore" can be pronounced with the first "r" either vocalized or dropped due to differences in rhotic and non-rhotic accents.

Swarthmore's campus is coextensive with the Scott Arboretum.


The name "Swarthmore" has its roots in early Quaker history. In England, Swarthmoor Hall in Cumbria was the home of Thomas and Margaret Fell in 1652 when George Fox, 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 Friendly, and Swarthmoor was used for the first Friends' meetings.

The school was founded in 1864 by a committee of Quakers who were members of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends. Edward Parrish was its first president.

Solomon Asch and Wolfgang Köhler were two noted psychologists who were professors at Swarthmore. Asch joined the faculty in 1947 and served until 1966, while Köhler came to Swarthmore in 1935 and served until his retirement in 1958. The Asch conformity experiments took place at Swarthmore.



In its 2008 college ranking, "U.S. News & World Report" ranked Swarthmore as the number-three liberal arts college, with an overall score of 95/100, behind Williams and Amherst, respectively. Since the inception of the U.S. News rankings, Amherst, Williams, and Swarthmore are the only colleges to have been ranked #1 on the liberal arts rankings list, with the three colleges often switching places with each other every year. Swarthmore has been ranked the number one liberal arts college in the country a total of six times so far (the most recent being in 2002). [http://chronicle.com/stats/usnews/index.php?category=Liberal+Arts+Colleges]

Some sources, including Greene's Guides,Greene, Howard and Matthew Greene (2000) "Greenes' Guides to Educational Planning: The Hidden Ivies: Thirty Colleges of Excellence", HarperCollins, ISBN 0-06-095362-4, excerpt at [http://www.harpercollins.com/global_scripts/product_catalog/book_xml.asp?isbn=0060953624&tc=cx HarperCollins.com] ] have called Swarthmore one of the "Little Ivies".

Swarthmore ranks 10th in a 2004 Wall Street Journal survey of feeder schools to elite business, medical, and law schools. [http://www.wsjclassroom.com/pdfs/wsj_college_092503.pdf]

PC World ranked Swarthmore as the 4th most wired college in the nation in a 2006 report. [http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2073477,00.asp]

In 2008, The Princeton Review gave Swarthmore a 99 (the highest possible score) on their Admissions Selectivity Rating. [http://www.theprincetonreview.com/schools/college/CollegeAdmissions.aspx?iid=1024057]

In a 2008 ranking by Forbes Magazine, Swarthmore was rated the #4 undergraduate institution in America (behind Princeton, CalTech, and Harvard respectively). [http://www.forbes.com/lists/2008/94/opinions_college08_Americas-Best-Colleges_Rank.html]

Academic Program

Swarthmore's Oxford 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. Around 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 admittance to the Honors program.

Unusual for a liberal arts college, Swarthmore has an engineering program; at the end of four years, 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 1,491 (for the 2007-2008 year) and 165 faculty members (99% with a terminal degree), for a student-faculty ratio of 8:1. Despite the small size of the college, the college offers more than 600 courses a year in over 50 courses of study. [http://www.swarthmore.edu/quickfacts.xml] Swarthmore has a reputation as a very academic college. 90% of graduates eventually attend graduate or professional school. With the highest frequency, alumni earn graduate degrees at UC Berkeley, University of Chicago, Harvard, MIT, New York University, University of Pennsylvania, Princeton, Stanford, and Yale. [http://www.swarthmore.edu/admissions/unspun/index.php]

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 as well.

Though students and faculty tout the College's relative lack of grade inflation, [ [http://www.sccs.swarthmore.edu/org/phoenix/1999/1999-09-17/news/grades.html grade inflation] ] Swarthmore's average undergraduate GPA increased from 2.83 in 1973 to 3.24 in 1997. [ [http://gradeinflation.com/swarthmore.html grade inflation trend] ] Furthermore, Princeton's grade-point average has risen from 3.08 in 1973 to 3.42 in 1997, and Swarthmore's collective GPA in 1997 was 3.24. Therefore, although the grade at Princeton has gone up 11 percent, the increase at Swarthmore has been 14.5 percent--nearly 30 percent greater. [ [http://www.swarthmore.edu/bulletin/archive/99/june99/letters.html Swarthmore argues that the methodology of study overstates the change] ]

Since the 1970s, Swarthmore students have won 28 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 1 Mitchell Scholarship. [http://www.swarthmore.edu/admissions/unspun/index.php]


In 2008, 15% of applicants were admitted to Swarthmore for the Class of 2012. 30% of the admitted students were valedictorians or salutatorians, 51% were in the top 2% of their high school class, and 89% in the top decile. [http://www.swarthmore.edu/x17822.xml] For the Class of 2011, the middle 50% SAT range for mathematics, critical reading, and writing were 680-760, 680-780, and 680-760, respectively. [http://members.ucan-network.org/swarthmore] The Middle 50% ACT range is 27 - 33. [http://www.theprincetonreview.com/schools/college/CollegeAdmissions.aspx?iid=1024057]

Tuition and Finances

The total cost of tuition, student activity fees, room, and board for the 2007-2008 academic year was $45,700 (tuition alone was $34,564). [ [http://www.swarthmore.edu/quickfacts.xml] Swarthmore Quickfacts]

100% of those who demonstrate need are offered aid from the college. In total, about half of the student body receives financial aid, and the average financial aid package awarded was $32,913 during the 2007-2008 year. [http://www.swarthmore.edu/x17668.xml] As one of the few "needs-blind" schools in the country, Swarthmore makes admission decisions and financial aid decisions independently.

Swarthmore's endowment at the end of FY2007 was $1,441,232,000, 50th in the nation. [http://www.nacubo.org/Images/All%20Institutions%20Listed%20by%20FY%202007%20Market%20Value%20of%20Endowment%20Assets_2007%20NES.pdf] Endowment per student was $966,631 for 2007-2008, one of the highest in the country and ahead of both Amherst and Williams. [http://www.swarthmore.edu/quickfacts.xml]

Operating revenue for the 2006-2007 school year was $115,563,000, over 42% of which was provided by the endowment. [http://www.swarthmore.edu/quickfacts.xml] 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 Swarthmore--even those paying full tuition. For the 2005-2006 year, tuition, fees, and room & board charges ($41,280) fell well short of the actual cost of education per student, which was approximately $70,300.

Swarthmore recently completed a $230 million capital campaign, christened "The Meaning of Swarthmore" and underway officially since the fall of 2001. President Bloom declared the project completed on October 2, 2006, three months ahead of schedule. 87% of the college's alumni participated in the effort.

Loan-Free Movement

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. [http://www.swarthmore.edu/x16525.xml]


Swarthmore is located 11 miles southwest of the city of Philadelphia. The campus consists of convert|357|acre|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 campus radio station WSRN-FM broadcasts from the top.

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 coterminous with the Scott Arboretum, cited by some as a main staple of the campus's renowned beauty.Fact|date=February 2007

The majority of the buildings housing classrooms and department offices are located to the north of Parrish, as is Woolman dormitory. 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. [ [http://www.swarthmore.edu/visitordash/campus_map.pdf Campus Map] ]

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. [http://www.swarthmore.edu/x4593.xml] 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. [http://www.swarthmore.edu/quickfacts.xml]

Recently, Swarthmore has added wireless access in all of the campus residence halls. The wireless network is also available in all administrative and academic buildings, and in many of the campus's outdoor spaces. [http://www.swarthmore.edu/wireless.xml]

Clubs and organizations

There are more than 100 chartered clubs and organizations at Swarthmore, in addition to many other unchartered groups. Clubs and organizations are a fundamental part of the College, and the center of many students' energies and social life. This extracurricular involvement contributes to the frequent characterization of Swarthmore students as both motivated and overworked.

Academic Clubs

The Amos J. Peaslee Debate Society, named after a former United States Ambassador to Australia, is one of the only independently endowed organizations on campus. Swarthmore's College Bowl team was considered one of the best in the country during the late 1990s and early 2000s - it won the 1998 Division I Undergraduate NAQT tournament.

College Democrats

The Swarthmore College Democrats are the most popular student-run political organization on campus. They sometimes work in concert with the Students for a Democratic Society, as well as sponsoring their own events. The Democrats also operate the blog "Garnet Donkey".

Greek Life

Only two Greek organizations exist on the campus in the form of the fraternities Delta Upsilon and Phi Omicron Psi. Notably lacking are sororities, which were abandoned in the 1930s following student outrage to discrimination within the sorority system. [ [http://www.swarthmore.edu/news/history/1933.html] Discrimination in the sorority system] Interest in resurrecting sorority life has recently returned with an all-female student group known as LaSS (The Ladies Soiree Society) organizing campus wide charity events and social functions. [ [http://phoenix.swarthmore.edu/2007-04-19/living/17239] , Ladies Soiree Society]


Swarthmore offers the full panoply of sporting teams with a total of 22 Division III Varsity Intercollegiate Sports Teams. 40 percent of Swarthmore students play intercollegiate or club sports. [http://www.swarthmore.edu/admissions/unspun/index.php]

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, [ [http://phoenix.swarthmore.edu/2003-12-04/news/13551 Athlete recruiting difficulty] ] [ [http://www.sccs.swarthmore.edu/org/daily/specials/sportscut/index.html Athlete recruiting difficulty] ] Swarthmore also offers a number of club sport options, including rugby, ultimate frisbee, volleyball, and fencing.


The weekly newspaper at Swarthmore is "The Phoenix". It is published every Thursday, except during final week and vacation time. Some staff positions are paid a token amount. The newspaper was founded in 1881, with online editions beginning in 1995. Its current tabloid format is more similar to a newsmagazine than a newspaper, with a color front cover. Two thousand copies, free of charge, are distributed across the college campus and to the borough of Swarthmore. The newspaper is printed at The Delaware County Daily Times in Primos, Pennsylvania. Its online website is hosted by the Swarthmore College Computer Society, with bandwidth-search engine capability provided by the Swarthmore College Information Technology Services. In 2000, "The Phoenix" was an Online Pacemaker for the Associated Collegiate Press award.

The [http://daily.swarthmore.edu/ Daily Gazette] is another student newspaper; unlike "The Phoenix", it is e-mailed daily to 2,500 people and is independent of both the administration and student government. Its coverage includes news, arts, and daily sports reporting. The first issues were distributed through e-mail during the fall semester of 1996, with an online edition soon following. In recent years, the circulation of the Daily Gazette has surpassed the Phoenix.

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. The others are literary magazines, including "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 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.


[http://wsrnfm.org 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", [ [http://www.sccs.swarthmore.edu/org/phoenix/2002/2002-01-24/news/11640.html Crisis of '69] ] extensively. Many archived recordings of musical and spoken word performances exist, such as the once-annual Swarthmore Folk Festival. [ [http://www.swarthmore.edu/bulletin/archive/97/mar97/folkfestivals.html Swarthmore Folk Festival] ] Today WSRN focuses virtually exclusively on entertainment, though it has covered significant news developments such as the athletic cuts in 2000 [ [http://www.sccs.swarthmore.edu/org/phoenix/2000/2000-11-30/ Cuts to athletic programs] ] and the effects of 11 September 2001 on campus. War News Radio and The Darfur Radio Project do broadcast news on WSRN, however.

Community Service

Swarthmore students are active in the community, performing outreach programs in nearby Chester.

warthmore 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 is known as a center of social and political activism. The Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility, endowed by philanthropist and Swarthmore alumnus Eugene M. Lang '38 in 2002, prepares students for leadership in civic engagement, public service, advocacy and social action. The college has recently received significant coverage due to two student groups founded in 2004, the Genocide Intervention Network (now an independent non-student group) and War News Radio. Swarthmore's political landscape is generally considered fairly left-wing, though student activism is far less than it was in the heyday of the protest culture of the 1960s. Recent high-profile campaigns included a living wage organization (Swarthmore Living Wage & Democracy Campaign); actions surrounding the electronic voting machine manufacturer Diebold Election Systems (now Premier Election Solutions) by campus groups Students for Free Culture and Why War?; and a "Kick Coke" campaign aimed at replacing soda machines offering Coca-Cola with alternative products. The Kick-Coke campaign had a victory in November 2006 when the College agreed to cut its contract with Coca-Cola.

warthmore College Computer Society

Swarthmore College Computer Society (SCCS) is a student-run organization independent of the official ITS department of the college [ [http://www.sccs.swarthmore.edu/] , SCCS, student-run computer society] . 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, the SCCS hosts over 100 mailing lists used by various student groups, and over 130 organizational websites, including the website of one of the student newspapers, "The Phoenix". The SCCS also provides a number of spaces that are open to members of the student body, as well as to faculty and staff:

*A computer lab of Debian Linux and Mac OS X machines
*A meeting space
*A specialized library of computer books, indexed as part of the college library's collections
*A digital darkroom with color calibrated negative scanning, editing and archival printing, used by the Photo Club and other students
*An 8-foot projection screen with Wii, Xbox 360, DVD, VCR, PlayStation 2, NES, Atari, and other gaming systems in the "Video Pit"

The computer lab and Video Pit together comprise the SCCS Media Lounge, 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. [ [http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3341683/ Swarthmore College's response to the DMCA takedown request] ] .

The SCCS was noted in PC Magazine's article "Top 20 Wired Colleges" as one of the reasons for ranking Swarthmore #4 on that list. [ [http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1759,2073408,00.asp Top 20 Wired Colleges] , PC Magazine] 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.

Two SCCS papers have been accepted for publication at the USENIX Large Installation System Administration (LISA) Conference, one of which was awarded Best Paper. [ [http://www.usenix.org/events/lisa07/ 21st Large Installation System Administration (LISA) Conference, Dallas, November 11-16, 2007] ] [ [http://www.usenix.org/events/lisa02/tech/stepleton.html Work-Augmented Laziness with the Los Task Request System] , Thomas Stapleton. Pp. 1-12 of the Proceedings of LISA '02: Sixteenth Systems Administration Conference,(Berkeley, CA: USENIX Association, 2002)] [ [http://www.usenix.org/events/lisa06/tech/crosta.html] , Fighting Institutional Memory Loss: The Trackle Integrated Issue and Solution Tracking System, Daniel S. Crosta and Matthew J. Singleton, Swarthmore College Computer Society; Benjamin A. Kuperman, Swarthmore College. Pp. 287–298 of the Proceedings]


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 '68, the 2004 Economics laureate Edward Prescott '62 and the 1972 Chemistry laureate Christian B. Anfinsen '37. Swarthmore also has 16 MacArthur Foundation fellows and hundreds of prominent figures in law, art, science, business, politics, and other fields.

*Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis (1955) was the Democratic candidate 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, president of the World Bank.
*John C. Mather, American astrophysicist, cosmologist, and Nobel Prize in Physics laureate for his work on COBE with George Smoot.

Other prominent alumni include Seventh Circuit Judge Frank Easterbrook, Congressman Christopher Van Hollen, Senator Carl Levin of Michigan (1956), musical composer and satirist Peter Schickele (1957), astronomer Sandra M. Faber (1966), "The Corrections" author Jonathan Franzen (1981), Caltech president and Nobel laureate David Baltimore (1960), Georgetown University Law Center Dean T. Alexander Aleinikoff (1974), and Justin Hall (1998), widely considered to be the first blogger. Wall Street magnate and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. founder Jerome Kohlberg, Jr. (1946) founded the Philip Evans Scholarship Foundation in 1986 at Swarthmore. Suffragist and National Women's Party founder Alice Paul graduated in 1905. Eugene Lang (1938), founder of the I Have a Dream Foundation, has endowed many buildings and programs on campus, including, as noted above, the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility.

warthmore College Peace Collection

An internationally important archive of papers and books concerning the work of pacifist organisations and individuals.

Points of interest

*Scott Arboretum

ee also

*List of Swarthmore College people

External links

* [http://www.swarthmore.edu/ Official website]


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