Swarthmore Bulletin Fall 2023

Swarthmore Bulletin logo
Fall 2023
in this issue
flight path
courtesy john wenzel ’47
In 1941, John Wenzel ’47 enlisted in the Aviation Cadet Program in the Army Air Corps. He was 19. See A New Age p. 22.
For these centenarians, historical events are just one part of their extraordinary lives.
by Heather Rigney Shumaker ’91 and Tomas Weber
Reconnecting with the unsung and extraordinary pawpaw tree.
by Nick Forrest ’08
flight path
courtesy john wenzel ’47
In 1941, John Wenzel ’47 enlisted in the Aviation Cadet Program in the Army Air Corps. He was 19. See A New Age p. 22.
Nell Bang-Jensen ’11 is artistic director for Norristown’s Theatre Horizon.
by Elizabeth Redden ’05
Gaël McGill ’95 and Jeannie Park ’94 craft accurate visualizations to help audiences grasp the complexities of science.
by Ryan Dougherty
How the daily habit of writing on the train gave way to an award-winning book.
by Tomas Weber
Maria Isabel Barros Guinle ’19
Danika Grieser ’26 and Melody Herrera-Garcia ’26
Samira Mehta ’00
common good
Gina Doggett ’76
Ben Chan ’01
Cheryl Sanders ’74
class notes
spoken word
Director of Student Disability Services Monica Vance
On the cover

Reconnecting with the pawpaw tree. Art by Luiza Laffitte.

Swatties attending a performance of SELF HELP ME
Emily Anne Jacobstein ‘07
Swatties attended the Somerville, Mass., performance of Jenny Yang ’00’s hit comedy show, “SELF HELP ME: a competitive self-care comedy.”
Editor’s Column

Roots, Plans, and Weathering Storms


Construction on campus
WE BUILD and rebuild ourselves. Our experiences reshape us. And this physical place — the hills, lawns, and woods of Swarthmore — changes as well. The seasons do their natural, formidable bit. Storms accelerate unintended shifts. (I suppose this applies to our lives, too.)

Then there is strategic metamorphosis. The campus is undergoing much of that. Evidence of all the people and planning this requires is its own masterpiece. Fences and scaffolding show safety is prioritized. The whining metallic music of drills means progress is happening. Views blocked and paths redirected are proof a great plan is underway. Disruption, yes. But how marvelous this collaboration of people in fields such as engineering, construction, and environmental science who are all part of a community striving to improve its partnership with the planet.

With geothermal wellfield drilling complete on Mertz Lawn, plans for a more sustainable campus advance. Our celebration of that upheaval helps carry it through.

Moving through change underpins much of what we share in this fall issue. You don’t have to have piloted a P-47 Thunderbolt in World War II fighting the Nazis. You don’t have to have started a gospel radio show at WSRN, directed a theater program for actors with autism, or written an award-winning book while riding the train to work.

Whether you’re a newly minted alum, or mid career, between jobs or beyond them, you can find yourself in these pages. You’ll discover a message here from Swarthmoreans like Morton Huber, a member of the Navy’s V-12 program, who tells us to do “something you love,” or Betty Glenn Webber ’43, who says, “I’d like to be remembered as someone who was willing to see the good in most people.”

You are an elemental part of the fabric of Swarthmore, with all its loud and daring changes.

Swarthmore College Bulletin/Fall 2023

swarthmore college bulletin

Vice President for Communications
Andy Hirsch

Director of Content Strategy
Mark Anskis

Kate Campbell

Managing Editor
Ryan Dougherty

Editorial Specialist
Nia King

Class Notes Editor
Heidi Hormel

Phillip Stern ’84

Laurence Kesterson

Administrative Coordinator
Lauren McAloon

Editor Emerita
Maralyn Orbison Gillespie ’49

Email: bulletin@swarthmore.edu
Telephone: 610-328-8533

We welcome letters on articles covered in the magazine. We reserve the right to edit letters for length, clarity, and style. Views expressed in this magazine do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or the official views or policies of the College. Read the full letters policy at swarthmore.edu/bulletin.

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The Swarthmore College Bulletin (ISSN 0888-2126), of which this is volume CXX, number III, is published in October, January, and May by Swarthmore College, 500 College Ave., Swarthmore, PA 19081-1390. Postage paid at Philadelphia, PA, and additional mailing offices. Permit No. 129. Postmaster: Send address changes to Alumni Records, 500 College Ave., Swarthmore, PA 19081-1390.

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On Our Radar

into the mud, sand, rain!

I enjoyed Anne Danielson-Francois ’90’s account of her research on spiders. She is part of a very long history of field biology at Swarthmore extending back over 100 years. While our sister institutions concentrated on laboratory research, many Swarthmore biology faculty hauled their students, both during the school year and for summer research, out into the mud, sand, rain and biting insects from the South Pacific to the Arctic. Swarthmore alumni played an important role in this effort not only by hosting students, but by endowing a special fund for field work in biology.

—TIMOTHY WILLIAMS ’64, Professor of Biology Emeritus, Sugar Hill, N.H.

the whole package

The music package (concerts, WSRN, and the Gregory Brothers) in the latest issue was the best thing I’ve read in the Bulletin in a long time. Just a great idea and fantastic execution. Thanks for doing it!

— JASON ZENGERLE ’96, Chapel Hill, N.C.

A young Cheryl Sanders spinning records at WSRN in the early 70s
swarthmore college archives
Cheryl J. Sanders ’74 was glad to read “Silent No Longer: WSRN is revived” by Tomas Weber. “Imagine my delight, and amusement, when I saw my 20-year-old self in the photo with the caption: “an unidentified student works in the radio station, in an archival photo,” wrote Sanders.

Her Saturday morning show, “Spread a Little Sunshine,” featured a genre not mentioned in the article — gospel music. “I literally had to spin my own albums (many of which I still own), so I got a FCC broadcast radio license. My years as a gospel deejay at WSRN were transformative, as college gospel choirs were coming to voice all over the U.S. alongside Black student unions, Black studies curricula, and other on-campus programs organized around Black culture and consciousness. SASS was going strong, and we launched the Swarthmore Gospel Choir during my freshman year from the living room of the Black Cultural Center. Those were the days — thanks for the memories!” (See p. 21 for more on Sanders.)

Cruisin’ with Captain Guts

I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed the two articles concerning Swarthmore’s radio station. WSRN was a major part of all four years I attended Swarthmore. I recall being thrilled to discover I could become a disk jockey and promptly became a trainee in the fall of 1975.

Once I’d gone through training and taken the Third Class Radiotelephone Operators License exam in Philadelphia (no longer required for college disk jockeys today), I recall the thrill of playing my first record at 5 a.m., Feb. 1, 1976. It was “Speedo” by the Cadillacs. I was promoted to a much better time slot — Saturday night — and hosted “Cruisin’ with Captain Guts.” The focus of the show was on rock ’n’ roll/rhythm and blues of the 1950s. Little did I know back then that I would go on to host similar programs on three other radio stations (two college and one a non-commercial “community radio” station in Miami, Fla.) to the present day. Since May 1998, using the name Dr. Hepcat, I have hosted the Golden Oldies show on WEGL— Auburn, Ala. FM 91.1

I expanded the coverage to primarily the years circa 1945 – 1963 and feature genres including blues, gospel, country, and, occasionally, West Indian calypso and early 1960s Jamaican ska. And yes, I do take requests!

—TIM DODGE ’79, Camp Hill, Ala.

past & present alike

This issue (Spring/Summer 2023) makes for interesting reading for past students and non-students. Well done!


Equal to the Best

Your piece on memorable musical performances was highly enjoyable. I can add a few names to the list: J. Geils Band, Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen, Scott McKenzie. And if you were lucky enough to be there when Vaneese Thomas ’74, H ’14 sat down at the piano, you’d be treated to an experience equal to the best.

—JON YOUNG ’74, Wilton, Conn.

couldn’t put it down

This (Spring/Summer 2023) was a great issue — I couldn’t put it down. I appreciate the hard work of everyone who made it possible!

—ELISE (KANG) HOUPT ’97, Scarsdale, N.Y.

A Favorite Story

Reading Peter Meyer ’65’s comment about Jed Rakoff ’64’s Honors experience made me want to share my own story, which I treasure.

When I arrived at Swarthmore in 1963 from a large suburban Chicago high school, where I’d been the top student, it was immediately clear to me that I was out of my league as a math major. The Honors program made that even more obvious.

So, for over 40 years I would share this with my community-college math students: I’ve always felt that teachers have a conflict of interest. On the one hand, we’re the students helper, and on the other we’re their judge. In my college they separated these functions in the Honors program, in which “outside examiners” would be brought in to judge the graduating seniors. So imagine how I felt when one of the examiners said to me, “I can’t believe you’re been here for four years and have learned so little.”

I think it may be my students’ favorite story.

Deborah Hamermesh White ’67, Henderson, Nev.

Cutting Across Generations

This was such a good issue of the Bulletin! Great topic, cutting across so many generations, and well executed. Bravo!

Linda Cox ’71, Bronx, N.Y.

WSRN Reborn

It was fun to read about the rebirth of WSRN. As a freshman in 1973, I hosted an opera show in the wee hours of the morning. I think there was only one listener, a fellow opera fan in town. I was too shy to do much talking, but loved curating the music selection. My roommate, Miriam Bergman, had a show as well. She played a wide-ranging mix of jazz and rock … I’m thrilled that WSRN is up and running again.

Diane DeAngelis Lynch ’77, East Greenwich, R.I.

Consider MIT

Although I undoubtedly benefited from Swarthmore’s legacy admission policies (my father was Robert Louis Tench NV), I am convinced that it is now time to end the outdated and harmful influence of pedigree on college admissions. I recommend that the college begin to consider the example of my graduate school alma mater, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. MIT has never considered an applicant’s legacy in its admissions process, and students who are admitted to the institute get in, and get out, the hard way and the right way: through thoughtful and deliberate consideration of both talent and a history of opportunity. I urge the Board of Managers to end legacy admissions at Swarthmore and follow the example of MIT.

Robert Ehrler Tench ’78, Allentown, Pa.

In the Bath, On a Train …

Just a quick note to say that I look forward to receiving my hard copy of the Bulletin. I read it in the bath, on a train … electronic doesn’t really work for me.

Anne MacDowell ’78, Great Missenden, United Kingdom

Mixtape Tribute

It was, as it always is, enjoyable to receive this [Bulletin] and to read it. I also smiled when I saw our band, ellipsis, mentioned on the mixtape. That was exceedingly kind of you all to include us on there.

Joel Price ’00, Phila., Pa.

I’ll Never Look at Clothier Hall the Same

The recent article on famous musicians who have played at Swarthmore was wonderful! I also enjoyed the Facebook memories from alumni/a that it engendered. I’ll never look at Clothier Hall the same again after learning that my beloved Allman Brothers played there and the same for Springsteen in the Amphitheater.

Roderick H. Wolfson, Senior Planner/Project Manager, Swarthmore Capital Planning and Project Management Department

Facing the Past

Reading President Val Smith’s email “Facing the Past” sent to the Swarthmore Community this week [May, 2023] caused me to consider that the cost of the investigation into Professor Spencer Trotter who passed away in 1931 must have been considerable. President Smith details the formation of a group that examined College archives and collections, engaged experts at other universities, interviewed the chairs of several departments and other faculty, and consulted with representatives of the National Museum of the American Indian. Members of this group also “spent time researching Trotter and his work.”Now, the group will “develop a process to reexamine the name of Trotter Hall” and an audit committee is being formed to perform a “comprehensive review” of the College archives and the Biology Department’s osteology collection.

Honestly, I don’t see the benefit or merit of pouring all these resources into dissecting an event that occurred in 1899. Who exactly would be better off for this process? I also don’t see the merit in renaming Trotter Hall, an honor that was bestowed upon Professor Trotter nearly a hundred years ago. Revisionist behavior like this undermines Swarthmore’s mission of intellectual honesty and curiosity.

—STEVE HARARI ’78, Sulphur Springs, Ark.

Swarthmore College Bulletin/Fall 2023
community voices

Getting Into the Rhythm

And challenging my inherent fear of failure
by Maria Isabel Barros Guinle ’19
Maria Isabel Barros Guinle, alone, wearing a lab coat and a stethoscope
courtesy maria isabel barros guinle ’19
“I hope to continue to navigate medicine as I have navigated dance — resolute and unswerving in my commitment to growing,” says Barros Guinle ’19.

I remember walking into Lang Performing Arts Center (LPAC) for the first time during my freshman year.

I had never danced before. I thought that an introductory ballet class would be the perfect way to check off a physical education requirement that was keeping me from taking some of my pre-med courses.

But what first felt like a chore soon became a passion. By the time I graduated, I had spent almost the same amount of time in LPAC as I did in Cornell Library or in the Science Center labs.

Learning to dance as an adult taught me invaluable lessons that I carry with me today as a doctor-in-training.

Swarthmore College Bulletin/Fall 2023
Economics students Melody Herrera-Garcia (left) and Danika Grieser (right)
Melody Herrera-Garcia ’26 and Danika Grieser ’26 took part in the Expanding Diversity in Economics Summer Institute at the University of Chicago, gleaning insights from leading economists and sharing perspectives with other students underrepresented in the field.

studentwise: A WIDER LENS

by Ryan Dougherty
EXPANDING DIVERSITY in economics isn’t just about uplifting people — it uplifts the field itself.

“One perspective, experience, and culture will only answer a select amount of questions,” says Danika Grieser ’26. “And economists want to answer them all.” Adds Melody Herrera-Garcia ’26 “Diversity allows new topics to be brought into the light.”

That was a key theme of the Expanding Diversity in Economics Summer Institute at the University of Chicago, in which Grieser and Herrera-Garcia participated in June. The highly competitive program finds and supports talented undergraduates from diverse backgrounds.

Swarthmore College Bulletin/Fall 2023
Submit your publication for consideration: books@swarthmore.edu

HOT TYPE: New releases by Swarthmoreans

Miriam S. Moss ’51

Seasons in the Pine Barrens: The Journal of Miram S. Moss
South Jersey Culture & History Center

The "Seasons in the Pine Barrens" cover, featuring a photo of the author's cabin in the woods
Moss spent years observing and participating in the natural world in New Jersey’s Pine Barrens and recording thoughts in her journal. Over almost 30 years, she and her husband Sidney lived for many a weekend in their secluded, primitive cabin. These journal entries speak to her deepest feelings and, at age 92, they still resonate much as they did when they were written decades ago.

William Ehrhart ’73

What We Can And Can’t Afford: Essays on Vietnam, Patriotism and American Life
McFarland & Company

The cover of "What We Can and Can't Afford" features a photo of the author with fellow activists.
Ehrhart’s experiences in the Vietnam War defined his life — first as an enlisted member of a Marine infantry battalion, then as an author, poet, and teacher who has spent 50 years explicating the war and its consequences. He explores a range of topics, including gun violence and the Second Amendment, American politics and the accelerating destruction of civil society, Afghanistan and other foreign policy misadventures, Israel and Palestine, and the nature of patriotism.
Swarthmore College Bulletin/Fall 2023

What’s Faith Got to Do With It?

Exploring multiracial and interfaith America

by Nia King
Samira Mehta ’00 grew up in a very small, mostly white Connecticut town. At Swarthmore, she was intrigued by a course titled Patterns in Asian Religions. Growing up, she felt she had more exposure to her white mom’s Unitarian culture than to her Indian Hindu dad’s. She registered for the class, thinking, “Maybe this will help me understand my family.”

Taking that class, and connecting with Religious Studies faculty — including Professor of Religion and James Hormel Professor Social Justice Mark Wallace, Professor of Religion and Peggy Chan Professor of Black Studies Yvonne Chireau, Howard M. and Charles F. Jenkins Professor of Quakerism and Peace Studies Ellen Ross, and former Professor of Religion Nathaniel Deutsch — changed her life’s trajectory.

Head shot of Samira Mehta, director of Jewish Studies at the University of Colorado-Boulder
lauren little
“Religion structures so much of how we operate in the world,” says Mehta. “It is one of the ways in which people answer the most important questions in the human condition.”
samira mehta ’00
A death in the family during her sophomore year started her exploration of faith practices. Mehta didn’t know how to prepare for the funeral of one of her paternal uncles, and turned to her professors for guidance.
Swarthmore College Bulletin/Fall 2023

sharing success and stories of swarthmore

common good

People milling around the dedication ceremony under the murals Hungerford fought to preserve
laurence kesterson
A ROOM WITH A VIEW: The College dedicated the Constance Cain Hungerford Mural Room in Old Tarble in May in honor of Mari S. Michener Professor Emerita of Art History and Provost Emerita Constance Cain Hungerford. Community members also unveiled a plaque in her likeness at the event which took place during Alumni Weekend.
Mural Power

An Artful Tribute

When widely respected art historian Connie Hungerford died in 2021, she left a legacy of scholarship and friendship.

Hungerford joined the College faculty in 1975 and served as provost from 2001 to 2011 and interim president from 2014 to 2015. She was also the curator of the College’s art collection. Hungerford helped facilitate the preservation of the murals in the former Hicks Hall.

Painted in the late 1930s by James D. Egleson, Class of 1929, the frescoes explore the interaction of science and society. When the College decided that Hicks would be demolished in 2015, it seemed the murals might be lost forever. Hungerford was determined that the murals should be saved; she saw them as “both an exciting teaching resource and part of the College’s history.”
Swarthmore College Bulletin/Fall 2023
clay tells a story

Hooked on History

The past emerges through pottery
by Tomas Weber

or Genevieve Woodhead ’12, an archaeology Ph.D. candidate at the University of New Mexico, pottery bears witness to the ways different groups have coexisted across time.

“Ceramics leave a trace of interpersonal interaction,” says Woodhead. In addition to using pottery for cooking, serving, and storage for thousands of years, people have used ceramics “to encode their practices, connect with others, and express artistic qualities.”

Genevieve Woodhead holds up an ancient piece of ceramic
Kari Schleher
“Ceramics leave a trace of interpersonal interaction,” says Genevieve Woodhead ’12, an archaeology Ph.D. candidate at the University of New Mexico. At Swarthmore, she learned how ceramics could illuminate long-buried histories.
Swarthmore College Bulletin/Fall 2023
language lover


Her passion for language knows no bounds
by Bayliss Wagner ’21
gina doggett ’76
Writer & Editor
Gina Doggett (left) stands next to her husband, Gégé Le Fur, who is holding their dog, Mimi.
courtesy gina doggett ’76
Gina Doggett’s love of language was influenced by her childhood experiences of living in Greece, Pakistan, Vietnam, Thailand, and Kenya. Doggett, her husband Gégé Le Fur, and their dog Mimi soak in the sun.
Over the course of 34 years writing and editing at French news agency Agence France-Presse, Gina Doggett ’76 covered the shift of power to the mujahideen in Kabul in 1992; elections in Algeria, Ghana, and Zimbabwe; and the death of Pope John Paul II in 2005, among other world events.

Her globe-trotting career took her to more countries than most people visit in a lifetime, but for Doggett, traveling and living abroad wasn’t new. Because of her father’s work for USAID, she grew up in Greece, Pakistan, Vietnam, Thailand, and Kenya, learning French and picking up conversational Thai and Swahili along the way.

She now considers this early exposure to foreign languages and cultures a throughline in her lifelong passion for linguistics.

Swarthmore College Bulletin/Fall 2023
what is winning ?
Host Mayim Bialik (left) with contestant Ben Chan (right) on the set of Jeopardy!
Jeopardy Productions, Inc.
“It moves so fast, you don’t have time to worry about things,” says Ben Chan ’01, about his experience filming the game show Jeopardy!. “When it airs, you finally get to appreciate what happened.” Mayim Bialik (left) was the host when Chan played.
ben chan ’01
Philosophy Professor

Fun-Seeking Philosophy

He led a total trivia domination
by Nia King
As far back as he can remember, Ben Chan ’01 wanted to know everything.

“I read Stephen Hawkings’ Brief History of Time when I was in elementary school,” Chan says.

ben chan ’01
Philosophy Professor
Though he may not have learned everything, his insatiable, lifelong quest for knowledge has served him well, from his time as a philosophy major at Swarthmore to his nine-day winning streak on Jeopardy!

Chan continued studying philosophy as a doctoral student at UCLA and a postdoctoral student at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), where he focused on bioethics. Chan has been teaching philosophy at St. Norbert College in Wisconsin since 2013.

Though his nerd bona fides are impressive, the origins of his historic winning streak were inauspicious.

One night he was watching the show and an ad popped up for the test to be a contestant.“I had probably had a couple glasses of wine,” says Chan.“I think I took the test reclining on my couch.”

Chan did well enough on the 12-minute, 50-question test to be invited to take round two. Then came an audition, where he believes a piece of trivia about his own life got him on the show.

“It wasn’t going so well, so I made sure to interrupt and said ‘Well, I do have a fun fact!’” The fun fact — that Chan had played Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers at pub trivia and beaten him — was a hit.

Swarthmore College Bulletin/Fall 2023
lead by listening
Rev. Cheryl Sanders marches in the street with her congregation.
courtesy cheryl sanders ’74
“The methodologies I learned in Black studies at Swarthmore have never left me,” says the Rev. Cheryl Sanders ’74. “What I’ve added is a theological, ethical dimension.”
cheryl sanders ’74

answering the call

Hard work and unexpected opportunities bring a pastor full circle
by Nia King
Cheryl Sanders ’74 is the senior pastor at Third Street Church of God in Washington, D.C. Her family has been part of the 113-year-old church for four generations. It’s the same church she attended as a child.

“There was a time when certain people in the church would never miss an opportunity to remind me that they had held me as a baby, or changed my diapers,” says Sanders, who first felt called to ministry at Swarthmore.

cheryl sanders ’74
There, she joined a student-led Bible study group and was a director of the campus gospel choir. She also was a DJ for a WSRN gospel show.

“It was my way of contributing to the blossoming of Black culture at Swarthmore,” says Sanders, who studied math and Black studies.

“From [Sara Lawrence Lightfoot Professor Emerita of History] Kathryn Morgan, I learned how to collect and analyze oral histories,” says Sanders.She went on to pursue theological studies at Harvard Divinity School and used oral histories in her dissertation on the religious conversion of enslaved African Americans.

As a graduate student, Sanders held multiple jobs, including serving as an interim pastor of a Boston church and a teaching assistant in Harvard’s Afro-American Studies Department and Divinity School simultaneously. When a position opened up at Howard University School of Divinity, she applied and taught a full course load at Howard while finishing her doctorate at Harvard.

Swarthmore College Bulletin/Fall 2023

A New Age

Laurence kesterson
“My time at Swarthmore was short, but it produced some of the best memories I still cherish,” says Morton Huber, 100, in his home studio where he paints.

A New Age

It’s hard to picture military marches at Swarthmore. Or students studying gunnery and navigation. What about being fined for being late for breakfast?

Swarthmore 80 years ago was both very different and much the same as it is today. For these centenarians, historical events are just one part of their extraordinary lives.

Among the experiences these Swarthmoreans have lived through are the Great Depression, the Spanish Civil War, and World War II. Despite enormous challenges, they also found joy in art, literature, and family.

As for living to 100 and beyond? It’s complicated. But special, too.

by Heather Rigney Shumaker ’91 and Tomas Weber
Kateryna Debela / Alamy Stock Photo

Morton Huber

do something you love

M dropcap
Morton Huber arrived at Swarthmore in 1943 in a sailor’s uniform. He was 20 years old, part of the Navy’s first V-12 unit to arrive on campus. The V-12 program trained officers and engineers for World War II. For three years, Swarthmore was one of the hosts.

Huber had started college at Johns Hopkins University, but that quickly came to an end when the U.S. entered the war. He enlisted in the Navy. At Swarthmore, he took special courses in gunnery, navigation, and communication, as well as regular classes like chemistry and math. The sailors marched and drilled about campus, performed daily calisthenics, and lived together in one dorm.

He also had time to play lacrosse. Johns Hopkins was a leader in lacrosse, and “by the time I got to Swarthmore, I was pretty good with a stick,” he admits.

Swarthmore College Bulletin/Fall 2023

The Fruit is Out There

Reconnecting with the unsung and extraordinary pawpaw tree
by Nick Forrest ’08

illustrations by Luiza Laffitte

Reconnecting with the unsung and extraordinary pawpaw tree
by Nick Forrest ’08

illustrations by Luiza Laffitte

On an early spring day in southeastern Pennsylvania, Roger Latham ’83 walks through the wooded property that he and his husband, Stephen Demos ’84, have maintained for the last 30 years. Their garden, better described as a densely planted patch of restored native forest, stands in contrast to the neighboring neatly trimmed suburban lawns.

Walking into Latham’s yard, one feels like they’ve wandered much further into the woods than they intended, and perhaps further back into time, too — before this land was cleared and subdivided into private lots, before the Lenape were driven away by European and American colonizers, and even before humans themselves became part of the ecosystem.

Venturing deeper into a winding path, lush with leafy understory growth and shaded by towering sugar maples, Latham points out what draws many people to his garden: his pawpaw trees.

Swarthmore College Bulletin/Fall 2023


Nell Bang-Jensen ’11 is artistic director for Norristown’s Theatre Horizon, home of a long-running drama program for people on the autism spectrum.
by Elizabeth Redden ’05

s artistic director for Theatre Horizon, an 18-year-old theater in the Philadelphia suburb of Norristown, Nell Bang-Jensen ’11 thinks a lot about how artists can collaborate with people who are not in the arts.

“Part of what attracted me to the position is Norristown is a fascinating place,” says Bang-Jensen, who also believes arts organizations can function as civic spaces for a community. Historically a manufacturing town, Norristown is the county seat of Montgomery County, the second-wealthiest county in the Commonwealth.

But it’s more economically and racially diverse than the county at large, with a median household income of around $55,000 a year.

Swarthmore College Bulletin/Fall 2023

A Marriage of Art and Science

Gaël McGill ’95 and Jeannie Park ’94 craft accurate visualizations to help audiences grasp the complexities of science.

by Ryan Dougherty

McGill and Park with their two daughters, outside in the fall leaves.
Anjolie Laubach ‘98

McGill (top) and Park met at Swarthmore and have lived and worked together for 25 years. “People think we’re crazy, but we wouldn’t have it any other way!” says McGill. They have two daughters. Fiona (far right), now studies illustration at RISD, and Clara, a sixth grader.

How’s this for a Swarthmore success story — a Matchbox couple who started a company that blends art and science to educate the public.

Gaël McGill ’95, a cell and molecular biologist and 3D animator, and Jeannie Park ’94, a multimedia artist and software engineer, have followed that path for the past 25 years with Digizyme (Digizyme.com). The small but mighty company they founded creates scientific visuals that help make complex concepts clear and engaging.

Their work is geared to all, from elementary- school children visiting a science museum to scientific experts in biotech to delegates at the United Nations General Assembly. And their collaborators include iconic authors, Nobel Prize winners, and filmmakers.

Swarthmore College Bulletin/Fall 2023
Piñeiro smiles at the camera, wearing a bright coral-colored polo shirt.

laurence kesterson

“There were a few things I wasn’t seeing in a lot of kids’ literature,” says author Victor Piñeiro ’00. “One of them was Puerto Rican protagonists.”

A Place to Escape To

How the daily habit of writing on the train gave way to an award-winning book

by Tomas Weber

ictor Piñeiro ’00 has had a rich assortment of callings. Now the director of digital innovation at HBO Max, Piñeiro moved to New York City after college to teach third grade.

Outside the classroom, he was a filmmaker: Years before the idea of the metaverse took off, he wrote and produced Second Skin, a 2008 documentary about gamers occupying virtual worlds.

Then, Piñeiro became a pioneer of social-media marketing, having helped craft the identities of brands like Skittles, Hasbro, YouTube, and Google Maps.

Across each of his adventures, Piñeiro has always craved one thing above all else — the time to write a novel.

Swarthmore College Bulletin/Fall 2023
class notes
A treasury of alumni-related items

class notes

Alumni Programs


Stay up to date with Swarthmore events by visiting our Alumni Events webpage. Find information about and links to register for upcoming in-person and virtual events, as well as recordings and photo galleries of past programs. swarthmore.edu/AlumniEvents

Swatober: Young Alumni Appreciation Month

October 2023
This October we’re celebrating the Classes of 2010 through 2023 and recognizing all you do as volunteers, mentors,
and donors. Visit the Young Alumni resource website to see what’s planned for the month and to get your study guide to alumnidom. swarthmore.edu/resources-young-alumni

Save the Date for Alumni Weekend 2024

May 31–June 2
Mark your calendars to come back to campus and celebrate your milestone reunion (class years ending in 4 and 9) or simply reconnect with fellow Swarthmoreans.

Singer on stage with drumset in the background.
Alumni Weekend celebrations in May included live music from The Golden State House Band.

Your support makes a Swarthmore education extraordinary and accessible.

Make your gift now: gift.swarthmore.edu
Gift hand icon

Your support makes a Swarthmore education extraordinary and accessible.

Make your gift now: gift.swarthmore.edu
Gift hand icon
in memoriam
A bee pollenating purple flowers.

their light lives on

our friends will never be forgotten
Daniel F. Sneberger NV

Dan, an entrepreneur and avid golfer and card player, died April 13, 2023.

He attended Swarthmore, ultimately graduating from the University of Pennsylvania and the Wharton School; served as a gunnery officer during the Korean War; and began his professional career with Lennox China. An entrepreneur at heart, Dan started his own company that introduced lesser-known brands to fine jewelers throughout the country. Also, he served on the Men’s Board of Abington Hospital, was a deacon at Abington Presbyterian Church, and was a board member for several terms at Huntingdon Valley Country Club.

Martha Fuchs Ferger ’45

Martha, a mother, activist, and biochemist, died June 24, 2023.

After attending Swarthmore and marrying, she earned a Ph.D. in the new field of biochemistry; had three children; and in 1963 worked at Cornell University in research labs and as a lecturer. Martha was committed to human rights, peace, and justice as a “war tax” resister; a founder and chair of her Unitarian church’s social justice committee; a campaigner against fracking; and a 91-year-old arrestee as part of the We Are Seneca Lake campaign.

John G. McCurdy ’47

John, an engineer and photographer, died April 6, 2023.

He attended Swarthmore under the Navy V-12 program and was a member of the football and wrestling teams. John graduated in 1949 from Yale with a mechanical engineering degree, working in manufacturing engineering and research and development for various companies, contributing to several patents. He retired in 2016 at the age of 91, was an avid nature and portrait photographer, sailed the Chesapeake Bay, and camped in the Maine woods.

Swarthmore College Bulletin/Fall 2023

looking back

Students pose for a photo on the steps of the Black Cultural Center in the early 1970s
friends historical library/leandre jackson ’75
FIRST ROW, left to right: Priscilla Chatman ’75 (unconfirmed), Thomas “T.J.” Morrison III ’75 (unconfirmed), Christopher F. Edley Jr. ’73, Sandy Moon ’74 (with her hand partially covering her face), Franciena King ’72, Jo Ann Bradley Jones ’73, H. Russell Frisby Jr. ’72 (standing), Darryl C. Burke ’74, Rosalind M. Plummer ’73 (unconfirmed), William A. Kirk Jr. ’74 (unconfirmed), and Shellie Evelyn Grant ’73 (standing).

SECOND ROW (seated on left side), left to right: Sidney L. Clark Jr. ’75, Cynthia “Cindy” Hunter Spann ’75, James R. Wilson ’75 (unconfirmed). Second row (seated on step), left to right: Patrice Harris Pompa ’75, Lorean “Reanie” Simmons ’75. Second row (standing next to Reanie): Phyllis Victoria Caruth ’72.

BACK ROW (standing): Steven A. Bowers ’73 (unconfirmed), Cynthia A. Jetter ’74, Keith Courtney Hayes ’74 (unconfirmed), Karen Shropshire Yancey ’75, Linda D. Turner ’75 (in the background, unconfirmed), Diana G. Finch ’75, Reginald E. Thompson ’75 (unconfirmed), Randall Connell ’75 (in the background). Standing on the high post: Gregany L. Mizell ’75 (unconfirmed). Leaning against post: Karen Simmons Gillian ’71


SINCE 1970, “the House” has been a hub for Black life on Swarthmore’s campus and served as an educational space for the entire community. The 143-year-old Robinson House, home of the Black Cultural Center, is not far from Parrish Hall and McCabe Library. When this image ran in the winter 2020 issue, we asked, “Were you here?” And Karen Shropshire Yancey ’75, Elizabeth McMillan-McCartney ’75, Vaneese Thomas ’74, H’14, and Cindy Hunter Spann ’75 not only answered with a resounding “yes,” but also tried to identify everyone in the photo. Happily, we were able to confirm the names of all but a few alumni. Is “unconfirmed” next to your name? Please let us know!
Swarthmore College Bulletin/Fall 2023
Director of Student Disability Services Monica Vance
kevin dow
“We stay connected to a lot of folks on campus,” says Student Disability Services Director Monica Vance, including the Office of Student Engagement, Counseling and Psychology Services, and Information Technology. “These colleagues are integral to all that we do to support students.”


Monica Vance works to ensure equal access for students with disabilities
by Ryan Dougherty
EACH YEAR, Student Disability Services Director Monica Vance guides support for more than 200 students with disabilities at Swarthmore. She works closely with students, faculty, and staff to meet each student’s particular needs. Vance outlines the keys to that effort — the challenges and complexities, and the human connections that keep her going.

What drew you to Swarthmore?

I liked that it’s a small campus community. I started in special education almost 25 years ago, as a classroom teacher, and really enjoyed working one-on-one with the students. Later, I worked for a large institution, where I didn’t really get that same opportunity. Coming to Swarthmore [in 2018] gave me that same feeling of having students I would work closely with in my classroom, and the opportunity to get to know them through their four years here and develop relationships.

Swarthmore College Bulletin/Fall 2023


Students arrived on campus the last week of August.

Back cover


Your Swarthmore Fund gift makes a Swarthmore education more accessible and extraordinary. Open doors at gift.swarthmore.edu
Vector minimalist illustration of a white circular design target with several small skinny white thin lines expanding outward to resemble a star-like shape object
laurence kesterson

Back cover

laurence kesterson


Your Swarthmore Fund gift makes a Swarthmore education more accessible and extraordinary. Open doors at gift.swarthmore.edu.
Vector minimalist illustration of a white circular design target with several small skinny white thin lines expanding outward to resemble a star-like shape object