Swarthmore College is a private, independent, liberal arts college in the Swarthmore, 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 known for its rigorous academics, symbolized and maintained by the faculty's resistance to normalization for institution size, the third largest baccalaureate source of rankings since the rankings' inception.

"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 home to 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 Margeret 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. A more detailed history of Swarthmore can be found at

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 most recent college ranking, Williams and Amherst, respectively. Swarthmore is regularly cited as one of the "ranking 45th amongst all institutions of higher education in the United States. Endowment per student is $766,500, 12th in the U.S.

The school is particularly notable for its Oxford 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 interpretation theory.

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,[1] Swarthmore's average undergraduate GPA increased from 2.83 in 1973 to 3.24 in 1997[2]. Swarthmore argues that the methodology overstates the change [3].

Since the 1970s, Swarthmore students have won 25 Marshall Scholarships, 135 Luce Scholarships, 68 Watson Fellowships, 3 Soros Fellowships, and 1 Mitchell Scholarship.

Tuition and FinancesEdit

The total cost of tuition, fees, room, and board for a student entering in the fall of 2006 was $43,532 (tuition and fees were together $33,232).

Swarthmore's endowment at the end of FY2005 was approximately $1.169 billion, ranking 45th amongst all institutions of higher education in the United States, and fifth amongst liberal arts colleges. Endowment per student was $766,500 for 2004-2005, 12th in the U.S. amongst all institutions of higher education and ahead of both Amherst and Williams.

Operating revenue for the 2004-2005 school year was $104,489,000, over 42% of which was provided by the endowment. As is the case with most every elite institution 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.


The campus consists of 357 acres, 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.

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, and Alice Paul. 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.[4]

Clubs and organizationsEdit

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.

Only two Greek organizations exist on the campus in the form of the fraternities Delta Upsilon and Phi Omicron Psi. The latter of the two is a non-national Greek society which broke away from Phi Kappa Psi following disagreements with national policies. Notably lacking are sororities, which were abandoned in the 1930's following student outrage to discrimination within the sorority system.[5] 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.[6]


Swarthmore offers the full panoply of sporting teams. Varsity teams include 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.[7][8] Swarthmore also offers a number of club sport options, including rugby, frisbee, cycling, and fencing.


The main student newspaper at Swarthmore is The Phoenix[9], a weekly school-sponsored newspaper published every Thursday, except during exam and vacation time. Some staff positions are paid a token amount. The newspaper was founded in borough of Swarthmore. The newspaper is printed at Online Pacemaker for the Associated Collegiate Press award.

The Daily Gazette[10] is another student newspaper; unlike The Phoenix, it is a daily electronic "paper" 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, with 2300 subscribers. The Agora is another small student newspaper with a liberal, activist outlook, though it is published only sporadically.

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.


WSRN 91.5 FM is the college radio station. It has a mix of indie, rock, hip-hop, folk, world, and classical music, as well as a number of radio 11 September 2001 on campus.


Swarthmore is also known as a center of social and political activism. The college has recently received significant coverage due to two student groups founded in Why War?, and a "Kick Coke" campaign aimed at replacing soda machines offering Coca-Cola with alternative products. The Kick-Coke campaign had a recent victory in November 2006 when the College agreed to cut its contract with Coca-Cola.

External linksEdit

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