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Ode to Joy

By Elizabeth Vogdes

The minute the bell rings at the end of a long school day, children come racing into the gym. Amid violins, violas, cellos, and basses, the students chatter and have their snack.
“YA-MA OR-chestra!” calls out founding director Stephanie Hsu ’08, and the kids respond rhythmically in kind, “YA-MA OR-chestra!” The room is suddenly silent, the [...]

Family Ties

By Danielle Charette ’14

Peter Aizupitis ’61 and his daughter Klara ’14 share a heritage and language—Latvian—but also a passion for cultural memory.

Unlike her father, Klara grew up on the East Coast, and her family now resides in Wallingford, Pa., a stone’s throw from Swarthmore. Peter, however, was forced to flee his native Latvia at age 4, when [...]

A Life in Full

By Jamie Stiehm ’82

Retired professor Gertrude “Gee-Gee” Joch Robinson ’50 was born between the two world wars in Germany. The first chapter of her life set a pattern for the fascinating journey that followed. That template gave her the talent to look change in the eye with courage.
Robinson travels in a telephone conversation with Proustian speed from the [...]

VIDEO: The Ride of His Life

By Sherri Kimmel

If the rumble of the rails, the hiss of the air brakes, and the shrill piping of a train whistle are music to your ears, then you have a lot in common with Frank Moscatelli.
A self-proclaimed “gears-and-pulleys kind of guy,” Moscatelli is an experimental physicist who’s taught at Swarthmore for 31 years. He’s quick to [...]

A Tradition and a Gift

By Mike Agresta

According to Irish legend, when visitors to Blarney Castle kiss a magical stone, they are endowed with the gift of gab—a special talent for storytelling and other verbal feats. Yvonne Healy ’75, a nationally recognized storyteller in the Irish tradition, may have kissed the Blarney Stone, but she credits her family for her onstage abilities. [...]

A New Lens

By Carrie Compton

Every day, for more than three years, Dawn Porter ’88 agonized over leaving her job. Her comfortable position as a media executive was secure, replete with benefits and, as she wistfully reminisces now, a bountiful office-supply closet. So what finally motivated the former vice president of the legal department at A&E to forsake her position [...]

Small Colleges, Big Impact

By Sherri Kimmel

An avid blogger and biker, Sean Decatur ’90 is a new kind of president for Kenyon College in many ways. While his predecessor, Georgia Nugent, a classicist, broke the gender barrier at the once all-male liberal arts gem of the Buckeye State in 2003, Decatur has registered a couple more firsts at the cornfield-swaddled college. [...]

Big Problems, Small(er) Answers

By Dana Mackenzie ’79

In 1979, a meltdown at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant near Harrisburg, Pa., turned “nuke” into a four-letter word and forever changed the nuclear energy industry in the United States. From the day of the accident until 2012, not a single new full-sized nuclear power plant started construction (although quite a few plants [...]

Sew Far, Sew Good

By Carrie Compton

Verdi Johnson ’45’s mother used to call her “the cat who walks alone”—perhaps the earliest testament to her resilience and self-sufficiency. At 89, it’s a euphemism she still identifies with—maintaining as many activities as possible: attending Quaker meetings, quilting, researching genealogy, and reading (a lot).
“There are too many things I want to do, so I [...]

A Convergence of Friends

By Elizabeth Vogdes

“It’s very important for me to be a Quaker. I can’t imagine being anything else,” Margery Post Abbott ’67 says quietly but emphatically. She recently returned to Pendle Hill, the tranquil Quaker study center across the Crum Creek from Swarthmore, to lead a course on incorporating faith in social-justice work. Her course addresses an even [...]