Connecting the Liberal Arts

Swarthmore is extending the power of the liberal arts by bridging and coupling disciplines, by connecting the classroom to the world, and by supporting the work of our faculty. The goal for connecting the liberal arts is $100 million.

Key Initiatives

  • Beyond-the-Classroom Learning
    • Funded Summer Opportunities and Research
    • Internships and Externships
    • Embedded Travel
  • Faculty Research
  • Endowed Professorships
  • The Aydelotte Foundation

72% of the Goal

Campaign progress is updated quarterly.

How Swarthmore is Connecting the Liberal Arts

Funded Summer Opportunities and Research

High-impact funded summer opportunities enhance the academic and professional exposure of students. Participants receive a stipend to pursue creative, scholarly, social action, or research projects; internships; or language immersion experiences. 


Externships offer students the opportunity to shadow mentors in fields of their interest.

Embedded Travel

Embedded travel offers students the opportunity to study away from Swarthmore for a specific class. The College pays for embedded travel, enabling students and faculty to apply classroom learning on-site.

Faculty Research

Swarthmore professors are engaged in scholarship that defines and advances their fields, and that often gives students unique access to research experience and professional conferences.

Endowed Professorships

Endowed professorships honor our faculty and help to enhance the curriculum.

The Aydelotte Foundation

The Aydelotte Foundation, named for the College's 7th president, aims to support the creation and dissemination of knowledge about liberal arts education as it exists across the broadest possible range of contexts and institutions.

Building an Inclusive Community

Swarthmore is committed to fostering an environment in which all students can flourish and engage with ideas and experiences that differ from their own by extending opportunity through financial aid. We will also offer expanded student support services for first-generation, underrepresented, and low-income students. The goal for building an inclusive community is $130 million.

Key Initiatives

  • Financial Aid
  • Student Emergency Fund
  • Swarthmore Summer Scholars Program (S3P)
  • Richard Rubin Scholar Mentoring Program

69.2% of the Goal

Campaign progress is updated quarterly.

How Swarthmore is Building an Inclusive Community

Financial Aid

Swarthmore will continue its commitment to need-blind admission, meeting full determined need, and providing financial aid in the form of grants rather than loans.

  • During the 2018–19 academic year, the College will provide financial aid to 55% of the student body. The average aid award is ​$49,963​. The College will award a total of $45.6 million in financial aid support—approximately half of which comes from endowed scholarship funds.
  • The College's partnership with QuestBridge—a program to which Swarthmore belongs that links high-achieving, low-income students to some of the nation’s top colleges—widens access and fosters community.

Student Emergency Fund

The Student Emergency Fund (originally the Dean’s Discretionary Fund) provides supplemental financial resources for students who are unable to meet immediate and essential expenses due to temporary hardships.

  • The SEF distributed $28,516 during the 2017–18 academic year for 93 individual needs students would not otherwise have been able to afford, such as medical care and expenses, grad school application fees, interview clothing, emergency flights home, DACA renewal fees, and more.
    • The Class of 2018 raised over $13,000 for the Student Emergency Fund as their class gift. It included gifts from 230 members (41%) of the graduating class.

Swarthmore Summer Scholars Program (S3P)

Students who are the first in their family to attend college, come from a low-income background, or belong to a traditionally underrepresented group, and have a self-described interest in STEM fields, are eligible to apply to the Swarthmore Summer Scholars Program. All costs are covered for participants, including room and board, and they receive a stipend to offset the need for summer employment.

Richard Rubin Scholar Mentoring Program

Established in 2004, the Richard Rubin Scholar Mentoring Program matches first- and second-year applicants—many of whom are first-generation, underrepresented, low-income, or immigrant students—with faculty or staff mentors.

Enhancing Our Social Impact

Swarthmore embraces its longstanding tradition of contributing to the common good and will strengthen our support for the myriad ways in which our students and faculty make a difference on campus, locally, and across the globe. The goal for enhancing our social impact is $70 million.

Key Initiatives

  • Sustainability Initiatives:
    • President’s Sustainability Research Fellowship (PSRF) Program
    • Green Revolving Fund
    • President’s Climate Commitment Fund
  • Center for Innovation and Leadership (CIL)
  • Lang Center for Civic & Social Responsibility Chester Community Fellowships
  • Chester Children’s Chorus
  • Scott Arboretum

85.7% of the Goal

Campaign progress is updated quarterly.

How Swarthmore is Enhancing its Social Impact

President’s Sustainability Research Fellowship (PSRF) Program

This yearlong fellowships offers up to 12 students a unique opportunity to combine classroom learning with hands-on experience working on a high-impact sustainability project.

Green Revolving Fund

The goal of the Green Revolving Fund is to provide capital to support energy- and cost-saving campus improvements through internal “loans.”

  • In 2017, the GRF replaced all 300 outdoor metal halide lamps in the Lamb-Miller Fieldhouse, Tarble Pavilion, gym, and Athletics offices. The net savings of 165 watts per lamp will save the College approximately $1,980 a month in electricity costs—savings which have been reinvested into the Green Revolving Fund to support additional improvement and replacement projects on campus, including upcoming upgrades for the Friends' Historical Library and the Science Center.

President's Climate Commitment Fund

This general fund provides the College and the Office of Sustainability the flexibility to make improvements, pilot innovative ideas, and support students as needs arise. 

  • In the past, the PCCF created a one-to-two year Fellowship position in the Office of Sustainability for a recent Swarthmore graduate; sent students to the People's Climate March; and helped bring renowed speakers to campus. 

Center for Innovation and Leadership

CIL programs help bridge the gap between academia and entrepreneurship by teaching students how to build and lead collaborative teams and connect innovative ideas with implementation.

  • A bequest from Caro Elise Luhrs '56 will create a permanent endowment for the ongoing support and expansion of the center and its programs like the SwatTank Innovation Competition. SwatTank aims to equip students with the tools they need to become successful entrepreneurs by developing a co-thinking space where students with creative ideas can come together and talk to one another, faculty, and alumni mentors about development and feasibility.

Chester Community Fellowships

Through this Lang Center for Civic & Social Engagement program, students spend 10 weeks at local agencies and nonprofits. 

  • During the summer of 2018, seven students worked with community partners, such as the Chester Housing Authority and Chester Eastside, Inc.. The program also offered a mini-course on system change for community development from social justice advocate Edgar Cahn ’56, H’18 and his wife, time banking and system change expert Christine Gray. Read more.

Chester Children's Chorus

The mission of the Chester Children's Chorus (CCC) is to provide an intensive, sophisticated, and joyful choral music experience to young people of the city of Chester and to support their academic achievement and personal development. Now in its 24th year, the CCC has served over 1,100 students—with 400 of them participating in some form of post-secondary education.

Scott Arboretum

The Scott Arboretum cultivates a variety of plants that create some of the region’s most intimate, authentic, and accessible horticultural experiences in addition to offering educational programs to Swarthmore College and local community members. 

  • Last spring the Scott Arboretum was awarded a Level III Accreditation by the ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program and Morton Arboretum for achieving particular standards of professional practices deemed important for arboreta and botanic gardens.

Creating Vital Spaces

Swarthmore is well-known for its beautiful campus. New and renewed spaces will enhance the academic mission and inspire and support healthy and productive co-curricular activities. The goal for creating vital spaces is $150 million.

Key Initiatives

  • Matchbox
  • Maxine Frank Singer '52 Hall (for biology, engineering, and psychology)
  • James Hormel-Michael Nguyen Intercultural Center at Sproul Hall
  • Parrish Hall Renovations
  • Community Spaces to Enhance the Student Experience
  • Sharples Dining Hall Renovation

Explore the timeline below to see how Swarthmore is creating vital spaces. 

62.7% of the Goal

Campaign progress is updated quarterly.