The Philly Area Schools That Rejected Barack Obama’s and Tom Hanks’ College Applications

Barack Obama in his official Senate portrait. Tom Hanks, Photo | Alan Light, CC BY 2.0.

Barack Obama in his official Senate portrait. Tom Hanks, Photo | Alan Light, CC BY 2.0.

I was reading something the other day — I can’t remember what, because the Internet has made reading 80,000 things a day way too easy — in which the author commented snidely on adults who remember their SAT scores. I flushed with embarrassment, because, naturally, I remember my SAT scores. (They were pretty good.) In my experience, most people remember their SAT scores, just like they remember the colleges that rejected their applications (okay for you, Princeton; who’d want to go to Ted Cruz’s college, anyway?) for the rest of their lives.

That may be why I, um, clicked through recently to a slideshow that revealed what colleges rejected some Very Famous People, and thereby learned that I’m in great company. Tina Fey was also rejected by Princeton. (OMG, she and Lyin’ Ted would have been in the same class!John Kerry, Tom Brokow, Matt Groening and Meredith Vieira were rejected by Harvard. (Vieira reports she was “devastated.”) Katie Couric was turned down by Smith. (Who gets turned down by Smith?) Read more »

Local Colleges Still Losing War Against Student Drinking

Pity the poor American institution of higher learning. Student drinking on campuses leads to property damage, arrests, injuries and deaths, hazings, and a tsunami of reports of student sexual assaults. (Research shows that 89 percent of those assaults involve drinking.) A recent study declared Pennsylvania colleges sixth in the nation in alcohol arrests of students, led by Shippensburg, East Stroudsburg, Lehigh, Penn Tech, Penn State and Kutztown — not the sort of high ranking universities crave. So naturally, administrators are doing their damnedest to clamp down on alcohol. At Swarthmore College, for example, new rules — no more hard liquor at school-sponsored parties, no more drinking games like beer pong, no more punch or party bowls — went into effect on campus in the fall of 2014. Students, predictably, were not enthused. “Seriously — can the admin with a straight face — indeed genuinely — defend these rules?” one incredulous undergrad demanded in the student newspaper, the Daily Gazette.

A year and a half later, a new report from Swarthmore’s department of public safety shows that while alcohol incidents at the campus’s three major social events dipped slightly in the first year of the more stringent prohibitions, they’ve since soared to new heights. (Nifty chart here.) Read more »

Will Philly-Area Schools Rescind Bill Cosby’s Honorary Degrees?

Last week, Lehigh University rescinded an honorary degree it had given to Bill Cosby in 1987. It decided to nix the honor because of the overwhelming number of women who have accused Cosby of sexual assault. (Cosby has never been  criminally charged — though he currently faces several civil lawsuits —and has denied the accusations.)

“Pursuant to a resolution of the Board of Trustees, Lehigh University has rescinded the honorary degree bestowed upon William H. Cosby, Jr. by the University in 1987,” the University said in a statement. “In sworn deposition testimony, Mr. Cosby admitted under oath to behavior that is antithetical to the values of Lehigh University and inconsistent with the character and high standards that honorary degree recipients are expected to exemplify.”

Lehigh is not the only local university to have awarded Cosby an honorary degree. Seven other schools in the Philadelphia area — Delaware State, Drexel, Haverford, Swarthmore, Temple, Penn and West Chester — have awarded Cosby honorary diplomas. Philadelphia magazine reached out to all seven schools to ask if they were considering stripping him of his honorary diplomas. Here’s what we found out. Read more »

Swarthmore Alum Wins Genius Grant; Founded African University

Here in America, there are more and more questions every day, it seems, about the value of a liberal arts education. But Patrick Gyimah Awuah enjoyed his years at Swarthmore College. No–he really enjoyed them. That’s why he used money he made working at Microsoft to start his own college in his homeland of Ghana. And his reward? He’s just been announced as the recipient of a MacArthur “genius grant.” Read more »

Penn Slips in New Colleges Rankings from U.S. News & World Report

It’s that time of year again — when college students go back to school, see old friends and probably hit the year’s first party. It’s also the time of year when U.S. News & World Report publishes its annual ranking of colleges.

The University of Pennsylvania is always a top contender, but this year had a slip in the rankings. In fact, it was the only school from last year’s top 10 to shift at all, dropping from a tie at No. 8 to No. 9.  Read more »

Hot Diggity Popping Up at Swarthmore Hot Dog Jamboree

Saigon-Fusion-Hot-Dog-Hot-Diggity-940

Hot Diggity’s Saigon Fusion: Topped with fresh Cucumber, Cilantro, Spicy Mayo, Pickled Daikon and Carrot, Jalapeno, and crushed Peanuts.

Hot Diggity is popping up at Hobbs Coffee (1 Park Avenue, Swarthmore, PA) this Friday, April 3rd at 6:30 p.m. for the shop’s annual Hot Dog Jamboree. And even if Hot Diggity’s Keith Garabedian wasn’t making his first hot dog appearance since the closure of his South Street restaurant, this would be a can’t miss event for hot dog fans. Also appearing at the event:

  • Joey Baldino, Zeppoli
  • Scott Schroeder, South Philadelphia Tap Room and American Sardine Bar
  • Marcos Espinoza, Side Project Jerky
  • GitJo, Culinary collaboration of Craig Parahus (Amis) and Michael Strauss (Taprom on 19)
  • Gary Ducket, some kind of pickle jawn
  • Hawk Krall, hot dog artist
  • Nick Macri, La Divisa Meats
  • Ari Miller, 1732 Meats
Hobbs Coffee [Facebook]

Swarthmore No. 3 on List of Top 10 Colleges With the Hottest Guys

Shutterstock.com

Shutterstock.com

Nearby Swarthmore College has earned the No. 3 slot on College Magazine’s top 10 list of the colleges with the hottest guys. The online publication says it came up with its list of winners by researching schools’ four-year gradation rates, varsity and intramural sports programs, popular Greek life and gym facilities, so it’s not all about looks and braun. An explanation on how Swarthmore got the No. 3 distinction:

Read more »

Swarthmore’s “John Doe” Settles Assault Case With College

Photo credit: Fritz Ward via Flickr.

Photo credit: Fritz Ward via Flickr.

As the epidemic of campus rape continues to flare up — see fraternity, University of Virginia — so do lawsuits from male college students expelled for sexual assault. One such case, which I wrote about in my May feature on rape at Swarthmore College, dealt with a “John Doe” who had been found responsible for assault, then expelled, in May 2013. In January of the following year, while residing in North Carolina and attending a different college, he sued Swarthmore, claiming his punishment had not been merited. Here, from the piece, is a description of the incident in question:

Read more »

Morning Headlines: NIMBY Drama Stirs Up Between Residents and Swarthmore College

Photo credit: Fritz Ward via Flickr.

Photo credit: Fritz Ward via Flickr.

Three things are set to happen once construction ends on the new development Swarthmore College has commissioned: First, more books will be available; second, the borough will get its first liquor license; third, Route 320 (Chester Road) will see a shift in traffic flow. Two of these are unwelcome changes for some Swarthmore residents.

As the Inquirer’s Laura McCrystal reports, an inn, bookstore, and roundabout are going to to be constructed in the area, the latter development starting this week. Hopes for the roundabout, which is planned for the intersection of Chester Road and Rutgers Avenue, include it “improv[ing] a dangerous intersection and connect[ing] the college to its community.”

However, opponents of the roundabout see it a different way: Read more »

Swarthmore Applications Drop Due to Extra 500-Word Essay, School Says

Applications to Swarthmore College dropped 16 percent this year, and the school has a culprit: The extra supplemental 500-word essay the school required in this year’s app. By contrast, applications at Penn — which dropped an essay this time — saw applications to the school rise 15 percent.

“Twice as many essays at twice the length was too much,” one prospective student who chose not to apply told the Inquirer. To be fair to Swarthmore kids, lots of people go there for math and whatever. But also it’s an extra 500-word essay for a liberal arts school. You’ll be writing much longer papers if you decide to attend the school!

Read more »

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