Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
This weekend, one of Swat’s most recognizable organizations, SWIL, celebrated its 28th year with a reunion and a tour of the bell tower. An estimated 57 alums, reaching as far back as the class of ’81, were present. A mere eight of them were wearing capes.
“Why celebrate something the normal way in years divisible by five when you can have it in years divisible by four?” asked Jim Moskowitz ’88, remarking on the unusual choice of year to celebrate. The choice to celebrate every four years wasn’t entirely random – this way, every member of SWIL gets to experience a reunion at least once during their time at college.
Many alums were present at the tour of the bell tower, many sporting SWIL t-shirts of old. The most senior alum present was Sylvia Whiteside Rider, class of ’81. While she was not on the Council of Five, Whiteside Rider was in fact present at the first meeting. The Council of Five is the name given to the original founders – Alice McNeal, Carli Scott Cowger, Jack Eckhart, Jim Huang, and Barbara Need, who was present at the tour. Huang, she said, was the one who originally came up with the idea of forming a Sci-fi fiction club. He and the four other first years founded SWIL in the fall of ’78, and gave it its famous name at the very first meeting: Swarthmore Wardens for Imaginative Literature.
Need summed it up: “I’m still in touch with all these people, and I still love to come back to all the reunions. I love this school!”