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.
While last Tuesday night’s election results have certainly set a tone of giddiness on campus over the past few days, Obama’s resounding victory has also sparked the resurgence of one dark but very well-circulated rumor: our president-elect was once denied admission to Swarthmore.
The admissions office may have to keep mum, but senior Joel Mittleman ’09 actually had the chance to personally confirm the rumor when Obama held an open town hall at Strath Haven High School during the Pennsylvania primaries. “I did ask Obama [whether it was true],” he says, “not during the actual question and answer, but as he was walking the line shaking hands afterwards.” Mittleman recalls the Senator laughing in response, asking him where he heard the information, and then saying “Yes, it’s true. It really broke my heart, actually.”
Alum Anne Kolker ’08, a former intern in the Senate office and Mittleman’s original source of the rumor, further confirmed the story: “Yes, the first thing President-elect Obama said to me was “Ah, Swarthmore, great school. They rejected me.” Thankfully, Kolker reports Obama held no grudge against her. Here’s hoping admissions doesn’t write off any other presidential hopefuls.
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