Valerie Smith Appreciative of Everyone Singing “Valerie”: “I’ve Never Heard That One Before”

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.

Ever since Swarthmore College’s 15th president was announced, one song and one song only has been on everyone’s lips: “Valerie.” The best part? College President Valerie Smith is loving it.

“I’ve never heard that one before,” Smith said after an a capella group surprised the new president with a verse from the song, penned by The Zutons and popularized by Amy Winehouse. After the singers were finished, another a capella group approached the new president and sang the chorus.

Smith has been the dean of students at Princeton for four years, professor of English Literature at Princeton for fourteen years, and has been named Valerie her whole life.

While many students have taken to serenading Smith in person, others are heading to online sources to post original and hilarious references to “Valerie.” Excited students have taken to Yik Yak, Facebook, and Twitter to post lyrics to the seminal hit. #ComeOnOverToSwat has been trending ever since the announcement.

Meanwhile in Denver, Swarthmore’s former president Rebecca Chopp is enjoying a series of completely original puns on her last name. “It’s humbling seeing what jokes these students come up with,” Chopp said. “Being exposed to such genius has been a wonderful chopportunity.”

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