Swarthmore is consistently rated as one of the best liberal arts colleges in the country and is particularly noted for its External Examiners Honors program and its engineering department. Its sprawling campus is home to an arboretum and includes a variety of rare species of trees and plants.
Swarthmore is the alma mater of three Nobel Prize-winners (biologists David Baltimore and Howard Temin, and chemist Christian Anfinsen) as well as novelist James A. Michener, philanthropist Eugene Lang, computer visionary Ted Nelson (who coined the term hypertext), author Jonathan Franzen, U.S. Senator Carl Levin, 1988 Democratic Presidential candidate Michael Dukakis, and composer Peter Schickele (P.D.Q. Bach).
The name 'Swarthmore' has its roots in early Quaker history. Swarthmoor hall, in Cumbria, England, was the home of Thomas and Margeret Fell in 1652 when George Fox, fresh from his epiphany atop Pendle Hill in 1651, came to visit. The visitation turned into a long association as Fox persuaded Thomas and Margeret Fell and the inhabitants of the nearby village of Fenmore of Friendly teachings, and Swarthmoor was used for the first Friends' meetings.