To meet Sarah Willie-LeBreton, Ph.D. is to encounter an exceptionally grounded Friend with a deep knowledge of human societies. Currently Swarthmore College’s Provost and Dean of the Faculty since 2018, Sarah was appointed after having chaired the Department of Sociology & Anthropology (2009-2018), chaired the President’s Task Force on Sexual Misconduct (2013-14), served as Associate Provost (2005-8), and coordinated the Black Studies Program on and off for more than a decade beginning in 1998. Somehow, as she does all this, she has still found time to be present in leading PYM towards growth in important areas. [Read more…] about Quakers in Education: Sarah Willie-LeBreton, Sociologist and Swarthmore Dean
This profile is the first in a series of Q&A articles on Quakers in higher education.
Friends have had a deep impact on the practice and theory of instruction since the very early years of the faith. They also have complex personal interests and engage deeply in civic society. They have served as role models, scholarly advisors, and mentors to many individuals and students, but in so many Friends meetings and worship groups they are simply beloved builders of faith community.
Not many women are known to have studied codes or the art of writing and solving them. American cryptology saw few women listed in the history books, and cryptanalyst stars like Elizebeth Smith Friedman and Agnes Driscoll were completely overlooked until recently.
The National Cryptologic Museum in Maryland has dedicated a section of the museum to showcase the 20th Century contributions of Elizebeth, Agnes, and many more gifted cryptanalyst like them.
Elizebeth and her husband, William Friedman, were considered American cryptology pioneers, although Elizebeth’s contributions gained recognition only recently.
The following story was submitted by Lehigh Valley Meeting member John Marquette. He attended the Zoom talk with Andrea Seabrook on January 6th. As a former NPR National Political Correspondent, Andrea created the event in response to the January 6th storming of the capital by Trump supporters. The Zoom was attended by more than 20 Quakers and friends, and served as a window into the soul of politics as seen by Andrea and others. [Read more…] about Zoom with former NPR Correspondent, Andrea Seabrook
This edition of Quaker Artists features Zenaida Peterson (they/them), a Boston-based spoken word poet. They were PYM’s Annual Sessions 2020’s Artist-in-Residence. They work with Quaker Voluntary Service (QVS) and support the organizing of a poetry slam tournament called FEMS that centers on feminine people.
We are continuing our popular series on Quaker artists and feature Lehigh Valley member Joey Hartmann-Dow. Many Friends know Joey from her work on ‘Seeks’ an FCNL comic book on climate issues published two years ago. Others know Joey from Young Adult Friends or the ever-popular Badass Women Calendars that brighten our walls each year.
This is the second in a series of articles about Quakers who’ve impacted the fields of education and contributed to global scientific, medical, political, or economic leadership. The first article was published on September 23 and covered Elise Goulding, Ezra Cornell, and Johns Hopkins.
Nitobe Inazo (1862-1933) was a Japanese Quaker who became the first Under Secretary General for the League of Nations. Nitobe was born into a samurai family on Honshu, the main island of Japan. While in college, he became a Christian and later a Friend. In 1884, He moved to the US for post-graduate studies at Johns Hopkins University. There he began attending Quaker meetings, telling friends, “I very much like their simplicity and earnestness.”
Quaker education has always been grounded in basic principles of the Religious Society of Friends. Each child has that of God within, and Friends’ education is centered in truth, practical learning, scientific inquiry, simplicity, and concern for civic society.
Quakers have a long history of questioning power and engaging in social action for human rights and peace. Today, many Quaker schools or Quaker affiliated institutions of higher education frame their learning environments with social or civic responsibilities and define community expectations through the lens of Friends’ values while still honoring the individual.
As the United States grew from colony to nation, the Quakers advocated for and delivered universal pubic education in Pennsylvania, built colleges, and created private Quaker secondary and elementary schools. The motto of the William Penn Charter School; “Good Instruction is Better than Riches” dates back to its founding in 1689 and still serves to describe Friends’ fundamental belief that knowledge outperforms wealth over time.
In the United States, Quakers were key to the founding of Haverford College (Pennsylvania), Guilford College (North Carolina,) Earlham College (Indiana), Swarthmore College (Pennsylvania), Johns Hopkins University (Maryland), Cornell University (New York), and the Wharton School of University of Pennsylvania (Pennsylvania). All that does not mean that Quakers were perfect. As we see in the stories below, the were human and also strongly influenced by their own time and place.
The Nobel Prize was created through under Alfred Nobel’s November 1895 will. The bulk of Nobel’s fortune endowed a novel effort to award prizes in the fields of Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature and Peace, and the inaugural award was made in 1901.
Friends throughout history have made significant contributions in the fields of science, medicine, peace, art, manufacturing and industry, and economics (to name a few). Some of these Quakers, like Henry Cadbury–who accepted the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of Quaker relief work done through AFSC–are well known to Quakers today. [Read more…] about Quaker Nobel Prize Winners: Emily Greene Balch, Philip Noel-Baker, Joseph Taylor, William Vickrey
Today, Quakers are known to be actively involved in the creative and performing arts community; they are artists, actors, musicians, and lend their meetinghouses for art shows and performances.
It wasn’t always like this–George Fox (whose powerful vocal ministry sparked the Quaker faith in 1652) was against ornamentation in religion and viewed it as a distraction. Theater, dance, and musical performances were seen as leading Friends away from an investment in faith and virtuous reflection.
Over the years, that reality has evolved. Among many respected artists, Quaker artists have made a pronounced impact in their fields with their artistic abilities.