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Gift Planning

The James A. Michener Legacy Circle

The James A. Michener Legacy Circle logoThe James A. Michener Legacy Circle honors alumni, parents, and friends of the College who have made a gift to Swarthmore that matures in the future or lasts in perpetuity. We invite members to special receptions on campus.

If you have helped build the future of Swarthmore with a gift through a will, trust, IRA account, 401(k), 403(b), life insurance policy, or life-income gift—or if you have made a qualifying gift to an endowment fund—you are invited to become a James A. Michener Legacy Circle member. Please contact Renée P. Atkinson, Director of Gift Planning, submit an application online, or download and print a paper application [pdf].

About James A. Michener
An orphan from a small town in Pennsylvania, James A. Michener ’29 arrived at Swarthmore College in 1925 on a scholarship. He went on to become one of America’s most popular and beloved writers. The best-selling author of more than 40 novels, short story collections, and works of nonfiction, Michener is perhaps best known for his Pulitzer Prize-winning Tales of the South Pacific—which was subsequently adapted into the classic Broadway musical and Oscar-winning film South Pacific.

Michener felt indebted to Swarthmore for his education and the opportunities it provided him. Among the College’s first to graduate with highest honors in English, Michener credited the academic rigor of the honors program with preparing him to compose his impeccably researched, multi-generational stories. He also drew on the Quaker values instilled in him at Swarthmore, frequently tackling themes of racial injustice and societal inequalities in his work. Demonstrating his commitment to social progress, Michener provided the funds to transform Robinson House from a faculty residence/dorm into the Swarthmore Black Cultural Center in 1970.

Upon his passing in 1997, Michener left Swarthmore College the bulk of his estate (valued at approximately $10 million) as well as the royalties and copyrights to 43 of his books. These royalties, especially from South Pacific, continue to provide the College with a steady revenue stream.


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