ULI Philadelphia Blog

Five Minutes with a Finalist: Swarthmore College

ULI PHL’s 5th Annual Willard G. “Bill” Rouse III Awards for Excellence finalists represent superior development projects in the greater Philadelphia region that embody the ULI mission of pushing the standard of excellence in real estate and land use and creating sustainable, thriving communities.

Susan Smythe, Senior Project Manager for the Facilities Management Department of Swarthmore College joins us for this week’s “Five Minutes with a Finalist”. Swarthmore College has been recognized as a finalist for New Palmer, Pittenger and Roberts Residence Hall. Here’s what she had to say:

Who has had the greatest influence on your career and what was the best advice he or she gave you?

I can’t think of one single person – I have come to this work somewhat late in life, after a career in theater management and production. But if I had to name one person, it would be Stuart Hain, who was VP of Facilities here for a long time, and gave me this new opportunity.  I guess what I admired in Stu, and I’ve tried to adopt it as well, is to really greet each person where they are – and listen.

What are you most excited about in the Philadelphia area and region?

I am very excited to see the influx of younger people into the city – especially after we’ve been losing population for so long, and excited to see projects featuring re-use, and interesting developments like the growth of urban farming.

As a ULI PHL Awards nominee, what makes you most proud of your project?

One of the best things about this project is the incredible synergy that developed between athletics and student life and the architects in the design of this building.  We were originally nervous about the proposed siting next to the baseball field, that it would be seen as a big detriment to athletics, but instead it really did turn into an opportunity.

The new field, complete with new back wall and viewing terrace has become a huge focal point on campus, and the team has gone on this season to win their first conference championship ever.

Digsau was a terrific collaborator in this, and the result really serves not only the students living in the building, but the entire community, and has really helped build community.

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