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A New Steward at Antioch

Antioch is thrilled to be able to welcome Mark Swanholm ’92 back to the College as Antioch’s new Director of Major Gifts and Annual Giving. Mark joined the Office of Development and Alumni relations in June of 2004 and hopes that he can act as a point of connection for alumni and friends of the College. “I want to translate for others what is going on here and what the College’s needs truly are,” Mark said. “We’ve got a lot of alums who are really interested in being connected with the College. It’s my job to help them figure out how they can have the greatest impact with whatever means they have to give back to the College.”

Mark first came to Antioch in 1988 as a student with his wife Susan Kamins ’92. Both entered Antioch after having attended other colleges for short periods of time. They met while working for Greenpeace and drove around the country, touring colleges where they might make a new home for themselves. “We walked around campus and met a bunch of interesting people, and somewhere in the course of two or three days we decided that this was the place.”

Mark’s experience was evenly distributed between co-op, classroom and community. Mark focused on communications, combining interests in journalism and film. Bob Devine ’67, College Professor, was Mark’s advisor. He worked with Anne Bohlen, Associate Professor of Film & Communications, on his senior project, an ambitious project that he jokes about returning to one day. He served on AdCil, edited the Record and worked for Community Government. His co-ops, he says, were all influential, but when asked which were most memorable he quickly recounts his first co-op in New York City: “I had never been in New York prior to co-op so I had to show up there and find housing. I was working at a school in East Harlem, doing PR for one of our MacArthur winners, Deborah Meier ’54.” Mark helped to publicize Meier’s school, and while the job itself certainly had an impact on Mark, the smaller things also left an impression. “I lived on the upper west side and I walked through Central Park everyday to work. I went to the 92nd street Y. I met Kurt Vonnegut. New York opened up a whole new world to me.”

In the intervening years, between graduation from Antioch and this new position, Mark kept in touch with his faculty advisors. “I didn’t go on to do film but did get in to the Internet. I used a lot of the information from communications classes here to inform how I did work in the field.” Mark started several companies. One of the first big ones was very values led. “Our company did Internet consulting but we also did benefit concerts and promoted community groups. We gave 10% of the profits to nonprofit groups and did non-profit web work for free. The spirit of social entreprenuership we talked about at Antioch really influenced me,” Mark explained.

Directly after graduation Mark and Susan considered graduate school but quickly moved to Boulder, Colorado, where they would stay for several years. Mark’s jobs in Boulder ranged from working in a deli to continuing to work with Greenpeace to working in a copy shop. The copy shop job turned out to be quite a good thing. “It was an independent place and the couple who ran it were entrepreneurs. They dabbled in this and that. It was, for example, the first copy shop to offer printing services over the internet. From there we formed a joint company to promote online auctions.” After that, Mark says he became something of a serial entrepreneur.

Mark points out that Antioch has a lot of alums who are really interested in being connected with the College. It is establishing and renewing these connections that Mark sees as his number one priority, but, as a technologist, he is also interested in seeing Antioch upgrade its technology. “As we look at the Renewal initiatives, technology is going to be a key part of making that work. There is a lot that can be done to help us connect with our alums and other friends out there in the world. We can start to broaden that sense of community.”

Mark will help make sure that the funds you give to the College go to the things you think are the most important: “We are absolutely going to make sure that the stewardship of these gifts is appropriate and we need to make sure we maximize every dollar given. We are looking to the future.” Through trips, emails and publications, Mark has already begun to reach out to the world-wide Antioch community. “Sitting down to talk to people about what they found valuable about their Antioch experience and what they think they could do today to enhance that greater community is a great opportunity.” Antioch, a school that is always trying to reach its full potential, Mark said, is still as innovative as it ever was and as vital to the students as it should be. Visit to make an online donation to Antioch College.

page last updated: August 2, 2004