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Fencing's Arnstein honored with Ambler Award

HAVERFORD, Pa. – Senior Daniel Arnstein was presented with the William W. Ambler Award at a ceremony on the Haverford College campus on Thursday evening.

Arnstein is the third fencing athlete and the second psychology major to receive the prestigious award.

The William W. Ambler Award honors the senior athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average. To win the award, a student must have participated in at least one sport throughout his/her college career, achieved “starting status” before graduation and demonstrated commitment, sportsmanship and leadership.

Arnstein, from Bronx, N.Y., and The Riverdale Country School, has been fully involved in all aspects of the Haverford community over the past four years. From his outstanding work in the classroom, to the fencing strip and his work in numerous clubs and activities, he has excelled in all fields. “Dan was clearly the nicest and most welcoming kid on the team when I arrived here,” said his head coach Chris Spencer.

Dan’s dedication as a student has earned him the praises of his advisor, Rebecca Compton. “What makes Dan exceptional, I think, are two main characteristics,” Compton explains. “One is that he is incredibly inquisitive and second, he is very ambitious in his work. He has tremendous intellectual curiosity that fuels him to expand his knowledge base and skills.”

Compton thinks Arnstein’s approach is what helps him excel. “He audits classes for fun, on top of a full course load, and he often asks probing questions in class; he likes to push the limits of what is known.”

In addition to his rigorous study and fencing schedules, Arnstein finds time to be active in the Haverford community. He is a member of the editorial board for the Haverford Journal, a publication of student essays in the humanities and social sciences. We solicit submissions from Haverford students, select the best (entries), edit them, publish them, and distribute the Journal to the student body,” said Arnstein.

Dan is also a writing tutor, psychology club member and participant in intramural basketball and the mixed martial arts club, which he said helped him get into shape for the fencing season.

On the fencing strip, Dan had an 86-65 career record. His sophomore year at the NCAA Regional, Dan defeated Benjamin Igoe of Rutgers, who was a first-team All-American that year. Dan qualified for the NCAA Regionals three times, missing qualification his senior year only because he deferred many bouts to younger sabrists. “This year, we had an abundance of sabre fencers and Dan could have competed in more bouts, but allowed younger teammates to take his place and gain experience because he understood how it would benefit the team in the future,” Spencer explained.

Bill Ambler epitomized the scholar-athlete. He graduated from Haverford in 1949 with honors in mathematics, having been a starting tackle on the last undefeated football team in 1942. Despite his lack of bulk, a teammate once said of him, “When Bill hit you, you stayed hit.” Originally in the Class of 1945, Bill left Haverford to perform alternative service as a conscientious objector in World War II.

After graduation, Bill taught math at Oakwood School and was admission officer at the University of Pennsylvania when Director of Admission Archibald MacIntosh ’21 asked him to return to Haverford as his assistant in 1956. Bill was named Associate Director of Admission in 1960, then Director upon “Mac’s” retirement in 1965. He himself retired in 1987, was honored by Haverford with an Honorary Degree in 1991, and died in 1995 soon after his 50th class reunion. No one who knew him will ever forget Bill’s piercing blue eyes, his spiritual depth, his interest in everyone he interviewed, and his love of Haverford.


The Strawbridge Observatory at Haverford College houses 12-inch and 16-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes which are actively used by students in Haverford astronomy classes.

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