University South Carolina Alumna Becomes National Park’s First Female Superintendent

University of South Carolina geography alumna Tracy Swartout, ’95, comes home as the Blue Ridge Parkway National Park’s first female superintendent. For eight-and-half years, Swartout was deputy superintendent at Mount Rainier National Park in Washington. But the Columbia, South Carolina, native began her National Park Service career at Congaree National Park, outside Columbia, and she has been a regular visitor to the scenic 469-mile Blue Ridge Parkway her whole life. “Even when I went to USC, I’d go backpacking and I’d go rock climbing with friends from Columbia and we’d use the parkway — we’d go over to the Smokies, we’d go to Pisgah,” she explains. “Even when I went away to grad school in Canada and I brought Canadian friends home with me, we drove the parkway. It’s sort of always been a touchstone in my life.”