January 11, 2000
More than 2,000 people - members of the Hobart and William Smith Colleges students body, HWS faculty and staff members, and community members - witnessed a stimulating conversation about public service between First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton and HWS students on the campus of Hobart and William Smith. The First Lady first listened to students who had been active in community service on campus and then chatted with them about what that experience meant to them and how it enhanced their liberal arts education.
Members of the audience also engaged in the conversation, eager to elicit from the First Lady her ideas about a variety of public service and other issues. Mrs. Clinton was joined on stage by Hobart and William Smith President Mark D. Gearan, William Smith senior Jennifer Leshnower and Hobart Senior Michael Harms. The two students were selected due to their extensive community service work.
Mrs. Clinton told those assembled that service is at the core of who we are as Americans. She compared American society to a three-legged stool and said while government and economics were two vital legs that the third leg was what we call 'civil society' -- faith, family, friends, and our commitment to one another.
"The unique third leg of the stool is what America pioneered. It is those habits of the heart that really make us Americans," said Mrs. Clinton.
President Gearan introduced the First Lady as the first in a series of invited guests he'll bring to campus as part of his new "President's Forum" series, which is designed to bring a variety of speakers to share their ideas with students, faculty, and staff. He also took the opportunity to introduce several members of the community seated in the audience to Mrs. Clinton.
"Introducing Mrs. Clinton to the campus community and community at large was a great privilege," said Gearan. "But it was equally as gratifying to introduce this community to the First Lady. My hope is that all the speakers in this series will experience the vibrancy of life at the Colleges," said Gearan.