Located in the heart of the Finger Lakes Region, Geneva, N.Y. has been host to the Colleges for nearly two centuries- a city that has welcomed our students, supported our efforts and advanced our mission. But for many Hobart and William Smith Colleges alumni and alumnae, the region is simply home.
Geneva High School and Hobart College graduate Shaynon Gramling '13 finds success in the Big Apple.
by John Martin
Shaynon Gramling '13 may be working in the big time—his New York City employer, Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services, closed more transactions for private and institutional investors in 2012 than any other firm in the city—but he still gushes about life as a kid in a small town.
"I have so many great memories from growing up in Geneva," he says. "We have a big lake, and I think that's the main reason I liked it so much. From swimming, jet skiing, boating and tubing, to barbecues and dock parties, Seneca Lake is a major part of Geneva that brings people together."
Gramling was a standout athlete at Geneva High School. His senior year in the high jump, he won league and sectionals and jumped 6'3" at States, good for second place. "I had a great coach, Mark Pitifer '83," he says. "He was a Hobart grad and was very inspirational."
Pitifer called Gramling "Predator," because he was never afraid to go after his goals. Gramling thrived on that kind of support. "Growing up in Geneva has helped me build confidence," he says. "The people I have in my life there, including my parents, are very supportive and encouraging. They want to see me succeed, and I do not want to let them down. This makes me work harder, and forces me to never give up on my goals."
When Gramling was a junior in high school, he had an opportunity to attend the HWS Summer Academy. Now in its tenth year, the HWS Summer Academy welcomes to campus some of Geneva High School's brightest students for a two-week intensive learning program that encourages them to maintain interest in education and pursue college upon graduation.
He worked closely with Horace Allen '85, founder and chief executive officer of LegacyCreators, which seeks to help under represented men of color succeed. "He was an academic coach for me," Gramling says. "We had our meetings on campus."
As a high school student, Gramling sat in classrooms with Assistant Professor of Philosophy Rodmon King and Associate Professor of English Laurence Erussard and decided then and there that Hobart was the right place for him. "I applied Early Decision," says Gramling.
Gramling received an endowed scholarship from the Geneva Scholarship Associates, a community-driven organization that provides financial support to academically and financially deserving Geneva High School graduates.
Gramling received a bachelor of arts in public policy. "I have great memories from being an HWS student," he says. "I made so many friends. The great thing about being from Geneva was that I was able to show my HWS friends the things Geneva has to offer. I was able to introduce my friends from both sides, town and college, to each other."
Gramling had worked at the Geneva YMCA during his senior year in high school—where he made a lifelong friend, his boss, Tiffany Sculli '04, a William Smith alumna. He continued to work at the Y during college. "I helped my boss create and run a couple of exercise classes. I also helped at the Boys & Girls Club, and at my grandfather's church."
Now, he's thinking of lending a hand to his hometown again. "I'm learning so much about the commercial real estate industry, and I want to use this to help Geneva become an even better place than it is now," Gramling says. "I believe that developing the city will attract more investors and small business owners that will help keep downtown alive. I would also like to see many more affordable activities for youth, because not every family in Geneva can afford to pay for their kids to do things. One of my biggest goals is to be successful enough to help fund these activities, and to help to continue to develop Geneva."
Tracking The Renaissance