Introducing the Classes of 2019

From community service projects that spanned all 11 neighborhoods in the City of Geneva, to a tour of downtown and a “LOVE Geneva” lunch hosted on campus, first-year and transfer students were welcomed and immersed in both the HWS and Geneva communities through Orientation 2015.

The 635 new Statesmen and Herons in the Classes of 2019 hail from 35 states and 18 countries as far away as Thailand, Lithuania, Rwanda, the Czech Republic and China. Approximately 45 percent of the Classes enrolled through Early Decision, with 40 percent receiving scholar awards.

The incoming Classes have the highest average high school grade point average of any classes at the Colleges (3.49) and represent 445 high schools. A culturally diverse group (about 20 percent are multicultural), the Classes of 2019 include 118 incoming “legacies,” one of the largest numbers of students in recent years who have a parent, sibling, aunt or uncle who is an alum or current student.

Convocation Kicks Off Academic Year

Celebrated on the first day of classes, Convocation marked the beginning of the 2015-2016 academic year and included a keynote address by HWS Board Chair Maureen Collins Zupan ’72, P’09, as well as remarks from: Professor of Art and Architecture Nicholas Ruth, recipient of the 2014-2015 Faculty Prize for Scholarship; Title IX Coordinator Susan Lee; HWS Chaplain Maurice Charles; and Student Trustees Max Gorton ’16 and Nicole O’Connell ’16.

In her keynote Convocation address, HWS Board Chair Maureen Collins Zupan ’72, P’09 urged students to expand their horizons at HWS. “My challenge to you is to do so by being uncomfortable,” she said. “You are going to do it by taking some courses you think you couldn’t possibly like or benefit from. You are going to do it by joining a club or activity that you have never tried before. You are going to spend time getting to really know at least one of your professors every term.”

Professor of Art and Architecture Nicholas Ruth asked students to “challenge the assumptions you have been raised with.” He noted that there are two good reasons to do so: “…one, by recognizing how what you take for granted makes you a person of privilege, you will become a more compassionate person; and, two, relying less on all the mental categories that tell you how something should work puts you and your senses back in charge, so you - with a sense of discovery and wonder - can figure out how it does work....”

“At the time of its passage Title IX challenged our culture and caused an uproar, mainly about athletics,” Title IX Coordinator Susan Lee said. “Then we thought that Title IX protected women. Now we know Title IX protects the rights of men, women and people of all genders, of all gender expressions and gender identities, and people of all sexual orientations.”

“Hobart and William Smith and Geneva as a whole are communities built on small gestures that matter,” HWS Chaplain Maurice Charles said. “We invite you to create your own gestures of hospitality, to help us widen the circle of friendship, and yes, even to challenge us on those unfortunate occasions when we fail to live up to our highest values.”

Click here to read the transcripts of all Convocation speeches.


Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.