PSS

“Women Moving Women Up” at Founder’s Day

by Avery Share ’15

Dr. Fay M. Butler ’84 (left), senior director of enrollment management at LaGuardia
Community College, Kendall Walton Farrell ’92 (center), executive director of
Bottomless Closet, and Board Chair and financial analyst Maureen Collins Zupan ’72,
P’09 (right) discussed the legacy of strength and leadership that alumnae share.

During the annual Founder’s Day events in December, the HWS community came together to celebrate the history of William Smith College and the legacy of strength and leadership alumnae share. The Founder’s Day discussion panel, moderated by Maureen Collins Zupan ’72, P’09, chair of the HWS Board of Trustees, featured alumnae who, as Dean of William Smith College Catherine Gallouët stated, exemplify “what it means today to live in accordance to the values that matter most.” They included Kendall Walton Farrell ’92, executive director of Bottomless Closet, and Dr. Fay M. Butler ’84, senior director of enrollment management at LaGuardia Community College and a social media strategist, author and pastor.

“You may not realize the impact this place has on you until you’re gone, but there were a number of different communities that impacted me when I was here,” Butler said. “I played sports, so I had that community. I was an African American student so I had that community. I was fortunate enough to connect with people in the Geneva community. And what I didn’t realize at the time was the impact that seeing strong women in leadership roles all the time, every day, had on me.”

Acknowledging the uncertainties life has in store, Farrell urged William Smith students to “be true to yourselves.... If you have something you really want, go for it, but your life will most likely take a different path of how you get to where you want it to be,” she explained. “You have to be true to yourself and you’ll find your way, and eventually where you need to be.”

During the discussion, Butler, Farrell and Zupan drew on their own experiences in the workplace and in their personal lives to empower the youngest generation of William Smith women to become the nation’s next great leaders. As Zupan said simply, William Smith students and graduates “change the world.”

President of William
Smith Congress Kim
Gutierrez ’17

President of William Smith Congress Kim Gutierrez ’17 spoke about how the history of the College impacts the current community of William Smith women.

“William Smith has changed a great deal since 1908, just as women in the past 11 decades have changed society’s expectations of them,” she said. “...there’s a sisterhood of William Smith women. It’s preserved not just through current students but also through the histories of the women who have attended here, and that’s inspiring to be a part of.”

“The past informs the present,” said President Mark D. Gearan, who provided the opening address. “My reflection is that we are current stewards of a proud heritage of someone who thought in innovative ways of activism, bringing his perspective into reality with the founding of this college.”

Earlier that afternoon, Butler, Farrell and Zupan also attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the launch of the Colleges’ new Career Closet, a supply of professional attire available to HWS students in need of appropriate clothing for job or internship interviews. The closet was inspired by Farrell’s work with Bottomless Closet in New York City. Bottomless Closet works to reduce the barriers many women face in the search for employment as it also supports and educates women at all levels of their career trajectories.

Throughout the week leading up to Founder’s Day, William Smith Congress held a number of events for HWS students to celebrate the establishment of the College and pay tribute to its founder, nurseryman and philanthropist William Smith.

 

Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.