PSS

Three New Leaders Join HWS

by Avery Share ’15 and Steve Bodnar

Hobart and William Smith began the fall semester welcoming three individuals to leadership positions at the Colleges: The Rev. D. Maurice Charles, Chaplain of the Colleges; Susan Lee, Title IX Coordinator; and Carolee White, Vice President for Finance and Chief Financial Officer.

“We welcome these new colleagues to the Colleges with excitement and enthusiasm,” says President Mark D. Gearan. “As they begin their roles with us, I am inspired by the legacies of their predecessors and by the strong visions that Rev. Charles, Susan Lee and Carolee White bring to campus. With substantial expertise and knowledge, they have already added significantly to our community.”

Rev. D. Maurice Charles, Chaplain.

MAKING SPACE

Initially drawn to Hobart and William Smith for its commitment to community service and civic engagement, Rev. D. Maurice Charles has many years of ministry experience in Episcopal and American Baptist churches in San Francisco and the Midwest. He previously served six years as Associate Dean for Religious Life at Stanford University. A scholar as well as a pastor, Charles has a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and has taught graduate and undergraduate courses at Stanford, the University of Chicago, Northwestern University and Case Western Reserve University.

“I have been moved by the dedication and passion of members of the Hobart and William Smith community. I believe I have found a new home among some of the most committed, intelligent, hardworking people I have met in an institution of higher learning,” Charles says. “I look forward to partnering with this community that so clearly embodies the highest values, where social, academic and community space is used to enhance discussions on many of the topics I hold dear - race, class, gender, sexuality and religion.”

Following the retirement of The Rev. Lesley Adams HON’12, HON’15, D.D.’15 at the end of the spring semester, Charles began his appointment in July, arriving to the Chaplain’s home on South Main Street with pasta dishes in hand (he has maintained Adams’ popular Pasta Night tradition). “I’m concentrating on making space, not only for people to have one-on-one conversations about change and crisis, but also challenging conversations about difference, whether that be religious difference, gender difference or racial difference,” he explains.

His track record in this work is noteworthy. For the impact he made on both the individuals he mentored and the community as a whole at Stanford University, Charles was recognized with the Black Community Service Center Mentor Award and the Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Community Center Service Award. Colleges and universities, Charles believes, are places where “dissent is valued and where the clash of ideas can happen,” as students are given the opportunity to fully express their perspectives both in the classroom and within the campus community.

Inspired by his readings of the founding and history of the Colleges, Charles worked with students, faculty and staff prior to the start of the academic year to change the name of the Office of Religious Life to the Office of Spiritual Engagement. “The diversity of attitudes toward religion and spirituality is embodied in the founders, both of whom had a unique orientation toward organized religion,” Charles says.

Susan Lee, Title IX Coordinator.

SPEAKING UP

“Speak up. Be a leader. Create a future where the thought of sexual violence and relationship violence occurring anywhere would be absurd. Create a future where the thought of racist, misogynist and homophobic cultures would be absurd.”

During her address at Convocation, Susan Lee, the new Title IX Coordinator, asked students to consider how they might contribute to the enhancement of a culture of respect. She challenged them to become change agents and to keep in mind the impact that Title IX has had on women’s rights. She asked them to contemplate the significance of the bystander intervention training they had just completed during Orientation, and how it focused on empowering students to take a stand against sexual violence.

Lee’s remarks at Convocation introduced the campus to her role with the Office of Title IX Programs and Compliance and served as a moment to share her background and vision. Succeeding Interim Title IX Coordinator Dr. Stacey Pierce who has returned to the Division of Student Affairs, Lee joined HWS last summer, overseeing Title IX compliance, education and prevention initiatives for sexual violence and gender-based misconduct. Lee has since met with hundreds of students, faculty, staff and parents to address concerns and facilitate education and prevention efforts. She works to ensure that policies and practices meet compliance and best practices standards while cultivating a respectful, compassionate and gender-equitable environment.

“As a community, we have the opportunity to work together to advance a culture of respect through the support of Title IX programs, education and outreach, campus wide initiatives and resources,” Lee says. “We have the chance to build upon the work that’s taken place across campus, address challenges and continue the meaningful engagement happening at Hobart and William Smith.”

Informed by more than two decades of experience – including working in city government for fair housing, lobbying for the League of Women Voters and most recently serving as Director of Affirmative Action and Campus Diversity at Indiana University, South Bend – Lee brings to the Colleges a passion for advocacy and significant expertise in Title IX. Previously, she served at the University of Denver as director of the Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity and the University of Arizona as assistant director of the Affirmative Action Office and ADA Coordinator. A graduate of the Indiana University School of Law, the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs and the Purdue University School of Nursing, Lee brings a strong background of investigative, legal and interpersonal skills.

Carolee White, Vice President for Finance and Chief Financial Officer.

CHALLENGING PERSPECTIVES

After serving Colgate University in nearly every financial and business capacity imaginable over the past 20 years, Carolee White has developed what she calls “a liberal arts approach” to managing the widely varying and complex responsibilities of a vice president for finance and chief financial officer.

“A liberal arts education teaches you the very important skill of being able to appreciate someone else’s perspective but also to think critically and be comfortable challenging perspectives,” says White. “That’s a lot of what I do in my position.”

White is responsible for all financial operations including the business office, annual operating budget and capital project financing. She works closely with the Colleges’ Investment Committee to execute and monitor the endowment investment portfolio. She’s also responsible for the Colleges’ external contract with Sodexo for buildings, grounds, and dining services, the College Store, Conferences and Events, and the William Scandling research vessel.

“I feel a deep responsibility to ensure that we are doing everything possible to give students rewarding academic experiences as we also balance the cost of that kind of high touch education with the financial pressures that students and their families face,” she explains. “It’s my job to ensure we are farsighted stewards of the Colleges’ finances and that we are spending funds today in ways that make sense and align with our mission.”

A certified public accountant, White earned her B.S. in accounting from Syracuse University and worked at the accounting firm Coopers and Lybrand. At Colgate, White was associate vice president for finance and assistant treasurer, and served for six months as interim vice president for finance. Responsible for buying and selling real estate and issuing bonds, she also worked closely with advancement on stewarding gifts for the endowment and with attorneys on compliance related issues. She succeeds Peter Polinak who retired in June.

“Students, alums and families have to have confidence in the Colleges,” White says. “If alums are confident in the president, the senior staff, the faculty and the institution as a whole, they’re going to want to stay connected and help other students have the same or better experience than they had. It starts from the day a prospective student visits campus. We have to do everything in our power to give our students the best four years possible. I hope that all students feel they benefited from their time at the Colleges, so much so that they want to make sure HWS continues to be a vibrant place for students to be educated for years to come.”

 

Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.