The Cook Parents Circle gathered for the first time in NYC this past fall with former Trustee Landgon P. L.H.D. ’12 and Lyn Cook P’99, P’05. Standing left to right are: Daniel and Cindy Accordino P’04; Frank J. Fellone ’04; Joseph Carson P’13, P’15; John F. Collins P’72, P’74, P’84, P’90, GP’09, GP’12, HON ’12; Carl and Meredith Doerge, Jr. P’96, P’99, P’06; Phillip and Kathie Harrington P’10; Mark J. Menting and Laura Jean Wilson P’15; Jason Rubin P’13; David Lohuis P’14, P’16; Gerard Buckley P’15; and John B. VanEtten ’73. Sitting left to right are: Debra Carson P’13, P’15; Maureen Collins Zupan ’72, P’09; Langdon and Lyn Cook P’99, P’05, Mark D. Gearan; and Mary Beth Lohuis P’14, P’16.
by Cynthia L. McVey
My generation is much more involved with our children's colleges than our parents were with ours,” says Jerry Buckley P’15, reflecting on his connection with Hobart and William Smith. “The ability to have this kind of involvement has meant so much to me and my wife, Anne.”
The Buckleys are co-chairs of the HWS Parents Executive Committee and are among a growing number of non-alum families who have made cumulative commitments to the Colleges in the amount of $25,000 or more. As such, they are part of the unique and dedicated group recognized as members of The Cook Parents Circle.
Established in 2012 in honor of former Trustee Langdon P. L.H.D. ’12 and Lyn Cook P’99, P’05, themselves the parents of two Hobart men - Whitney ’99 and Freddy ’05, The Cook Parents Circle encourages other families to provide sustained support to HWS. The Cooks were recently responsible for one of the largest donations the Colleges have ever received from non-alum parents. Their exceptional display of generosity reflects the their dedication to Hobart and William Smith as well as the growing role that parents and families are playing in the future of the Colleges.
“To see Lang and Lyn Cook’s commitment to the Colleges is gratifying and motivating,” adds Buckley, who is CEO of The Pennsylvania SPCA.
For Joseph Carson and his wife Debra, the relationship with HWS was established via their elder son Jordan ’13, and continues with his brother Brandon ’15.
“HWS offers a challenging curriculum and an opportunity to live and learn in an active community, as well as to think about one’s self and others,” explains Carson. “It is a perfect fit for the boys.”
As senior vice president of global economic research for Alliance Bernstein, Carson has also hosted HWS students as part of the annual New York City Finance Experience trip. “We saw what HWS was doing for our boys and wanted other students to have the opportunity,” Carson explains about the decision to support the Colleges financially and through career outreach. “This is an excellent way to ensure that the Colleges can continue their mission.”
For the Buckleys, daughter Madeline ’15 is the first child to attend HWS, but Jerry grew up in Geneva and the family returns often to a house on Seneca Lake. A number of other family members attended the Colleges, including his aunt, Catherine Buckley, who graduated in 1937.
He explains that William Smith was Madeline’s first and only choice, partly because of the soccer program, and he and Anne have formed friendships through the team. Numerous trips to home- and away- games and dinners with parents, players and coaches afterward have helped form a bond. So much so, he notes, that the end of Madeline’s first season left many parents of younger students realizing they were going to miss the graduating seniors’ parents as much as the students would miss each other.
The Buckleys also know from experience with their older children, Rebecca, who graduated from Boston College, and Dillon, who will graduate in May from Amherst College, that parents feel some sense of loss amidst the pride and happiness when their children graduate from college.
“Hobart and William Smith have been a big part of our lives,” says Buckley. “The idea of The Cook Parents Circle is wonderful because when your kids graduate from college, there’s that bittersweet feeling for parents. You’ve come to love a place and value the relationships you’ve made and, in many ways, you don’t want it to end. The Cook Parents Circle is a way to extend that from a financial perspective but also an emotional level.”