President Mark D. Gearan at his desk in Coxe Hall.
In my role at Hobart and William Smith, I have the good fortune to know a number of students who have had impressive careers at the Colleges, excelling in academics and athletics, and committed to civic engagement and global perspectives. My colleagues in Alumni House report that in 14 years at HWS, I have handed diplomas to about 5,600 Hobart and William Smith graduates who are now working in every possible field around the world as architects, doctors, teachers, lawyers, Peace Corps volunteers and business leaders, among others. Many of these former students return to campus to visit during Reunion or to assist current students with career advice. Others, when making an Annual Fund gift or volunteering for Admissions, pick up the phone or send an e-mail to let us know how they are doing. And in traveling across the country, I often have wonderful discussions with these young men and women at HWS events and – you’d be surprised how often – at airports.
I always ask each one the same question: how well prepared do you feel? Without exception, the responses are an affirmation of the liberal arts education we are offering at Hobart and William Smith, one that no matter the major or career trajectory emphasizes critical thinking and effective communication, quantitative reasoning and scientific inquiry, artistic expression and global understanding, and social justice and ethical judgment. In my conversations with these alumni and alumnae, I am reminded of their great promise as well as the grave responsibility we have to them and to future generations to ensure that the Colleges are positioned for success.
The future of Hobart and William Smith relies heavily on the philanthropy of alums and parents, our ability to attract and retain exceptional students, our capacity to offer competitive financial aid packages, our agility in evolving an innovative curriculum, and the degree to which we can create a stimulating environment for teaching, learning and collaboration.
In the complex equation that makes up an organization like Hobart and William Smith Colleges, it is the people who are fundamental to our future. So in this issue of the magazine, we profile some of the faculty, staff and coaches who are devoting their lives to students. These are just a few of the many people who inspire, teach and mentor our students, providing them with the counsel and instruction necessary to explore the world and prepare for lives of consequence.
As part of the article “HWS at Work,” my office as well as the offices of Professor of Sociology Jack Harris, Associate Professor of Education Mary Kelly and Professor of Dance Cynthia Williams were photographed to provide a glimpse of colleagues at work. As you will observe, the creativity, successful careers and commitment to students is evident in the three faculty members’ offices. In my office, the Pulteney Street Survey editor asked students in the course I co-taught last semester to reflect on an item for this magazine. I was delighted to see that their selections also have great meaning to me: the drawing of my family by my then seven-year old daughter Kathleen or the letter from Sargent Shriver, the first director of the Peace Corps, congratulating me on legislation that was approved. The article “HWS at Work” is a testament to the talent and commitment of our faculty and staff. Each day they work hard to maximize the student experience and the articles in this magazine provide an interesting window into the lives of some of our valued colleagues.
With every best wish, I remain
Mark D. Gearan