More than 1,000 graduates and their family members returned to Hobart and William Smith for Reunion 2012 and what was, by all accounts, the most successful Reunion in the Colleges’ history.
The highlight of the weekend was the on-campus celebration of Campaign for the Colleges (see page 6 for coverage of the Lincoln Center celebration). The campus gala took place in Bristol Field House on Saturday night welcoming all Reunion attendees to a dinner and program that commemorat- ed the largest capital campaign undertaken in HWS history.
“Tonight we are truly celebrating the transformative difference that philanthropy can make in the lives of others,” said President Mark D. Gearan in his welcoming address.
Gearan spoke to the accomplishments of the Campaign - including the numerous scholarships, honors and awards earned by the current student body - commending alums for their continued commitment to the education of students. He singled out Chair Emeritus of the Board of Trustees L. Thomas Melly ‘52, L.H.D. ‘02, celebrating his 60th Reunion, for his leadership. “No one has done more for these Colleges than Tom who, through a lifetime of dedication, has served his alma mater with grace and pride.”
Gearan went on to reflect on the contributions of all alums. “This is really a celebration of all of you, our alumni and alumnae, who, through your good work in your careers and as engaged members of your communities, lead lives of consequence,” remarked Gearan. “You are role models for our students, and it is you who continue to motivate us to make these Colleges a better place for generations to come.”
Cynthia Fults Burke ‘87 spoke about her dedication to the Colleges, her support for athletics and her connection with Hobart and William Smith. “What started as a decision to attend William Smith has turned into a lifetime of belonging to this community,” said Burke, noting she benefited from the Colleges’ exceptional athletics programs and facilities. “I support Hobart and William Smith because it’s my way to say ‘thank you:’ thank you to a place that did so much for me.”
Actor Christopher McDonald ‘77 expressed his gratitude for the Colleges, crediting his time and education for getting him where he is today. “Hobart and William Smith changed my life,” said McDonald. Although he entered the Colleges with the intention of becoming a dentist, an acting class selected on a whim forever-altered the course of his life. The class led to numer- ous productions in the Little Theater, the important mentorship of professors like E.E. Griffith and countless hours spent rehearsing with the Koshare Dance Collective.
“These experiences very much changed me,” said McDonald. “Had I not stepped into that theater, into that dance studio, I would not have known what I could do. I have such gratitude for these Colleges. They gave me such confidence, and allowed me to talk to anyone, to do anything.”
Interim Provost and Professor of Economics Pat McGuire HON’10, L.H.D.’12 shared his own gratitude for the Campaign, speaking to his more than 40 years on campus learning from faculty, staff and students alike. McGuire commended the continued dedication of the Colleges’ alums.
“These Colleges have benefited from the generosity and care of their graduates with scholarship support to current students, endowed chairs for current faculty and outstanding facilities,” said McGuire. “I see you, our graduates, as the proof of our amazing ability to face the future.”