Southeast William Smith Regional Vice President
Residential Advisor and Head RA
Program Director, WEOS
William Smith Representative, Fraternity Accreditation Review Board
Why did you choose Hobart and William Smith Colleges? My decision was purely a financial one. I didn't get the chance to visit campus during the admissions process, and didn't set foot in Geneva until after I'd sent in my commitment to attend. The financial aid offer was the most generous offer I received, and I would not have been able to attend without it.
How do you stay connected to the Colleges? I am back on campus at least once a year, and love to see the social media updates from the folks on campus. My friends from college remain among my closest, and we're looking forward to our 15th reunion this summer!
What makes the Colleges special? Colleges are special because they took a chance on me, and I've continued to feel very supported as I take chances in my life and my career. In the years since college, I've been on a number of campuses, and met a lot of folks from a lot of colleges. There are lots of impressive offerings out there, but I have yet to run across another school with the particular chemistry of HWS.
Why do you give back to HWS? I received a lot from HWS that I didn't pay for, and I give because I got so much. I was the beneficiary of an endowed scholarshipin memory of Sylvia Witmer Bissell '68 and in honor of her mother Marian Costello Witmer '32, among other financial aid grants. So there was the actual tuition money, and the investment that alums that I didn't know and will likely never meet made in me. But what I'm really getting at are the varied and meaningful experiences - experiences that you just can't pay for - that I remain convinced would not have occurred but for being at the right place at the right time in my life. I give with the expectation and understanding that my small financial gifts contribute to making those larger experiences possible for the students who come after me.
What are your goals as a Regional Network volunteer? Now that I've been back home in the South for a couple of years, I see that it's harder to get back to campus and harder to stay connected at that distance. I'd love to strengthen the connections to campus that those of us who live further away can enjoy, so that we can feel as linked as we want to be. I'm hoping for more events, and more volunteers who are willing to talk to high school students and their own classmates and older and younger HWS counterparts about their experiences at the Colleges. I'm looking forward to meeting the alums who make their homes in the Southeast, and finding out how I can help them connect them to campus.
What advice would you give to an incoming or current HWS student? The experience is what you make of it. There are so many options to get involved on campus, to engage in the larger community in Geneva and the Finger Lakes, to make connections with alumnae and alumni, to prepare for your career, and really to enjoy an academic environment that now is the time. Don't worry about if you can do it, or how well you can do it, or how it looks to your friends or on your resume - this is one of the only times in your life where you can try out a lot of experiences and academic areas. It's much more difficult to try on a new subject area or a new sport once your other obligations begin to mount.