Liz McFarlane ’89

Southeast Development Coordinator

Associate Executive Director for University Development, NC State University
Kittrell, NC

William Smith Congress
The Herald,
GLBTNetwork (founding member)
TA, Sociology
Study Abroad, Scotland

Major: Sociology

Why did you choose Hobart and William Smith Colleges? I chose William Smith because when I had my admissions visit, the young woman who took my mom and me around was the most poised, engaging, energetic, empowered, and knowledgeable college junior I had ever met. She had just returned from a study abroad experience in Switzerland and was still bubbling over with excitement and gratitude. As we were walking back to the car to go home, I said to my mother, "If this place can turn me into someone like her, this is where I want to be." My choice was confirmed when I had emergency surgery midway through my first year and the surgeon, hospital staff at Geneva General, and William Smith administration made sure I (and my parents) were well taken care of. 

How do you stay connected to the Colleges? I stay connected by re-connecting with my sophomore year roommates and friends, by avidly reading The Pulteney Street Survey, by reading the alumni blog and e-newsletter, by participating as a volunteer and as a donor.

What makes the Colleges special? The Colleges are special because they have a rich history, a visionary and brilliant current president, a diverse student body and alumni population, a rich curriculum that exposes students to everything from the finest classics to the opportunity to do real world research on things that matter, and much more. The Colleges are special to me, personally, because I feel like I incubated my authentic self there. After all this time, I recognize that many of the life skills I employ now I learned at HWS.

Why do you give back to HWS? I give back to HWS because it's special to me, because I'm a professional fundraiser and I am intimately aware of every non-profit's needs, because I celebrate my experiences there, and because I believe in the mission and future of HWS.

What are your goals as a Regional Network volunteer? My goals as a Regional Network volunteer are to deepen my attachment to HWS, to make a difference, to support something I believe in, to establish or enhance connections with other volunteers and HWS staffers.

What advice would you give to an incoming or current HWS student? The advice I'd give to students is to get involved. Try new things. Get out of your comfort zone. Make new friends. Take risks. Find mentors. Be a mentor. Discover Geneva. Establish deep connections with faculty, staff, community leaders...these contacts are priceless later in life. Above all, be nice to everyone. It comes back to you tenfold. Trust me.


Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.