Nancy Nowak Rutherford '71

Upstate New York William Smith Regional Vice President

Rochester, N.Y.
Retired English Teacher

William Smith Congress
Hirshson House President
Club Volleyball
Club Lacrosse
Retired English Teacher
Majors: English/Education

Why did you choose Hobart and William Smith Colleges? My mother, who did not go to college, used to go to dances at the Colleges during WWII (soldiers were housed in the three men's dorms on the Quad.) She thought it was beautiful and encouraged me to apply. I researched it, found out that it was a very good college, and made a visit. Once I saw it and took a tour with an enthusiastic guide, I never looked at another college. My heart was set on William Smith.

How do you stay connected to the Colleges? I try to attend all of the local William Smith Chapter events. I have helped organize my class reunions for many years, and I was president of the William Smith Alumnae Association. I have gone on one alumni trip (to Peru) and intend to go on the alumni trip to Ireland in the spring. As an alumna, I can take classes for free. Being local, I took advantage of it a few years ago and took Spanish!

What makes the Colleges special? The size. It is such an intimate place that I was able to get to know most of my classmates (at that time, my graduating class was only 90 women!) and my professors, who, in those years, lived right near campus. I remember Professor of English Katy Cook lived right near Superdorm (Jackson/Potter/Reese) and would have students over regularly. Additionally, the curriculum was and still is wonderful. I got a great education. Also, the uniqueness of being a coordinate college makes HWS special. William Smith has its own identity as a women's college, but is so tightly linked with Hobart. When I took courses as an alumna student in my 50's, the students were so kind, friendly, helpful and just generally welcoming. They'd hold the doors for me (maybe they thought I was a professor!), smile, say 'hello'. In current times, President Mark D. Gearan also makes HWS special. I was active in the Alumnae Association when he (and wife, Mary) first came to the Colleges to be interviewed. Although he not had a background in academia, he was so impressive! The improvement in town/gown relations during his tenure is remarkable. His emphasis on public service and diversity makes me proud that HWS graduates make the world a better place.

Why do you give back to HWS? I feel that I 'owe' them. I received a wonderful education and made some of the best friends I'll ever have. I am enriched in some way each time I visit the Colleges.

What are your goals as a Regional Network volunteer? To get more alumni and alumnae to realize how invaluable their education was and still can be with continued involvement with the Colleges.

What advice would you give to an incoming or current HWS student?  Get involved! Be it in sports, school politics, or volunteer activities. Study hard, but step outside the classroom, too, and go to the concerts, lectures, and happenings on campus. The Colleges have so much to offer, take advantage! Don't be shy. Get to know your professors. It's one of the huge advantages of a small college, and I regret not having done more of it.


Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.