The foundation of the liberal arts is the belief that education gains strength from breadth as well as depth – that engineers can be poets and mathematicians can take up philosophy. Katherine D. Elliott knows this well. A financial executive and investment manager by trade, Elliott nurtures a passion for the arts that has manifested itself, through her generosity, in one of the most important capital projects in the Colleges' recent history.
As a student at William Smith, Elliott majored in economics and was on the Dean's List. She played field hockey and was a member of the Canterbury Club.
Elliott was senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the New York investment firm Lynch & Mayer Inc. When she retired in 2006, she was Chief Operating Officer of Petner Asset Management, LLC, a hedge fund where she specialized in investment management operations.
Elliott joined the Hobart and William Smith Board of Trustees in 1996 and has served on the enrollment management, education and appointments, investments, and student life committees. She is a member of the Wheeler Society and Seneca Society, and was the recipient of alumnae citations in 1991 and 2001. She currently provides critical leadership as a member of the William Smith Centennial Honorary Committee and the Centennial Campaign Committee.
A passionate advocate for the arts and art education, she also serves on the board of Education Through Music Inc., a non-profit organization that enhances educational programs at inner-city elementary schools in the New York metropolitan area.
Elliott has the distinction of having made what was, at the time, the largest personal donation to the Colleges by a William Smith alumna. Her 2005 gift financed the new Katherine D. Elliott Studio Arts Center on the Houghton House grounds, the first building at the Colleges named in honor of a William Smith alumna. The modern, glass and steel building provides generous space for classrooms and offices as well as studios for painting, sculpture, photography and other arts.
Elliott's generosity is rooted in her family's long history at Hobart and William Smith. Elliott's father, the late William Elliott, served as an HWS trustee. His gift led to the construction of the William Elliott Varsity house. The scholarship he endowed in memory of his father, Lewis H. Elliott, class of 1898, has helped more than 80 students attend Hobart and William Smith Colleges.