When William Smith signed his deed of gift in 1906, the Civil War was still a vivid slash in the collective memory of a young country, the country itself included 45 states with only ten miles of paved roadway, and women could not vote.
Into this time of tumultuous and rapid growth came William Smith College, created by a man who was the former subject of George III, the same king from whom America won Independence. William Smith was a practical businessman and a hard worker. Unlike many others of the time, he believed that women should be able to study and practice in any field. He wrote: “It is not what one is, but what one is and does that counts.”
Our very structure as coordinate colleges demands equitable education, representation and leadership opportunities. In effect, these Colleges have been a social laboratory for the cultivation of leadership. You have only to look at the members of the Centennial Committees to comprehend the kind of leaders William Smith fosters.
In the 100 years since William Smith College was founded, much has changed – rules, regulations, curriculum, campus buildings etc. But the most important things have stayed the same. We still hire the best faculty and accept the best students. We remain devoted to teaching students broadly through the liberal arts. We push students to accomplish more than they ever believed possible. We work hard to create opportunities for students through internships, study abroad programs and community service. We continue to graduate women who go on to be leaders.
We understand that it is not what one is, but what one is and does that counts.
I invite you to take a few moments to learn more about William Smith College and to join us at one of the many Centennial celebrations we have planned.
All my best,
Mark D. Gearan