Pride and Progress
During the course of the summer months we have the chance to review the past academic year while finalizing our plans for the next one. We take stock of our initiatives and review our progress toward our goals while laying out ambitious plans for the year ahead. We have high aspirations for Hobart and William Smith Colleges - and a review of this past year gives us confidence in our ability to continue the momentum we have enjoyed in recent years.
Consider some of the achievements of the academic year just concluded:
- Our students continue to bring great honor to themselves and the Colleges with their success in winning prestigious national fellowships. In 2008, our students secured three Fulbright Scholarships, one Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and the Colleges' first Morris K. Udall Scholarship. When you consider that in the past five years HWS students have won Rhodes and Gates Cambridge Scholarships as well as four Goldwaters and six Fulbrights, it says a great deal about the quality of our student body and the engagement of our faculty in preparing them for these competitive fellowships and scholarships.
- With an impressive ratio of one faculty member for every 11 HWS students, our faculty engage our students with a lively and challenging curriculum and opportunities for significant research. This past year was a productive one with scholarship, publications and research grants totaling $1.5 million in government revenue. We currently have nine active National Science Foundation Awards and five nationally prominent research grants which allow students extraordinary opportunities to assist faculty members in their research. This summer alone, 62 students stayed on campus to work with faculty members on research - an increase from 20 students five years ago. They gain significant research skills and add to their credentials for graduate study or work.
- Our strategic emphasis to establish the Salisbury Center for Career Services as a destination point for all students continues to show encouraging results. In the past year, 4,000 appointments were logged at Career Services for current students to meet with our professional staff - a staggering increase from 700 appointments four years ago.
- Our alumni, alumnae, parents and friends have been instrumental in the opportunities our students have to explore career choices with internship experiences. Across the various sectors of business, government and non-profits, our students have gained critical work experience in internships through the Salisbury Center. More than 600 internships were recorded this year - up from 200 four years ago.
- Hobart and William Smith athletics continue to energize our campus and develop students with leadership skills. Consider these statistics from this past academic year: students received more than 100 all academic awards; the Statesmen and Herons won five conference championships in field hockey, football, Hobart rowing, William Smith sailing and William Smith soccer; 12 HWS teams earned a trip to the postseason in NCAA or equivalent tournaments; and 10 HWS student athletes were named All-Americans.
- It was heartening to receive results of an independent survey of our graduating seniors that showed student satisfaction with their undergraduate experience a full 10 percent higher than our peer group of liberal arts colleges.
I could continue this listing for other areas of the institution but the overall point is the same: Hobart and William Smith are excelling on many fronts. Our Board of Trustees provides thoughtful and committed leadership, our faculty and staff are dedicated, and our alumni, alumnae, parents and friends are supportive and engaged.
As we start the new academic year and welcome new classes selected from the largest applicant pool in our history (4,300 applications for 555 seats in the first year classes). We can feel the success of Campaign for the Colleges and the resources that boost the endowment and improve facilities. And we plan for the celebration of the William Smith Centennial on November 8th on campus with pride in our past and excitement for the future.
My fondest hope is that every alum return to campus in the next year to see our talented students and the extraordinary environment in which they study and live. We take seriously our charge to prepare students for lives of consequence. I am grateful for the many graduates who, in varied ways, assist us in that mission. We prepare for next year with pride in the progress accomplished to date and energized for the opportunities ahead.
Mark D. Gearan
Pride and Progress
Fall 2008 Pulteney St. Survey