Much to Celebrate
April is certainly one of the busiest and enjoyable months on campus. As the buds and flowers emerge, the Quad once again becomes an active and vital center of campus. This April, we head into the final weeks of the academic year with much to celebrate.
- Final design is complete for the new academic building and we will break ground in mid May. This important new space-identified as a top priority in our HWS2005 strategic planning process-will be located next to Smith Hall. With ten new classrooms and faculty offices, the building will enhance our teaching and learning. A significant lead gift from a Hobart alumnus, who wishes to remain anonymous at this time, makes it possible for us to proceed. The next issue of the Pulteney St. Survey will detail aspects of the building.
- Hobart and William Smith continues to build its awareness and academic reputation. This is clearly demonstrated in our impressive admissions results this year. Our early decision applications increased 19 percent over last year. Regular applications increased six percent, making our total pool of applications a 12 year high. With candidates for admissions from 45 states in a broadened pool, we will welcome new classes in the fall with strong backgrounds of academic preparation, leadership skills, and co-curricular activities.
- The announcement of our Commencement Speaker, Political Analyst Mark Shields, was greeted with great enthusiasm. A political commentator on PBS' NewsHour and CNN's Capital Gang, Mark Shields will deliver his remarks at the Commencement Exercises on May 12. Singer and Author Judy Collins will be this year's Baccalaureate speaker. Collins has been actively engaged in a wide variety of service work including UNICEF, and has used her celebrity in very meaningful ways.
- Interest in elected student positions in the Hobart Student Association and the William Smith Congress as well as the elected positions to the Board of Trustees has been very high this year. Active campaigns for these positions are underway as I write, and I am delighted with this important level of engagement to ensure the student voice in government matters.
- Important gifts and donations have been received during the past several months and demonstrate the continued commitment and loyalty of graduates to Hobart and William Smith. I am most grateful for this generosity and pledge to use these dollars wisely. It is appropriate at this point to remind readers of the critical nature of our Annual Fund and to invite your participation.
- Our students continue to distinguish themselves in the classroom and have received important national recognition of their scholarship. Jennifer Pratt '03 was recently notified that she received the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship for academic excellence in the sciences. This is the second Goldwater Scholarship a Hobart and William Smith student has received in the past three years.
- Our athletic teams have excelled on the fields this spring and provided great excitement to the campus. The new artificial turf field for Hobart and William Smith lacrosse teams has been a wonderful addition to our facilities.
For all these reasons and others, you can readily appreciate the excitement we have on campus at this time. This momentum allows us to look to the future with confidence and high aspiration for Hobart and William Smith. There is no question in my mind that it would not be possible without the hard work, commitment and loyalty of so many graduates of Hobart and William Smith.
I am also reminded of the many able and dedicated faculty and staff who have built this institution. As I write this column, I have been informed of the passing of John Witte, the longtime director of admissions and freshman dean. John Witte's legacy of accomplishment is well known. His commitment to Hobart and William Smith was unfailing. While we never had the pleasure of working together, I valued my conversations with John and enjoyed his good humor, keen mind and engaging manner. We shall miss him.
Mark D. Gearan