From the Desk of V.P. for DEI Bill Woodson

Bill Woodson Ph.D.

Bill Woodson Ph.D.

A highlight of the past month for me was the February 16-17 PossePlus Retreat, which HWS again held at the Harbor Hotel, in Watkins Glen. Having heard great things about the Posse Scholars program for more than a decade, I was excited to know I was coming to a campus that already had established a long and rewarding relationship with Posse. The annual PPR is a signature event for Posse college partners. And the positive energy, the thoughtful reflections, and the community building engendered by this year’s retreat easily exceeded my expectations! Read more about Posse and this year’s PPR in our newsletter.

In addition, March marks Women’s History Month, and in this month’s edition you can learn about some exciting programming happening, including a day of activities scheduled for March 8!

Reflections on the PossePlus Retreat at HWS

By Vincent Orlando ’23, MSM’24, ODEI Graduate Community Assistant

On February 16 and 17, HWS Posse students, along with their mentors, and more than 40 “Posse Pluser” students, faculty, and staff, participated in a two-day retreat at the Harbor Hotel, in Watkins Glen. The tradition of the annual PossePlus Retreat goes all the way back to the first Posse Partner campus, where Vanderbilt University’s Posse students were inspired to create an experience that would have a positive impact on their entire campus community.

As described on the Posse Foundation website, “During each PossePlus Retreat weekend, a cross section of the campus community — students, faculty and administrators — come together to talk about the topic on a national, campus and personal level. By creating a safe space for dialogue between campus community members who may not ordinarily interact with one another, retreats today have become an important forum to engage in social, cultural and political issues.” (from:


PossePlus Retreat Participants

This year’s PPR participants included President Mark Gearan, Vice President for Campus Life Becca Barile, and Provost and Dean of Faculty Sarah Kirk, who had this to say about her experience, “I am so grateful to have been invited to the PossePlus Retreat. Through past experience, I knew we had amazing Posse Scholars on our campus, but I was still impressed with the depth of the conversation on the challenging issues facing our educational system today and the thoughtful thinking through about solutions for a better future. The retreat was a wonderful opportunity to see community in action and celebrate our Scholars.”

Associate Dean of Student Engagement, Matthew Roche, also attended and captured the spirit of the retreat perfectly when he reflected, "I thoroughly enjoyed my first PPR. It was a great opportunity to meet students I had not before, engage in important dialogue, and create a better understanding of where some of our students come from and experiences that they have had on our campus. This was one of my favorite experiences since joining HWS in July!"

PPR was also memorable for participating faculty members, as highlighted by Associate Professor of Management and Entrepreneurship, Craig Talmage. “The PossePlus Retreat was an impactful experience. As a faculty member, I found the facilitation where we got into family units and had to navigate our child through elementary, middle, and high school education as well as eventually apply to college to be the most powerful experience. As a unit, our 'family' reflected on what education means to us; epitomizing the spirit of the liberal arts, we decided that education shows us how to live a good life which is rooted in generosity towards others."


PossePlus Retreat Participants

Associate Professor of Politics and chair of the politics department, DeWayne Lucas, echoed Talmage's sentiments, emphasizing the retreat's value as an opportunity to step away from campus and engage in discussions vital to higher education. Lucas found reassurance in the diverse voices and challenges shared by students, faculty, and staff, recognizing commonalities across their experiences and the importance of honest dialogue. He stated, “As in past years, PPR was a great opportunity for members of the Colleges' community to get away from campus and discuss issues facing higher education. While it was reaffirming to hear the array of voices and challenges faced by students, faculty, and staff, it was also reassuring to know that there were commonalities across our different experiences and that we could hear and see one other honestly. I've long been a fan of the PPR as it gives us opportunities to discuss important issues of the day from our own perspectives in fun and engaging ways.”

These testimonials underscore the profound impact of the PossePlus Retreat, emphasizing its role in cultivating leadership and fostering meaningful dialogue and community engagement within the HWS campus. PPR participants strengthened their connections with each other and the Colleges while gained insights into the challenges facing higher education.


Marching Forward
Honoring Women's History at HWS

Honoring Women's History at HWS

Marching ForwardHonoring Women's History at HWS

International Women's Day

There is a rich array of programming celebrating International Women’s Day, Friday, March 8, at HWS.

As March begins, we dive into the celebration of Women's History Month, a special time to honor and appreciate the incredible contributions of women throughout history. The HWS community enthusiastically acknowledges the important role women have and continue to play in our society. This month is an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to building an inclusive environment where every voice matters and every woman's story is valued.

Hobart and William Smith Colleges hosts the annual Women in Music Conference on March 9, coinciding with Women's History Month. In collaboration with the Central New York Humanities Corridor, the Eastman School of Music, and the Rochester Institute of Technology, the conference features presentations covering musical theory, history, and criticism. Cornell University's music professor Roger Moseley will deliver the keynote, focusing on the influence of Japanese women in digital game culture music. Pianist Kristin Ditlow will perform "Femmages: Five Centuries of Keyboard Music by Women Composers." Registration opens at 8 a.m. in the Gearan Center for the Performing Arts, with Moseley's keynote at 4:30 p.m. in Room 102 and Ditlow's concert at 7:30 p.m., also in Room 102. Both events are open to the public.




HWS Belonging Campus Climate Survey


Calling all students at HWS! Your voice matters, and here's your chance to make it heard loud and clear. We want to ensure that every member of our campus community feels welcomed, valued, and respected. That's why we're conducting the HWS Belonging Campus Climate Survey, and we need your input to make our campus even better for everyone.

Your responses will help us understand how we can continue to foster a supportive and inclusive environment where everyone can thrive. Whether you've found strong support systems among faculty and staff, forged lasting friendships, or are still seeking to engage with different perspectives, your input is invaluable.

We're committed to ensuring that all students, regardless of background or identity, feel empowered to advocate for themselves and others. By participating in this survey, you're not only sharing your own experiences but also contributing to the collective effort to create a more equitable and inclusive campus community.

This survey is completely confidential, and your responses will be used to inform concrete actions and initiatives aimed at improving the campus climate for everyone. So, seize this opportunity to have a direct impact on the future of HWS. Your voice matters, and together, we can make HWS an even better place to learn, grow, and belong.

Take the survey today and let your voice be heard! Together, we can build a stronger, more inclusive HWS community.


KTCKTCs are small discussion groups of 5 to 12 individuals that get together once a month for a sponsored (and free!) dinner and discussion about topics of the day.

Mace McDonald – Coming Together: Consent, Pleasure, and Relationships

Time: 6 pm

Monday, February 19 - Cellar Pub – Tacos 4 students/4 staff

Monday, March 25 - LGBTQ+ Resource Center – Make Your Own Pasta

Monday, April 22 - Fireplace Room - Saga

Janette Gayle – How Global Conflicts are Impacting College Campuses

Time: 6 pm

Monday, March 4 - Fireplace Room - Saga

Monday, April 1 - AIC Stine Room     

Monday, April 29 - Fireplace Room - Saga

Bill Woodson – Life after George Floyd: Law enforcement, Criminal Justice, and Community

Time: 5:30 pm

Thursday, March 7 - Fireplace Room - Saga

Thursday, April 4 - Common Room, Scandling Center

Thursday, April 25 - Fireplace Room - Saga

Christine de Denus – How Covid 19 has Impacted My HWS Student Experience

Time: 5:30 pm

Wednesday, March 27 - Gulick 223

Wednesday, April 17  - Fireplace Room - Saga

Wednesday, May 1  - Fireplace Room - Saga



Bilal Akeem '28 looks back at the history of the Adams Intercultural Center. 

Bilal Akeem

Alejandra Molina and Bilal Akeem ’28

A new archival research project traces the 54-year history of the Adams Intercultural Center (AIC). The project shines a light on the center’s history as a space for student activism, events and academic support, as well as its close relationship with Higher Education Opportunity Programs.

The project is led by Director of the Adams Intercultural Center Alejandra Molina and her intern Bilal Akeem ’28, an incoming first-year in the Class of 2028.

“Looking back at the history of the AIC has made me realize something,” says Akeem, a homeschool student in Farmington, N.Y. “This space, an inclusive, open environment for students and organizations to gather, to get to know and help each other out, is not only important, but necessary.”