Despite sharing some facilities and teachers, Hobart College and William Smith College remained quite separate. Classes were conducted in duplicate, and women students were not allowed on the Hobart Quad. Those who required access to Trinity and Merritt halls, the library and the Chapel traveled there on public sidewalks along the campus perimeter.
The strict separation eroded gradually as it became increasing impractical to enforce. In 1922, the first joint commencement was held, though baccalaureate services remained separate until 1942. By then, coeducational classes had become the norm, and the curriculum centered on the idea of an across-the-board education, encouraging students and faculty to consider their studies from several points of view.
In 1943, during the administration of President John Milton Potter, William Smith College was elevated from its original status as a department of Hobart College to that of an independent college, on equal footing with Hobart.