A view of the Hobart Campus from 1876.
As Hobart and William Smith matured and grew during the mid-20th century, students and faculty challenged the old rules and developed an increasingly innovative approach to education.
To keep up with changing attitudes, the curriculum changed significantly during this time, moving from an intensive study of Western Civilization toward increasingly open-ended and goal-oriented requirements. The focus on interdisciplinary education remained and strengthened, and HWS became one of the first colleges in the country to offer a First-Year Seminar.
At the insistence of the faculty and staff, HWS saw the dawn of several ground-breaking additions to the curriculum, including robust programs in Far Eastern Studies, Russian Studies, Black Studies, LGBT Studies, Women’s Studies and Men’s Studies. In fact, Hobart and William Smith was the first in the nation to offer a major in LGBT Studies and a minor in men's studies.
It was also during this time that the international HWS campus was founded. In 1975, Associate Professor of Art Elena Ciletti accompanied 30 students to Italy for the first HWS abroad program. Soon after, students were able to study in London, Italy, Greece, China and Vietnam. Today, HWS students study on every continent except Antarctica.
Changes across the academic sphere were met with enthusiasm and creativity by the Hobart and William Smith community, and those feelings spilled out across campus, prompting intense conversations, deep friendships and a sense of real empowerment.
In 1966, students and faculty members participated in a hunger strike against what they perceived as the lack of personal freedoms for students. By 1968, the student code was entirely overhauled, making room for increased freedom among the student body.
A baseball game on the Hobart Quad.
The Hobart and William Smith community rallied for civil rights, women’s rights and men’s rights, too. They participated in the first annual Take Back the Night March and organized Diversity Awareness programming. In 1970, HWS was named the upstate headquarters for the National Student Strike for Peace.
When Title IX was enacted in 1972, it changed HWS by putting female athletes on equal footing with their male counterparts. That same year, Katie Coleman Nicoll '74, the driving force behind the HWS Sailing Team, qualified for nationals. Ten years later, swimmer Vibeke Hopkinson Swanson '83 was the first national champion in any William Smith sport.
William Smith women continued to break records on and off the athletic field, and the 1980s and 90s were periods of growth and prosperity for athletics and for HWS as a whole. The faculty continued to develop new and innovative academic programs, and HWS students flourished on campus and beyond.