The Centennial Center

Mission Statement

The Centennial Center is a dynamic center that prepares leaders and entrepreneurs to drive innovation.  Through experiential education, the Centennial Center provides opportunities to explore and apply theoretical and practical knowledge in leadership and entrepreneurship. 

Vision Statement

The Centennial Center strives to be a catalyst for meaningful change by providing transformative experiences for students, faculty, staff and community members. As a comprehensive resource, the Centennial Center adds value to the liberal arts education by challenging individuals to engage with new thinking in leadership and entrepreneurship.


In commemoration of the William Smith Centennial, a facility at 603 South Main Street was dedicated as an innovative space where HWS students could gain access to coursework, presentations, workshops and community projects that would deepen their understanding of leadership. Since its inception, the Centennial Center has been a symbol for co-curricular programs that engage, develop and ready students for future contributions of value, character and significance. In 2007, the Center was renovated and endowed as part of a historic Campaign for the Colleges, including many gifts given, like the lead gift from Trustee Cynthia Gelsthorpe Fish '82, in honor of the William Smith Centennial.

"Since William Smith College began and Hobart and William Smith became coordinate Colleges, our alumni and alumnae have pioneered in everything from English to economics to history," said Fish during the building's dedication in November 2008. "Now, as we cut the ribbon on the Centennial Center, we will become leaders among leadership programs across the United States."

"This building speaks to us," Fish said. "Its message is clear: leadership is a value that will carry from this Centennial well into the next."

Since its inaugural year, the Centennial Center has grown in programming as well as staff. In addition to the HWS Leads certificate program, the Center organizes an annual conference called the Leadership Institute, invites noteworthy speakers to campus for a Leader in Residence series, sponsors student projects with leadership fellowships and provides leadership development for local elementary school students through the Youth Leadership College.

In 2011, the Centennial Center organized the first The Pitch, a student entrepreneurial leadership contest that gave a $10,000 grant away to one winner. Over the years, the Centennial Center has added additional programming for student entrepreneurs in the HWS IdeaLab, HWS Hackathon, and Summer Sandbox. The Centennial Center officially changed its name to include Leadership, Entrepreneurship and Innovation in 2018.

Today, the Centennial Center is a dynamic operation that offers compelling programs and celebrating its 10th anniversary in Fall 2018. With its collection of leadership and entrepreneurship educators, the Center has fulfilled the mission of the original visionaries by becoming a point of distinction for the Colleges. For more history about the Centennial Center and its past programs please visit our Archive Page.

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603 South Main Street
Geneva, NY 14456

Phone: (315) 781-4550

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Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.