100 Things to Explore

scissor scuplture

1. The last time Seneca Lake froze over was in March of 1912. G. Allen Burroughs, Class of 1913, took the opportunity to ice skate to Watkins Glen - a 35-mile journey that, according to The Hobart Herald, he made in two hours and 10 minutes. He caught a train back to campus the next morning.

2. The first William Smith students weren't allowed on the Hobart campus - they were permitted access to the library and the chapel via public sidewalks only. But according to a 1959 William Smith College history pamphlet, the members of the Charter Class broke that rule at least once: "Some two months after its doors were opened, dark green having been chosen as the official color, the whole freshman class, the only class then in existence, stole quietly out of Blackwell House on a dark November midnight and painted a large white '12 on the green board fence of the Hobart athletic field. It was not till long afterward that the girls learned that several Hobart students were jointly accused of this vandalism and saved from expulsion only by lack of proof."

3. The iconic scissor sculpture that stands outside the Warren Hunting Smith Library is actually a duplicate. In the spring of 1989, Professor of Art and Architecture A.E. Ted Aub's "3-D Design" class erected a 20-foot-tall wooden sculpture of a giant pair of scissors that, at the end of the academic year, was torn down by unknown vandals. The following November, a permanent metal version of the sculpture was erected in its current location. The class issued a statement that read in part: "The scissors are not only interesting and exciting in a visual sense, but they also symbolize the distinct coordinate system here at the Colleges. Just as two parts of the scissors work together, so do the separate colleges of Hobart and William Smith."


4. HWS students have elected student representatives to serve on the Board of Trustees for almost 50 years. Wendy D. Puriefoy '71, an expert on school reform and civil society who served as the president of Public Education Network, was the first Student Trustee, elected to the Board of Trustees in 1970. In her pitch to fellow students in The Herald that year, she wrote that "by electing a student Trustee, we, the student body, have the opportunity to make our points known to the Trustees of the Colleges and have every right to expect that college policies will be formulated as a result of the varying points of view."

Geneva Hall

5. The first building erected as part of Geneva College was named Geneva Hall because it was largely financed by the citizens of Geneva. Constructed between 1821 and 1822, it is the oldest standing academic building in Western New York.

6. William Smith's gift to form the college that bears his name was mainly in the form of real estate. The Colleges owned an entire block in Chicago until 1907 and the Smith Opera House in Geneva until 1912.

7. Since 1968, Geneva Scholarship Associates have raised more than $2 million in endowed funds to enable students from Geneva schools to attend HWS.