Financial Health and Alum Engagement

A hallmark of Gearan’s presidency has been shrewd attention to the overall budget of the Colleges, innovation in seeking new streams of revenue, and ambitious and far-reaching fundraising goals.

  • ENDOWMENT Since Gearan took office in 1999, the HWS endowment has nearly doubled, growing from approximately $107 million to about $200 million today.

  • $317 million has been raised in support of HWS since Gearan took office in 1999.

  • Campaign for the Colleges, which concluded in 2012, raised more than $205 million. It was the largest fundraising effort in the Colleges’ history, impacting every aspect of life at HWS including the academic program, student life, the endowment, financial aid and facilities.

  • The 2016 fiscal year was among the best on record with the largest number of alumni and alumnae donors in the past 15 years. In total, members of 76 classes, going as far back as 1934, made a gift.

  • In 2009, the Colleges launched the National Regional Network which divides the country into nine regions, each one overseen by a team of volunteers tasked with engaging alums and parents in activities in support of admissions, career services and development.

  • In a recent survey of alums… 9 out of 10 alums would recommend the Colleges to a friend or family member 9 out of 10 alums also say the Colleges prepared them well for their careers.

  • HWS are included on Kiplinger’s List of 100 Best College Values


"The first time I met the Gearans was when I arrived on campus for Orientation. They were standing in front of Coxe Hall greeting every student. Mark asked if I was alone which I was since I was an independent student. Later that weekend, I ran into Mark and Mary, and they remembered my name. They said to stop by the house any time. So I did. I ended up babysitting for their daughters, who were remarkably well behaved. They treated me and all students like we were part of their family. It was like having a surrogate family. Moreover, Mark and Mary Gearan have always been focused on developing the individual rather than on the statistic. I owe them and the Colleges a debt of gratitude." —Julia James ’05, the first William Smith Rhodes Scholar, holds a doctorate in clinical medicine from Oxford University and is a post-doctoral research associate at Nova Southeastern University

Access and Financial Aid
Recognizing that affording a college education can be daunting, since 1999 and thanks to the philanthropy of many, the Colleges’ financial aid budget has more than doubled, going from $19.6 million in 1999 to $42 million today. Since Gearan was named president, donors have created 168 new endowed scholarships, providing greater access to students.

Strategic Planning
At the close of his first year at Hobart and William Smith, Gearan began the development of a five-year strategic planning initiative called HWS 2005. He led the next two phases, HWS 2010 and HWS 2015, as well as Campaign for the Colleges to support facilities, endowment and annual giving. These strategic plans and the campaign have provided a clear road map to achieving academic excellence, intensifying student engagement, improving and enlarging facilities, advancing financial stability and expanding access. In his final year as president, he will conclude a new strategic plan with an emphasis on the financial model, diversity and inclusion.

"Mark is a genial leader, and a very effective one. He sets goals and once set, monitors them closely. He always encouraged us to take the long view and we are a better place because of his leadership."

Roderic H. Ross ’52, LL.D. ’79, Honorary Trustee and Former Chair of the Board of Trustees

"Mark was an exceptional leader for the Colleges, the right person at the right time with a sound vision. He will be greatly missed."

—Charles H. Salisbury Jr. ’63, P’94, L.H.D.’08, Honorary Trustee and Former Chair of the Board of Trustees

Rewarding Legacies
Established in 2010, the Hobart and William Smith Legacy Admissions Program celebrates alumni and alumnae who make the Colleges part of their family tradition. During the admissions process, the program helps prospective legacies – children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins or siblings of alumni, alumnae and current students – determine if HWS is the right fit. Personal admissions counselors work with applicants throughout the admissions process. Legacy students’ applications are first to be read and first to be notified. Admitted legacy students receive an automatic $5,000 scholarship, and top academic legacy students are eligible for one of five Legacy Scholarships worth an additional $20,000. Today, 1 in 4 students is from a legacy family.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles
In an average year, it’s estimated that President Gearan traveled about 45,000 miles attending regional HWS events and meeting with alumni, alumnae, parents and foundations. That’s roughly 800,000 miles over the course of 18 years, the equivalent of about 32 trips around the world.

On the Road
Established under Gearan in 2011, the HWS Alumni and Alumnae Associations have sponsored global education trips for graduates and families of current students to explore culturally rich locations with the Colleges’ expert faculty. From Machu Picchu in Peru to the rocky coast of Ireland, from Rome to London, and Poland to Vietnam, the travel programs through Alumni House expose participants to experiential courses spanning art, history, religion, anthropology and more.

“Mark Gearan’s tenure as HWS President has been one of growth, openness, inclusiveness and increased engagement. The Colleges have become incredibly welcoming for alumni and alumnae. Gearan has been a tireless and effective ambassador traveling the nation on behalf of HWS. As an alum, it has filled me with great pride to see Hobart and William Smith so well positioned and respected. The awards and accolades earned over the years have been a consistent source of pride.”

—Hon. Ludwig P. Gaines ’88, principal senior vice president and general counsel of The Euille Group LLC.; Hobart College Alumni Council member at large


Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.