Dear Friends,

The Gearans gather on the steps of The President’s House.

In my last Lakeviews column, I write with a simple message: gratitude. Gratitude for the enormous privilege to serve as President of Hobart and William Smith Colleges and the support of so many alumni, alumnae and friends during the past 18 years. Mary and I feel fortunate to have been a part of this special community and we are especially grateful for the many opportunities afforded to our daughters, Madeleine and Kathleen, while growing up in Geneva. All of us will treasure the friendships and memories made here.

Each day since 1999, in Geneva or around the country, I was honored and proud to represent Hobart and William Smith. At the beginning of the academic year I was proud to greet incoming students as they entered the Colleges and thrilled to see those same students graduate into meaningful careers. I knew they would be in classrooms with a faculty of committed and accomplished teachers and scholars, and coached and supported by an extraordinary staff. And I was proud to work for and with a Board of Trustees who give of themselves in truly inspirational ways. They took a chance on a ‘non-traditional’ president 18 years ago and I have always been grateful for their support.

Amidst my gratitude is also excitement for the future. There are new chapters for our family as we move to Boston and there are new chapters for HWS. I leave my office in Coxe Hall full of hope and optimism, certain that the Colleges’ best days are ahead.

The Board of Trustees’ appointment of Dr. Gregory Vincent ’83 as the next President of Hobart and William Smith was an exceptional choice and I am confident that his significant experience in higher education, deep commitment to the liberal arts and keen understanding of HWS as an alumnus will prove a perfect combination. I look forward to supporting his vision going forward and know that our campus will value his leadership skills and strong personal attributes.

Over the past 18 years I have seen firsthand the outcomes of an HWS education. There is no question that our graduates are making important contributions in their professions and their communities, and there is no doubt that the Colleges serve an important public good. Our collective work to sustain this venerable place is critical because of the real difference Hobart and William Smith makes.

Our daughters Madeleine and Kathleen wrote a lovely piece on their experiences growing up on campus (p. 62). They conclude with an apt quotation from Hellen Keller: “What we have once enjoyed, we can never loose. All that we love deeply, becomes a part of us.”

Well, we love Geneva. And Hobart and William Smith has deeply become a part of us. And for that – I will always be grateful.

With every best wish, I am


Mark D. Gearan


Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.