Academic Program and Reputation

  • One of the traditional hallmarks of a Hobart and William Smith education has always been the lifelong and rewarding partnerships that students and faculty form around topics of mutual interest. When students can make a powerful connection with a faculty member, they are more likely to thrive academically and socially. Under Gearan’s leadership, the Colleges have invested in faculty, creating an environment in which more of these partnerships can flourish. The result is a corresponding increase in national recognition and academic awards. During Gearan’s tenure and under the mentorship of faculty, HWS students have earned numerous prestigious scholarships and fellowships, including:

    • 34 U.S. Fulbright Student Awards; in 2016 and 2017, the Colleges were named among the top colleges and universities with the most recipients of U.S. Fulbright Student Awards. In two back-to-back record years, 14 members of the Classes of 2015 and 2016 have earned a Fulbright.
    • 1 Rhodes Scholarship
    • 9 Barry M. Goldwater Scholarships
    • 3 Princeton-in-Asia Fellowships
    • 1 Marshall Scholarship
    • 1 Gates-Cambridge Scholarship
    • 3 Morris K. Udall Undergraduate Scholarship
    • 6 NOAA Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholarships
    • 2 Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Fellowships

  • The Colleges have advanced 16 spots in U.S. News & World Report’s best national liberal arts college ranking since 1999, moving from No. 81 to No. 65.

  • Hobart and William Smith are featured in Princeton Review’s Colleges That Pay You Back: The 200 Schools That Give You the Best Bang for Your Tuition Buck. Points of distinction noted for HWS include strong student-faculty engagement, exceptional career preparation, guaranteed internship programs, a personalized financial aid approach, and a robust alum network.

  • In 1999, the number of students applying early decision was 14%. Today, about 44% of students apply early decision, making HWS their first choice.

  • Since 1999:
    • the graduation rate increased 7%
    • applications increased 75%
    • The student to faculty ratio decreased from 13:1 to 10:1
    • The student population increased by 23.6% to 2,262
    • The number of full time faculty increased by 24% with 43 full-time faculty positions added

Middle States Accreditation
In 2014, the Colleges received an outstanding accreditation report from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education indicating that HWS fulfilled all standards and characteristics of excellence. Since the last Middle States reaccreditation, the team reported, Hobart and William Smith “have enhanced academic quality, expanded the faculty, improved campus resources and facilities, strengthened its competitive position, completed a successful $205 million campaign, contributed creatively to Geneva, developed signature programs in co-curricular learning, and nurtured its tradition and engagement of alums – all while weathering extremely well the national financial difficulties of the past six years.”

“We were impressed by the sense of community and common purpose that define the Hobart and William Smith experience. In particular, we observed a deep appreciation for the life of the mind, dedication to educating students with global competencies, a collective commitment to service and to Geneva, outstanding and remarkably committed presidential leadership, and an integrity that is shared across the Colleges.”

— Daniel R. Porterfield, President of Franklin & Marshall College and Chair of the 2014 Middle States Accreditation Team

“I think the most important aspect of President Gearan’s legacy for the Colleges will be his respect for disagreement. Whether it was a challenging meeting with faculty members or a class discussion with students of opposing political passions, Mark has always shown considerable respect to the ideas and opinions of all participants and has sought ways to fully understand and engage them from their perspective. His legacy is that a President is approachable, respectful and engaged with the entire campus constituency.”

—DeWayne Lucas, Associate Professor of Political Science and Associate Dean of Faculty

Center for Teaching and Learning
Since 2003, the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) has worked with faculty and students to empower innovative scholarship, cooperative inquiry and intellectual risk-taking. CTL offers support and enrichment to students through teaching fellows, quantitative fellows, writing fellows and study mentors. CTL also works with faculty to improve course design and assess learning outcomes through a wide array of support opportunities, from Faculty Learning Communities to one-onone consultations.

Curriculum Evolution
In 2016, Hobart and William Smith completed a comprehensive, multiyear process to review and revise the curriculum. The new curriculum adopts “Explore, Collaborate, Act” as an animating principle for common and engaged discourse. With an emphasis on writing enrichment, the revised curriculum also includes an enhanced First Year Seminar experience and the requirement of a capstone project in every discipline.

Trias Residency for Writers
Thanks to the generosity of the late Peter J. Trias ’70, in 2011 the Colleges launched the Trias Residency for Writers, which has brought world-renowned writers to campus for a unique one-year residency. During their tenure, Trias residents work with the Colleges’ best students in meaningful mentorships. The residents—awardwinning novelists, poets and essayists—also offer a public reading and lecture, participate in a service event for the greater Geneva community and curate a reading series with other notable authors.


Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.