Performing Arts Groundbreaking

Members of the Board of Trustees, President Mark D. Gearan, students and other members of the HWS community officially break ground on the new Performing Arts Center. (L-R) Cynthia Gelsthorpe Fish ’82, L. Thomas Melly ’52, L.H.D. ’02, Christopher McDonald ’77, L.H.D. ’13, Gearan, Nozomi Williams L.H.D.’14, Craig R. Stine ’81, P’17, Christopher S. Welles ’84, P’12, P’15, Sarah Nargiso ’07, Rita Goldstein Ashton P’04, P’07, Joanne I. Froelich, Edward A. Froelich ’55 and Maureen Collins Zupan ’72, P’09.

Colleges Surpass Fundraising Goal

by Steven Bodnar

Hobart and William Smith celebrated a momentous occasion on Friday, April 25 when, during the groundbreaking for the new Performing Arts Center, President Mark D. Gearan announced that thanks to an anonymous donor’s $1.5 million gift, the Colleges have surpassed its fundraising goal of $28 million.

“This is the largest and most complex capital project the Colleges have ever undertaken,” said Gearan. “In exceeding the fundraising goal of $28 million, we have raised four times more for this project than for any other in the Colleges’ history.”

The groundbreaking ceremony formally launched the construction phase for the 65,000-square-foot facility. When completed in January 2016, the three-story Center will provide academic and performance space for the departments of music, dance, theatre, and media and society.

“This project has benefitted from the philanthropy and generosity of dozens of alums, parents and friends of the Colleges who, in ways large and small, made the performing arts a priority,” says Vice President for Advancement Bob O’Connor.

“The groundbreaking was a way for us to honor the many donors who have made this project a reality as well as to celebrate the beginning of a new era of the arts on campus.”

At the groundbreaking, Gearan credited the leadership of three Board Chairs who worked during their tenures to enable the project: current Board Chair Maureen Collins Zupan ‘72; P’09; Honorary Trustee Charles Salisbury Jr. ‘63, P’94, L.H.D.’08; and Honorary Trustee David Deming ‘75.

Gearan also recognized the vision and contributions of Chair Emeritus of the Board of Trustees L. Thomas Melly ‘52, L.H.D. ‘02. “One trustee had a vision, coupled with his commitment, and brought his integrity and decades-long engagement at Hobart and William Smith Colleges to inspire others,” Gearan said. “We all know we would not be breaking ground today without Tom Melly.”

In honor of Melly’s contributions to the project, the atrium of the new Performing Arts Center will be named in his honor.

When completed, the brick facade of the new Performing Arts Center will be consistent with the campus aesthetic and include tall windows, steeply pitched roofs and a tower. The third floor will include a rooftop terrace and garden. Internally, plans include a sweeping, open lobby linking flexible performance and rehearsal spaces specially designed for theatre, music and dance. The building will also include 18 faculty offices, practice and recital rooms, and a film screening room. It will be wired with the latest technology, providing facilities for students interested in lighting, sound or stage management.

The new Performing Arts Center is being designed and will be constructed using sustainable practices and materials. “The building will achieve LEED Silver at a minimum,” says Chris Button, senior project manager for the Colleges who is a LEED (Leadership in Energy Environmental Design) Accredited Professional with a specialty in Building Design and Construction.


Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.