Inspiring Alums to Help the Colleges Educate the Next Generation

Katherine D. Elliott ’66, L.H.D. ’08

by Andrew Wickenden ’09

Longtime Hobart and William Smith Trustee Katherine D. Elliott ’66, L.H.D. ’08 recalls the years she served on the Board alongside William F. Scandling ’49, L.H.D. ’67 as “an inspiration.”

“He was very forthright,” Elliott says. “Whenever we’d be in discussion, talking in circles, he’d bring us back to the heart of the matter: educating young people. It was wonderful to have him stand up and focus us back on why we were there.”

In pledging her support of the Colleges, she has funded two Scandling Trust gifts, one adding to an existing scholarship in her grandfather’s name, Lewis H. Elliott, from the class of 1898. The other is a newly established endowed internship fund in her father’s name, the late William Elliott.

“The major attraction was the opportunity for students to get a stipend at least once during their career at HWS to participate in an internship or research project,” Elliott says. “I never had an internship, but it would’ve been extremely helpful to have that experience. It’s wonderful that we can have students testing what they want to do in this way.”

Elliott’s participation in the Scandling Trust will build on her family’s history of engagement with the Colleges. A donation from William Elliott, who served as an HWS trustee, supported the construction of the William Elliott Varsity House. The scholarship he endowed in memory of his father, Lewis H. Elliott, has provided more than 80 awards to students. Now this scholarship, bolstered by Elliott’s gift to the Scandling Trust, will support even more Hobart and William Smith students in their academic pursuits, in Geneva and abroad.

“Traveling and experiencing other cultures is very important and probably gets more important in the times that we’re living,” she says. “If these gifts help fund a summer project, or an opportunity to intern or study abroad, especially for athletes and science students, many of whom cannot commit to a full semester off-campus, it could make a world of difference.”

In 2005, Elliott made the lead gift to finance the Katherine D. Elliott ’66 Studio Arts Building on the Houghton House grounds. At the time, she had the distinction of having made the largest personal donation to the Colleges by a William Smith alumna. Opened in August 2006, the transformative project provides 14,600-square-feet of space for classrooms and offices as well as studios for painting and photography, and shops for printing, wood and metal.

Throughout her years of dedicated support of the Colleges, Elliott says it has been “the people I get to work with, the staff and trustees and students, who have made it fun. It’s a very energetic group of people and we have really been able to put the campus needs that hadn’t been addressed to the forefront. We’ve been able to raise money to do some of the building that are really transforming the place.”

As her 50th Reunion approaches, Elliott is focused on building support for the Colleges.

“The strength of any institution lies within its alumni and alumnae. We’re the Colleges’ strongest support, loudest voice and most powerful ally. It’s up to us.”


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