Serving the Colleges

Meet Class Correspondents Eric Hall Anderson ’59 and Carol Redwood Riker ’59

by Stephanie Kenific ’17

As class correspondents for the Pulteney Street Survey for more than two decades, Eric Hall Anderson ’59 and Carol Redwood Riker ’59 have served the Colleges by connecting with former classmates and peers through many of life’s ups and downs. Though methods of communication have changed since Anderson and Riker took on their respective positions, time has not altered their unswerving loyalty to Hobart and William Smith Colleges.

Riker continues to receive postcards in addition to an increasing number of emails that help maintain connections. Anderson, Hobart’s chief class correspondent, on the other hand, relies primarily on the U.S. Mail and his telephone to serve as contacts for alums; in fact, he only has access to a computer several times a year when he visits his partner, Susi, in Switzerland.

“It isn’t necessarily more meaningful than the telephone, but email does allow you to learn more and write at greater length,” Anderson reflects.

For the two class correspondents, their status as an alum is a great source of pride. As time and geographic distance separates the network of alumni and alumnae from the Colleges, Anderson and Riker have worked to preserve the important connections that began during their years at HWS.

“The relationships have been meaningful to me as we’ve communicated about changes in our lives,” says Riker.

Anderson, who visits the campus twice a year to meet with the five students who receive his scholarships, has also sat on Hobart College’s Alumni Council for 25 years. He describes the meetings with these students as “the highlight of my visits” and a means of giving back to the Colleges. Riker as well sees her position as class correspondent as a means of expressing sincere gratitude toward the Hobart and William Smith community for her college experience.

“Remaining in this position is one way to thank the Colleges for the education I received,” she says. “The curriculum and professors in western civilization, sociology and Italian art sparked my interest in history, philosophy, cultures and art. Those foundations developed into expanding my knowledge and travel which continue to this day.”

Anderson adds, “I realized after 25 years that it was my degree from Hobart that had made all the difference in the rest of my life. That diploma was my ticket, my union card, and my passport to do all the things that I did after graduation.”

After Hobart, Anderson served in the United States Navy. He then participated in President Johnson’s War on Poverty by teaching high school dropouts how to read. Now retired, Anderson continues this work by volunteering as a one-on-one reading tutor in an inner-city school in Boston.

Riker, who completed a bachelor’s degree in social work at Dominican College and then a master’s of social work at New York University, counseled individuals and families at a family services agency until retiring in 2006. She now works as a docent for the Audobon Nature Center and is active in her community.


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