PSS Spring '09 - The Houghton House Renaissance


Is it our beautiful campus nestled on the shores of Seneca Lake? Our commitment to an interdisciplinary curriculum that leads to a lifetime of intellectual agility? Is it our remarkable alums whose accomplishments astound?

Can it be found on the athletic fields? That feeling in the pit of your stomach before the big game? Cheering on your favorite team?

Is it our dedicated staff? Or our gifted faculty scholars who pour their hearts into the classroom? The remarkable abroad programs? Is it our commitment to service?

Why do we come back, year after year, decade after decade, to revisit the past and forge a new future…

Because we take chances

Elizabeth Blackwell

In 1847, Geneva Medical College accepted Elizabeth Blackwell after 29 other medical schools had rejected her. They took a chance on Blackwell at a time when women were thought to be unfit to handle the rigors of a medical career, and Hobart and William Smith Colleges have been taking chances on remarkable students ever since.

Anthony Bridwell '49

Take, for example, Anthony Bridwell '49, who arrived on campus in July of 1946 on the G.I. Bill. The Colleges gave Bridwell a start on a career that eventually included stints as director of development at Hobart and William Smith and Northwestern University, vice president of the National Merit Scholarship Corporation and vice chairman of the Board of Development for the Mayo Clinic.

"Sixty years later, I look back upon these Colleges that took a chance on me with gratitude," says Bridwell. "I received a splendid undergraduate education, was introduced to a career in institutional advancement, and even enjoyed the thrill of digging my cleats into old Boswell Field."

Margarita Ramos '85

Just as Bridwell found a place where he could flourish, Margarita Ramos '85 discovered that HWS was the right fit for her. As a child, she visited Geneva as part of a "Fresh Air" program, and when it was time for Ramos to start looking into colleges, William Smith seemed like a natural fit.

HWS proved to be slightly overwhelming for a first generation college student like Ramos, but she grew to love it. After graduating, she went on to law school and then a career as a labor and employment lawyer. She also served as a Junior Board Member of the Fresh Air Fund, an opportunity to give back to the organization that helped shape her life.

"My experience at William Smith exceeded my expectations," she says. "Hobart and William Smith definitely took a chance on me and for that I am grateful."

Rafeek Mohamed '09

Like Ramos, Rafeek Mohamed '09 will be the first member of his family to earn a college degree. He was instrumental in forming the Colleges' First Generation Initiative, which helps HWS families adjust to college life. He's also studied in Central Europe and completed an internship in internal medicine at Geneva General Hospital.

Mohamed plans to go to medical school to specialize in emergency medicine so that he can use his knowledge to practice around the globe. He plans to someday return to his native country of Guyana to give back to the community of his youth.

"I'm so glad HWS took a chance on me because I discovered who I am here. The time I've spent at the Colleges has made me confident in my abilities and aware of my potential. I will become a doctor because of HWS."


Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.