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 change lives

"I truly believe HWS made me into the person I am today."

- Jesse McKenna '08


"Before Hobart and William Smith, the idea of studying abroad was intriguing but I never thought I could manage being that far away from home," says McKenna, who graduated in 2008 with a B.A. in psychology. "Everyone at HWS was so supportive that I made the leap, and I know that my study abroad experience in Galway was the first step toward really changing my life."

Since graduating, McKenna has spent time in both Tanzania and Kenya, volunteering in orphanages, teaching in schools and getting to know the people and culture around her. She'll return to the States and begin graduate work in international public health this September.

"My experiences at HWS have shaped me into the person I am today. By putting an emphasis on community service from my first day on campus, the Colleges made me realize that I have the power to help people," she says. "I want to make the world a better place because of my time at HWS."

"I am a different person today because of the experiences I had at Hobart."

- Brennan Coon '02

"I arrived on campus shy and unsure of myself, but I really grew at Hobart and William Smith," says Coon, who graduated in 2002 with a B.A. in history. "Taking a job as a resident adviser was a turning point for me. It helped me to build my confidence and taught me how to put myself out there."

By the time he graduated, Coon was performing as a member of the Hobartones and taking on leadership roles in The Druid Society and as a manager and athletic trainer for the Hobart lacrosse team. He parlayed his newfound confidence into an Ed.M. in general education from the University of Buffalo and a career in intercollegiate athletics at Rochester Institute of Technology.

"I had a great experience at HWS," he says. "I left knowing where I wanted to go and how I was going to get there. I don't think I could have had that experience anywhere else."

"The Colleges motivated me and gave me the confidence to be who I am."

- Hannah Zale '09

"In high school, I never would have even considered joining the debate team," says Zale, a philosophy major. "But today I am the president of a very successful debate team because of encouragement from my professors. Debate is fun, but it's also improved my confidence in a way that's vital to my success."

Her enthusiasm and success have become a positive feedback loop that sustains her work and feeds into new ideas, like founding The Circle, a campus-wide philosophical discussion group, and helping to develop the 'Learn 2 Lead' program for William Smith women. She's currently engaged in an honors project about the ethics of human germline genetic engineering.

"After graduation, I intend to pursue graduate degrees in philosophy and medicine, and eventually, I want to work with healthcare policy," she says. "I want to work on the big picture and enact change in the world."


Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.