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Festive Fall

Colleges Celebrate Convocation and Homecoming and Family Weekend

By Sarah Tompkins '10

Assistant Vice President for Alumnae Relations Kathy Killius Regan ’82, P’13 smiles at
Wendy P. Ettinger ’78 during Convocation. Regan presented Ettinger with the Alumna
Achievement Award on behalf of the William Smith Alumnae Association.

As the sun set on the second day of classes, students, faculty, staff and honored alums gathered on Stern Lawn for the annual Convocation Ceremony, which marks the beginning of the academic year.

Joining President Mark D. Gearan on stage were actor Christopher McDonald ’77, L.H.D.’13, who delivered the keynote address, Provost and Dean of Faculty Titi Ufomata, Faculty Speaker and Associate Professor of History Laura Free, and student trustees Abby Evans ’14 and Greg Mathieu ’14 (all speeches can be read online).

During the ceremony, filmmaker Wendy Ettinger ’78 was honored with the William Smith Alumnae Association’s highest honor, the Alumna Achievement Award. As a documentarian, Ettinger has devoted her career to social justice through the arts.

“It means the world to me to have all of my efforts and work acknowledged by the Colleges, especially as they work toward establishing a new Performing Arts Center on campus and having shown such a strong commitment to social justice over the years,” Ettinger remarked.

After being conferred an honorary degree, Actor Christopher McDonald ’77, L.H.D.’13
delivers the Convocation Address, sharing his journey at HWS with the student body.

McDonald, who was also commended for his work and dedication to the performing arts, was awarded an honorary degree. Due to previous obligations on Broadway, McDonald was unable to attend Commencement in May, the ceremony at which honorary degrees are traditionally conferred. At Convocation, McDonald spoke of his time at the Colleges, and attributed much of his success to reaching outside of his “comfort zone,” when he decided to audition for an oncampus theatre production.

“Your life - that big, nameless, nebulous future - will be strongly influenced by the choices you make now,” said McDonald. “You’ve already made an excellent choice in deciding to attend Hobart and William Smith. This is a place where you can take advantage of every opportunity - where you can make smart choices - where you can expand the boundaries of what you dreamed possible - where you can change the course of your life.”

Just weeks after the Convocation Ceremony heralded the opening of the year, alums, friends and families returned to campus to celebrate the much-anticipated Homecoming and Family Weekend.

Three days honoring the traditions of the Colleges, the event included fireworks and a Quad-a-Palooza Barbecue, Mini-College classes with favorite professors, an exciting football victory for the Statesmen, and Heron Field Hockey Head Coach Sally Scatton’s 400th career victory.

In addition to annual activities such as campus open houses, the Barn Burner pre-game dinner and Hillel’s Bagel Brunch, several new events highlighted the vibrancy of recent graduates with a Young Alum panel and a lunch specifically designed for Graduates of the Last Decade.

With a record number of attendees this year, next year’s Homecoming promises to bring even more HWS spirit and community.