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Jane S. Ritter ’48, L.H.D.’05
Honorary Trustee

“I think if you don't get anything else from a liberal arts education, you get the fact that it's important to think about other people besides yourself.”
- Jane S. Ritter ’48, L.H.D.’05

Jane lived in Geneva after her marriage to Rick Shepard in 1953. In the 1960s, she matriculated at William Smith. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1966 with a B.A. in religion.

Ritter's experience at William Smith College was certainly atypical. She developed a strong bond with both the classes of 1966 and 1948, two groups of William Smith students separated by a generation. She also created close personal ties with several members of the faculty in the dual roles of student and personal friend.

Ritter has shown her dedication and loyalty to the Colleges ever since. She has been an active and highly visible William Smith alumna, serving on the Alumnae Council from 1981-1991 as well as the Leadership Gifts Committee. Ritter has been a gracious patron of the Heron Society and the Geneva Scholarship Associates Program. She was a member of the HWS Board of Trustees during the mid-nineties and was made an Honorary Trustee in 1998.  

Ritter's advocacy for the Wheeler Society and her continued efforts to establish scholarship opportunities attest to the importance that one person can have in the history and growth of an institution. In 2005, the Colleges marked her dedication with an honorary degree.

How did serving on the Board of Trustees change your view of the Colleges?
From the classroom to the boardroom is a tremendous leap! I learned how much work it is to produce a fine liberal arts college!

How do you define leadership?
Leadership requires the ability to see the potential in those persons you will lead, being a good listener and have a sense of humor.

How did you get where you are today? Can you trace it to a certain moment, experience or personality trait?
I’m retired, approaching 80 and still vitally interested in the world’s affairs (I disapprove of the state they are in). I've always jumped in where ever I could be of help.

Who is your role model?
My mother – after all these years!

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