Peter J. Trias '70 was born on November 14, 1948, in Detroit, Mich., the first of five children of George and Alexandra Trias. He graduated from Calhoun High School in Merrick, N.Y., before attending Hobart College. At HWS, Trias flourished as a writer and went on to earn his MFA in poetry from Iowa Writers Workshop in 1972. In 1976, he published a collection of poems, The House in Venice.

Trias was a man of many talents and passions. He excelled as a painter, designer, architect, real estate developer and poet before he passed away on July 14, 2006. He taught poetry in North Carolina, was in advertising as a copy writer in New York City and worked in real estate in Los Angeles.

He became a successful realtor in Venice Beach and a popular figure in the community. He lived modestly and gave freely of his time, money, humor and affection.

"One of Peter's dreams as he grew older was to create an artist colony where writers and visual artists would be able to have residencies," Ed Rothfarb, Peter's partner, recalls. "When considering how to contribute something worthwhile from his estate, Peter quite naturally turned to the idea. And it was natural that he chose the place, HWS, that had nurtured his first exciting contact with writing."

Though Trias excelled in many fields, writing was his true love, one he wanted to share with future Hobart and William Smith students. He designated Hobart and William Smith as the beneficiary of his estate to establish The Peter Trias '70 Endowed Fund for Poetry and Creative Writing. It was his hope that this fund would attract poets and writers of distinction to the campus for year-long appointments to add distinguished voices to the creative chorus on campus.