6 June 2023 • Alums A Lifetime of Giving Back By Andrew Wickenden '09

Remembering former Trustee Judith Haslam Cross ’52, P’85, L.H.D.’00.

In her devotion to Hobart and William Smith and to institutions in her local community and around the world, Judith Haslam Cross ’52, P’85, L.H.D.’00 was an extraordinary source of support, leadership and joy.

“She loved William Smith the day she arrived and remained involved in the success of the college community, leading the way with fellow classmates contributing financially her entire life,” recalls Judy’s daughter Tiffany Daly.

“Judy Cross was a remarkable figure in Hobart and William Smith history, both for her support for the institution but also for her infectious spirit of generosity toward and enthusiasm about the Colleges,” says Vice President for Advancement Bob O’Connor P’22, P’23. “We wouldn’t be where we are today without Judy’s vision and leadership.”

Judy, who died in 2022 at age 91, earned her B.A. in English from William Smith, where she found both a community of lifelong friends and a passion for service and equity. Tiffany notes that her mother’s “belief in women’s rights can certainly be attributed to her years at the college.”

“I always loved spending time with Judy,” says President Mark D. Gearan. “She was generous in her approach to life, always looking for ways to give back to her community that would be meaningful and that would do the most good. She gave me valued advice as a new president and I treasured our conversations.”

Following graduation, Judy remained a lifelong advocate for and friend to the Colleges, supporting scholarships, the Annual Fund and the endowment, and steering the direction of the institution as a member of the Board of Trustees. She served on the Board from 1984 to 1992, including a term as Vice Chair, and was later awarded the title of Honorary Trustee in recognition of her leadership. The Colleges honored her commitment and support in 2000, when Judy was awarded an honorary degree. A former member of the William Smith Alumnae Council, she also helped her friends and classmates remain connected to one another and the Colleges as class correspondent for the Pulteney Street Survey for many years. Judy was a firm believer of the handwritten note and she thoroughly enjoyed receiving letters from friends and acquaintances.

Judy’s financial support for the Colleges has made profound impacts on campus and on the lives of students and alums. Her gifts — more than $2.5 million — supported the Annual Fund and the endowment, as well as the annual Helen Constance Cummings Brent Endowed Scholarship, awarded to an academically qualified and financially deserving Hobart or William Smith student. “She was thrilled to present a student with her scholarship every year,” Tiffany says.

Judy also gave more than $100,000 to the William Smith Centennial Fund and an $800,000 bequest to the Colleges through the Wheeler Society.

“Expectations from parents for their children was a notable factor during that era: an excellent education would and should lead to a successful career and the opportunity for wealth,” Tiffany says. However, Judy’s philosophy — and that of her husband, the late William J. Cross, President of Readers Digest during the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s — was: “If you make a lot of money, keep what you need and give away the rest.”

Active in her community, Judy served as Senior Warden of St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Bedford, N.Y., where she was a devoted member. She also served as Chair of Somers Library and a member of the Katonah Library Board. After moving to New Hampshire, she joined the boards of The Friends of the Hopkins Center, the Hood Museum of Art, ILEAD and the Orford Social Library.

An avid writer and reader throughout her life, Judy penned newsletters, stories and poems, many of which were published. “I have many of her poems and stories that she composed for myself and my children, some of which were illustrated,” Tiffany says. “We all treasure her written gifts.”

FURTHER TOGETHER: The Campaign for Our Third Century

Judy was predeceased by her husband of 49 years, William; son, John; and companion, John Hatheway. She is survived by her children, Alexandra Cross Mitchell ’85 and Tiffany Daly; four grandchildren; a great-grandson; and many other beloved relatives and friends.

“My mother lived an extraordinary life,” Tiffany says. “Very distinguished, highly intelligent, devoted to her faith, she contributed her time and energy to many communities around the world — and was especially passionate about giving back to her beloved William Smith College.”