3 November 2023 • Alums Alums Return for Founder’s Day 2023

In celebration of William Smith Founder’s Day, three alums  discussed what they’ve learned about fostering community. 

Three alums took the stage to discuss fostering community both on campus and beyond during the annual Founder's Day celebration on Nov. 2. Hosted by the William Smith Dean's Office, the conversation was moderated by William Smith Congress President Sophia Mughal ’25 and Junior Student Trustee Anjalee Wanduragala ’25.

The original founder of HWS Votes Jane Erickson ’07 meets current club co-presidents Samari Brown ’24 and Katelyn Oswalt ’24. Erickson returned to campus for the Founder’s Day celebration.

Each year, Founder’s Day recognizes the establishment of William Smith College and the achievements of its students and graduates.

Encompassing a wide range of career experiences, this year’s speakers included Jane Erickson ’07, Director of Learning and Impact at The Rippel Foundation; Stephanie Nieves ’15, Writer, Editor, Teacher, and Curator at the Gotham Writers Workshop; and Gabrielle Perez ’12, Program Compliance Coordinator at Covenant House New York.

“Over my 20 years as a dean at HWS, I continue to feel fortunate to witness the remarkable journey of our students, and it is always such a joy to have them back as graduates to speak with our current students about their lives since graduation,” shared William Smith Dean Lisa Kaenzig P’22.

“Each of these alumnae bring their own perspective, good advice, humor and candor to share with our students about how to make the most of their time at the Colleges and how to work towards "Fostering Community: On Campus and Beyond."

The event’s theme was chosen by Mughal and Wanduragala, who helped plan the event in collaboration with Associate Dean Lisa Salter.

Inspired by the suffrage movement in nearby Seneca Falls, Geneva, N.Y., nurseryman and philanthropist William Smith made the gift to establish a women’s college on Dec. 13, 1906. Two years later, William Smith College enrolled its first class of 18 students.

Top: William Smith Associate Dean Lisa Salter, Sophia Mughal '25, Gabrielle Perez '12, Anjalee Wanduragala ’25, Jane Erickson ’07 and Stephanie Nieves '15 pose during the Founder's Day celebration.