10 May 2024 • Faculty Baccalaureate 2024 to Reflect on Life Lessons

Graduates and their families are invited to Baccalaureate, an interfaith celebration and opportunity for reflection on the eve of Commencement. 

On Saturday, May 18, at 1:30 p.m., Baccalaureate will be held in the St. John’s Chapel. An interfaith celebration, the event provides a space for graduates of all faith backgrounds to celebrate their achievements.

The keynote speaker for the ceremony will be The Rev. Dr. Wesley Perkins, Professor of Sociology. Perkins, who has taught at Hobart and William Smith for 46 years, retires this year. His address is titled “Life Lessons from HWS Graduates.”

An ordained minister in the Christian Church, Perkins has conducted award-winning research on social norms, and is the Project Director of the Alcohol Education Project and the Youth, Health and Safety Project.

Perkins’ research interests include social psychology, alcohol and drug abuse, and college student development. Joining the faculty in 1978, Perkins has taught a wide variety of courses in the Sociology Department, including Introductory Sociology, Social Psychology, Research Methods, and Religion in Contemporary American Society. He is a graduate of the Yale Divinity School and Yale University, where he received his Ph.D. 

Frequently cited in U.S. press and television, Perkins has delivered more than 500 keynote addresses, lectures, presentations and workshops across a variety of settings, including higher education and professional conferences. He has published five books and monographs, as well as numerous journal articles.

Malak Fadlou-Allah ’24 and Joseph McCoy ’24 will serve as student speakers, sharing selected texts that are “words to live by.” President Mark D. Gearan, Provost Sarah R. Kirk, Hobart Assistant Dean Joseph Mink and William Smith Assistant Dean Lisa Salter will provide remarks during the event. The Colleges Chorale will present musical accompaniment.

Muslim Life Advisor Imam Shaheed Ali will lead the call to worship. The event will conclude with a blessing led by Rabbi Dr. Ann Landowe and Chaplain and Dean for Spiritual Engagement The Rev. Nita C. Johnson Byrd.

For more information on Commencement 2024, visit https://www.hws.edu/commencement/default.aspx.

Top: Professor of Sociology Wes Perkins speaks at an event on campus.