Convocation 2007

Welcome by Chair of the Board of Trustees David H. Deming
August 29, 2007

Good afternoon and welcome. On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I am honored to join with you as we begin the 2007 Academic Year, one that will be filled with great excitement. I would like to extend a welcome to the Classes of 2011 and to our new faculty and staff on this important celebration. On behalf of the Board, we look forward to working with all of you to advance these Colleges.

Over the past few years, our campus has been transformed in dramatic and tangible ways. Our students now have four new residence halls to choose from – de Cordova, Caird, Carr McGuire, and the Abbe Center for Jewish Life. We have a beautiful new arts quad at Houghton House with the addition of the Katherine D. Elliott Studio Arts Center and the Goldstein Family Carriage House. McCooey Field provides a wonderful new venue for our athletes and Cozzens Field was just rehabbed this summer. We have a newly renovated Admissions Building and the new Bozzuto Boat House offers our nationally ranked sailing team a home. The Salisbury Center in Trinity Hall now houses the offices of Career Services, Community Engagement and Service Learning, and Global Education. The Finger Lakes Institute on South Main Street is now an important presence on campus. And behind me is the Stern Hall Academic Building.

None of these facilities were in place five years ago.

There is a tremendous swelling of pride in these Colleges, a pride that is fueled by the accomplishments of our faculty, staff and students and by the sure knowledge that Hobart and William Smith is making a difference in the lives of young men and women. That’s why we’re at work to enlarge the Scandling Center to be a true campus center, build a performing arts center and improve more athletic facilities.

So who are these people who have chosen to invest in the Colleges’ future? They are our alumni, alumnae, parents, friends, community members, faculty and staff. One invented Super-Glu. Another is a Broadway actor. One is the announcer for the David Letterman show. One is an expert on the spread of the HIV virus. One is a doctor at Harvard Medical School. One is a Nobel Peace Prize winner, the athletic director of the University of Florida, a member of NASA’s Mars Team, the executive editor of The New Yorker, a race car driver, a judge, a children’s book author, a painter, a Disney Imagineer, a coach, a teacher, a lobster fisherman. One of them is me.

Martin Luther King, Jr. said: “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.”

At its heart, Hobart and William Smith is about true education – it’s about creating an environment where bright and deserving students can pair intelligence with character. It’s about educating, as President Gearan says, informed and engaged citizens. We believe a liberal arts education prepares young men and women to become leaders – to craft lives guided by a commitment to globalism and service to the community. We support these Colleges because we believe that Hobart and William Smith Colleges prepare young men and women to lead lives of consequence. 

So when you walk around this campus, many of you for the first time, and you see these buildings old and new, the picturesque pathways and tree-lined alleys, the deep green playing fields and the blue of Seneca Lake, as you walk back and forth to class and to practice - know that there are literally hundreds of thousands of people who support you and who believe in your potential.