This morning when I was thinking of what I would like to say today I thought about the new academic building-Stern Hall-and what it means to all of us. On one level it means that faculty members in Asian languages and culture, economics, political science, sociology and anthropology have new offices and excellent classroom space. It also means that HWS students will have a lovely integrated environment where they can meet with faculty, where they can congregate, and where they can learn in state-of-the-art classrooms.

But let's take a look at another level. The first major building project of the Gearan presidency is not a sports or fitness facility; it is not a student center. It is an academic building-a center for teaching and learning. This tells you a whole lot about the priorities of this president and this institution.

Hobart and William Smith Colleges is about learning. We are all committed to it from the trustees to the administration to the faculty to the students. One of the reasons why I chose this provostship over others was that I liked the colleges' sense of academic purpose. To us, learning goes beyond rigorous classroom work to internships, service projects, study abroad. It takes the form of joint research projects and activities between students and professors. It takes the form of student involvement in campus-wide committees and activities. It takes the form of speakers, performances, films and panels. It takes the form of casual conversations with professors and friends on the Quad or in the library. It takes the form of living together in a beautiful setting in a community that requires a contribution from all its members to nourish and maintain it. It is not always harmonious-nor should it be-but it is always focused on the goal of giving and receiving a top-flight education.

We all have our eye on the prize: making something that is good even better. This is not an institution that rests on its laurels but one that always looks to improve itself. This year presents us with many exciting opportunities in the academic arena.

  • We are reviewing our curriculum to see if it fits the current and future needs of our student body.
  • We are applying for many new and interesting grants that will expand the opportunities enjoyed by our faculty and our students.
  • We are preparing to do our self-studies for our Middle States reaccreditation.
  • We are strengthening and enhancing the programs formerly known as Off Campus Programs and the Center for Academic Support Services so that they are more efficient, effective and better integrated into the academic life of HWS.
  • We are looking for ways to support and enlarge our Honors Program.
  • We are constantly looking for ways to make Hobart and William Smith the best possible college.

Welcome to the new year. Thank you for the contributions that you make to our learning community. It makes me feel good to see us all here together anticipating what lies ahead and celebrating what has been accomplished.

Judge Stern, on behalf of the faculty at HWS, I would like to thank you for your generous contribution to the new academic building-Stern Hall. You have told us in the most gracious way that you join us in our quest for excellence. Your gift, along with those of other Trustees who have stepped forward with their own generous gifts to support new classrooms in Stern Hall, new equipment, scholarships, the endowment and the renovation of Trinity Hall, sends to us a strong and well-received message of support.

It is now my great pleasure to introduce to you Mr. Charles H. Salisbury, Jr. Hobart College class of 1963 and parent of a 1994 William Smith graduate. Mr. Salisbury is the current Chair of the Board of Trustees and is beginning his 13th year of service on the Board.

Mr. Salisbury, on behalf of the faculty and the institution as a whole, I would like to thank you for your service, your insightful leadership, and your generous contribution of time and resources to solidifying our place in the ranks of premier liberal arts colleges.




Welcoming Remarks at Convocation, Patricia Stranahan, Dean of the Faculty and Provost

September 3, 2002