October 12, 2023

Dear Members of the HWS Community,

I write following the horrific terrorist attacks launched by Hamas on Israel this past weekend that have taken the lives of so many and that continue to reverberate as we learn more about the atrocities committed against civilians and the plight of those being held hostage. The events of the last few days have shaken us all. For many in our community, the grief we are experiencing is personal with family, friends or colleagues in the region. This hate-fueled violence was unconscionable and I mourn the loss of innocent lives. 

I believe we have the responsibility to bear witness and the opportunity to come together as a community to show support for one another as we all process the unspeakable violence of the weekend and the war ahead.

In his address to the nation, President Biden rightly said: “There is no place for hate in America — not against Jews, not against Muslims, not against anybody.”

This is a moment for all of us to reflect on our common humanity and to take care of one another.

As always, there are multiple resources available to our community including:

  • The Dean of Spiritual Engagement the Rev. Nita Byrd and the Director of the Abbe Center for Jewish Life Rabbi Dr. Ann Landowne are available for support. Please contact their office at 315-781-4637 or via email at landowne@hws.edu or byrd@hws.edu.
  • Counselors from the Counseling Center, located at 91 St. Clair St., are available for appointments by calling 315-781-3388 or via email at counselingcenter@hws.edu.
  • Crisis Counselors are available 24 hours a day by calling 315-781-3388 and choosing option 1.
  • The Hobart Deans, the William Smith Deans and the Office of Campus Life, located in Smith Hall, are available for students who want to talk.
  • The Employee Assistance Program provides faculty and staff with immediate and free access to mental health professionals by calling (800) 327-2255.


Mark D. Gearan

Conversations and Reflections

October 16, 2023

Dear Members of the Hobart and William Smith Community,

I write following deeply meaningful conversations with students, faculty, staff and alumni over the past week as we learn more about the brutal terrorist attacks undertaken by Hamas in Israel a week ago and the unfolding war and devastating humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip.  I suspect many of you have had similar conversations and have been touched by the deep pain people feel with the developing war. I mourn the loss of Israeli and Palestinian civilian lives and I pray for peace.  

In these times, we should all be aware of the resources available to all members of our community. I look forward to gatherings as a community that provide an opportunity for learning and dialogue in the coming days and weeks. 


Mark D. Gearan