After winning the Liberty League regular season and advancing to the second round of the NCAA Division III Women’s Lacrosse Championship on Sunday, members of the William Smith lacrosse team, including five undergraduates and one master’s candidate, were awarded their diplomas during a special HWS Commencement ceremony on Monday, May 14.
Surrounded by a celebratory room of family, friends and HWS community members in St. John’s Chapel, Sarah Benyo ’18, Kelsi Carr ’18, Bailey Ebby ’18, Melissa Moore ’18 and Catherine Wolf ’18 as well as Heron Lacrosse Assistant Coach Allie Flaherty ’17, MAT ’18, donned caps and gowns and were presented with their diplomas by Interim President Patrick McGuire L.H.D.’12 and received an alumna welcome from Sandy Scherzer Gross ’85, P’18.
The five student-athletes and one coach had missed the traditional HWS commencement on Sunday while competing against No. 1 seed The College of New Jersey in the NCAA tournament.
“Education is a shared experience here at the Colleges,” McGuire said during his congratulatory address. “You have worked closely with faculty and with our excellent coaches and sports teams. You also worked on community projects, Honors theses and participated in the Senior Symposium this spring. In fact, some of you participated in what I call the modern miracle, you have changed the lives of Geneva’s children. You should be duly proud of your dedication, commitment and success. I know I am.”
The ceremony coincided with the 193rd graduation for Hobart College and the 107th for William Smith College. This year, the Colleges awarded degrees to 241 Hobart students, 280 William Smith students and eight master’s candidates, as well as one College Experience Certificate through the HWS and ARC partnership program.
The Herons finished the season with a 15-5 overall record and a 9-1 mark in the Liberty League. William Smith advanced to the NCAA tournament for the third year in a row and for the 19th time in program history. During the Class of 2018’s four years at the Colleges, the cohort led the Herons to a 54-26 overall record and a 31-6 four-year Liberty League record.
During his address to the special ceremony, Interim Provost and Associate Professor of Political Science DeWayne Lucas imagined what feelings and conversations the students may have had during their early days at the Colleges. He also reflected on how their experiences will serve them in the future.
“Maybe you called home to talk about the speakers on campus who discussed the climate, changes in the U.S. and international politics, the role of journalism and all the other changes unfolding before us,” Lucas said. “Or about your courses here and abroad in political science, sociology, biology and psychology that you struggled in and that also changed your view of the world. I imagine it would be those activities, opportunities and experiences that we tried to impart on you that profoundly affected who you are today.”
Lucas also reflected on how the three honorary degree recipients and the 2018 Commencement speaker serve as models for a life of consequence. “Dr. Garry Mendez ’58, P’96, L.H.D. ‘18 used his passion to help those that were incarcerated find and see new ways forward. Carolyn Carr McGuire’s ’78, L.H.D. ‘18 love for others led her to create an organization that connects business leaders to nonprofit opportunities. A first-generation student, Thomas Bozzuto ’68, L.H.D. ‘18, and a natural leader since his time as a Druid and the student body president, pursued a career that made him a leader in the real estate market. And John Grotzinger ’79, Sc.D. ‘13 took an idea all the way to Mars.”
Following the conferring of degrees, presented by William Smith Dean Lisa Kaenzig P’22, the ceremony concluded with a benediction from Director of the Abbe Center and Hillel Adviser Julianne Miller.
“You have given so much to Hobart and William Smith Colleges,” Miller said. “And to you much has been given. Ancient scriptures tell us: those to whom much is given, much is required. What now is required of you? Do justice, love kindness, walk humbly. As you leave to take your rightful place as adults in this complex world, go with courage and hope.”