Early Sunday evening, the men and women of the Classes of 2016 began to gather on all ends of campus. William Smith students congregated at JPR and on the Hill before attending the William Smith Dean’s Welcome Dinner, while Hobart first-years adjourned to the Quad for the long-standing tradition of matriculation and John Henry Hobart Dinner.
As each settled into their respective traditions, the Deans of each college joined prominent members of faculty and staff in officially bringing the new members of the HWS community into two of the Colleges’ most cherished traditions.
“This first weekend, we want to highlight the important traditions,” remarked William Smith Associate Dean Lisa Kaenzig, who also serves as the first-year dean.”The William Smith Dean’s Welcome Dinner, which has been held every year for over 100 years, is one of the most meaningful.”
“Every person in this room shares something – we are from different states, countries, ethnicities – but we are alike in that we are here,” said William Smith Dean Susanne McNally. “In a world turning with change, so are you.”
McNally discussed the difficulty of breaking from one’s previous chapter in life due to modern technology, which makes it easy to remain in touch with the past, but, she warned, one must learn to remain present.
“Part of living an abundant life is really being where you are. Try to be open and alert to your surroundings; be present in the natural world, be present to new ideas, remain connected to the worthy work of William Smith – and most of all, be present to each other.”
At both dinners, newly appointed Provost and Dean of Faculty Titilayo Ufomata expressed her joy at also being a member of the newest class. “I am new, and I am very proud to be a member of the Classes of 2016,” said Ufomata.
Ufomata reminded the women of William Smith to help wherever and whenever needed – and that little acts of kindness add up. “Become a true Heron,” she advised. “Give light to everyone around you, be a beacon everywhere you go.”
To Hobart men, she encouraged first-years to become – and remain – engaged. “You attain privileges and responsibilities upon joining an institution of higher learning,” said Ufomata. “You should plan to work hard to make an impact.”
Women also heard from current William Smith Congress President Ava Pavao ’14, who reflected on the most pressing issues she faced during her Orientation two years earlier. Her words encouraged her classmates to seek friends, to be brave, kind and to strive to constantly be better.
Both Classes received a warm welcome from the Alumni and Alumnae Associations. At the William Smith dinner, Director of Alumnae Relations Kathy Killius Regan ’82, P’13, recalled her life-changing time on campus and asked that today’s women not forget those who came before them, who help to move other women up.
Hobart Alumni Council Executive Committee Member Dr. Jeremy Cushman ’96 reaffirmed the constant presence of alums. “We will be there for you,” he explained. “We will be there to celebrate those good decisions, help you make the hard ones and work through the bad ones.”
During the traditional Matriculation Ceremony on the steps of Coxe Hall, the Hobart Class of 2016 each walked across the stage, touching the paddle of Seneca Warrior Agayentah, whose oar serves a reminder of the past.
Dean of Hobart College Eugen Baer P’95, P’97, HON’07 spoke of Hobart’s expectations, conviction and achievements. “We expect from you a willingness to learn 24 hours a day,” said Baer. In return, Baer explained, Hobart would be an ever-present source of trust, companionship and support. “Explore your own uniqueness that brought you here. We need you, we need your situation, and we need your point of view.”