For alums returning to campus this weekend, one of the highlights of Reunion is sharing the many great stories that reflect the meaning and impact of their time at Hobart and William Smith.
Celebrating their 50th Reunion this year, members of the Classes of 1963 might say it was the interactions they had with Reverend Louis Melbourne Hirshson, then president of the Colleges, that have stuck with them. Returning to the Colleges for their 25th Reunion, the Classes of 1988 recall Hobart lacrosse victories. And, like other HWS classes from across the decades, they also recollect the beginnings of many important relationships.
Throughout Reunion 2013 – from the William Smith and Hobart lunches to campus tours, the Alums on Parade and the Reunion Celebration on the Quad – all of the spirited events present the chance to share in the tradition of the Colleges, the classes, faculty and friends, and the lifelong connections formed with the HWS community.
Listed by the decade, here are just some of the unforgettable memories shared by alumni and alumnae throughout Reunion 2013:
“Our time at Hobart and William Smith – receiving a wonderful liberal arts education – was the foundation for the rest of our lives,” says York Mayo ’63, P’14 alongside his wife Buffy Mayo ’63, P’14 during the 50th Reunion Dinner at the President’s Home. “I can tell you it prepared us for the world. We love this place and continue to return to watch our grandson play basketball.”
“The biggest change is the physical campus,” says William H. Truswell Jr. ’68, P’10. “When I was here, Williams Hall (which is now home to the Music Department) was the gym. In addition, the Colleges have become far more competitive. That is apparent and it’s certainly a good thing.”
“At William Smith, the women really had a place to shine and be leaders,” recalls Diana Woll Zurer ’64, who attended this year’s Reunion so she can plan for her classes’ 50th next year. “I just thought it was so wonderful.” Zurer, who worked for the Kennedy campaign locally during her time at HWS, says: “The big difference now is the participation in study abroad and that there is much more interaction with the local community. Community service and reaching out is now a much bigger part of the education at the Colleges.”
“I saw campus driving through the area about five years ago visiting friends,” says Emily Sachs Melendez ’73, noting she hasn’t been back in about 40 years. “I looked at McCormick House and it didn’t look right because there were two other buildings next to it. It’s so different! Forty years is a long time, but it’s great to be back.”
“We went to the Smith Opera House for a lot for concerts,” says Douglas Austin-Weeks ’78. “I saw Bruce Springsteen in ’77 or ’78. We also had performances by Bob Marley and the Wailers, Robert Palmer, and Preservation Hall Jazz Band from New Orleans.”
“I have been a folk singer since high school, so one thing that stands out to me is when Peter Yarrow came to campus to perform my junior year and he asked for a volunteer from the audience to come and sing with him and I joined him on stage and sang with him and that was pretty amazing,” says Susan Trump ’73. “There were just so many good times with everybody. It’s a small school, so you really get to connect with everyone and get to know them. It was just a really nice place to be.”
“I was on the sailing team and I worked at the Hobart athletic department as an administrative assistant. Lacrosse was huge and it was exciting to watch them. I had a lot of fun,” says Janet Carlson Maurillo ’88. “Being a member of the sailing team was one of the things I enjoyed most. As a member of the sailing team, I think I met the most people and developed the most long-lasting relationships, even meeting people from different schools and other areas.”
“We had a great weekend when Hobart Lacrosse beat Syracuse, which was ranked number one at the time and we were ranked third,” says Dave Winston ’88. “It was springtime and about 80 degrees, which doesn’t often happen here at that time of the year. It was a very memorable time.”
“I think a lot of the recent additions on campus really enhance the overall college experience for the students,” says Skip Darden ’87, P’17. “When I was here, I played lacrosse and was a part of the national championship legacies. But beyond that, this campus gave me an opportunity as a young African American male to find my niche, to be able to lead and be out front in different activities such as the Hobart Student Association, Student Courts, Farmhouse, being an RA. They allowed me to grow and be mentored which has contributed to the success I enjoy today.”
“One of the highlights was the co-ops,” says Gretchen Keay ’98. “Cooking together and shopping was the best part. There was a really nice social atmosphere and a family feel.”
“I had such a great experience here at HWS and it’s just a very special place for me,” says Colleen McDonough ’98. “I hope the students here now have as good of a time as I did when I was here. I don’t know if there is anything about my time here that I would change. I genuinely believe that this was the best place for me at that time in my life and even after. Everything I have done and earned in my life is because of Hobart and William and Smith; everything comes back to here.”
“I’m very excited about the prospect of the new Performing Arts Center,” says Jenna Berman ’08. “It would be a very significant and good change.” As a recent graduate, Berman says there is much to celebrate about the Colleges. “When I was here, there was a really great work-life balance. There were a lot of professors who opened a lot of doors. They were all really great.”
“They’ve made a lot of really nice improvements to campus. I went in Scandling to register and it was beautiful; it’s awesome,” says John Colan ’08. “The best part of Hobart were the friendships that I formed here. Pretty much all my friends now that aren’t from work are from Hobart. Also, the study abroad program, I went to Ecuador and Peru.”
“When I was a student here, I took a classical liberal arts approach. I was in a number of economics classes with Professor Gunn. In addition to those classes, I also took advantage of the abroad programs that Hobart had to offer and went to Copenhagen,” says Matthew Oppenheim ’08. “During my time in Copenhagen, I did the design program, I biked to class from my home and immersed myself in the local culture.”