In just a few days, 640 students from 29 states and 13 countries will arrive in Geneva to begin their collegiate careers at HWS. They represent the most culturally diverse incoming classes in the Colleges’ history – nearly 20 percent are multicultural and/or international, up five percent from last year. The Classes of 2017 also have one of the largest numbers of students from legacy families, 123 in all. The incoming first-year students are academically gifted with more than a third receiving merit awards and honors. They are valedictorians, team captains, members of student government, and leaders in a wide range of extracurricular activities through their high schools and in their communities.
“This year, we accepted and admitted fewer students, yet we improved our yield substantially – about 31 percent,” says Bob Murphy, vice president for enrollment and dean of admissions. “With an impressive faculty, beautiful facilities and extraordinary programs in career services, study abroad and community service, more and more students are making the Colleges their first and only choice.”
In fact, more than 50 percent of the first-year classes enrolled Early Decision. The classes are also fairly evenly split, with 54 percent William Smith and 46 percent Hobart.
The Classes of 2017 are exceptionally well-rounded. In addition to their academic and athletic accomplishments, they’ve also volunteered with organizations and causes such as The American Red Cross, Relay for Life, Special Olympics, American Cancer Society, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Habitat for Humanity, AIDS Ride for Life, and Susan G. Komen Foundation.
Among the incoming first-year students arriving in Geneva this fall are:
Stefani Schmitz, of Ballston Pa, N.Y., is one of the classes’ two Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell Scholars – as such, she has been accepted into the M.D. Class of 2021 at Upstate Medical University. Schmitz has been a member of National Honor Society and Tri-M International Music Honor Society and was a varsity swimmer for the past five years and team captain for the past two years. Last summer, she completed a volunteer medical mission to Argentina. She was the valedictorian at Ballston Spa High School’s graduation ceremonies.
Courtney Chase, of Chester, N.J., brings an impressive background in scholarship and athletics to William Smith. At West Morris Central High School, Chase played varsity basketball, was named to the National Honor Society, and was the sports editor of her high school newspaper. Even with a busy schedule, she found time to referee youth basketball and volunteer with Students Against Destructive Decisions. At HWS, Chase has been named a Faculty Scholar. She says two of the most appealing aspects of the Colleges are the distinct sense of community and the student to faculty ratio. “The small classroom size and individualized attention that students receive at HWS really caught my eye,” Chase says. “Being able to receive personal attention was really important in factoring my decision. Despite the small student body, the campus itself does not make it feel that way, and that’s what made me fall in love with HWS.”
Stephanie Kenific, of Syracuse, N.Y., is the recipient of a prestigious HWS Trustee Scholarship. Graduating in the top three percent of her class at West Genesee Senior High School, Kenific is a National Merit Commended Scholar and was named to the National Honor Society. She was the chief editor of her high school literary magazine, was high school ski club officer and also helped to lead a food preparation effort at a local charity center. Kenific says she’s excited to follow her passion and pursue the disciplines that appeal to her most. “What I like best about HWS is the attention I have already received from the faculty I have met,” she says. “The professors I’ve had the good fortune to meet were brilliant and clearly devoted. It is obvious to me that HWS is excited about its students’ passions and successes. I cannot wait to be a part of this kind of community, because it’s so clearly a caring and inspiring one.”
Sebastien Sauvagnat, of Versoix, Switzerland, a Legacy Scholar whose mother, Mena Sauvagnat ’90, went to William Smith, will be arriving in Geneva with an international perspective and his secondary education from College du Leman International School / IEC Education Council S.A. Born in Singapore, he has spent time living in different parts of the world. A scholar and an athlete, Sauvagnat played golf and tennis during high school and participated in an engineering course that focused on theoretical railroad applications. In addition, Sauvagnat was a volunteer assistant basketball coach through a camp that helped to raise funds for cancer treatment services for children living in Africa. From academics to reputation, Sauvagnat says it was a variety of factors that drew him to HWS. “I associated these components with what I had witnessed during the tour in terms of students talking about one’s Russian studies and another studying in Hong Kong, as well as the equally rich natural surroundings,” Sauvagnat says.
Vincent Creer, of Long Beach, Calif., made the Colleges his first choice by enrolling Early Decision. As an aspiring architect, Creer brings an impressive background in academics and extracurricular activities to the HWS campus. During his senior year, he had a paid internship at the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority, where he shadowed both engineers and architects. Prior to his internship, Creer volunteered at the Aquarium of the Pacific. Creer also is civically engaged and was named an Eagle Scout. During his senior year of high school, Creer was the publicist for the Gay-Straight Alliance Club, was a member of the speech and debate club, and was involved as a student council representative of a student “spirit” organization. Creer says a number of factors piqued his interest in HWS, including the size and appearance of the campus, as well as the opportunity to pursue architectural studies. “Hobart and William Smith really appealed to me because of its smaller size and student to faculty ratio,” Creer says. “I’m looking forward to living on the East Coast and experiencing life on that side of the country. It will be great to meet new people and engage with people from different cultures.”