Gathering in annual fashion to celebrate the history and heritage of Hobart College, students, alums, deans and other members of the HWS community convened at St. John’s Chapel for the 192nd Charter Day ceremonies.
Honoring Hobart’s founding in 1822, this year’s Charter Day welcomed back distinguished alumnus The Honorable Jeffrey L. Amestoy ’68, P’11, P’14 to receive the prestigious Hobart Medal of Excellence, the highest honor for a Hobart alumnus. The medal is awarded by the Alumni Association to an alumnus who, by reason of outstanding accomplishments in his particular business, profession or community service, has brought honor and distinction to his alma mater.
“Charter Day is a way that we remember and memorialize the beginning of Hobart College,” said President Mark D. Gearan. “Beginnings tell us about our present and future.”
Following Gearan’s introduction, Alumni Association President James “JB” Robinson ’96 took the podium to announce Amestoy’s award. In addition, Hobart College Dean Eugen Baer HON’07, P’95, P’97 gave the welcoming address.
“If you want a good education, you can get it if you want it,” said Amestoy. “Hobart allows you to be the agent of your own destiny. This school provides you with the privilege of choosing parts and supplies that will lead to a life of consequence.”
A Fellow of the Center for Public Leadership at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, Amestoy stressed how the character of the faculty at Hobart helped him find his way through his time at HWS and how they helped him find out what he wanted to do.
“The Medal of Excellence is the Alumni Association’s highest honor and is given sparingly to Hobart graduates who have achieved great success in their chosen profession or field of service,” Robinson said. “By any measure, Jeff has been hugely successful and influential in his career as a lawyer, an Attorney General, and as Chief Justice of the Vermont State Supreme Court. We are pleased to bring Jeff back home to Hobart to celebrate his many accomplishments.”
In 1999, Amestoy was the author of the Vermont Supreme Court’s opinion in Baker v. State, which held that same-sex couples were constitutionally entitled to the rights and benefits of marriage. In addition to his current role at Harvard University, Amestoy served as the 38th Chief Justice of Vermont’s Supreme Court (1997-2004), seven terms as Attorney General of Vermont and held the position of president of the National Association of Attorneys General from 1992 to 1993.
“We are excited and proud to honor Jeff for the life of consequence he has led,” said Assistant Vice President for Alumni Relations and Annual Giving Jared Weeden ’91. “He is a wonderful ambassador for our Colleges and an alumnus who epitomizes all that a Hobart Statesman is meant to be.”
Amestoy, along with many of the evening’s guests, offered remarks centered on the theme of looking back to learn from experience, which can translate into future success.
The student address was given by Michael Green ’14, a mathematics major and senior captain for Statesmen football, who was selected for the Volunteer of the Year Award by the Happiness House. Green, an offensive lineman, organized this year’s “Touchdown and Tackles for Happiness House,” an annual fundraiser started in 2010 by former Statesman offensive lineman Jarrid Blades ’12. This year, thanks to Green and his teammates, Hobart surpassed its goal of raising $10,000 for Happiness House.
After Amestoy’s speech, the ceremony shifted to honor students with awards for their outstanding contributions in academics, community service, and leadership. Also announced at the ceremony were the new members of the Colleges’ honor societies, the Orange Key Society, the Chimera Society, and the Druids.