‘Glee’ co-creator, two Finger Lakes icons among this year’s recipients
Hobart and William Smith Colleges recognized five extraordinary individuals with honorary degrees at this year’s Commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 18.
Bradley D. Falchuk ’93, Reynold Levy ’66, Dorothy H. Wickenden ’76, Nozomi Williams and Carl W. Fribolin have each set benchmarks in their professions, establishing a lasting legacy for the Colleges and the nation.
“The Colleges are proud to confer honorary degrees on five individuals whose dedication to the arts – through journalism, education, and community-building – are significant,” says President Mark D. Gearan. “As we begin construction this summer on the new Performing Arts Center, their important contributions to the arts and to the Colleges serve as inspiring examples to our graduating seniors of lives of consequence.”
Bradley Falchuk ’93 is the co-creator, writer, executive producer and director of the Fox series “Glee” and co-creator, executive producer and writer of FX network’s “American Horror Story.” Since his breakout hit “Nip/Tuck” took television audiences to a new world of drama in 2003, Falchuk has been at the intersection of our nation’s popular culture and social conscience. He has received 10 Emmys and four Golden Globes, among many other awards and accolades.
Since 2009, “Glee” has garnered multiple awards for its combination of unabashed exuberance and tender teenage heartbreak. Variety magazine wrote that the show has “…helped to shape a global landscape of tolerance and acceptance among adolescents, giving encouragement to the LGBT community in a way that, arguably, no other TV series has done before.”
In California, Falchuk is the co-creator of The Young Storytellers Foundation, which helps fourth-graders in under-served, arts-poor Los Angeles public schools write their own screenplays, and brings in famous actors for stage readings.
At Hobart, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English. As an alumnus, Falchuk has supported the Salisbury Center for Career Service’s Los Angeles Program, and works with HWS students interested in careers in the entertainment industry, serving as a mentor.
Reynold Levy ’66, who served as the president of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts for 12 years, graduated from Hobart with a bachelor’s degree in political science. As a student, he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and served as president of Pi Gamma Mu-the honorary social science society. He went on to earn a law degree from Columbia University and a Ph.D. in government and foreign affairs from the University of Virginia.
As president of Lincoln Center until 2012, he is credited with transforming Lincoln Center’s financial model, expanding it in new directions, and building an unprecedented spirit of collaboration across the center’s formidable constituents, including the New York Philharmonic, the Metropolitan Opera and New York City Ballet. Levy was recognized in 2009 with the Lincoln Center’s Design Patron Award for his design stewardship of the Center’s campus, a $1.2 billion renovation and transformation project. In 2012, Levy was inducted into the 232nd Class of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
The author of three books on foreign policy, philanthropy and fundraising, he has been a senior lecturer at Harvard Business School. He has also taught law, political science and nonprofit administration at Columbia and New York Universities. Previously, Levy served as executive director of the 92nd Street Y, president of the AT&T Foundation, and president of the International Rescue Committee.
He has served on the boards of numerous groups, including the Manhattan Theatre Club, the Municipal Art Society of New York, the Roundabout Theater Company, the Consortium for the Advancement of Private Higher Education, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, Fordham University and the Center for Global Development. As an alumnus, he has received the Hobart Alumni Medal of Excellence and served as honorary chair of fundraising efforts for the Hobart and William Smith Performing Arts Center.
Dorothy H. Wickenden ’76, the executive editor of The New Yorker since 1995, oversees one of the most respected nameplates in political journalism, art criticism, and literary excellence. Under her leadership, the weekly publication has attracted new audiences and tackled controversial issues. As a student of William Smith College, Wickenden earned High Honors in English with distinction for her baccalaureate essay. A Dean’s List student, she won the Chester J. Hampton Prize for Excellence in English and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.
After graduation, Wickenden attended the Radcliffe Publishing Procedures Course and then moved to Washington, D.C., where she was hired as an editorial assistant for the Shakespeare Quarterly at the Folger Shakespeare Library. She later accepted a position as production manager of The New Republic, and eventually became the executive editor of the publication. She was named a Nieman Fellow at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University, which she left to take over as the national affairs editor for Newsweek.
Currently, she also is the moderator of its weekly podcast “The Political Scene.” She has authored pieces for The New Republic, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and The Wilson Quarterly, and is the editor of The New Republic Reader: Eighty Years of Opinion and Debate. Her 2011 book, “Nothing Daunted,” was a New York Times bestseller. She is on the faculty of The Writers’ Institute at CUNY’s Graduate Center, where she teaches a course on narrative nonfiction.
As an alumna, Wickenden supports the Colleges through her close involvement with the student body as a speaker and panelist and serving as a Trustee of the Colleges from 1994 to 1998. She received the Alumnae Achievement Award in 1999, served on the Honorary Committee for the William Smith Centennial, and in 2006 gave the Colleges’ Convocation address.
Nozomi Williams has lent her support and guidance to multiple local causes and organizations, including American Red Cross, Boys and Girls Club of Geneva, Disabled American Veterans, and Finger Lakes Community College Foundation. She’s also a contributor to the Finger Lakes Visiting Nurse Service, Finger Lakes Health Foundation, Geneva Center of Concern, Geneva Community Center, Geneva Concerts, the Geneva Family YMCA, Geneva Historical Society, Geneva Lakefront Childcare Center, Geneva Police Department, Geneva Post Office, Geneva Public Library, Geneva Theatre Guild, Geneva Volunteer Fire Department, and Happiness House-Finger Lakes Cerebral Palsy Association.
Williams was among a small group of community members who worked tirelessly to ensure the continuation of the Smith Opera House. Her many contributions to Geneva have been recognized with her selection as the Geneva Area Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year Award, Geneva Rotary Club Paul Harris Award, Happiness House Humanitarian of the Year Award and induction into New York State’s Women of Distinction.
Williams was married to local Geneva businessman, the late Samuel B. Williams II, and founded the Williams Family Foundation in memory of her husband and their two sons, Ichiro and Jiro Williams.
Her efforts on behalf of Hobart and William Smith students and initiatives have been significant. Among her many contributions has been major support of the new Performing Arts Center. She also helped to endow a vital program, Geneva Scholarship Associates, which has made the dream of attending the Colleges a reality for local Geneva children.
Carl W. Fribolin is an entrepreneur whose leadership as an agricultural innovator and philanthropist has resulted in the thoughtful stewardship of the area’s sprawling countryside as well as the cultivation of communities and arts institutions in the region. A native of Naples, N.Y., Fribolin graduated from Cornell University with a degree in agriculture. He taught school in the Andover Central School District in Allegany County, and then built a career as a sales manager with the Ralston-Purina Company, eventually becoming chief executive officer of Ralston-Purina’s Guatemala City division. Fribolin purchased several seed companies which he established as Seedway, one of our nation’s most successful seed production and distribution companies. After selling the company to Agway, Inc. in 1987, he retired.
Fribolin serves as a board member and past vice president of the Smith Opera House, and was co-chair of the Smith’s Restoration Endowment Projects. In this role, Fribolin led a team of community members in restoring the Smith Opera House as an architectural treasure among the region’s theatres. He is a member of the Geneva Arts Development Council Board, a member of Lyons National Bank Advisory Committee, and is an honorary member of the Finger Lakes Health Foundation. He has served as trustee of the Savings Bank of the Finger Lakes, Fleet-Norstar Bank of Rushville and the Geneva General Hospital.
As trustee emeritus of Keuka College, he chaired a successful, multimillion-dollar capital campaign. Hobart and William Smith have also benefited from his vision and philanthropy. This year, Fribolin donated more than 35 acres of Geneva farmland to HWS, setting the Colleges on a pathway for new curricular innovation and providing the space for experiential learning.