Diversity Timeline

Diversity Timeline

1822
Mar 28

Geneva Medical College Founded

Geneva Medical College Founded

Geneva Medical College, the precursor to Hobart College, was founded in 1822 by Bishop John Henry Hobart. View Source

1829
Mar 28

First Native American Student Matriculates

First Native American Student Matriculates

The first Native American student, Abraham (or Abram) La Fort from the Class of 1829, studied at Geneva Medical College but did not graduate. View Source

1836
Mar 28

First African American Student Matriculates

First African American Student Matriculates

Isaiah George DeGrasee is the first African American student to matriculate at Geneva Medical College.

1844
Mar 28

First Native American Student Graduates

First Native American Student Graduates

Peter Wilson, a member of the Cayuga Nation, is the First Native American graduate of Geneva Medical College. He went on to practice medicine, served as an interpreter and was a noted orator. View Source

1849
Apr 04

First Woman in America Graduates with Doctor of Medicine Degree

First Woman in America Graduates with Doctor of Medicine Degree

Elizabeth Blackwell graduates at the top of her class from Geneva Medical College, making her the first woman in America to receive the degree of Doctor of Medicine. View Source

1852
Aug 15

Geneva Medical College Renamed

Geneva Medical College Renamed

In honor of its founder, Geneva Medical College is renamed Hobart College. View Source

1894
Apr 04

First Asian Student Graduates from Hobart

Barnabas Tokutaro Sakai, from Nagoya, Japan, is the first Asian student to graduate from Hobart. He went on to graduate from the Harvard University Divinity School.

1908
Apr 04

William Smith College Founded

William Smith College Founded

Inspired by the suffragist movement in nearby Seneca Falls, local businessman and philanthropist William Smith establishes a college for women. View Source

1922
Apr 04

First Joint Commencement

The first joint commencement is held, eroding some of the strict separations between Hobart College for men and William Smith College for women. View Source

1932
Apr 04

First African American Man Graduates from Hobart

First African American Man Graduates from Hobart

Rev. Dr. Alger L. Adams ’32, D.D.’83 went on to become an Episcopal clergyman and the editor and publisher of The Westchester County Press. View Source

1942
Apr 04

First Asian American Student Graduates from William Smith

First Asian American Student Graduates from William Smith

Mildred Constance Li ’42 is the first Asian American student to attend and graduate from William Smith College. She went to Saranac Lake in 1945 seeking a cure from tuberculosis. After her marriage to William G. Distin, Jr., she helped him manage Branch and Callanan, the family sawmill and construction business, from 1953 until 1993, and the Distin Boat Company. The couple were hosts for the 1980 Winter Olympics, entertaining visiting VIPs at Whiteface and other venues. View Source

1943
Apr 04

First Woman Editor of The Herald

First Woman Editor of <em>The Herald</em>

Eleanor Merrill ’44 is the first woman editor of The Herald. View Source

Aug 11

Hobart and William Smith Colleges combine

During the administration of President John Milton Potter, William Smith College was elevated from its original status as a department of Hobart College to that of an independent college on equal footing with Hobart. View Source

1952
Apr 04

First African American Student Graduates from William Smith

First African American Student Graduates from William Smith

Gloria Robinson Lowry ’52 is the first African American student to matriculate and graduate from William Smith College.

1956
Apr 04

First African American William Smith Student Elected into Office

First African American William Smith Student Elected into Office

Eunice Corbin ’57 is the first African American woman to hold an elected office at William Smith College where she served as the secretary of her class.

1969
Apr 04

Women’s Studies Program

Women’s Studies Program

HWS is one of the first colleges in the country to offer Women’s Studies as a major. View Source

1970
Apr 04

HWS Higher Education Opportunity Program

A year after legislation establishes the Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) at independent colleges and universities in New York State, the Colleges found an Office dedicated to HEOP. In 2006, the Governor and the Legislature approve a name change in honor of the important role former Assemblyman Arthur O. Eve P’89, L.H.D. ’10 played in increasing access to higher education in New York State. View Source

Apr 04

Black Studies Program

Black Studies Program

After much lobbying by students and faculty, the Colleges approve a Black Studies Program, making it one of the first in the nation. View Source 1 View Source 2 View Source 3

1973
Apr 04

The Third World Coalition

The Third World Coalition

An organization called The Third World Coalition is established by students to address racism on campus. The group comprises African American, Latino and Asian students. View Source

1976
Apr 04

The Latin American Organization

The Latin American Organization

LAO is created to raise awareness of Latin American culture on campus through various programs and events.

1988
Apr 04

African American Student Coalition

Currently known as “Sankofa, the Black Student Union,” the organization is founded to promote education and awareness of the black diaspora through programs and events.

1995
Apr 04

The Peer Education in Human Relations Minor

The PEHR minor is created to educate students on issues of privilege and oppression. It includes a student certification component giving students the ability to facilitate dialogue.

1998
Apr 04

The Fisher Center for the Study of Women and Men

The Fisher Center for the Study of Women and Men

The Fisher Center is founded bringing together faculty, students and experts in gender-related fields in the arts, humanities, and social and natural sciences to foster mutual understanding and social justice in contemporary society. Read More

1999
Apr 04

Caribbean Student Association

The Caribbean Student Association is formed to celebrate the richness of Caribbean culture through educational and social events.

2000
Apr 04

The Afro Latino and Alumni and Alumnae Association

The Afro Latino and Alumni and Alumnae Association

ALAA promotes the interests of HWS and its Afro Latino Alumni and Alumnae and partners with the president, Board of Trustees, Directors of Alumni and Alumnae Relations, Office of Development, and the Hobart Alumni Association and William Smith College Alumnae Association in order to strengthen relations among the Colleges and alumni and alumnae of color.

Apr 04

Department of Asian Languages and Cultures

The Department of Asian Languages and Cultures, later renamed Asian Studies, is formed to acquaint students with cultural elements that are unique to Asia while providing a firm foundation for further study. Read More

2002
Apr 04

LGBT Studies

Hobart and William Smith are the first college or university in the United States to offer an undergraduate major in the field of LGBT Studies. Read More

2006
Apr 04

College Experience Program

College Experience Program

Ontario ARC partners with Hobart and William Smith to offer the College Experience program designed to offer students with developmental disabilities access to college courses and college life.

2007
Apr 04

The Commission on Inclusive Excellence

President Mark D. Gearan L.H.D. ’17 convenes the Commission on Inclusive Excellence committee to consider ways to engender a more inclusive community at Hobart and William Smith.

Apr 04

Abbe Center for Jewish Life

Abbe Center for Jewish Life

The Abbe Center provides an environment for people of Jewish faith or with Jewish interests to gather and socialize, and to celebrate Shabbat and other Jewish holidays. Read More

2010
Apr 04

The ARTS Experience

The ARTS Experience

The Arts Experience is a partnership of Hobart and William Smith Colleges and the Collaborative of the Finger Lakes. The festival is an opportunity for participants, including people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities, the college community, and the general public to explore various means of expression through the arts. Read More

2012
Apr 04

Muslim Student Center

The Muslim Student Center is established to provide an environment for prayer and community engagement among Muslim students, faculty and staff.

2013
Apr 04

Race and Racism Coalition

Race and Racism Coalition

The Race and Racism coalition is created by students to engage in dialogues to improve cultural and institutional ideas about and responses to issues of race on campus and in society.

2014
Aug 11

Mosaic NY

Mosaic NY

Associate Professor of Theatre Heather May establishes Mosaic NY, a student theatre group, to create and perform works of theatre that promote dialogue, develop community, celebrate diversity, and encourage the active pursuit of social justice.

2015
Apr 04

We the Unheard Student Protest

We the Unheard Student Protest

The We the Unheard Student Protest is led by students calling for increased support and diversity on campus, specifically pushing for a Chief Diversity Officer and increased racial representation across the institution. Read More

2016
Jan 01

Chief Diversity Officer

Chief Diversity Officer

President Mark D. Gearan L.H.D. ’17 appoints an Interim Chief Diversity Officer – Solomé Rose. Rose is the first to hold the position and works to address campus climate, recruitment and retention, and teaching and learning.

Apr 04

Strategic Diversity Plan

The HWS Strategic Diversity Plan, created by a group of faculty, staff, students and trustees, offers a series of recommendations around recruitment and retention, teaching and learning, space, student relations, and community development designed to make HWS a more inclusive and diverse campus.

2017
Sep 04

LGBTQ+ Resource Center

LGBTQ+ Resource Center

The LGBTQ+ Resource Center, located on the first floor of de Cordova Hall, offers a safe, physical space for students and organizations to meet and find campus and community resources; the Center provides campus with programming and outreach initiatives to support and educate on the unique needs of LGBTQ+ community members. Its opening coincides with the 15th anniversary of Hobart and William Smith’s LGBT Studies program, the first of its kind in the country.

Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.