The President’s Welcome Ceremony and Family Farewell on Stern Lawn brought together the talented and promising Classes of 2021, their families and friends and HWS community members for words of inspiration as the newest cohort of first-year students during HWS Orientation Weekend 2017. [To follow the weekend’s events, visit the Orientation 2017 news page.]
“As you enter the Hobart and William Smith community, you’ll have opportunities to serve in the community and to study abroad, to complete research and experience internships. And – of course – you’ll take classes with faculty members who are experts in their fields and who have chosen to dedicate their lives to teaching and scholarship,” said President Gregory J. Vincent ’83.
During his opening remarks, Vincent reflected on the importance of gratitude and recognizing the expansive web of support and resources available through an HWS education. “That sense of gratitude filling your heart is – in my estimation – the foundation of a life of consequence,” he said.
Connecting the Classes of 2021 to the Colleges’ most recent graduates, Vincent shared thoughtful advice from Juliana Heffern ’17, a 2017-18 Fulbright recipient; Ato Bentsi-Enchill ’17, an entrepreneur leading two ventures in Ghana; Grant Soucy ’17, a J.P. Morgan investment banking analyst; and Gail Quintos ’17, a casting fellow at Playwrights Horizons.
Vincent also expressed the HWS community’s “absolute commitment to ensuring that students have the resources and tools they need to thrive,” highlighting recent campus distinctions, including being named one of top institutions with the most recipients of 2016-17 U.S. Fulbright Student Awards; praise in Sports Illustrated and Money magazine as one of the best schools for sports lovers and recognition in the Princeton Review for having the No. 1 ranking in the country for study abroad programs, as well as 18th in having the happiest students and 18th in best student-rated professors.
“I am excited to welcome you to the HWS community and encourage you to get your feet wet and create your own HWS experience by getting involved and challenging the perspectives that you came here with today,” said Bennerson, who cited how he became a Resident Assistant, joined Greek Life, got involved with Student Government and participated in the local after-school program Neighbors’ Night.
Carney encouraged students to get out of their comfort zones. “Dive into the discomfort, and trust that this is an amazing place with so much opportunity,” said Carney, who was elected class president, serves as an Admissions tour guide, joined chorale and William Smith Congress, and enrolled in the Teacher Education Program.
Dean of Hobart College Dean Eugen Baer P’95, P’97 and Dean of William Smith College Lisa Kaenzig also offered their perspectives on the opportunities available through an HWS education.
“At Hobart and William Smith Colleges, we treasure the enrichment that comes through diversity and different walks of life. And we treasure the liberal arts whose goal it is to set you free and to be critical of voices that advocate hate and oppression,” Baer said.
“There are so many extraordinarily talented and very kind faculty and staff here at the Colleges to help you make those really important connections that will guide you forward in your own journey here at the Colleges and later in your life – always – as an alum,” Kaenzig shared.
Addressing the families, Interim Provost and Associate Professor of Political Science DeWayne Lucas reflected on the transformative power of an HWS education. “I have watched our students emerge as global citizens living lives of consequence and have found new and varied, often unexpected, paths to their places in the world,” Lucas said.
Trustee Dr. Richard L. Wasserman ’70 also shared remarks and Chaplain D. Maurice Charles offered a prayer.
“From the traditional programs like English, economics and chemistry to our new program in entrepreneurial studies, this is an environment designed to help you explore your passions, define your ambitions and achieve them. Take advantage of these resources,” Wasserman said.
“I invite each of you to focus—just for a moment, quietly, in your own way—united in our intention to give thanks for this moment; for this beautiful campus; for the founders and benefactors who ensure its flourishing; for all who labor to make it a warm and welcoming place; for teachers and students; those who challenge us and support us; we give thanks,” Charles said.