October 29, 2018
Dear Members of the Hobart and William Smith Community,
It is with enthusiasm and optimism that I write today to provide an update on the presidential search process as well as action taken by the Board of Trustees at our fall meeting.
As I have communicated in past letters, the Vice Chairs of the Board of Trustees Cynthia Gelsthorpe Fish ’82 and Andrew G. McMaster Jr. ’74, P’09 are co-chairing the presidential search committee. The three of us met on campus last week with the entire search committee and representatives from our search consultant, Isaacson, Miller, to review initial resumes of potential candidates. I am pleased to report that we have a very strong pool of professionals who match the qualities and characteristics outlined in the position profile. These individuals are highly skilled and respected scholars, administrators and leaders. We remain, however, early in the search process, and I encourage all members of the HWS community to recommend candidates by emailing Isaacson, Miller at HWSpresident@imsearch.com.
I am especially grateful to Interim President Pat McGuire who has agreed to remain in his role until the conclusion of a successful presidential search. President McGuire, along with his faculty and staff colleagues, has been focused on providing students with incredible educational opportunities while overseeing a very active campus with multiple symposia, public lectures, arts programming and athletics events.
As you know, among the conversations underway on campus is a dialogue about the Colleges’ coordinate structure. In July, President McGuire and I received a letter signed by a group of faculty recommending that the Colleges begin a community conversation on the coordinate system. Since the “Culture of Respect” report was published in 2015 recommending that the coordinate structure be contemporized to meet the needs of 21st century students, we have heard from a number of alums, parents, faculty, staff and students. Whether communicated on social media, in person, via letter or through the pages of the Herald, we have been impressed with the passion and enthusiasm expressed by the members of our community for Hobart and William Smith Colleges. Although the sentiments voiced have often differed, what connects all reflections is the sincere desire to ensure that students have an educational environment in which they can thrive.
The Board recognizes that for many, our coordinate nature is a source of strength and pride. Emerging from the suffragist movement and ensuring that women have equal access to opportunities, our coordinate mission has influenced generations of Hobart and William Smith graduates to consider gender as they navigate the world. It is also evident that in order for the Colleges to remain relevant into the 21st century and to embrace expanding notions of gender, historic structures, policies and procedures that have existed for decades must undergo change. To meet the needs of all students, Hobart and William Smith must evolve. It is the belief of the Board of Trustees that we must do so without losing the core values and the heritage that define us. Fortunately, the Colleges have a long history of successful adaptation; our curriculum, for example, has transformed considerably during the past two centuries, as has the student experience and even the ways in which we define and realize our coordinate construct.
The Board of Trustees, therefore, has unanimously affirmed its commitment to our coordinate heritage and mission and has asked the Student Experience Committee of the Board, working with President McGuire and the greater campus community, to create recommendations that will adapt the coordinate construct to meet the needs of all students. The goal is to ensure that all students are welcomed and supported throughout their Hobart and William Smith education. We have asked that these recommendations – tactical and strategic – be prepared by the spring 2019 Board Meeting.
Led by Trustee Ed Cooper ’86, P’16, the Student Experience Committee includes:
- Trustees Frank V. Aloise ’87, Linda D. Arrington ’88, Cassandra Naylor Brooks ’89, Dr. Stephen L. Cohen ’67, Dr. Jeremy T. Cushman ’96, Roy Dexheimer ’55, P’86, GP’18, LL.D. ’80, Jane M. Erickson ’07, Aloysee Heredia Jarmoszuk ’98, Gail Herman McGinn ’73, Dr. Deborah S. Pilla ’76, The Rt. Rev. Prince G. Singh, Dr. Richard L. Wasserman ’70, Christopher S. Welles ’84, P’12, P’15 and William T. Whitaker, Jr. ’73, L.H.D. ’97;
- Student Trustees Edens D. Fleurizard ’20, Gianna Gonzalez ’20, Gavin R. Gross ’19 and Caitlin E. Lasher ’19;
- Vice President for Campus Life Robb Flowers, Dean of Hobart College Khuram Hussain, Dean of William Smith College Lisa Kaenzig P’22 and Provost and Dean of Faculty DeWayne Lucas.
Although it is too soon to speculate on the nature of the recommendations the committee may propose, we do recognize the magnitude of the work ahead and the importance of seeking out and listening to many voices and perspectives. To that end, Ed and the Student Experience Committee will host discussion sessions on campus to engage faculty, staff and students in conversations about the Colleges’ coordinate structure. Similarly, a series of webinars will be held for all alums and parents. Plans are also underway to issue an online survey to all members of the HWS community, including alums, parents, faculty, staff and students. Details on the discussion sessions, webinars and the online survey will be available in the coming weeks.
I thank you for your continued dedication to and engagement with the Colleges.
Thomas S. Bozzuto ’68, L.H.D. ’18
Chair, Board of Trustees