Members of Senior Staff include:
Vice President for Campus Life and Dean of Students
Becca B. Barile was appointed Vice President for Campus Life and Dean of Students in August 2021 after serving eleven years at the Colleges, most recently as Associate Vice President for Campus Life. Barile holds a doctorate of education in Organizational Leadership Studies with a concentration in Queer Leadership from Northeastern University. She earned a B.A. cum laude in English from Keuka College and an M.A. in Student Affairs and Diversity from Binghamton University. As the senior student affairs officer of the Colleges, she coordinates student support services, including Student Engagement (Student Activities and Residential Education), Campus Safety, Sustainability, the Hubbs Health Center, the Counseling Center, Student Conduct, WEOS/WHWS, international student success, and Alcohol and Other Drugs Treatment and Prevention. She coordinates the Colleges’ response to COVID-19 and also serves as a part-time lecturer in communication studies at Keuka College. She previously held roles in student affairs at Ithaca College, SUNY Cortland, and Keuka College.
Chaplain and Dean of Spiritual Engagement
The Rev. Nita C. Johnson Byrd joined the Colleges as the Dean of Spiritual Engagement and Chaplain of the Colleges in 2019. Through community building and a focus on the importance of relationships, she extends hospitality to students as they explore how their personal values and understanding of spirituality inform what it means to be a member of the campus community. She is available for personal conversation, hosting group events in her home, and exploring how students can come together for new ways to engage with one another. As an active member of the Association of Episcopal Colleges (AEC) and the Colleges and Universities of the Anglican Communion (CUAC), Byrd is interested in the global diversity of chaplaincy in higher education. In this role, she is the Convener for Chaplains at the CUAC Triennial International Conference in Melbourne, Australia in 2023. Rev. Byrd is a graduate of Duke Divinity school, where she participated in the Canterbury Scholars Program at Canterbury Cathedral, England. Following graduation she was ordained in the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina. Prior to entering ordained ministry, Byrd attended North Carolina State University for her B.S. EE and M.S. ECE degrees.
Vice President for Strategic Initiatives and Chief Information Officer
Alfred L. Damiano joined the Colleges in 2004 when he was named Chief Information Officer. A former Director of Technology Programs and Support Services for Xerox Global Services, he previously held a variety of technology and management positions with McDonnell Douglas Space Systems Co., Travelers Insurance Co. and Commercial Systems Inc. Damiano also taught graduate courses in advanced information technology for the Simon School of Business at the University of Rochester. He holds a bachelor’s in computer information systems from Bentley University, and an M.B.A. from the University of Central Florida.
Vice President for Finance and Administration
Mark Edwards was named Vice President for Finance and Administration in July 2022 after joining the Colleges in January 2022 as Associate Vice President for Finance and Administration. His responsibilities include monitoring the Colleges’ operating and capital budgets as well as overseeing the endowment investment portfolio, facilities management, food services and bookstore. Edwards also provides leadership oversight with financial internal controls, policies and procedures, and financial operations and reporting. Prior to arriving at HWS, Edwards spent nearly 20 years at Cazenovia College as Chief Financial Officer. Prior to Cazenovia, he was Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Finance and Administration for two start-up technology corporations. Edwards graduated magna cum laude from St. Bonaventure University with a BBA in Accounting in May 1985, and started his career in public accounting at the Syracuse Office of Coopers and Lybrand.
Vice President and General Counsel
A cum laude graduate of Hobart College and Cornell Law School, Louis H. Guard joined the Colleges in 2014. He provides legal advice and counsel across institutional areas, assists the President with all major initiatives and projects, and is responsible for the strategic direction of legal affairs for the Colleges. Guard serves as Assistant Secretary to the Board of Trustees and is the primary governance advisor to the Board. He also provides leadership oversight for Human Resources. He is admitted to practice law in New York and Pennsylvania. Prior to joining the Colleges, Guard worked at leading law firms in Philadelphia, Pa., and Rochester, N.Y. He currently serves on the Advisory Board of the Journal of College and University Law and is an active member of the National Association of College and University Attorneys. He has taught and guest lectured on business law and higher education law topics at Hobart and William Smith and Boston College Law School respectively and is an Adjunct Professor of Law at Cornell Law School where he teaches the seminar on the law of higher education.
Provost and Dean of Faculty
Sarah R. Kirk joined the Colleges as Provost and Dean of Faculty in June 2021, after serving as Associate Provost and Professor of Chemistry at Willamette University in Salem, Ore. An experienced administrator and scholar, Kirk recently completed a term as the Acting Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Willamette, following a five-year rotating term as the Senior Associate Dean for Faculty Development. At Willamette, she served as the principal investigator of an NSF ADVANCE grant and STEM Administrator on an NSF-S-STEM grant, both addressing retention and promotion of minioritized groups in STEM fields. As the chief academic officer of the Colleges, Kirk is responsible for the planning, development and delivery of the Colleges’ educational programs and services. Kirk holds her Ph.D. and master’s degree in organic chemistry from the University of California, San Diego, and her bachelor’s in chemistry from Whitman College.
Vice President for Advancement
Robert B. O’Connor was named Vice President for Advancement in July 2007. He directs the advancement operation and oversees all alumni, alumnae and parent relations, development and advancement services as well as the career services office. Previously, he served as Chief of Staff in the Office of the President and Secretary to the Board of Trustees, and was instrumental in coordinating the HWS 2005 and HWS 2010 strategic planning initiatives and served as a member of the campaign steering committee. O’Connor successfully led and completed the second half of Campaign for the Colleges, a $205 million comprehensive capital campaign. After graduating from Gettysburg College with a bachelor’s degree in political science, O’Connor earned a master’s degree in sports administration from Michigan State University. He previously worked at Gettysburg College, Michigan State and E & J Gallo Winery.
Vice President for Admissions and Financial Aid
Michael J. "Mike" Quinn, Ph.D. was appointed Vice President for Admissions and Financial Aid in June 2023. Quinn holds a Ph.D. in Higher Education Leadership for Changing Populations from Notre Dame of Maryland University in Baltimore. Mike earned a B.A. in English from the State University of New York College at Buffalo, and an M.A. in English from the State University of New York at Binghamton. As the Colleges' lead for admissions and financial aid, he collaborates closely with other members of President Gearan's senior team to create sustainable strategies for enrollment and net revenue growth. Previously, he was the chief enrollment officer at Rockford University in Rockford, Illinois, and at Randolph College in Lynchburg, Virginia. Prior to his career in higher education, Mike served as a communications strategist and writer in the advertising, technology and nonprofit sectors.
Vice President for Marketing and Communications
Catherine J. Williams was named Director of Communications in 2007, Vice President for Communications in 2011 and Vice President for Marketing and Communications in 2017. Williams has responsibility for strategic marketing and brand management that includes the offices of advancement and admissions, oversees the Colleges’ website, social media, publications, media relations, sports information, photography and videography. She has worked with Hobart and William Smith in several capacities since 2000, including as a Senior Editor for Development and Editor of The Pulteney Street Survey. She holds a bachelor of arts in English and religion and a master of arts in English literature from Syracuse University.
Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
In 2023, Bill Woodson joined the Colleges as Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. He is an experienced academic administrator with a broad background that also includes management consulting, public service, and two decades in Fortune 500 companies. He comes to the Colleges from New College of Florida, the State’s designated public honors college, where he established the Office of Outreach and Inclusive Excellence, managed a Mellon Foundation arts and humanities grant, and co-authored a regional foundation grant proposal that funded the Access Leadership initiative and underwrote the Barancik Scholarship, programs that supported high potential, low-income students from the surrounding community.
A passionate champion for bridge building, diversity and inclusion, and liberal arts education, his prior experience also includes the University of St. Thomas, in Minnesota, where he led four graduate business programs, graduate business career services, and served as the university’s first assistant dean for community outreach. He earned his undergraduate degree in urban studies from Brown University, a Masters in City and Regional Planning from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, an MBA from the University of Michigan, and a PhD in Organizational Leadership from the University of Minnesota.