Centennial Center Progress – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Centennial Center Progress

Construction on the building at 603 South Main Street-the future home of the Centennial Center for Leadership-is nearly complete and will be unveiled on Saturday, Nov. 8.

The Centennial Center sprung from the desire to permanently commemorate the William Smith Centennial and to better fulfill the Colleges’ mission. The Center will foster the Colleges’ ability to recruit, recognize and retain high-achieving students and position students to become more competitive for national fellowships, graduate school admissions and professional opportunities.  It will also offer fellowships and scholarships in commemoration of the William Smith Centennial to undergraduates in the pursuit of academic excellence.

“There was a consensus among William Smith alumnae that, aside from the education, the most important and memorable part of their experience of the Colleges was the unique opportunity for leadership,” says Assistant Vice President for the William Smith Centennial Mara O’Laughlin ’66, who has led the fund raising efforts.

Overall, $8 million has been earmarked to establish and endow the Centennial Center for Leadership, and to date, $7.84 million has been designated for the project. Gifts, including the lead gift from Trustee Cynthia Gelsthorpe Fish ’82, have been directed toward renovating the Centennial Center and endowing leadership programming, scholarships and fellowships.

A committee of faculty, staff and students, chaired by Director of the Salisbury Center for Career Services Bob Murphy, is currently shaping a leadership development program. The program, tentatively titled ‘HWS Leads,’ will create an umbrella for existing leadership initiatives, such as those of the athletic departments and residential education, and will prepare students to be leaders in the 21st century. 

“Right now we’re doing great leadership activities all over campus,” Murphy says. “We don’t want to interfere with any of these great programs; however, we do want to make leadership development available to all students.”

“The HWS leadership program will give students a competitive edge,” says Kirra Guard ’08, who worked with Murphy to survey leadership programs at 20 other college and university campuses.  “It will help us to succeed by improving public speaking, team dynamics and conflict management, which are important for every student, no matter what they’re interested in.”

The Centennial Center and leadership program will be unveiled and dedicated at 2:15 p.m. on Nov. 8. The dedication is one of many activities planned for the Centennial Celebration Weekend, Nov. 7-9. For more information about the weekend, visit www.hws.edu/centennial.

The photo above is of Trustee Cynthia Gelsthorpe Fish ’82 during a recent visit to the Centennial Center.