In front of the sprawling floor-to-ceiling windows of the Seneca Room overlooking the largest of the Finger Lakes, members of the Hobart and William Smith community and Geneva neighbors gathered for the dedication of one of the newest spaces on campus. To inaugurate the Seneca Room – the latest addition to the Finger Lakes Institute (FLI) – several members of the Colleges spoke at the dedication and honored long-time HWS and FLI supporter State Sen. Michael F. Nozzolio L.H.D. ’07.
The two-story, 2,300 sq. ft. brick structure adjacent to 603 South Main St. will primarily host FLI conferences and research gatherings as well as events open to area researchers, residents and other institutions.
“There’s no better person to officially open this space than Senator Nozzolio,” said President Mark D. Gearan during the dedication. “Senator Nozzolio’s commitment to the Finger Lakes Institute is unsurpassed. He could have easily contributed to the Institute in its opening and allowed that to be the end of his work with us. Instead, he has supported the Institute’s cause throughout all four years of its presence in the Finger Lakes.”
“A few decades ago, a professor at Cornell planted a seed in me while I was a resource economics major there as an undergraduate,” Nozzolio explained. “He posed the question, how do we provide a platform for government, science and the vast region of the watershed to come together in making the important decisions related to the environment? Through the establishment and success of the Finger Lakes Institute, I believe that together we have germinated that seed and planted it firmly here at Hobart and William Smith.”
“We’re grateful to the Senator for his advocacy on behalf of the Colleges and the Finger Lakes Institute,” said Gearan. “In a short period, the Finger Lakes Institute has accomplished a great deal, both in Geneva and in the surrounding region. Bringing in $7 million in outside funding, the Institute has quickly become an important opportunity for our students to take advantage of the vital research and significant educational research that is part of our mission.”
FLI Director Marian Balyszak and Professor of Geoscience John Halfman thanked Nozzolio during the dedication. “Education and outreach is an important arm of the Finger Lakes Institute,” Balyszak said. “You have certainly recognized this critical component as well in your support of the Institute and on behalf of these lakes.”
“Senator Nozzolio has truly done so much for us and the protection of the Finger Lakes,” said Halfman.
Rayza Santiago ’09, the FLI’s Bonner Leader for Environmental Education and Outreach, addressed the crowd and Senator Nozzolio. “The Seneca Room will now provide an exceptional space to welcome school children, educators, undergraduate students and the general public who participate in these programs,” she said. “The beautiful view of Seneca Lake exemplifies the importance of preserving the Finger Lakes and that students of the Colleges can have an important role in this through active participation in the efforts of the Finger Lakes Institute.”