On Saturday afternoon, Hobart and William Smith Colleges cut the ribbon on an innovative new space to enhance leadership on its campus. The newly renovated building — located at 603 South Main Street – will house HWS Leads, a unique leadership program that 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.
“The Centennial Center for Leadership sprung from the desire to permanently commemorate the William Smith Centennial and to better fulfill the Colleges’ mission,” says Director of the Salisbury Center for Career Services Bob Murphy.
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,” according to the outlined goals of the Center. In commemoration of the William Smith Centennial, it will offer fellowships and scholarships to both men and women in the pursuit of academic excellence.
“The Centennial Center’s mission is to prepare culturally competent, global leaders with an understanding and appreciation for service and equity,” explains Salisbury Center for Career Services Associate Director Brandi Ferrara. “The program we’ve developed will distinguish the Colleges and its students as they search for jobs or graduate schools.”
“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 fundraising 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 Murphy, is currently shaping a leadership development program. “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 Henick-Kling Guard ’08, MAT ‘09, 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 dedication will be held at 2:15 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 8, at 603 South Main St. Everyone is encouraged to attend.