William Smith Alumna Dr. Fay Maureen Butler ’84 offers keynote address
Whether they were serving, marching or listening to the inspiring words of an HWS alum, the Colleges’ community certainly spent the day commemorating Martin Luther King by kicking off a week full of events.
As a part of the national Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, members of the HWS community went out into the Geneva community to offer a helping hand to the Boys and Girls Club Teen Center, St. Peter’s Church and the Geneva General Hospital Living Center.
At the Teen Center, HWS students helped Teen Center Manager Jermaine Phillip and Geneva Community Lunch Program Jan Kenny prepared lunches for the Geneva community.
“Normally, our program wouldn’t serve lunch today because of the holiday and the service that goes on at the church, where we normally serve,” explained Kenny. “However, Jermaine agreed to open the Teen Center to us and – thanks to the huge difference that the Hobart and William Smith students always make with our program – today’s meal is a huge success.”
“We’re Geneva Jumpstart volunteers,” explained Kate Giglio ’11, referring to herself and several of her William Smith peers volunteering at the Teen Center. “Instead of giving our time in our normal classrooms, we wanted to be here, to be a part of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service.”
In addition to Giglio, nearly 25 HWS students participated in the service event. Along with those serving at the Teen Center, several students assisted the pastor and his wife at St. Peter’s Church with various tasks around the church. At the Living Center, students spent time doing crafts and playing games with residents.
While students helped at the Teen Center, other members of the HWS community – including President Mark D. Gearan, Associate Dean of Faculty and Professor of Dance Donna Davenport and Chaplain Lesley Adams – walked alongside members of the Geneva community in the Annual Memorial March along Exchange and Seneca Streets. Geneva Mayor Stu Eintstein, President of the NAACP’s Geneva Chapter Lucille Mallard and Geneva residents were other familiar faces in the crowd of more than 100 marchers.
The procession of HWS and Geneva community members ended at the First Methodist Church on South Main Street, where the MLK Day Service and Fellowship Dinner culminated with words from keynote speaker and William Smith Alumna Dr. Fay Maureen Butler ’84.
“This afternoon I’ll draw a parallel between the 40 years of exodus from Egypt by Moses and the people of Israel and the 40 years between Dr. King’s time during the Civil Rights Movement and President-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration,” explained Butler.
After serving as the first recruiter of minority students for Hobart and William Smith’s Office of Admissions, Butler became the Deputy Director of Enrollment Services at the CUNY Office of Admissions, and the founder and director of Rohoboth College Counseling Services.
With a strong sense of the day’s historic importance, the students, staff and faculty members returned to campus to continue their recognition of MLK Day in a more casual form during the Happy Birthday, Dr. King event held in Saga Dining Hall. The celebration included cake, student performances and a chance for the HWS and Geneva communities to celebrate MLK Day in a casual, fun atmosphere.
To find out how the Colleges continued the MLK celebration, visit the Colleges’ official MLK Week website to see the entire week’s schedule and much more.