An article in the Finger Lakes Times features the conferring of honorary degrees during Colleges Commencement to Jane Rea Gerling, The Rev. W. James Gerling, and the late C. Dixon Kunzelmann, as well as the presentation of the College Experience Program certificate to Kristopher D. Ruppersberger.
The full article follows.
Finger Lakes Times
Gerlings, others given honorary HWS degrees
Paulette Likoudis • May 18, 2009
GENEVA – Several honorary degrees were conferred during Sunday’s commencement at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.
The first was presented to Jane Rea Gerling, an advocate for Geneva children and teens for nearly three decades. Gerling is director of Geneva Head Start and a board member of Success for Geneva’s Children, a collaboration of agencies and programs serving children and their families.
Gearan pointed out that Jane Gerling is “a central figure in the Presbyterian community.”
Jane Gerling also leads a local program designed to help teen parents learn life skills, so they can support their children. She holds a master’s degree in education and has been recognized by other area organizations for her altruism.
The Rev. W. James Gerling followed his wife in receiving an honorary degree. Gearan described Gerling as “a dedicated, compassionate pastor.”
“His community engagement is wide,” said Gearan, listing the Rev. Gerling’s association with numerous groups such as Habitat for Humanity, the United Way, the Campaign to Renovate the Geneva Public Library, the Community Playground and the Community Lunch Program.
Gerling is pastor of The Presbyterian Church in Geneva.
In listing the business and academic accomplishments of posthumous honorary degree recipient and Trustee C. Dixon Kunzelmann, a 1964 Hobart graduate, Gearan was emotional. Kunzelmann, who died last week, spent more than 30 years in the human resources department of J.P. Morgan & Co.’s New York and London offices.
“He was a true and loyal son of Hobart, a Statesman who demonstrated character, loyalty and leadership in every aspect of his life,” Gearan said. Kunzelmann’s son, Christopher, is a 1993 Hobart graduate.
Later in the morning, an honorary certificate was given to Kristopher D. Ruppersberger – the first person to complete the College Experience program for students with developmental disabilities. The offering is a partnership between HWS and the Ontario County ARC.