A March to Celebrate History and Future – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

A March to Celebrate History and Future

Led by drums and tailed by a Geneva fire engine, Hobart and William Smith alumni and alumnae marched through campus in the annual Alumni/ae Parade, which culminates with lunch on the Quad and the President’s Reunion Forum.

The Geneva American Legion and The Empire Statesmen Drum and Bugle Corps, of Rochester, N.Y., broke out into rousing bursts of “Yankee Doodle Dandy” to set the pace for the parade, which was reinstated three years ago by Director of Alumni Relations Jared Weeden ’91 and Jeremy Cooney ’04, who was working then as Campaign Leadership Manager.

‘Bart, the Hobart Statesman, wove through the marchers and the onlookers, giving hugs and high-fives. President Mark D. Gearan and his family – including their dog Dublin – waved enthusiastically to the crowds lining the sidewalks.

Pulteney Street applauded as the Reunion classes, each touting a banner emblazoned with their class year, made their way south toward St. Clair Street, where they turned east before hooking back around through the Mini-Quad to the tents on the Quad.


During the 2009 President’s Reunion Forum, representatives from the 10 returning “milestone” classes, the 50th PLUS-ers and the new graduates of the Classes of 2009 gathered on the Quad before alums to present Gearan with checks for gifts to the Colleges totaling an unprecedented $14,566,232.

Director of Alumni Relations Jared Weeden ’91 and Director of Alumnae Relations Kathy Killius Regan ’82 welcomed alums and emphasized that the Reunion Forum was, as Weeden said, “…celebration of the tremendous accomplishments of the past year-a terrific testament to the people who are an integral part of the history and future of the Colleges.”

Highlights of the Forum included the $1 million gift from the Classes of 1974 and an on-the-spot challenge by Elizabeth A. McFarlane, Jason S. Feinberg and Thomas R. Mottur, from the Classes of 1989, to their classmates to break their old class record, which they were shy of by $1,000.

“I’ll put in $500,” McFarlane said.  “Who’s going to match me?”

A hand went up at the back of the tent, and McFarlane, Feinberg and Mottur then presented Gearan with a check for $351,908, representing their class record $41,002 contribution to the Annual Fund, as well as all of their gifts since their last Reunion in 2004.

Celebrating their 50th Reunion, the Classes of 1959 were honored with the Founder’s Cup for the largest percent of participation-56.5 percent-and with the Reunion Attendance Trophies for their significant numbers of returning alums.

The audience was brought to their feet by the presentation of a special guest class, the newly graduated Classes of 2009, who this year raised $7,014 for the Colleges’ Annual Fund.  Impressed by the 56 percent of seniors who gave, Board of Trustees Chair David Deming ’75 matched each of their gifts, dollar-for-dollar, bringing their total donation to the Fund to $14,028, a record gift for a recently graduated class.

Before the presentation of gifts, the Hobart Alumni and William Smith Alumnae Associations awarded citations and other honors to those who have made significant contributions to the Colleges. Weeden awarded six alums for their generosity on behalf of the Alumni Association, including Michael L. Opell ’59; Trustee J. Paul Hellstrom Jr. ’64; Trustee Andrew G. McMaster Jr. ’74, P’09; Joseph W. Corcoran Jr. ’79; and Trustee Christopher S. Welles ’84.

The 2009 Young Alumnus Award was presented to David Gibbons ’94, who, as Weeden said in his introduction, “was involved in Bartlett Theatre’s production of “In the Middle of Grand Central Station,” but whose starring role came as a lineman on the football field.” In addition to his participation in athletics and theatre, Gibbons studied history and education and went on to receive his M.A. in teaching before pursuing a career in finance.

Regan awarded citations to five deserving women on behalf of the William Smith Alumnae Association: Carol “Casey” Redwood Riker ’59; Laurie Malcolm Tillinghast ’74, P’09; Jean Collins VanEtten ’74; Aubin E. Wilson ’84; and Karin F. Richards Moore ’89.

This year, two women received the Young Alumna Award. Reeshemah Brightly ’99, who was unable to attend, received her B.A. in Spanish. She was Editor-in-Chief of the Echo & Pine yearbook and studied abroad in Madrid and the Dominican Republic.

Kristen Stram Pempel ’94 was recognized for her service to the Colleges as a career volunteer, regional club leader in New York City, Alumnae Council member, admissions volunteer and a Reunion Committee member. She received her B.A. in biology and was a member of Koshare.

The 2009 Lifetime Service Award was given on behalf of both Associations to Eric Hall Anderson ’59.  Anderson, an American studies major, was involved with Little Theatre and is a member of Theta Delta Chi fraternity. In addition to serving as the Alumni Council’s Chief Class Correspondent, he has established three endowed scholarship funds-the Ida Johnson Anderson Scholarship Fund, the Carl M. Anderson Endowed Scholarship Fund and the Eric Hall Anderson ’59 Endowed Scholarship Fund-and is a devoted and ardent supporter of the Annual Fund.

“Eric has distinguished himself as a leadership volunteer, donor and activist for Hobart and William Smith,” said Weeden. “He really is one of these Colleges’ most relentless advocates.”

“This is truly, 100 percent a surprise,” Anderson said, trying not to get choked up on stage. 

Short and sweet was his message, which summed up most of the afternoon’s sentiments: “My thanks,” he said simply.  “My thanks to Hobart and William Smith.”