Alums returning for their 50th Plus Reunion shared fond memories and looked forward to the Colleges’ bright future during an afternoon tea at the home of President Mark D. Gearan, who commended the classes for helping transform the Colleges into the venerable institution it is today. “You have increased our ability to attract new faculty, and you have inspired other classes to follow in your footsteps,” he said. You are truly a defining class.”
“What a tremendous institution this has become!” remarked Tony Bridwell ’49, L.H.D. ’82. “I hear that the William Smith students outnumber the Hobart men now, which is a great mark of progress for women.” His wife, Lorraine, worked at the Colleges’ library for three years. The renovations to the Warren Hunting Smith Library are “just wonderful,” she said.
Jack Frenaye ’49 applauded the improvements made to science facilities since his days as a Hobart student. He was impressed to learn that HWS students are not only graduating with honors from a rigorous art program and receiving MFAs in their post-graduate studies, but that students of the sciences are taking part in on-campus summer research with distinguished faculty. “This is the beauty of a liberal arts education,” he commented.
Leslie Stark ’59 reflected on the doors opened to him because of his education. “The liberal arts allow you to explore various career paths. You really can do whatever you want with your life after graduation, because your education here is the best preparation for life. This was true 50 years ago, and it’s still true now.”
An appreciative Art Professor Phillia Yi, third recipient of the John Milton Potter Professorship in the Humanities, joined the Classes for tea and conversation. The Professorship was endowed by the Classes of 1949 on the occasion of their 50th Reunion. Under the leadership of Bridwell, Frenaye, and Bill Scandling ’49 , the Classes raised $1 million, which they presented to the Colleges on June 19, 1999. “I never dreamed of receiving this honor,” said Yi. “Thank you so much.”
The Professorship memorializes former President of the Colleges, John Milton Potter, who served the Colleges from 1942-1947 and was responsible for uniting Hobart and William Smith under one corporate name, The Colleges of the Seneca. “Some might even say that Potter saved the Colleges,” said Bridwell.
Yi joined the faculty in 1986 and since then has become a favorite professor among countless art students. Her specialty is in printmaking, and her color woodcuts have been honored across the globe. She received her B.F.A. from SUNY New Paltz and her M.F.A. from Temple University’s Tyler School of Art. She served as chair of the art department from 1998-2001. Yi has been a visiting artist at Colgate University, Manhattan Graphics Center, Nazareth College, Syracuse University, Summer Art Institute, and more. She has taken part in close to 50 group shows and 15 “one-man” shows. Two of her works are currently displayed at the Colleges, in the Provost Office’s reception area and the Comstock living room.