Homecoming and Family Weekend came to a close Sunday morning as more than 1,500 alums and parents packed their cars and headed home. In total, it’s estimated that more than 4,000 people visited HWS over the weekend, attending the many athletic competitions, college classes, dinners, and more.
The events of Homecoming and Family weekend commenced with Friday evening’s Emerson Society Dinner at Bristol Field House, where James F. ’56 and Cynthia Caird were present to see all of the hard work that has gone into creating the new Caird Center for Sports and Recreation. Later in the evening, families and students joined singer and songwriter David Binder for a special cabaret performance that featured a vast musical repertoire.
By the time Saturday morning arrived, alums and families were ready to attend the 14 mini-college classes offered. While some discovered the true face of Shakespeare with Assistant Professor of English Rob Carson, others witnessed the mock debates put on by the HWS Debate Team under the guidance of Assistant Professor of Philosophy Eric Barnes.
“I participated in some demo debates with the debate club, and my parents visited,” says Anna Dorman ’14. “It was just a great weekend – we had a lot of fun!” Both members of the Class of ‘87, Anna’s parents, Dean and Jan McGonagle Dorman, enjoyed returning to campus with their daughter, now a member of their alma mater.
The morning was also heralded with a speech by Chief White House Correspondent and Political Director for NBC News Chuck Todd, who offered the first President’s Forum of the semester. As Todd addressed the standing room only crowd, he spoke of the state of the country as it enters midterm elections, and what those elections will mean for the future. Ever the hard working journalist, Todd remained after the talk to answer hard-hitting questions posed by alums and students alike – and a few by President Mark D. Gearan – offering this essential journalistic advice to one Hobart student: “Always keep asking follow-up questions and never, ever let go of the microphone.”
Other families and students spent the sunny morning cleaning the shores of Seneca Lake. The Finger Lakes Institute arranged a shoreline clean-up in honor of International Costal Clean-Up Day that resulted in more than 50 volunteers picking up more than 300 pounds of garbage.
The weekend was also packed with sporting events including the “Thrilla on the Hilla,” pitting Hobart Soccer against Union on Cozzens Field. Off campus, the Herons kept school spirit alive, taking on Union in soccer and field hockey – both games saw the Herons victorious.
Fall Nationals brought a crowd to the William Smith Hill on Saturday afternoon. Five “soapbox derby cars” – including one armchair on wheels – raced for campus bragging rights. Although Matthew Mead ’13 of team Cess Clothing emerged victorious, all fought valiantly. Following Nationals, Super Tailgate on Boswell Field welcomed hundreds of alums, parents and students, who enjoyed the music of The Rum Runners – a band of Hobart alumni – and lots of food and good company.
Many have called the Statesmen football game on Saturday night the highlight of the weekend. On the newly renovated Boswell Field, a crowd of nearly 4,000 people sat in the bleachers and stood along the sidelines to catch the exciting spectacle. Steven Webb ’14 energized HWS supporters by scoring an amazing two touchdowns, his first in a 63 yard sprint to the end zone.
For Vanessa Crans ’07, this was the first Statesmen game she had attended in two years. “I attended every football game while at HWS!” exclaimed Crans. “I can’t resist Hobart football!”
Recent graduate Kwame Lovell ‘10 was touched by the number of people present at the game. “As an alumnus, it’s great to see so many people back here supporting the Statesmen.”
Rosanna Szymanski P’10 said that though she and her family have lived in the area for many years, it was not until her son, Chris Szymanski ’10, began to play for the Statesmen that they began to attend football games. “Now that my son has graduated, we still come back,” says Szymanski. “We feel like we’ve really made a family here at Hobart and William Smith.”
After the game, celebrations in Bristol Field House, led by Rochester band Brass Taxi, continued well into the night.