In recognition of the completion of the Caird Center for Sports and Recreation – the latest project realized through Campaign for the Colleges – the 2010 Emerson Society Dinner had a definite focus on athletics.
Gathered in the Robert A. Bristol Field House, the nearly 200 attendees at the evening’s festivities were honored for their consistent, annual giving to the Colleges. Those who are members of the Emerson Society have given back to the Colleges graciously, each individual giving $2,000 or more per year. Thanks in large part to the donations of Emerson Society members, the Colleges have raised $171 million toward the Campaign goal of $200 million.
At the event, Trustee and National Chair of the Annual Fund Katherine D. Elliott ’66, L.H.D. ’08, whose lead gift several years ago enabled the construction of the Katherine D. Elliott Studio Arts Center, spoke of the importance of philanthropy and the dedication of her father, William Elliott LL.D.’64, P’66, and grandfather, Lewis H. Elliott 1898. “It is my belief that the gifts you make today multiply across generations,” said Elliott. “Your actions inspire others to give back to make this a more vibrant community. Your philanthropy and your legacy have a ripple effect.”
President Mark D. Gearan introduced Elliott and reminded those gathered about the success thus far of Campaign for the Colleges. “We’ve built or renovated dozens of spaces on campus, increasing access to the arts, academics, the lake, the community, career options, financial aid and abroad opportunities,” said Gearan. “Through the generosity of many, we’ve provided scholarships to hundreds of students and supported the work of our faculty in varied and creative ways. Through your generosity, you have changed the lives of generations of young men and women. “
James F. ’56 and Cynthia L. Caird were guests of honor at the dinner. It was through their lead gift that the Caird Center for Sports and Recreation was made possible. “What Jim and Cindy Caird have done for the Colleges is truly transformational,” Gearan said.
“Student athletes will benefit from the influence of sports,” said Cynthia Caird at the event. “Hobart and William Smith offer the finest opportunities available at a liberal arts institute, and the facilities are included in those opportunities. The Hobart and William Smith campus has made incredible advances since Jim was here, and we are honored to be a part of that.”
As part of the evening’s program, five members of the Colleges’ community were asked to reflect on their connection to athletics. They included Head Coach of Hobart Football Mike Cragg P’13, Head Coach of William Smith Lacrosse Pat Genovese P’01, P’03, P’05, P’08, Associate Professor of Political Science Kevin Dunn, Mary Kate Renehan ’13 and Brian Burbank ’11.
Cragg spoke of his team’s victories on and off the field, which included seven trips to the play-offs in the past 10 years and hours of community service.
Head Coach of Herons’ Lacrosse Pat Genovese P’01, P’03, P’05, P’08 expressed her gratitude for the new athletic facilities, which included a brand new locker room for William Smith Lacrosse named in honor of Genovese for her decades-long commitment to William Smith Athletics.
“Throughout the years, my Herons have been bounced all over this campus. We never had a real home,” said Genovese. “With this new space, we finally have a complete home. The facility is absolutely beautiful. It makes you realize, Wow! This is exactly where we should be playing. We feel proud of what we have. “
Associate Professor of Political Science Kevin Dunn also expressed his gratitude for HWS Athletics and the new facilities, sharing his journey from skeptic rock n’ roller to enthusiastic Herons’ Soccer supporter. Dunn explained his reluctant acceptance of the position of faculty advisor to the William Smith soccer team.
“Three years later, I can tell you that the single best part of my fantastic job is being faculty adviser to the William Smith soccer team,” Dunn explained. “It has redefined how I see HWS students. Before, I just liked my students. Now, I admire and respect them. The level of commitment student-athletes have to their sports, their teams, and their academic careers is impressive.”
Renehan ’13 and Burbank ’11, two excellent examples of committed student-athletes, expressed their gratitude and shared their stories.
Renehan recounted the importance of both academics and athletics in her life, and the integral part her professors and Deans play in her studies. “My teammates and coaches have become an invaluable part of my support system,” said Renehan. “I can’t imagine what college would be like without that bond and that sense of community. The enhancements to the athletics facilities have made our time together that much better.”
Burbank, who is not only guard for the Statesmen basketball team, but also an America Reads tutor, a senior intern in Admissions, a CTL study mentor, a Druid and the co-president of Sankofa, recounted his journey as an athlete and scholar. “I want to leave a legacy,” said Burbank. “I want to be remembered as someone who worked hard for everything he was afforded; and someone who gives back to the community. I believe HWS has helped me develop the skills, the work ethic and the tenacity I need to make that happen.”
As Gearan made closing remarks, a murmur in the crowd heralded the arrival of ‘Bart the Statesman, mascot for Hobart athletics. After some shared whispers between ‘Bart and Gearan, Gearan announced: “Ladies and gentlemen, Bart apparently wants us all to follow him outside to Boswell Field for a special surprise.” Guests walked to the new Boswell field where they were treated to a champagne toast and an inspirational film chronicling HWS athletics.