The world has changed significantly since Alice Weston Rounds ’32 attended HWS nearly 80 years ago, but her ideas for a successful four years at the Colleges have stood the test of time. During this year’s Convocation ceremony, President Mark D. Gearan included Rounds’ advice in his opening remarks.
“Have fun, enjoy the lake and the beauty of the area, take advantage of all that Hobart and William Smith offers and be sure to use the summers wisely, exploring interests and career,” read Gearan, sharing a letter from Rounds. She is one of the Colleges’ oldest living graduates and her advice holds a contemporary poignancy.
After receiving an invitation to a summer event for incoming students and alums to meet and discuss the Colleges, Rounds wrote a letter of regret to the host. The letter, which Rounds urged be shared, invited attendees to visit her in the atrium at Navesink Harbor retirement community where she resides. Gearan and Director of Alumnae Relations Kathy Regan took her up on the offer.
During their visit, Rounds shared stories of her time at the Colleges, talking about her life living on The Hill and her years in Geneva as one of 26 students in the William Smith Class of 1932. On campus, Rounds studied French and Latin, and served as president of the French club. She also played basketball, a sport she continued to pursue following graduation when she coached a women’s team at Geneseo. Rounds was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and participated in productions put on by Little Theater.
Although Rounds, known by her maiden name Burt while at the Colleges, attended HWS many years ago, she insists that things are not so different on campus nowadays. Classes were held in many of the same buildings as they are today, and Rounds noted that even in the 30s, all classes were made up of both Hobart and William Smith students. Rounds also spoke of her favorite William Smith tradition – May Day during which the women of the College gathered on the Hill for a spring celebration, punch and cake.
Following graduation, Rounds went on to study at the Teacher’s College at Geneseo Normal School – today known as SUNY Geneseo – earning her Public Librarian Certificate. She also spent a year nurturing her love of French at the Sorbonne, and lived in the Bavarian Alps for some time during WWII with her husband who was serving in the military.
Rounds’ class ring was recently presented as a Daisy Weeks Buckholz Award, which honors an exemplary student by presenting her with the donated class ring of an alumna.