To recognize the many successes of Campaign for the Colleges, on March 29, Hobart and William Smith hosted an Emerson Society Celebration at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City. Members of the Emerson Society gathered with the Board of Trustees to review all that has been accomplished during the course of the Campaign while also mapping out a new set of aspirations.
To thunderous applause, Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees Katherine D. Elliott ’66, L.H.D. ’08 said: “With pride in the many accomplishments that mark today’s Hobart and William Smith; with appreciation for the leadership of our President, Board of Trustees, staff and faculty; and with gratitude to the generosity of our alums, parents and friends, it is my distinct privilege to announce that Campaign for the Colleges has surpassed its $200 million goal.”
Exceeding the $200 million goal makes this the largest fundraising effort in the Colleges’ history. In total, $74 million has been added to the endowment, creating more than 90 new student scholarships, three new endowed professorships, and 57 new endowed funds supporting programs in technology, public service and internships. Campaign for the Colleges has also allowed Hobart and William to embark on a comprehensive campus revitalization initiative, constructing six new buildings and significantly renovating 22 others.
“We have ensured that our students are greeted in a first-class admissions center, attend classes in engaging spaces, live in student residences designed to foster a sense of community, and participate in athletic contests in contemporary facilities,” said President Mark D. Gearan.
Campaign funds have also supported innovative programs that are housed in the new Rosensweig Learning Commons, the Finger Lakes Institute, and the Centennial Center for Leadership – the capstone project celebrating the William Smith Centennial.
Gearan outlined unfinished business that remains as the Colleges seek to create the best learning environment for students. Chief among them, he said, is the construction of academic space for the performing arts. To date, just over $20 million has been raised for the expected $28 million cost of the performing arts center, to be located on Pulteney Street across from the Scandling Campus Center. “As we celebrate how far we have come, we must also focus our attention on the future,” Gearan told the crowd of more than 200 attendees. “Completion of the performing arts center remains our number one admissions, academic, student experience, and community priority.”
Thanks to the generosity of Trustee Emeritus L. Thomas Melly ’52, L.H.D. ’02, the Colleges are significantly closer to reaching the $28 million goal. At the Emerson event, Gearan informed the audience of Melly’s commitment to the Colleges which will result in the naming of the two-story glass atrium of the performing arts center. “I want to thank Tom Melly for his leadership and for his unwavering advocacy for theatre, music and dance,” Gearan said.
Gearan also identified access as a critical issue. “We must ensure that the best and the brightest students admitted to HWS are able to attend regardless of their family’s circumstance,” Gearan explained. “We must continue to support these deserving and talented students with the establishment of scholarships and through the support of the Annual Fund to underwrite financial aid. By investing in students, in faculty, in staff and in the campus itself – it is my strong belief that we can and will reach a new level of excellence.”
The evening’s program began with three songs performed by the HWS Chorale led by Professor of Music Bob Cowles, followed by a film profiling seniors Jarrid Blades, Wendi Bacon and Isaias Garcia, all three of whom spoke at the event. The evening also benefitted from the attendance of students in the Colleges’ “Two Cities” course who, accompanied by Professor of Sociology Jim Spates and Associate Professor of Economics Jo Beth Mertens, were on a week-long exploration of the City.
A community-wide celebration of Campaign for the Colleges will take place during Reunion weekend. All alumni, alumnae, parents, friends, faculty and staff are invited to Bristol Field House on June 2, details to follow.