Honoring Our Roots – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Honoring Our Roots

During the 35th annual Senior Welcome, alumnae gathered in celebration of William Smith seniors as they prepare to take flight. In welcoming the Class of 2012 to the Alumnae Association, Director of Alumnae Relations Kathy Killius Regan ’82, P’13 was joined by representatives from nine decades of William Smith alumnae, ranging from Alta Essom Boyer ’36 to Joanna Vinick ’11.

And though inclement weather forced the ceremony indoors, the rain didn’t dampen the spirits of the women gathered in the Vandervort Room of the Scandling Campus Center.

“I made a deal with the rain goddesses,” joked Regan. “Let it rain today, but let it be sunny for Commencement.”

Reflecting on the heritage of trees that connects William Smith woman with their founder, President Mark D. Gearan spoke about the new William Smith tradition of planting a tree before Commencement, now in its second year. “This tradition honors our roots as an institution and your roots as a class here,” he said, noting that this year’s tree will be dedicated in honor of Elizabeth Eaton White ’33, L.H.D. ’03, P’ 70, who died this year.

Board Chair-Elect Maureen C. Zupan ’72, P’09 reflected on her more than 40 years as a woman in business before reminding the women of the importance of staying connected to the Colleges. “The common experiences that you share will always be with you,” she said. “If you stay connected to this place throughout your life, you will be rewarded with new connections and renewed experiences.”

Following Zupan’s remarks, Alumnae Association President Susan Flanders Cushman ’98 explained the contents of the handcrafted pine box each woman received, including a William Smith charm bracelet bearing the William Smith College symbol, a pine tree.

Cushman also welcomed Kaylyn O’Brien ’12 as the Class of 2012 Class Correspondent and presented Caroline Dosky ’12 and Meredith Ciaccia ’12 with the Judith Aslym Cross ’52 Award and the Elizabeth Herendeen Odell Book Award, respectively. 

Class President Colleen O’Hara ’12 addressed her classmates, encouraging them to remember William Smith and return to Seneca Lake often. “William Smith College prepared us to enter a world of new experiences,” she said. “But I hope you’ll migrate back here with me, as Herons often do.”

O’Hara and Dosky also welcomed two honorary members of the Class of 2012: Chaplain Lesley Adams, who “taught us to knit together all the pieces of a rich life,” and Mary Herlihy Gearan, the “ultimate connector, who embodies what it means to be a William Smith woman.”

Dean of William Smith Susanne McNally toasted the women. “To meeting change with intelligence, joy and courage as William Smith women have been doing for more than 100 years.” The Deans also provided each woman with a copy of the reference guide, “Life After School Explained.”

Led by Grace Hunt ’12 and senior members of Three Miles Lost, the assembled women sang the alma mater, and Chaplain Adams closed the ceremony by wishing the soon-to-be-gradates, “lives that allow for the joy of wandering.”

In the photo above, Dean Susanne McNally toasts the women of William Smith College Class of 2012.

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