Several members of the Hobart and William Smith community were among the nearly one million observers who filled the National Mall as President Barack Obama was sworn-in during the 57th presidential inauguration.
Those with ties to the Colleges who were present for the historic event include Dan Kolinski ’12, Caleb Campbell ’11 and Andrew Donovan ’12, and current student, Kim Goral ’13. Reflecting on the presidential inauguration, each offers a unique perspective on their experience at the nation’s capital.
“Attending the inauguration made me feel like I was a part of history. The energy of everyone there was infectious and having the President only 500-feet away was both exhilarating and humbling,” says Kolinski, who was a double major in biology and environmental studies at HWS.
Kolinski was moved by the fact that Obama was inaugurated for his second term on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which made his experience in Washington, D.C. even more powerful.
“I could not be more grateful to have witnessed this historic day,” Kolinski says.
Campbell was a field organizer for the Obama Campaign and worked behind the scenes on many of the inauguration events.
“For me, working on the actual campaign in Florida for eight months, it was great to share the overwhelming emotions that so many of us felt on that historic day,” he says. “To be in the company of so many diverse people from all corners of the earth, and listen as the President acknowledged the milestones we achieved in women’s suffrage, civil rights for African Americans, and the battles we still face with LGBT equality, economic equality, and climate change, was one of the moments in life that I know I will cherish with me forever.”
Goral, who worked as a runner for NBC News, says working at the inauguration was a wonderful experience. “It put me right in the mix at such an important event and I am honored to have been given that opportunity,” she says.
A media and society major, Goral interned at NBC Universal in Washington, D.C. last summer. She says the experience revitalized her passion for news. Goral believes her experiences at HWS helped her pursue a career in the media industry, and hopes to become a news producer.
“With the guidance of my rowing coach Sandra Chu and my adviser Professor of Media and Society Lester Friedman, I have been both athletically and academically successful,” Goral says. “There are so many opportunities available to students at the Colleges and I am thankful for the past four years.”
Donovan is a digital media journalist at WKTV NewsChannel 2, the NBC affiliate in Utica. He was hired by NBC News for those days and was based at NBC’s Capitol Hill Studios on North Capital Street, the main location for the network’s coverage.
“It was all hands on deck for the network, so everyone was involved: staff from the TODAY show, NBC Nightly News and Meet the Press,” says Donovan, who while working talked with last year’s commencement speaker Savannah Guthrie, co-anchor and chief legal correspondent of NBC’s TODAY show.
“It was great to see Savannah again and thank her, in person, for the commencement address she delivered at the Colleges,” he says. “She was quick to tell me what a great weekend she had in Geneva.”
Donovan also had the opportunity to meet Presidential Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin. “As a history and political science major at HWS, I spent significant time researching presidential history and read and cited her research often,” he says. “The best part was letting her know how her work inspired a lot of the work I did in college.”
Peter Jamie Smith ’06, who was working on Capitol Hill for a member of Congress, said the inauguration was a wonderful end to a historic campaign.
“I will forever be proud that I can say I was there the day a President finally mentioned gay rights,” Smith says. “To put Stonewall in the same breath as Seneca Falls and Selma gave weight and significance to a movement that is bringing equality to all Americans. We witnessed once again a truly transformational leader.”
Any HWS student or alum, who attended the inauguration, may submit his or her reflections to firstname.lastname@example.org.