As a capstone to Orientation weekend, the William Smith Class of 2018 joined with deans of the College, senior class student leaders and other HWS community members for the Welcome Dinner at Bristol Gym.
With a history spanning more than 100 years, the annual tradition, which took place on Sunday, Aug. 31, unites the first-year students as they celebrate the beginning of their academic careers and look to their futures over the next four years. The dinner is a distinguished Heron event that shares insights and words of wisdom from members of the HWS community with the group of first-year students.
At the dinner, Associate Dean of William Smith College Lisa Kaenzig HON’10 opened the evening’s festivities by urging students to “be fully present” throughout their four years on campus. Kaenzig, the William Smith dean dedicated to assisting the first year class, also discussed the development of students throughout their time at HWS.
“At the Colleges, we are committed to making sure your minds are open and your ideas and assumptions constantly challenged,” Kaenzig said. “We know that liberally educated people change the world. You will and you do!”
Dean of William Smith College and Professor of French and Francophone Studies Catherine Gallouët also shared remarks with the William Smith Class of 2018.
“You will break down boundaries you didn’t even know existed,” she said. “We are privileged, indeed. Privileged, yes, but not entitled. Privilege should be enjoyed with great humility. And great privilege means great responsibility. William Smith is all about living the dream. You have just begun a new phase of your life… You joined a new community of women from all walks of life, all over the country and the world… And yet, we are a community.”
Student leaders on campus, including William Smith Congress President Aly McKnight ’15, also shared remarks during the event. McKnight, whose roles on campus include extensive involvement in everything from public service organizations to social change initiatives, reminisced about the beginning of her journey at the Colleges.
“Being a William Smith woman is a lot more than fancy dinners, the color green, plant metaphors and cheesecake,” McKnight said, nodding to the symbols found in William Smith traditions. “William Smith women are unwaveringly characterized by love. Perhaps this is the secret to long-term change and education. The legacy you leave has more to do with the values you pass on. That’s what we do here: we pass on love.”
Cornelia “Nellie” Smith ’15, who represented the William Smith honor society, Hai Timiai, also shared her wisdom with the incoming class. “As first years, you may find William Smith women are busy. Busy because we love our school,” said Smith, who also is the editor of the fast-quipped student publication the Martini.
The Herons also welcomed back President of the William Smith Alumnae Association Aloysee Heredia Jarmoszuk ’98.
“You’re at the beginning of what I know will be incredible journeys, where you will build your foundations into adulthood,” she said. At HWS, Jarmoszuk served as Student Trustee during her senior year at HWS and now is the chief of staff at New York University’s Office of Development and Alumni Relations.
Following a performance from William Smith a capella group Three Miles Lost, President Mark D. Gearan addressed the matriculating class. Highlighting respect as a key value on campus, Gearan asked students to ponder: “How do we enhance the culture of respect on this campus? How do we make the best of our heritage align with real, respectful, meaningful experiences today?” Closing words from HWS Chaplain Lesley Adams HON’12 left students with a time for reflection, particularly for the seniors in attendance.
“When I was a first year, my senior host at the dinner inspired me,” said Aislinn Raftis ’15, editor-in-chief of The Herald and campus Eco-Rep. “I wanted to be in that place. This dinner was a reminder of that-and of the many things that seniors like myself will no longer be able to take for granted. It’s a special time.”