A dedicated campus leader, adviser and scholar, The Rev. Lesley M. Adams HON’12, Chaplain of the Colleges, will deliver the academic year-end address at Baccalaureate, a signature event of Commencement weekend activities.
At the Colleges, Adams’ tenure as Chaplain has been marked by an unwavering attention to inclusion – religious, spiritual, cultural, racial, international and secular; as well as ongoing efforts to expand services in the Office of Religious Life and campus offerings to the Muslim, Jewish, Christian and Buddhist communities.
“For 20 years, Lesley has been a respected and important part of the leadership team at the Colleges, offering insight and reflections to her colleagues, faculty, staff and students,” says President Mark D. Gearan. “Her ministry is rooted in her strong belief that the life of the mind and the life of the spirit are not mutually exclusive, but rather inexorably linked. Her ability to find connections and synergy with the research and work of faculty and students has significantly changed the ways in which the HWS community considers the coexistence of faith and intellect. I look forward to her Baccalaureate address and invite the entire campus community to join us.”
Allowing for peaceful reflection through readings, addresses, prayers and music, the 2015 Baccalaureate ceremony will be held on Saturday, May 16 at 2:30 p.m. in Trinity Church on South Main Street. Arriving at the Colleges in 1995, Adams is retiring at the end of the 2014-15 academic year. In honor of her important service to the Hobart and William Smith community, she will receive an honorary degree during Commencement 2015.
A tradition dating to eighth-century England, the HWS community has celebrated Baccalaureate for more than 180 years. In annual fashion, the service will include readings by members of the Classes of 2015, as well as reflections and remarks from Hobart and William Smith deans. In the past, students have recited poetry, shared stories of their own experiences and performed musical arrangements.
Ordained an Episcopal Priest in 1988, Adams earned her B.A. from Smith College, and her M. Div. from Harvard University. Under her leadership, the Colleges’ commitment to interdenominational faith has generated new programs, including the Abbe Center for Jewish Life and the establishment of the Muslim Student Center. Adams holds regular Episcopal Eucharist on campus and is the Episcopal Province II coordinator for ministry in higher education. She has been involved on campus in many ways during her time as Chaplain, including leading the Commission on Inclusive Excellence as well as participating in strategic planning and the Middle States self-assessment.
Nearly every evening of the academic year, Adams welcomes students to the Chaplain’s residence for conversation and advice, as well as for weekly events such as House Church, Campus Peer Ministry, Pasta Night and Close Knit. In addition, Adams has modeled a commitment to sustainability that has included educating students about their responsibilities to one another and the world around them, while also imparting valuable lessons about self-reliance and civic engagement.