Blocker Showcase Highlights Berlin – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Blocker Showcase Highlights Berlin

Each semester, Julius G. Blocker ’53 Endowed Fund supports study abroad opportunities in Germany for HWS students so that they can immerse themselves in and explore German culture. Students returning from these informative and eye-opening experiences present cultural projects each semester during the Julius G. Blocker ’53 Cultural Showcase.

The most recent Blocker Fellows to return to campus — Adriana D’Agostino ’15, Grace Helmer ’16, and Katharine Boeding ’16, who all studied in Berlin during the fall of 2014 — will share their experiences on Tuesday, April 28, in Trinity Hall, Room 304, from 4:45 to 5:30 p.m.

As part of the fellowship, Blocker Fellows submit a cultural project documentingtheir encounters with German culture and blog about their explorations of cultural difference while abroad. Blocker Fellows choose the content of their projects, but the projects must in some way reflect the cross-cultural encounters students experienced while abroad and chronicle students’ awareness of cultural difference. 

“Julius Blocker — who left a generous bequest to German program to fund students going abroad and fund exchanges — graduated from Hobart in 1953 and went on a Fulbright to Germany that was, in his own words, a ‘life-changing experience,'” says Associate Dean of First Year Seminars and Associate Professor of German Area Studies Eric Klaus. “That’s the backbone of the program. Much of what we’re doing now in German Area Studies reflects this motto of a ‘life-changing experience,’ whether it’s an abroad program or bringing German culture to campus.”

Blocker’s support of the work of the Center for Global Education will benefit generations of HWS students. During his undergraduate years at the Colleges, where he majored in modern languages, Julius developed an interest in Germany that would evolve into a lifelong passion. That interest grew while he earned a master’s in international affairs at Columbia University and during his time as a Fulbright scholar at the Freie Universität (Free University) in West Berlin.

After returning to the U.S., Julius embarked on a long, successful career operating his family’s business. Upon his retirement, Julius made provisions to establish an endowed fund in honor of his late mother, Maria Blocker, through which he could share his passion for Germany. The Julius G. Blocker ’53 Endowed Fund provides generous support to students pursuing study abroad opportunities through one of the Colleges’ programs in Germany, enabling “Blocker Fellows” to experience German culture and society in much the same way Julius did.

The photo above features students who attended last year’s Blocker Fellow event.