With Commencement Weekend underway, the Classes of 2015 participated in two of the Colleges’ richest traditions: Hobart Launch and the William Smith Senior Welcome. In each of the ceremonies, the students in the senior classes were welcomed into the Alumni and Alumnae Associations, forever connecting each graduate to the Colleges. Both ceremonies followed Commencement Rehearsal, during which HWS alum speakers Trustee Christopher ’84 and Rene Whitney ’83 Welles P’12, P’15 inaugurated a new tradition by addressing the soon-to-be graduates on the steps of Coxe Hall.
Calling on their fellow alumni and alumnae friends to share their fond memories of HWS, the Welles compiled “words to live by” for the students, which included humorous and some more serious anecdotes. “Be good at something that will make you valuable” and “marry a Heron or Statesman” they advised. The Welles also encouraged the classes to never forget their alma maters and emphasized the importance of giving back.
“Look to your right and to your left, and remember that these buildings around us, were built by those who came before us,” said Chris. “As you prepare to go on to lead a life of consequence, remember to pay it forward.”
Following rehearsal, William Smith seniors processed to a tent on Smith Hall Green for the William Smith Senior Welcome Toast, while Hobart seniors gathered for the traditional procession to Seneca Lake for the Hobart Launch.
After a brief welcome by Assistant Vice President for Advancement, Alumnae Relations and National Regional Network Kathy Regan ’82, P’13, the William Smith Class of 2015 was presented with pine tree charms, formally welcoming them into the ranks of exceptional William Smith alumnae. Rene Whitney Welles joined alumnae in congratulating the senior class with a toast to their myriad of accomplishments.
Associate Director of Alumni and Alumnae Relations Chrissy Bennett-West ’94, who is the past president of the Alumnae Association, then presented association awards. In recognition of her leadership and service to students and alumnae, the Judith Haslam Cross ’52 Award was presented to Loren Hiser ’15. The Elizabeth Herendeen Odell Book Award was presented to Lauren Karam ’15 and Britney DeHond ’15 in appreciation of their contributions to the Alumnae Association as undergraduates and in anticipation of their continuing close ties with William Smith as alumnae. Additionally, Student Trustee Caroline Demeter ’15 was announced as the William Smith 2015 Class Correspondent to advance those connections among her peers.
Speaking as the William Smith Senior Class President Tatyanna Jack ’15 noted the significance of moment. “We’re quite literally planting our roots here today,” she said. “Our William Smith roots will always be here and will get deeper as time goes on.” She also urged her fellow classmates to stay connected to each other, and to William Smith.
“William Smith has been my home away from home for the past four years,” she said. “I have no doubt we’ll be Snapchatting our weekends, Instagramming our brunches and updating our Facebooks. Let’s commit to staying connected with our home and with each other.”
Jack then announced the Honorary Class Member: Assistant Director of Student Activities Jessie L. Marullo-Stamp. Jack noted Marullo-Stamp’s deep engagement with the William Smith Class of 2015 since she began at the Colleges in 2012. Students and alums concluded the event with the singing of the alma mater and planting of two pine trees on William Smith Hill.
After processing from the Quad down to Bozzuto Boathouse, the Hobart Class of 2015 was greeted by faculty, staff, alumni and Assistant Vice President, Alumni Relations and Annual Giving Jared Weeden ’91 to commence the Launch, a tradition that unites generations of Statesmen by welcoming them to the Alumni Association.
Before the newest members of the Hobart Alumni Association were presented with replicas of the paddle used by legendary Seneca warrior, Agayentah, Alumni Association President Jeremy T. Cushman ’96 welcomed the seniors into the association. “Embrace the obligation to be a Hobart man,” he said. “You are privileged, connected, and loyal; let us shame our colors never.”
Cushman reminded the seniors of the significance of Agayentah’s paddle – a symbol of strength they will use to help navigate the undoubtedly stormy waters of life. “May the strength of Hobart guide you,” he said.
Reflecting on the experiences of the Hobart Class of 2015, student speaker Matt McGriff ’15 said he was proud of his fellow classmates. “We made it,” he said. “Continue to set the bar high. Wherever you go, use what you learned here at Hobart.”
The event also marked the formal welcoming of HWS Chaplain Lesley M. Adams HON’12 as an Honorary Class Member. In announcing the recognition, Jericsson Pichardo ’15 noted that Adams is “a voice of reason,” and “the spiritual lifeblood of our community.” Adams will deliver this year’s Baccalaureate Address on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. in Trinity Church
Chief Class Correspondent Eric Hall Anderson ’59 then took to the podium to announce that Carter Brown ’15 was selected as the Hobart 2015 Class Correspondent. After the signing of the alma mater, Dean of Hobart College Eugene Baer P’95, P’97, HON’07 concluded the ceremony with the benediction and reminder that the paddle serves as symbol of Hobart. “When you take it with you, you bring Hobart and William Smith wherever you go.”
After the benediction, the seniors lined up to ceremonially dip their paddles into the waters of Seneca Lake and were given the official Hobart College cigar compliments of Bill ’85 and Larry ’92 Sherman of the Nat Sherman Cigar Co.