Following in annual tradition, members of the Hobart and William Smith community gathered in the Robert A. Bristol ’31 Field House on Saturday to celebrate the many academic accomplishments of the Classes of 2015 during the Academic Achievement Awards Ceremony.
“As we officially begin Commencement weekend, we begin at the heart of Hobart and William Smith – and that is, our commitment to academic excellence,” said President Mark D. Gearan. “In singling out these students, we recognize them for their Latin praise distinction, induction to Phi Beta Kappa, for their prizes and honors, and for their part in the distinctive Honors program that the Colleges have had for decades. For all these reasons, we take a moment from this very busy weekend – and on behalf of the faculty and our Board of Trustees – to commend the individual students for their distinction and academic achievement successes.”
In his address, Gearan welcomed the many families and friends of the Colleges who attended the awards ceremony to honor the senior classes, and lauded the students for their scholarly triumphs, discipline and devotion to their studies on campus and abroad.
During the ceremony, Provost and Dean of Faculty Titilayo Ufomata led the presentation of awards, underscoring the hard work that the students committed to achieving academically at the highest levels.
Ufomata presented the The Technos International Prize – awarded by Technos College and the Tanaka Ikueikai Educational Trust of Tokyo – to Danyu Li ’15 and Katherine Cornell ’15. The prize recognizes one Hobart and one William Smith student for their outstanding academic achievement and contributions to furthering international understanding and exchange.
Professor of Political Science and Chair of the Honors Committee Iva Deutchman recognized the 40 HWS seniors who completed Honors this year. She encouraged the students to feel proud of their accomplishments.
“You are now joining previous generations of Honors recipients who struggled and persisted, just like you, to walk a more challenging path to complete their degrees,” Deutchman said. “To have completed honors is a major achievement of which you can be justly proud.”
Assistant Professor of Economics Elizabeth Ramey applauded the 36 seniors elected to membership in Phi Beta Kappa – Zeta of New York. These new members join the five members of the Classes of 2015 who were elected last year, and the 43 HWS employees, all of whom were elected to Phi Beta Kappa at their own undergraduate institutions. Ramey emphasized that Phi Beta Kappa membership goes beyond good grades.
“A high GPA is not enough to gain admittance to the Society,” she said. “It must be coupled with active engagement in a range of subjects outside one’s major discipline, creating an academic record that reflects the Phi Beta Kappa motto, Philosophia biou kubernetes: ‘philosophy (or love of learning) is the guide of life.'”
Following the recognition of the Phi Beta Kappa inductees, Masters of Arts in Teaching (MAT) candidates also were honored by Associate Professor of Education Mary Kelly, director of the MAT Program. The students – Morgan Caudill ’14, Jessica Lynn ’14, Jessica Ramistella ’14 and Hannah Sorgi ’14 – completed the graduate program in one academic year while continuing their liberal arts studies, completing a master’s project or thesis and engaging in professional activities to prepare them for teacher certification. “I am very proud to recognize this year’s MAT graduates. I can attest to their dedication, tenacity, and hard work over the course of this year,” Kelly said.
During the ceremony, Ufomata praised the nearly 200 seniors who earned Latin Praise. “The conferral of Latin Praise is the highest recognition the faculty can bestow on a student for general academic excellence during his or her college career,” Ufomata said.
Dean of William Smith College Catherine Gallouët and Dean of Hobart College Eugen Baer HON’07, P’95, P’97, recognized the HWS seniors graduating with Latin Praise, announcing their names individually.
At the end of the program, Ufomata shared closing remarks, expressing her gratitude for each of the students. “On behalf of the Colleges, President Gearan and myself, congratulations to all of the award recipients, to their parents, their families and their friends,” she said. “Thank you for the hard work and the support that made these awards possible.”