Steeped in history, the annual Moving Up Day ceremony recently brought together members of the HWS community on Stern Lawn to recognize the achievements of William Smith students in academics, service and leadership, as well as to celebrate each class as they move up to the next.
“For you this is a day when a threshold is crossed – when you are ‘moving up’ to the next College class or beyond William Smith to lives of consequence,” said Catherine Gallouët, dean of William Smith and professor of French and Francophone studies. “Moving Up Day, grounded in lovely old traditions, is turned upward, toward the future – your future.”
During her opening remarks, Gallouët urged students to reflect on their time and experiences on campus and the impact they can have as students or alumnae. In light of finding one’s place at the College, she said: “Claim your space and occupy you’re here and now – and your path will unfold.”
One of William Smith College’s oldest and most treasured customs, the ceremony invites William Smith students to gather on the Hill where seniors, carrying their class banners, lead a procession to Stern Lawn for the ceremony.
This year, remarks and award presentations were offered by President Mark D. Gearan, Chair of the Board of Trustees Maureen Collins Zupan ’72, P’09, Provost and Dean of Faculty Titi Ufomata, Honorary Trustee Roy Dexheimer ’55, P’86, LL.D. ’80, and Chaplain Maurice Charles, among others.
Dexheimer reflected on legendary tennis champion Billie Jean King’s visit to HWS during which she received the Elizabeth Blackwell Award in 1998. She called upon students to face their fears head on and overcome them. “When times are grim for you – and there will be some for you – remember those words of Billy Jean King, ‘go where your fears are,” he said.
With the passing of the garland from seniors to juniors, the ceremony recognizes each class as they advance to fill the vacancy left by the class ahead of them. In addition to an awards presentation, the new members of the Hai Timiai and Laurel honor societies are recognized. The 2016 celebration included singing of the alma mater by Chorale and a cappella groups 3 Miles Lost and Perfect Third.
Each year, students are encouraged to wear class colors to display their class membership. The Class of 2019 is blue, representing faith and hope; 2018 is green, for fidelity and friendship; the Class of 2017 is red, meaning respect and passion; and the Class of 2016 is yellow, symbolizing loyalty and joy.
Visit a photo gallery of Moving Up Day.
For more information about William Smith traditions, visit: http://www.hws.edu/academics/ws_deans_traditions.aspx.