“Your son or daughter is at a great place, a very special place. They’ll make it an even better place. It’s a place forged in great history, great tradition, great aspiration and great ambition. So know that when you leave, that this is a place of caring and hospitality, and a community that’s committed to inclusion,” said President Mark D. Gearan during the President’s Welcome Ceremony on Stern Lawn at Orientation 2016.
Speaking to the families, Gearan underscored the significant impact that the first-year students will have at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. He said, through an HWS education – designed to prepare students to lead lives of consequence – that the Classes of 2020 will be opened to an array of opportunities, from intellectual pursuits and the mentorship of faculty to global experiences and community engagement.
A campus tradition featuring remarks by HWS leadership, the ceremony serves as a time for reflection for the students as they launch their academic lives at HWS.
During his address, Gearan shared a few words of wisdom provided by five recent HWS graduates: Virginia DeWees ’16, Max Gorton ’16, Connor May ’16, Afrika Owes ’16 and Ali Ware ’16. Owes reflected: “Use your voice. Speak up on things you are passionate about. Speak out against ignorance. Have integrity with your words. The power of words can change culture.” May offered: “You are the author of your own story. The more time you put into it and the more diverse your experiences are, the better your story will be.”
Hobart Dean Eugen Baer P’95, P’97 and William Smith Dean Catherine Gallouët also addressed the students. Referring to her naturalization ceremony, Gallouët asked the Classes of 2020 to never forget who they are and where they’re from. “Because you are now among us, we will all be renewed with your energy, your dreams and aspirations, your talents, your legacy, in other words, the riches you bring with you,” she added. Calling attention to the coordinate tradition of the Colleges, Baer said: “Whatever your needs are, I want to assure you, you have come to the right place.”
Orientation Coordinators Lauren Carr ’17 and Josh Weinstein ’17, who have been planning the weekend of activities since February, shared the podium.
“Through the Colleges, I was able to build bonds that I’d never imagined having with people, link up with intelligent professors who would shape the way I view the world, and experience places that I would have never dreamed of going before,” said Weinstein, who studied abroad in London, England. “And that all started on that weekend of Orientation.”
For Carr, a member of a legacy family, who recognized both her sister, Lindsay Carr ’20, as well as her father, Michael Carr ’86, P’17, P’20, called on the students to cherish the time spent at HWS.
“Slow down, take it all in, and enjoy the feeling of experiencing this campus and Geneva for the first time,” she said. “Orientation Weekend is just the beginning of a new chapter in your lives, and I am confident that the next four years you spend here will provide you with the foundation necessary to lead a life of consequence.”
During her remarks, Provost and Dean of Faculty Titi Ufomata encouraged the Classes of 2020 to consider two things. First to make a positive impact as an engaged member of the community, and second, to examine the Hobart and William Smith seals to better understand the importance of finding the balance and harmony that goes hand-in-hand with the pursuit of knowledge.
“As you go through the next four years and beyond, interrogating what it means for you personally to live a life of consequence, I want you to remember that what you learn and do here will provide you with the foundation to live that life. For that reason, you must commit to work hard, to be open to the richness of experiences we offer, and to play your part to be a responsible citizen of the HWS community,” Ufomata said.