GENEVA, N.Y.—A PBS correspondent, a Congressman, an international public servant, and two business leaders will be given honorary degrees for their service at the Commencement exercises for the Hobart and William Smith Classes of 2001. Undergraduate degrees will be awarded to 206 William Smith students and 210 Hobart students. The ceremony will begin at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, May 13, on the Hobart Quadrangle.
Gwen Ifill, the moderator and managing editor of PBS' “Washington Week,” will be the keynote speaker, giving an address titled “Exceeding Your Dreams.” Ifill will receive an honorary degree from the Colleges during the ceremony along with Congressman Rodney P. Frelinghuysen, of Morristown, N.J., a 1969 Hobart graduate, Sister Mary Turley, founder of the Flax Trust, and former HWS Trustees John Horvath, a partner for 24 years at Arthur Andersen & Company of Rochester, N.Y., and Bruce N. Bensley, a 1951 graduate of Hobart College, and trustee of the Fannie E. Rippel Foundation.
Ifill was selected as Commencement speaker and as the Doctor of Humane Letters degree recipient in recognition of her many years serving the American public as a journalist. A veteran reporter, Ifill has been the moderator and managing editor of “Washington Week” since 1999. She joined the show from NBC News, where she served as chief congressional and political correspondent.
Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen has remained active in the Hobart and William Smith community since he graduated from Hobart in 1969. He has provided outstanding leadership in the Colleges' fund raising efforts as the chair of the alumni phonathon, class agent, a leader of the reunion gift committee, and a member of the Capital Campaign steering committee. Frelinghuysen gave convocation remarks at Hobart's 175th anniversary weekend. In 1977, and again in 1994, Frelinghuysen was the recipient of the Alumni Citation Award.
Congressman Frelinghuysen is now serving his fourth consecutive term as a Member of the 107th Congress. He is New Jersey's senior member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, where he serves on three subcommittees: Defense; Veterans, Housing, Environment and Independent Agencies; and Energy and Water Development. Frelinghuysen has championed a balanced Federal budget, supported welfare reform and efforts to secure the future of the Medicare program, and now is working to modernize Medicare to include a prescription medicine benefit. He also supports strengthening the military, protecting patients from managed care abuses, improving education, reforming campaign finance laws, and saving Social Security.
Sister Mary Turley of the Flax Trust Foundation was selected to receive a Doctor of Humane Letters degree in recognition of her efforts to bring reconciliation to Northern Ireland through economic development. Sister Turley founded Flax Trust Belfast in 1977. A native of Portadown, County Armagh, a teacher, and a member of the Presentation Sisters, she earned a bachelor's degree in education with honors at Queens University, Belfast.
The Flax Trust Foundation employs more than 1,000 people working together on cross-community projects. On a daily basis more than 1,500 people engage in Flax Trust sponsored activities whether commercial, social, educational, or cultural. Through the Flax Trust, the Brookfield Business Centre (BBC) Ltd., the largest integrated business center in Northern Ireland, has been created out of old linen mills in a Belfast 'no man's land.' At the BBC more than 330 new businesses have been brought to life, and both Catholic and Protestant communities are served with employment training, affordable housing projects, and medical and social assistance programs.
John Horvath first joined the community of Hobart and William Smith Colleges as a parent. He sent his fourth child, Timm Lawrence Horvath, to Hobart as a member of the Class of 1986. Timm Horvath graduated as a dean's list chemistry major and member of Alpha Delta Upsilon. Horvath, who joined the Board of Trustees in 1988, has offered his wisdom on the development of the Colleges generally, and on matters of budget, accounting, and finance particularly.
A partner for 24 years at Arthur Andersen & Company in Rochester, N.Y., Horvath's professional accomplishments are augmented by an impressive list of community contributions. He has served in important leadership roles with the Al Sigl Center, the Boys & Girls Club of Rochester, Rochester Chamber of Commerce, McQuaid Jesuit High School, Rochester Business Opportunities Corporation, local chapter of the American Red Cross, St. Bernard's Institution, St. Joseph's Villa, University of Rochester Medical School, and University Cerebral Palsy Associations of New York State and of the Rochester Area, among others. He is a past president of many of those organizations.
Bruce Bensley's commitment to Hobart and William Smith Colleges is extensive and varied. While a student, he was a Druid and elected to Chimera and Orange Key honor societies. He was president of his senior class, captain of the golf team, and played varsity football. He was also active with Board of Control and Interfraternity Council. His involvement with Hobart Alumni activities began in 1952, upon his return from service in the United States Army. He served on a number of fundraising committees, and in 1980 was elected to the Board of Trustees. Bensley's daughter, Carolyn, is a 1998 graduate of William Smith College.
Bensley, formerly the director of the Mutual Savings Bank of Morristown, vice- president of Goldman Sachs, and managing director of C.J. Lawrence, one of the oldest stock exchange firms since the Civil War and a subsidiary of Deutche Bank, is now a member-trustee of the Fannie E. Rippel Foundation. He is active as a trustee and treasurer of the Diocesan Investment Trust of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark, N.J., and was the former president of the YMCA of Morristown, and a member of the Central Atlantic Area Council of the National YMCA.
Commencement 2001 marks the 176th Commencement for Hobart College and the 90th Commencement for William Smith College. The 416 graduates will be ushered to the Quad by the Mohawk Valley Frasers, a bagpipe ensemble.
Hobart and William Smith Colleges are coordinate, private, liberal arts institutions, located in Geneva, N.Y. C the heart of the Finger Lakes region. The Colleges, which have a combined enrollment of 1,800, offer a remarkably broad array of majors and minors, with a cross-disciplinary flavor intended to better inform both professional and intellectual pursuits. The Colleges are noted also for an ambitious emphasis on international study, and for their programs in community service. Hobart College for men and William Smith College for women share faculty, facilities, and curriculum, but maintain separate dean's offices, athletic programs, student governments, and traditions.