GENEVA, NY – On Friday, Sept. 25, William Smith College will celebrate its 90th anniversary and the beginning of the new academic year in an Opening Day Ceremony at 7 p.m. in the Winn-Seeley Gymnasium.
The first day of classes at William Smith College occurred on Sept. 19, 1908 with a charter class of 22 eager young women. College founder, William Smith, a Geneva businessman, gave nearly $500,000 to Hobart College in 1906 to open the women’s college at the site of the all-male Hobart College. Hobart and William Smith Colleges have since existed coordinately on the same Geneva campus.
In honor of the 90th anniversary, William Smith Dean Debra K. DeMeis has arranged for the College to begin the new tradition of an Opening Day Ceremony which will become an annual celebration of William Smith women and its heritage. The ceremony will include the induction of the inaugural members of the Laurel Society, an honor society for juniors.
This year’s keynote speaker is Dana Keefer, a William Smith graduate from the class of 1968 who also holds masters degrees from the University of Virginia and CUNY. She will present her interpretation of life at the College over the past two eras. Keefer is currently the vice-president of Health Management System, Inc. in New York City. She started at Health Management System in 1980 and has since helped to build the niche business into a $100 million health care technology company. Keefer is also board chairwoman for the Pearl Theatre Company Corp., New York City’s premier classical theatre company.
The ceremony is open to the public.