Biographer Eric Lax Hosts His Alma Mater’s President – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Biographer Eric Lax Hosts His Alma Mater’s President

Eric Lax will host Hobart and William Smith Colleges President Mark D. Gearan for a State of the Colleges address at his Beverly Hills home.

March 13, 2002 BEVERLY HILLS, Calif.—Eric Lax, biographer of the lives of Woody Allen, Paul Newman and Humphrey Bogart, along with his wife, Karen Sulzberger, will host a reception for The Hobart and William Smith Club of Los Angeles. They will receive a State of the Colleges address from HWS President Mark D. Gearan along with more than 75 alums and guests on Tuesday, March 19.

Hobart graduates Dr. Robert Peter Gale, of Los Angeles, one of the world's leading bone marrow transplant experts, and Bill Whitaker, of Los Angeles, CBS news correspondent and HWS trustee, are also scheduled to attend.

Lax graduated from Hobart College in 1966, majoring in English. At Hobart, Lax was active in several political and media activities. He was class secretary-treasurer and a film critic for the campus newspaper, radio station and humor magazine. Following graduation, he joined the Peace Corps and served in Truk and the Caroline Islands in the Western Pacific. He returned to Washington, D.C., and worked as a Peace Corps fellow until he left in1971 to begin freelance writing. His books include On Being Funny, Life and Death on 10 West, Woody Allen: A Biography, Paul Newman: A Biography, and Bogart.

Gearan, the former director of the Peace Corps who was named president of Hobart and William Smith Colleges in 1999, will present the gathering with plans to build a $6 million, 30,000-square-foot academic building. Construction on the three-story building will begin on campus shortly and is scheduled to be completed by fall 2003.

Gearan intends to share other good news with group: early decision applications have risen about 116 percent during the past four years, the enrolled classes consists of more students from the top 10 percent of their high school classes, and recent speakers to visit campus have included former President Bill Clinton, Senator Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright, and Nobel Laureate John Hume. Other building plans are also underway for a performing arts center, waterfront development (the campus is situated on Seneca Lake in the Finger Lakes), and an expansion of the student union.

Hobart and William Smith Colleges are coordinate, private, liberal arts institutions, located in Geneva, N.Y. The Colleges are noted for their 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, athletics programs, student governments, and traditions.