Leslie J. Stark opened his home for area alumni and alumnae to hear the latest news from their alma mater from President Gearan.
July 15, 2002 Geneva, N.Y./Edgartown, MA. – Leslie J. Stark, retired senior vice president and executive producer at D’Arcy/New York, and his wife Myra, hosted a reception on July 12 at which the president of Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Mark D. Gearan, greeted alumni and alumnae of the Colleges and gave a “State of the Colleges” report. Stark is a 1959 graduate of Hobart College, a coordinate college with William Smith College located in Geneva, N.Y., and currently serves on its Board of Trustees.
A strong advocate for Hobart and William Smith Colleges and for the liberal arts in general, Stark served for 12 years on the Hobart Alumni Council, where he was twice elected president, and has been a class agent for 11 years. He was a charter member of the Colleges’ National Communications Alumni Council and was the speaker at the College’s Charter Day festivities in 2000. In addition to his degree from Hobart, Stark did graduate work at the Yale School of Drama. He was a founding member of the Broadcast Advertising Producers’ Society of America.
Guests at the reception included Hobart alumnus and West Chop resident Malcolm Goodridge, Class of 1961, former HWS Board of Trustees member and former vice president for American Express Company, now doing independent consulting, and several seated trustees.
Gearan is the former director of the Peace Corps, who was named president of Hobart and William Smith Colleges in 1999. Since his appointment, Gearan has reinforced the Colleges' commitment to global understanding and study abroad opportunities, community service, and service learning.
Gearan presented the gathering with a report on the $7.5 million, 30,000-square-foot academic building currently under construction on campus. Completion of the three-story building is expected by fall 2003. Gearan said the need for more academic space was identified as a high priority in a recent planning process. Other building plans are also underway for a new studio art facility, waterfront development (the campus is situated on Seneca Lake in the Finger Lakes), and an expansion of the student union.
“The new building signifies the momentum the Colleges are currently enjoying. The construction crews hard at work on campus are a sign of the confidence we have in our future and the continued generosity and support of our alumni and alumnae,” Gearan said.
Gearan shared other good news with group: early decision applications rose nearly 116 percent during the past four years, the enrolled classes of 2006 consists of more students from the top 10 percent of their high school classes, and recent speakers to visit campus have included legendary singer Judy Collins who was this year’s baccalaureate speaker and CNN commentator Mark Shields who presented the Commencement address.
Other recent speakers include former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright, 2000 Presidential candidate Alan Keyes, and former Senator George McGovern. President Bill Clinton, who Gearan served under as the director of communications in the White House, also visited campus for a weekend in the fall.
Hobart and William Smith Colleges have a combined enrollment of 1,800, and are noted 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, athletics programs, student governments, and traditions.