Sociologist is the first to receive the award
GENEVA, N.Y. – In honor of their 40th reunion, the Classes of 1964 raised more than $1.5 million and established an endowed chair to recognize a faculty member distinguished by his or her teaching and scholarship. Professor Jim Spates, of the department of anthropology and sociology, was confirmed by the Board of Trustees as the first faculty member to receive the prestigious honor.
Spates, a 34-year veteran of the Hobart and William Smith Colleges’ faculty, holds a doctorate from Boston University. He specializes in the sociology of cities, values, and human nature. Among students, Spates is perhaps most well known for the popular “Two Cities” course, a bidisciplinary approach to urban sociology which he co-teaches with Professor Pat McGuire from the department of economics. Spates is also widely known as a scholar of John Ruskin, a 19th century English poet, artist, critic and early sociologist.
Endowed professorships have become an increasingly important part of the higher education landscape, serving to honor distinguished faculty and providing endowed funds to support faculty research, scholarship and other academic initiatives.
In selecting the endowed chair recipient, President Mark Gearan and Provost Ruth Freeman solicited nominations from the faculty before making a final recommendation to the Board of Trustees. Members of the Board unanimously approved Professor Spates as the first recipient of this endowed chair, the largest class based project in the history of the Colleges.
The Classes of 1964 Endowed Chair was the second major reunion fundraising project funded by alumni/ae from that year. At their 25th reunion, leaders from the Classes of 1964 led a fundraising effort surrounding the renovation of Gulick Hall which resulted in raising over $225,000 for that project.