Geneva Scholarship Associates celebrates 37 years of support – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Geneva Scholarship Associates celebrates 37 years of support

GENEVA, N.Y. — The newest Geneva Scholarship Associates award recipients were introduced to a crowd of more than 100 at a donors reception June 6 at the Scandling Center.

Melvin Cruz and Annalise VanHouten (third and fourth from left in photo)graduated from Geneva High School on June 24 and enter Hobart and William Smith Colleges, respectively, in August. They were the guests of honor at the event celebrating the 37th anniversary of the Geneva Scholarship Associates (GSA).

Cruz, who has been a member of the GHS track and football teams, will be a member of the 2005 Statesmen. He has been a mentor at the Geneva Boys and Girls Clubs and a referee for the basketball program there. He has been a teacher’s aide at Geneva Head Start and a nutritional aide at Geneva General Hospital. He is completing the network technician program through the Finger Lakes Technical and Career Center in Flint.

VanHouten has been a member of the GHS National Honor Society, chorus, and the basketball, cross-country and lacrosse teams, drama club, Interact Club, and the Young Adults Board at the Geneva Free Library. She participated in the New York State School Music Association’s solo festival, received Scholar-Athlete awards for cross-country and lacrosse and the French Club award twice, and was an alternate to Empire Girls’ State. She has volunteered with Relay for Life and received a Colleges Faculty Scholarship. She has worked at Hamilton 258 and at Ports Café.

President Mark Gearan (at left in photo) began the evening’s program by thanking Rob Anania Jr. for his leadership of GSA over the past three years.

“During Anania’s presidency, the number of individuals and businesses who contributed to GSA annually increased by more than 35 percent. Subsequently, the GSA endowment more than doubled in that same three-year period, exceeding the $300,000 level in 2005,” said Gearan.

Gearan also introduced GSA’s new president, Bill McGowan, a lawyer in Geneva for 40 years. A graduate of Syracuse University and University of Michigan Law School, McGowan (at right in photo) is active in community affairs, has had a long-standing interest in local town/gown relations, and is the father of five and the grandfather of eight.

Serving with him will be Jim Vedora of Community Bank, vice president; and board members Anania, Lehman, Eric Reuscher, Patricia Ryan and Rob Sollenne.

Representatives of many local businesses that have worked to build the GSA were on hand, including The National Bank of Geneva and First Niagara Bank, which was represented by vice president and regional sales manager Kelly Johnson Mittiga, a ’94 graduate of William Smith.

To close the evening, Gearan highlighted the impact GSA has had on the local community, naming some scholarship recipients who have remained in the Geneva area to build their careers and their lives to the benefit of all: Dr. Timothy Ryan ’72, one of the first GSA recipients, a local physician; Phyllis Collins ’03, who returned to the Colleges’ admissions office after receiving her degree from William Smith; and Victoria Kean Lehman ’88, a committed community volunteer and Geneva Middle School teacher.

For more information on GSA and how to make a gift, contact the association’s HWS liaison, Leila Rice, at 781-3752 or

Also attending the dinner were GSA recipients Elise Pedersen ’06, (second from left)Caroline Wenzel ’05, Sarah Mantell ’06 (second and third from right, respectively).