Commencement celebrations include Touching the Future Awards
As part of the recent graduation weekend, Hobart and William Smith Colleges presented Touching the Future Awards to two men nominated by members of the Hobart Class of 2007.
The awards celebrate and honor the many early childhood educators and those in elementary, middle and high schools “who have led our graduates to this place and to this very special day, as the Commencement program explains. Presentations were made at a reception Saturday, May 12 at the home of President Mark D. Gearan and acknowledged during Commencement ceremonies the following day.
Those honored this year were Gerard W. Herlihy, an English teacher from Marian High School in Framingham, Mass., nominated by Adam J. Chaput; and Gregory Scott, a guidance counselor at St. Raymond High School for Boys in the Bronx, N.Y., nominated by Faizul Islam.
Chaput, a member of the HWS Board of Trustees during his senior year, wrote that Herlihy was a role model for how to live one’s life. “He loved his job, put all of his energy into his craft and truly cared that we were receiving a quality education. Because of him, I approach every task with tremendous enthusiasm and determination. His way of life constantly made a positive impact on the world and people around him. Throughout my four years at Hobart, I have tried to live by this ethos; I have tried to leave the community better than I found it.
Islam noted that when he was nervous about delivering the valedictory address to his class, Scott stood near him on the stage. “His presence boosted my confidence and I gave the most slamming speech in my high school history. I will never forget that moment. This is the very man who has touched my future. From him I learned I should let my character radiate into others’ lives as well. For that I am truly grateful.
In 2004, the Colleges’ Board of Trustees established the Touching the Future Awards, in part to memorialize Christa McAuliffe, the first teacher selected to participate in the space shuttle program. McAuliffe died in the explosion of Challenger in January 1986. She expressed the sentiments of many teachers when she said, “I touch the future, I teach.
During Sunday’s Commencement ceremony, bachelor’s degrees were presented to 209 Hobart graduates and 233 William Smith graduates. The Colleges’ Master of Arts in Teaching degrees were awarded to nine future educators. Graduates, their families, friends and faculty also heard from noted journalists Judy Woodruff and Albert R. Hunt, who received honorary doctor of humane letters degrees, as did State Senator Michael F. Nozzolio and Geneva Community Lunch Program coordinator Marge Shanahan.