On Thursday, Hobart and William Smith Colleges will welcome a national expert on school reform and effective advocate for education equity for disadvantaged children. Wendy Puriefoy, President of the Public Education Network, was selected by President Mark D. Gearan as the next speaker for the President’s Forum Series. Puriefoy, a William Smith graduate, will explore the state of public education on Thursday, Nov. 1 at 7:30 p.m. in the Geneva Room.
Puriefoy has served as president of the Public Education Network, the nation’s largest network of community-based school reform organization, since its founding in 1991. Under her guidance, PEN has developed into a nationwide affiliation of local education funds reaching more than 11 million children in 18,000 schools. She also chairs The White House Project, which seeks to foster the entry of women into positions of leadership, including the U.S. Presidency. In addition, Puriefoy is a noted leader in the philanthropic world and serves on the boards of numerous national organizations including the Children’s Defense Fund, the Annenberg Institute for School Reform Board of Overseers, Research for Action, and the non-partisan public policy research and advocacy organization DEMOS.
Puriefoy’s demonstration of leadership and aptitude throughout her career parallels her commitment to Hobart and William Smith Colleges. Puriefoy was the first student elected to the Colleges’ Board of Trustees and later also served from 1992 to 1994. As an undergraduate student, she was a head resident, worked on the Summer Enrichment Program and was a member of the William Smith Honor Society, Hai Timiai. In 1969 she was presented with the Class of 1947 Citizenship Award. She is a founding member of the Advisory Board of The Fisher Center and received the Alumnae Achievement Award in 2000. Currently she serves as a member of the William Smith Centennial Honorary Committee.
In addition to her bachelor’s degree, she holds three master of arts degrees from Boston University in African American studies, American studies and American colonial history. She also has taught at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education regarding the role of non-government actors in public school reform.
This President’s Forum talk, one of several events being held as part of the William Smith Centennial Celebration, will be broadcast live on WEOS-FM, 89.7 and 90.3 on the dial.