Bicentennial Kick-Off Celebrates our ‘Beloved Community’ – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Bicentennial Kick-Off Celebrates our ‘Beloved Community’

200 years after Trinity Parish supported Bishop John Henry Hobart’s vision to found a college, the Hobart and William Smith community returned to Wall Street to mark our Bicentennial. 

As a student at Hobart and William Smith, the Most Rev. Michael B. Curry ’75 D.D. ’20 recalled during his keynote address, he was inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s image of the “beloved community,” a just and equitable world where people care for one another as family.

During his remarks, Curry reflected on the personal impact the Colleges made on his life, and the legacy of Bishop John Henry Hobart: a college that values the “beloved community.”

“That’s Hobart and William Smith. That’s the impact of a school. And that’s the hope of a country and a world,” Curry said.

Before he left home to attend HWS, Curry recalled his father telling him: “Treat every woman as if she were your sister.” Later, as Curry’s courses led him to study the writings of King, and then Cicero, he began to understand the “larger, deeper, grander narrative,” behind his father’s advice.

“Love for others besides just the self makes the United States possible. Love for others besides the self will show us the way to take our “jangling discords” and make a “beautiful symphony” of love, compassion, justice, goodness and kindness…I learned that at Hobart and William Smith Colleges,” Curry said, quoting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

A year after the Jan. 6, 2021 uprising, Curry traveled to Washington, D.C. to pray with the members of the House of Representatives, and to continue the work of healing the nation’s hurt and division. “If one church does it, another can. If one political group does it, another can. If more of us do it, then more of us can. Then the nightmare can end, and the beloved community will be born. That’s the birthday for John Henry Hobart’s school. And that’s the birth of a new world.”

The event was held at Trinity Church Wall Street on Feb. 11.

In her remarks, President Joyce P. Jacobsen reflected on how the Colleges have ably steered through great changes in history, from the Civil War to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, with the same entrepreneurialism and determination that shaped our past, Jacobsen outlined the strategic planning that has prepared the Colleges for a bright future.

Developed and approved in the spring of 2020, the Colleges’ strategic plan focuses on three broad areas: increasing academic effectiveness, building financial and operational excellence, and enhancing the Colleges’ reputation.

Just as Bishop John Henry Hobart had faith when he arrived on the shores of Seneca Lake to found a college, Jacobsen said, “It takes faith to always stay true to our values – remaining dedicated to cultivating incredible minds, relentless curiosity and remarkable hearts.”

After an acapella performance of the alma mater by Trustee Garrett A. Mathieson ’74, Chair of the Hobart and William Smith Board of Trustees Craig R. Stine ’81, P’17 shared how HWS shaped him into a critical thinker, and gave him a community filled with supportive friends and faculty.

“It was at the edge of that lake that I found a place and a community that would become the center of everything. Under the direction of faculty like Pat McGuire and Judith and Scott McKinney, I began to imagine the world as it could be, and to understand that the better world would be one that is built together.”

As the Vice Chairman of the Global Financial Institutions Group at Barclays Investment Bank, Stine has developed a hiring philosophy over the years. Experience, he said, has taught him that new hires are either “propeller heads” or “poets.” Whereas the world of finance prioritizes the former, Stine has observed the arc of success of a different kind of person.  

They are, “confident, driven, creative thinkers,” he said. “When they get the chance at bat, they hit it out of the park.” HWS students, he says, are the poets.

“At Hobart and William Smith, we are focused on the future: The future of higher education. The future of the curriculum. The future of our students. The creation of a better future,” Stine said.

Because of COVID-19 restrictions at Trinity Church, in-person attendance was restricted.

Plan to join the HWS community on Oct. 22, 2022 for an on-campus Gala Celebration for the Bicentennial. Learn more about the Bicentennial.