Celebrating the Legacy of Alger Adams ’32 – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Celebrating the Legacy of Alger Adams ’32

The Colleges will honor the Rev. Dr. Alger L. Adams ’32, D.D. ’83 — the first black man to receive a degree from Hobart — by celebrating and reflecting on his remarkable life, career and legacy online.

Traditionally, the HWS community gathers on campus for the annual Alger L. Adams ’32 Academic Excellence Award Dinner. However, because of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the dinner and ceremony have been canceled.

A new website features a timeline of Dr. Adams’ life and accomplishments and includes remarks from this year’s intended dinner keynote speaker, Dr. Adams’ daughter, Patricia Adams. As the dinner is also used to honor students of color who, like Adams himself, have overcome major obstacles to become academically successful, lists of those receiving this year’s awards are also available. The website also features some of Dr. Adams’ art, artwork of Adams created by students and a short video on the history of Geneva in Adams’ time created by local historian John Marks.


Visit the Alger Adams Site


In 1928, Dr. Adams arrived in Geneva from Omaha, Neb., only to discover that Hobart College, which had granted him a scholarship, would not house him because he was black. With the encouragement of the African-American community in Geneva, which welcomed him with open arms, Dr. Adams graduated magna cum laude with degrees in Greek, English and psychology and was named to Phi Beta Kappa.

Adams went on to attend the General Theological Seminary in Manhattan and founded churches outside New York City before leaving the active ministry to devote himself to civil rights initiatives, the arts and his community. A novelist, painter, musician and lifetime member of the NAACP, Adams had a creative spirit shaped by a sense of service.

Visit the Dr. Alger L. Adams ’32 page here.