Democrat & Chronicle, a Rochester-based newspaper that is part of the USA Today network, published an article called “Gregory Vincent named President of Hobart and William Smith Colleges” on April 20. The piece, written by James Goodman, covers the announcement made by the HWS Chair of the Board of Trustees Thomas S. Bozzuto ’68 naming Dr. Gregory J. Vincent ’83 the president of Hobart and William Smith Colleges. Interviewed in the video story are Emeritus Professor of Economics Christopher Gunn, who served as Vincent’s economics adviser while at HWS, and Vincent after making his initial remarks to the HWS community.
The full text of the article is included below.
A national expert on civil rights, social justice and campus culture has been named the next president of Hobart and William Smith Colleges.
The announcement of Gregory Vincent, a vice president of University of Texas at Austin since 2005, was made before a standing room crowd at the HWS campus in Geneva.
Vincent, 55, is a 1983 graduate of HWS who went on to earn a law degree at Ohio State University and a doctorate at the University of Pennsylvania.
“Hobart and William Smith will be exceedingly well served with his leadership,” said HWS President Mark Gearan, who has served as president of HWS since 1999. “He is the right person at the right time for this institution.”
Vincent will begin his term in mid-July. He will be the 27th president of Hobart College and 16th of William Smith College.
Originally founded as two separate colleges, they are now administered jointly. The students share the same campus, faculty, administration and curriculum.
Vincent, who serves as vice president for Diversity and Community Engagement at the University of Texas at Austin, was a spokesman for the college in two U.S. Supreme Court cases that affirmed the use of race as a factor — but not a decisive one — in admissions.
His work as head of the university’s Division of Diversity and Community Engagement connected the college to communities across the state and tried to make a college education more accessible.
In the early 1990s, Vincent handled civil rights cases in the attorney general’s office of Ohio.
At Thursday’s announcement, Vincent spoke of the need to “foster a climate of inclusion and respect.”
A native of New York City, Vincent told of the importance of a college education and how his years as an undergraduate at HWS helped shape his life.
“The change we wish to see in the world must start at our colleges and universities,” he said.
Vincent noticed a “Professor Gunn” — Christopher Gunn — in the audience and expressed how much this professor helped him as his economics adviser at HWS.
Gunn, who is now a professor emeritus, said afterward that Vincent was “hardworking, serious and delightful to work with.”
Returning to HWS, said Vincent, was a “homecoming.”
In comments to reporters, Vincent said: “My top priority is to make sure the colleges have the resources they need.”
He also spoke about the importance of diversity and said that the Texas cases that were before the Supreme Court “made a persuasive case why diversity enhances the learning experience.”
Vincent praised the tenure of Gearan and how HWS has collaborated with the Geneva community.
Gearan is stepping down at the end of the school year to become “president in residence” at Harvard University, addressing issues facing higher education.
Vincent’s career in college administration began as an assistant vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He then became vice provost for academic affairs and campus diversity and law professor at Louisiana State University.
He later served as vice provost for institutional equity and diversity and law professor at the University of Oregon.
Almost 70 applications were received by the search committee formed after Gearan announced he was leaving, said HWS Board of Trustees Chairman Thomas Bozzuto.
Vincent was joined by his wife, Kim, at Thursday’s announcement and he praised her for being a lawyer who gives a “voice to the voiceless.”
And Vincent said: “I pledge to uphold the traditions of the past as we look to the future.”