The Trustee Community Service Award was presented this month to Betsy Hacker Dexheimer ’57, GP ’18 for her decades of service in Western New York communities.
Hobart and William Smith Colleges’ Board of Trustees recognized Betsy Hacker Dexheimer ’57, GP ’18 as the ninth recipient of the Trustee Community Service Award. The Board voted unanimously this fall to honor Dexheimer for her longstanding commitment to communities in the greater Buffalo-Rochester area, particularly her work and advocacy in service of women, children, seniors and low-income residents.
“Betsy has dedicated herself to making her community stronger, healthier and more caring, both in her career as an educator and in her tireless volunteer work with and on behalf of her neighbors,” says Craig Stine ’81, P’17, Chair of the Board of Trustees.
Trustee Allison Morrow ’76, chair of the honors committee of the Board, adds, “This well-deserved recognition from the Board underscores the lifechanging impact that deep and sustained community engagement can have.”
Dexheimer earned her B.A. in English from William Smith and her master’s in education from Teachers College, Columbia University, before embarking on a career as a special education teacher in Batavia, N.Y., where she began working with organizations that serve local residents most in need.
For more than 50 years, she worked with migrant and low-income families, founding a migrant childcare center and helping expand low-income housing in Batavia. She was a member of the women’s advocacy group GLOW Women Rise and of the Advisory Council for the New York State Office for the Aging Livable Community Vision Team. She also served Meals on Wheels, delivered books to homebound residents for Richmond Memorial Library and volunteered at Crossroads Hospice Center. A longtime Planned Parenthood volunteer, she served the organization’s rape crisis division for more than a decade, making herself available 24/7 to support and advocate for women in need.
President Joyce P. Jacobsen says the Colleges “are immensely proud of the example Betsy has set throughout her life — she is a role model for us all.”
Before Dexheimer moved to Ohio to be closer to her son Paul in 2020, the Batavia community turned out for a parade in her honor, driving by her house in gratitude for her years of service.
In 2009, the Board of Trustees established the Hobart and William Smith Trustee Community Service Award to honor and celebrate alums, parents and friends of the Colleges who lead lives of consequence and serve as examples of engaged citizenship. The Trustee Community Service Award is given to members of the HWS community who have demonstrated an extraordinary and sustained volunteer commitment in serving their communities locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.