A gift of $200,000 from Hobart and William Smith Colleges Trustee Katherine D. Elliott ’66, L.H.D. ’08 will support a breadth of faculty proposals, from innovation within the curriculum to professional development.
Beginning in spring 2018, the Katherine D. Elliott ’66 Faculty Innovation Grant will be disbursed evenly over two years to support innovations in undergraduate education at the Colleges. The second year of the gift will provide important resources for the new Vice President of Academic Affairs and Senior Dean of Faculty to launch initiatives during his or her first year.
“In conversations with faculty, it became clear we had an abundance of innovative and important ideas that simply needed resources behind them to bring our academic programming to an even higher level,” says Interim Provost and Associate Professor of Political Science DeWayne Lucas. “Katherine recognized the urgency of this need and shared the eagerness to help our faculty, and in turn our students, more fully realize the academic potential of our curriculum. The Colleges are grateful for her leadership and excited about what this gift means for the campus.”
While still early in the implementation process, Professor of Geoscience and Senior Dean of Faculty Nan Crystal Arens explains that the administration is working “very closely with faculty to develop a plan to receive proposals and fund them. The intent of the gift was to help unleash the creativity that we know is out there in the faculty.”
Arens notes that the Office of Academic and Faculty Affairs, along with the Committee on Academic Affairs and the Committee on Faculty, will be looking for proposals “that we can pilot that could have broad impact across the academic experience.”
The first round of proposals are due May 1 with funding available to begin work over the summer. A second round of proposals will be due August 31 for funding in the fall semester.
Elliott is the retired Chief Operating Officer for Petner Asset Management, LLC, a hedge fund where she specialized in investment management operations. She was previously a senior vice president and chief operating officer with the New York investment firm Lynch & Mayer Inc.
A member of the Board of Trustees for two decades, Elliott has served as vice chair of the board and has chaired the Governance Committee. She also has served on the committees for Technology, Enrollment Management, Education and Appointments, Investments, and Student Life. She currently serves as chair of the academic affairs committee.
In 2005, Elliott made the lead gift to finance the Katherine D. Elliott ’66 Studio Arts Center. At the time, it was the largest donation to the Colleges by a William Smith alumna. She has funded two Scandling Trust gifts — one adding to an existing scholarship in her late grandfather’s name, Lewis H. Elliott, from the Class of 1898; and the other an endowed internship fund in her father’s name, the late William Elliott.
For her lifetime of accomplishments and dedication to HWS, Elliott was awarded an honorary degree in 2008. In 2016, she received the Elizabeth Herendeen Odell Award, the Alumnae Association’s highest honor for service. At William Smith, Elliott earned a B.A. in economics.