Finger Lakes Times, a Geneva, N.Y. based newspaper, published in print “Coming Home: Gregory Vincent takes helm at HWS after a standout career in academia, law and public service” written by Steve Buchiere on April 21. Along with a description of the presidential announcement that took place on April 20, The Finger Lakes Times’ story covered Vincent’s journey as an HWS student to a civil rights law attorney, then administrator at the University of Texas-Austin.
The full text of the print article can be found below:
GENEVA — Homecoming came a little early this year for Gregory Vincent.
The 1983 graduate of Hobart and William Smith Colleges returns not just as an alum but as the next president of the Colleges.
V\incent, 54, currently serves as vice president for diversity and community engagement at the University of Texas at Austin, where he is also a law professor and in the department of higher education and community college leadership. He also has a background as an attorney general and private attorney included in his extensive resume.
His long career in academics, public service and law was seeded at his undergraduate school, HWS, he said.
“Hobart and William Smith sparked my intellectual curiosity,” said Vincent in a Thursday afternoon event at the Vandervort Room at the Scandling Center. His appointment as the next HWS president was announced by current President Mark Gearan and Thomas Bozzuto, chairman of the Colleges’ Board of Trustees.
“This is, in many ways, a homecoming for me,” he told a packed room, where he was greeted with at least two long standing ovations from a crowd that included not only his wife, Kim, but HWS trustees, faculty and a large number of students.
“What a great day for Hobart and William Smith and what a historic day,” said Gearan.
Vincent is the first HWS graduate to become the school’s president as well as the first African-American.
HWS, Vincent told the crowd, “changed by life.”
He said Gearan, who has by nearly all accounts had an extraordinary impact on HWS during his record tenure, is one of the reasons he was so interested in returning to his alma mater.
Bozzuto, a 1968 HWS grad, acknowledged that Vincent has truly big shoes to fill but added, “Greg brings his own very impressive shoes.”
“He is the right person at the right time for this institution,” he said.
Added Bozzuto: “I have every confidence in his ability to lead these Colleges.”
Vincent acknowledged the issues of higher education — from college affordability to educational outcomes — but said that a liberal arts education, and especially one at the Colleges, has “never been more important.”
Students and graduates on hand for the event were pleased with the pick.
“I think he’s going to be great for Hobart and William Smith,” said Julia Wasserman, a senior from Connecticut who has a brother completing his first year at the school.
She said Gearan “connected with students” and believes Vincent brings the same mindset to the job.
Carla Gaynor, a 2014 HWS graduate who is doing graduate work at Syracuse, said she loved her time at HWS under Gearan and thinks Vincent is an excellent choice.
“I think he’s going to be great,” she said.
Sam Shaffner, a senior from Cazenovia, Madison County, said the selection of an African-American to the post could help usher in what she hoped would be greater diversity at HWS.
“I think it’s necessary,” she said. “Our school is trying to be more diverse and more inclusive. I think they need to show it in the administration, in faculty and staff. I think it’s a great first step towards that undertaking.”
Vincent said in a brief press conference after the event that encouraging campus diversity is an “institutional priority for the Colleges.”
While Gearan is expected to exit in late June, Vincent will be taking his new job in July, said the Colleges.
About Gregory Vincent
The new Hobart and William Smith Colleges president comes with a long resume in both law and higher education.
Vincent attended public schools in New York City. At HWS, where he majored in history and economics, he was a member of the basketball and cross country teams. After graduating from HWS, he earned a law degree from Ohio State and his doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania.
After finishing his schooling, he went on to serve as an assistant attorney general in Ohio, successfully arguing key civil rights cases before the Ohio Supreme Court. He later moved from a full-time law career to academics, with a number of stops, including the University of Oregon and LSU, where he served as a law professor and handled efforts to expand campus diversity. At the University of Wisconsin-Madison, he became vice chancellor for academic affairs.
At the University of Texas at Austin, where he has been since 2005, Vincent has presided over the university’s Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, now regarded as a national model.
He is married to Kimberly Wilson Vincent, an attorney in private practice. Kim also serves as a pro bono attorney and volunteer. Their adult children are graduates of Xavier/Louisiana State University, Spelman College and the University of Texas-Austin. They also have two children heading off to the Berklee College of Music and Morehouse College in the fall and a budding middle school cello player who is looking forward to the move to Geneva.