March 12, 2020

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff of Hobart and William Smith Colleges:

Over the past few days change has presented itself to our campus community in various formats.  Many people are concerned about their health, families, neighbors, academics, finances, and the overall well-being of our global community.  I am extremely heart-warmed by the expressions of love and concern exhibited by our community. From concern for children in our public schools, to faculty helping each other learn how to teach in new formats, to sensitivity for those whose life circumstances are rapidly evolving, we have demonstrated that we are a campus that cares for each other.

While we take the necessary precautions, we must realize that there are elements of this global pandemic which are beyond our control.  Therefore, we must be cognizant of what we can control, and be vigilant to recognize our shared humanity.   We often seek to rationalize why unfavorable events occur, and develop scapegoats to satisfy our desire to place difficult episodes in neat boxes.  This does not create security, but rather severs the bonds that we have as a human family.  The way we treat each other and respect the dignity of all people in our most difficult hour will outweigh the impact of any virus.

Health professionals advise us to wash our hands constantly to spread the risk of infection.  As the Dean of Spiritual Engagement, I ask that we develop a practice of cleansing our thoughts every time that we reach for the hand sanitizer.  Let love flow over our hearts for one another as the soap lathers over our hands.   Remember to encourage each other and support each other at every level.  I am encouraged by the words of Hobart Alumnus, the Most Reverend Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry who reminded us of the following:

…we are in this together, we can walk through this together, and we will find our way in our life together. 

So look out for your neighbors, look out for each other. Look out for yourselves. Listen to those who have knowledge that can help to guide us medically and help to guide us socially. Do everything that we can to do this together, to respond to each other’s needs and to respond to our own needs.

Walk together children, don’t get weary, because there’s a great camp meeting in the promised land. [1]

We are all fortunate to have each other, and our relationships are invaluable as we move forward.  The Office of Spiritual Engagement, including Abbe Center Director Julianne Miller, and Program Director Jennifer Tufano are here to be a support to you, so please do not hesitate to email or call us with ideas or concerns that you may have. 

The Reverend Nita C. Johnson Byrd

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Main Page
COVID-19 Safety Training Employee Daily Wellness Assessment Application for CARES Act Funding July HEERF Student Aid Report HEERF Student Aid Report Stories about the Pandemic

Messages to the Community

Update on Fall Reopening by President Joyce P. Jacobsen - June 24, 2020

HWS Return to Campus Update for Employees Sonya Williams - June 11, 2020

Fall 2020 Study Abroad by Mary Coffey and Thomas D’Agostino - June 5, 2020

Planning Underway for our Fall Opening by President Joyce P. Jacobsen - May 28, 2020

Forward, Together by President Joyce P. Jacobsen - May 12, 2020

Using the CARES Act to Stay on Track for Graduation by John Young - May 12, 2020

Updates from Campus by President Joyce P. Jacobsen - April 27, 2020

An Update to Parents and Family Members of Admitted Students by President Joyce P. Jacobsen - April 27, 2020

Greetings from Human Resources by Sonya Williams - April 15, 2020

Grading for Spring 2020 Semester by Mary Coffey - March 30, 2020

Timeliness and Timelessness of an HWS Education by President Joyce P. Jacobsen - March 27, 2020

Introducing the HWS Student Emergency Fund by Julie Bazan ’93 and Rick Solomon ’75, P’10 - March 24, 2020

Staff Telework Resources by Sonya Williams - March 24, 2020

Message Regarding Commencement by President Joyce P. Jacobsen - March 20, 2020

Postponed: HWS Reunion by Bob O’Connor P’22 - March 19, 2020

Updates Regarding On-Campus Housing by Robb Flowers - March 19, 2020

Updates Regarding On-Campus Housing and Services by Robb Flowers - March 17, 2020

A Massive Natural Experiment by President Joyce P. Jacobsen - March 16, 2020

With Gratitude by President Joyce P. Jacobsen - March 13, 2020

COVID-19 Update: Face-to-Face Instruction Canceled by Mary Coffey and Robb Flowers - March 13, 2020

Follow-Up Note on Colleges’ Response to Coronavirus by Mary Coffey and Robb Flowers - March 11, 2020

From the Dean of Spiritual Engagement by The Reverend Nita C. Johnson Byrd - March 12, 2020

Coronavirus Information and Contingency Planning by President Joyce P. Jacobsen - March 10, 2020

An Update on the Coronavirus by Mary Coffey and Robb Flowers - March 5, 2020

Information on the Coronavirus by Mary Coffey and Robb Flowers - February 28, 2020


General questions and comments should be directed to:

Hobart and William Smith Colleges
Geneva, NY 14456
(315) 781-3000

Questions regarding health issues should be directed to:

Hubbs Health Center
119 St. Clair Street
Geneva, NY 14456
Phone: 315-781-3600
Appt. Phone: 315-781-4530
Fax: 315-781-3802