Charter Day marks the launch of a yearlong celebration of the 1822 founding of Hobart College and the two-century history of Hobart and William Smith Colleges.
Each spring, while honoring student achievements, service and leadership, the Colleges observe the institution’s history and the granting of Hobart’s charter by the State of New York. This year’s Charter Day celebration marks 199 years since Hobart’s founding and the official beginning of the College’s Bicentennial celebration.
“The coming year is an extraordinary milestone for the institution and for the community members past and present who have advanced the Colleges,” says President Joyce P. Jacobsen. “For nearly 200 years, our campus has been a place of rigorous liberal arts education, where thousands of students have embarked on a lifetime of discovery, achievement and meaning. I look forward to the months ahead as we celebrate our proud history and our bright future.”
Throughout 2022, the Hobart College Bicentennial Celebration will commemorate the 200th anniversary of the founding of the College by Bishop John Henry Hobart. The yearlong celebration, featuring guest speakers, awards and presentations, will culminate in October 2022 with an event on campus.
Details and a schedule of events will appear on the HWS website this summer.
About the founding of Hobart College
When Bishop John Henry Hobart visited Geneva in 1818, part of his tour of the Episcopal Diocese of New York, he found a thriving community with a population of 1,500, a hotel, municipal water system, post office, public school, library, newspaper and an active cultural life. Impressed with Geneva’s development and the beauty of its surroundings, Bishop Hobart believed that Geneva, with its strategic location, would be an ideal place to establish an institution, not only of learning but also for religious worship and instruction to aid the Church and its Ministry.
Bishop Hobart met with Trustees of Geneva Academy to outline his vision. The Academy had been organized in 1796 and granted a charter in 1813. The Bishop proposed to use the corporate foundation of the Academy, if the Trustees would petition for a college charter. Also required was the construction of a new building for the Academy. The next morning the Bishop met with a few of the Trustees to determine a location for the proposed college. Bishop Hobart chose the South Main Street site for its lake view and its proximity to the community. In 1821, with donations from the citizens of Geneva, the construction of Geneva Hall began on this site. On April 10, 1822, a provisional college charter was granted and, after meeting certain conditions of the provisional charter, a permanent charter for Geneva College was received on Feb. 8, 1825. Geneva College became Hobart Free College in 1852 and Hobart College in 1860.