In recognition of their immeasurable contributions and profound impact on the Hobart and William Smith community, Professor Emerita of Art History Elena Ciletti and Interim President and Professor Emeritus of Economics Patrick A. McGuire L.H.D. ’12 were honored with the Distinguished Faculty Award as Reunion kicked off this weekend.
“At the heart of any institution of higher education are the dedicated faculty and staff who develop their professional and personal lives to ensure that students have the kinds of transformative experiences that lead them to, as we say here at the Colleges, lead lives of consequence,” said Interim Provost and Associate Professor of Political Science DeWayne Lucas to the alums, faculty and staff who filled the Vandervort Room. “Today we celebrate the strong bonds that form when great teachers truly care about their students.”
An enduring inspiration and cornerstone of her department, Professor Ciletti was her students’ “Sistine Chapel, our ‘Birth of Venus,’ our Artemesia” as conveyed by Ciletti’s former student and lifelong friend Julie Zappia McLean ’98.
“Her guidance, support and warmth profoundly impacted my development as a human being, and I know that I am just one in a sea of former students and colleagues who share this sentiment,” said McLean, who presented the honor and reflected on Ciletti’s dedication to her students. “I am thrilled beyond words that you are receiving this award.”
Ciletti, who served on the faculty as an art historian for 40 years, addressed the audience after receiving the honor. “What I am experiencing today is extraordinary gratitude and recognition of my even more extraordinary luck,” said Ciletti, who is credited with pioneering the Colleges’ global education program in 1975 when she led students abroad for the first time to Italy. “It was the students who pushed, demanded, frustrated and inspired me every day. Am I lucky and am I grateful? Who wouldn’t be? Job of one’s dreams, love of one’s life, Seneca Lake and you.”
Ciletti was honored alongside McGuire, whose impact on students is described as surpassing tangible measure. “It wasn’t just that you were a good teacher; it wasn’t just that you were a good adviser or that you loved your students or that you loved Ireland or the Celtic tiger; it was that you did all those things,” said Derrick Moore ’04, a close friend of McGuire’s who shared several stories about the honoree from other alums.
“It is this multidimensional passion that makes you an upstanding member of the HWS community,” said Moore. “It is this passion that made you and continues to make you a phenomenal mentor, teacher and professor, and it is this passion that makes you— dare I say— distinguished.”
McGuire joined the faculty in 1968. He has served the Colleges in a variety of leadership roles, including as co-chair of the Culture of Respect initiative and interim provost and dean of faculty.
“When I reflect on my arrival at the Colleges, I reflect on a number of personalities throughout the years who helped me do something I didn’t know I had the capability of doing, and that was taking a risk with students— with learning,” said McGuire. “Put them in their uncomfortable zone. Take them places they have never been and you will see them blossom…I have a special place in my heart for Hobart and William Smith and certainly its students.”
Established in 1990, the Distinguished Faculty Award recognizes the importance that graduates of the Colleges place on the contributions of outstanding faculty members of the past – for their impact as teachers, mentors and scholars.
To learn more about the Distinguished Faculty Award recipients, please click here.