March 20, 2020

Dear Hobart and William Smith Students and Families,

Despite the disruption the Coronavirus outbreak has caused these past several weeks, we have endeavored to maintain regular operations and services, and provide educational experiences that meet the high quality you have known throughout your years on campus. These unprecedented times, however, force us to reevaluate not only our daily schedules but our annual traditions as well. As health experts expect the pandemic and its effects to persist at least into the late spring and in consideration of the health, safety and long-term wellbeing of our community, it is with disappointment that I write to announce that we will not do an in-person Commencement ceremony on May 17.

We are still in discussion about the specifics of what your graduation celebration will look like – whether virtual at the scheduled time, or postponed to a later date for an in-person event, or some combination therein. We will announce the final plan as soon as the current situation of restrictions is clearer. In any case, graduates will receive their degrees as of May 2020 and be able to report that fact to potential employers and graduate schools.

As you all know, The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry ’75 is scheduled to be your Commencement speaker. Bishop Curry is an extraordinary man whose wisdom has guided millions of people around the world. Today, I’m particularly reminded of his sermon at the Royal Wedding in 2018 when he reflected on the power of love. He said: “Love is not selfish and self-centered. Love can be sacrificial, and in so doing, becomes redemptive. And that way of unselfish, sacrificial, redemptive love changes lives, and it can change this world.”

In this strange and stressful time, and especially in moments of worry or isolation, it is love that will buoy us. As we each seek to protect our communities and loved ones by distancing ourselves from others, please know that Hobart and William Smith stands with you, always here, always your common experience.

Thank you for your understanding and continued support during this challenging period.


Joyce P. Jacobsen

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Main Page
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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