24 October 2022 • Alums Announcing the Alger Adams '32 Intercultural Center By Natalia St. Lawrence' 15
Thanks to Chair of the Board of Trustees Craig Stine ’81, P’17 and his wife, Kathy, the Colleges’ new Intercultural Center will bear the name of the Rev. Dr. Alger L. Adams ’32, the first Black man to graduate from Hobart College.
When the lights came up on Chair of the Board of Trustees Craig Stine ’81, P’17 and Patricia Adams during the Bicentennial Gala, a surprise announcement was made to the Hobart and William Smith community.
“In recognition of your father, and the inspiration he leaves to us today, it is my honor to announce that the Colleges’ renovated and expanded Intercultural Center will be named after Alger Adams,” Stine told the assembled crowd of more than 1,500 students, families, alums, faculty and staff.
After a standing ovation, Alger Adams' daughter, Patricia, shared the sentiments of her family.
“My family and I are overwhelmed by your recognition of my father. The honor is a testament to his commitment, determination and love of Hobart,” she said.
Three generations of the Adams family attended the gala, including Patricia, Alger Adams’ grandniece, Veleda Roehl-Gordon and his great grandniece, Zinnia Lily Roehl-Gordon.
The renovation of the Intercultural Center began this summer, after an inclusive design process in which students, staff and faculty considered what functions the space could serve in the future, how upgrades could support the mission the Colleges’ Strategic Diversity Plan, and which aspects of the space should be preserved to sustain the spirit of the IC.
Construction will be completed by the spring semester. Read more about the Intercultural Center project.
In a film tribute to Alger shown during the program, Patricia recounted her father’s story.
“He was accepted to Hobart with a full, four-year scholarship in 1929. He got on the bus from Omaha, Nebraska with $17 in his pocket and came to Geneva. Clearly, he was an adventurer.”
Patricia also shared the challenges Alger faced when he arrived at Hobart.
“It wasn’t until Dad got to Geneva, and Hobart saw what color he really was, before it really registered. And they said, well, we’ve given you a full, four-year scholarship, but you’re not going to be able to live here.”
Adams persevered and found support in the city of Geneva, where he was embraced by the African American community. He went on to excel at Hobart. A triple major in Greek, English and Psychology, and graduated magna cum laude as a member of Phi Beta Kappa.
His career was dedicated to serving others. In the seminary and at the helm of the Westchester County Press, Adams advocated for equal rights and equal access. Read more about the life and legacy of Alger Adams.
Director of Intercultural Affairs Alejandra Molina says, "Naming Intercultural Affairs after such a remarkable alum will ensure that his life and legacy will be remembered and celebrated for many years to come. It is my hope that students who come to the IC will feel that they are in the presence of someone who, despite all odds, forged a sense of belonging at the Colleges and in the Geneva communities."
During the Gala, Patricia shared that when the Alger Adams Intercultural Center opens, several of her father’s prized belongings will hang prominently in the Center, including his Phi Beta Kappa key that he often wore hanging from his jacket pocket, and his diploma from Hobart College.