26 April 2024 • Alums Empowering Exploration, Creating Futures By Andrew Wickenden '09

A gift from Trustee JB Robinson ’96 boosts HWS Career Services and encourages students to explore the breadth of the liberal arts curriculum.

At the heart of the liberal arts tradition is the freedom to explore different disciplines and how they intersect. As Trustee JB Robinson ’96 points out, this entails opportunities that are “not one-size-fits-all — it’s going to take different forms and shapes for different students.”

This holds true both in the classroom and as students prepare for life after graduation, says Robinson, who recently committed to a $175,000 gift supporting the HWS Salisbury Center for Career, Professional and Experiential Education.

More so than any other college, Robinson says, HWS offers a “healthy and necessary intersection of liberal arts exploration with the practical outcomes-based thinking,” meeting students where they are “to help them find their passions and explore different outcomes and not necessarily just running down one road too early.”

“I look at people that succeed in large, multinational environments like I’m in, and it’s those who can think across difference, who can think across functions, who can express themselves clearly both when speaking and when writing,” he says. “That sounds simple, but it's not — it’s very, very powerful, and it’s not common.”

In melding liberal arts exploration with professional development, HWS is a place where students “can get to campus and explore a host of different academic areas and challenge themselves in new ways while learning to write and to think critically,” Robinson says.

He notes that HWS “gave me a lot of opportunity to be a leader in different ways and find my voice. It’s that sort of spirit and that history for me personally, and seeing that happen to other students, that keeps me engaged and enamored with the place and wanting to make sure I’m supporting it.” 

Robinson serves as Senior Director for U.S. Tax Planning, Tax Policy, and Benefits Counsel at TE Connectivity, a global technology leader. As a student at HWS, he was named a Druid and was active in Student Government, serving as vice president during his senior year. He graduated cum laude with a B.A. in political science and went on to earn graduate degrees from Indiana University and from Boston University. An HWS Trustee for the past decade, Robinson serves as chair of the Board’s Enrollment Management Committee. He is a past president of the Hobart Alumni Association. At his 10th Reunion, he was honored with the Young Alumnus Award for service to his alma mater.

FURTHER TOGETHER: The Campaign for Our Third Century

In 2023, HWS was recognized on the Princeton Review’s top-25 “Best Career Services” list, as well as the list of “Colleges That Create Futures,” which includes 50 schools that “empower students to discover practical applications for their talents and interests through experiences that complement their classes and coursework.”

Top: Director of the Salisbury Center for Career, Professional and Experiential Education Brandi Ferrara touches base with students who hold summer internships in Geneva.