March 14, 2019

Dear Members of the Hobart and William Smith Community,

As we head into spring break, I write to share updates on some of the projects underway this semester. I begin with wonderful news. Following a rigorous application process, Hamdan Ahmed ’20 has been named a 2019 Campus Compact Civic Newman Fellow in acknowledgement of his efforts to engage international students, including making Friday prayer more accessible for Muslim students, organizing the first Diwali celebration at HWS and hosting a large multicultural dinner on campus. The fellowship is a yearlong program that provides training and resources for students to further develop strategies around social change. Every year since 2012, the Colleges have been fortunate to have a Newman Fellow, a testament to our community’s dedication to civic engagement and to the exceptional commitment of our students.

Tenure Awarded
In honor of their achievements as scholars and teachers, and in recognition of their many contributions to the academic life of the Colleges, in February the HWS Board of Trustees unanimously approved tenure for nine members of the faculty. They include: Gabriella D’Angelo in Art and Architecture, David Finkelstein in Geoscience, Keoka Grayson in Economics, Leslie Hebb in Physics, Christina Houseworth in Economics, Christopher Lemelin in Russian Area Studies, Liliana Leopardi in Art and Architecture, Justin Rose in Political Science, and Katherine Walker in Music. Please join me in congratulating the newest members of our tenured faculty and thanking them for their service to the Colleges and our students.

Chief of Staff
With my enthusiastic support, it is my pleasure to announce that President-elect Joyce Jacobsen has appointed Kathy Killius Regan ’82, P’15 as Chief of Staff. Kathy has served the Colleges for nearly 35 years, first in admissions and, for more than two decades, in alumnae relations. Sitting on senior staff, she will provide strategic leadership and counsel to President Jacobsen, serve as a liaison to campus governing committees and the Board of Trustees, and manage the administrative, operational and financial affairs of the Office of the President. As the Colleges prepare to launch a capital campaign, Kathy’s deep understanding of advancement practices and her knowledge of alumni and alumnae across all generations will be invaluable. She will move to Coxe Hall immediately to assist the President’s Office with the upcoming leadership transition and Board of Trustees agenda. Bob O’Connor plans to hire a replacement for Kathy and will announce his plans in the near future.

The College Store
As part of an overall effort to enhance services, drive student success, and expand our ability to meet the changing needs of faculty, students, staff, alums and the local community, the Colleges have begun a strategic partnership with Barnes and Noble College (BNC), a division of Barnes and Noble. BNC is a leader in course material accessibility and affordability for campus bookstore management, offering the industry’s largest inventory of used, rental and digital textbooks. Their expertise will further elevate the College Store while generating cost savings for students and building revenue for the Colleges.

This is a fast-moving project with an implementation goal of June 1, 2019. At that time, BNC will assume responsibility for the College Store including managing operations and merchandising, refreshing the store layout, and creating a new retail website. The College Store will remain in its current location on St. Clair Street and will continue to serve the entire campus and greater Geneva community by providing a wide variety of products including general books, textbooks, course materials and branded merchandise. As the College Store does now, BNC will continue to employ students.

The transition team, led by Fred Damiano, Vice President for Strategic Initiatives/CIO, has been formed and includes key personnel across all related divisions of campus including Lucille Smart, the director of the College Store. Additional details about the BNC move will be shared as the transition progresses.

Our priority now is to make certain that all current employees of the College Store have the resources and tools they need during the transition. The Colleges will work with each of the eight affected employees one-on-one to ensure they have the opportunity to continue successful careers either through employment with BNC, at HWS in a different department, or elsewhere. Members of Senior Staff have met with the College Store employees to begin these conversations, which will continue in the weeks ahead.

Search Updates
The Chaplain and Dean of Spiritual Engagement search remains on schedule and is being co-chaired by Director of the Abbe Center for Jewish Life Julianne Miller and Professor of Geoscience Nan Crystal Arens. To date, two candidates have visited campus to participate in the interview process including sessions open to the entire HWS community. The third candidate is on campus today, Thursday, March 14. You can share your feedback with the search committee via this online survey.

Since 2015, Susan Lee has served the Colleges with integrity and dedication as our Title IX Coordinator, helping to manage a challenging and vital workload. With Susan’s planned retirement at the end of this semester and in an effort to access a deep and robust pool of candidates for the next Title IX Coordinator, we have engaged the search firm Spelman Johnson to manage the hiring process. Spelman Johnson has visited HWS and met with a variety of campus constituencies to seek their feedback on this critical search. Co-chaired by Vice President and General Counsel Lou Guard ’07 and Vice President for Campus Life Robb Flowers, the search committee is composed of a broad range of faculty, staff and students who intend to identify candidates in the first two weeks of April with a recommendation to me of a hire by the end of April. It is my hope that in the course of the hiring process that there will be an opportunity for finalists for this position to engage with the community.

Among the most important positions at the Colleges, the search for a Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion has been a major focus of our efforts in the past months. Co-chaired by Associate Professor of Psychology Brien Ashdown and Vice President for Human Resources Sonya Williams, the search committee had an extremely qualified cohort of candidates. They brought three to campus for extensive interviews and extended an offer to one. After negotiations, the candidate declined the offer. Although the search didn’t result in the outcome we had hoped for, we learned a great deal about the characteristics and qualities necessary for the position. I am in dialogue now with President-elect Joyce Jacobsen on interim next steps. She has asked that we pause our efforts until her arrival on campus, which we will do. I’d like to thank everyone who served on the search committee for their commitment to the Colleges and to this position.

This is an exciting time for the Colleges, one of transition and advancement as we prepare for the end of the semester and the arrival of our new president in July. I wish you a restorative spring break and look forward to everyone’s safe arrival back on campus for classes on March 25.


Patrick A. McGuire
Interim President