July 26, 2022

Dear Members of the Hobart and William Smith Community,

I write this afternoon to let you know that after a great deal of thought, I have made the decision to step down as president and return to work as a scholar and teacher. I am grateful to the Board of Trustees for supporting me in this decision. After a one-semester sabbatical, I will join the HWS faculty full time as a Professor of Economics. My decision was truly challenging as I enjoyed the work of the presidency and value the people I have come to know who have partnered with me on initiatives. For some time, I have felt a pull back into the traditional role of an academic. During this past spring semester, I was fortunate enough to co-teach a class at Hobart and William Smith and enjoyed working in that role with our students. That return to teaching, combined with the book I am working on with Vice President and General Counsel Lou Guard ’07 on the ‘lawyerization’ of higher education, led me to this decision. I look forward to getting back into the classroom full-time and to continuing my research and writing. I have tremendous respect for the faculty at HWS and it will be an honor to join them. Over the next few months, I will do everything possible to support the new president.

The past three years have been an incredibly productive time for HWS. Through the crucible of the pandemic, this community rallied and met all challenges with tenacity and fortitude. As I consider all we accomplished together, a few projects stand out as being ones about which we should all be proud. They include:

  • Curricular Additions: Significant innovations include two new master’s degrees and multiple new minors.
  • Athletics Growth: The addition of six new sports to begin this year, and the head coach hired for the next new sport (men’s volleyball).
  • Philanthropy: The three largest fundraising years in HWS history, resulting in many new initiatives including scholarships, lectures and symposia like the Stern Family Forum, endowed professorships, and the renovations of the Miltenberger and Bennett-Hooper Rowing Center and the Intercultural Affairs Center.
  • Community: The creation of the cabinet level position of a Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and with our trustees, the establishment of a permanent committee of the Board dedicated to Belonging, Diversity and Equity.

I cannot reiterate enough the sense of pride I have in what we have been able to accomplish together, and I leave the presidency with gratitude to the Board of Trustees, faculty, staff, students, alums and parents, knowing that we have strengthened Hobart and William Smith in important ways. I thank you most especially for your kindness and partnership.

It has been a great honor to be the first woman president of Hobart and William Smith and to do so in the Bicentennial year of Hobart College. Bill and I wish Hobart and William Smith much success and will continue cheering on the Herons and Statesmen with enthusiasm!


Joyce P. Jacobsen