President Joyce P. Jacobsen
On July 1, 2019, Joyce P. Jacobsen began serving as the 29th President of Hobart College and the 18th of William Smith College. Previously the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at Wesleyan University, Jacobsen is a renowned scholar of economics, an award-winning teacher and an experienced administrator. With degrees from Harvard, The London School of Economics and Stanford University, and with more than three decades of experience taking on increasingly complex roles in higher education, Jacobsen received the unanimous recommendation of the Presidential Search Committee and the unanimous vote of the Colleges’ Board of Trustees. She is the first woman to serve as president of Hobart and William Smith Colleges.
During the announcement in April, Chair of the Board of Trustees Thomas S. Bozzuto ’68, L.H.D. ’18 spoke of Jacobsen’s appointment with enthusiasm. “President Jacobsen is a prominent scholar and an esteemed educator with a deep understanding of the interdisciplinary inquiry so vital to our mission here at Hobart and William Smith,” said Bozzuto. “In her work with students and colleagues in the academy, and with preeminent national and international organizations, she has distinguished herself as a remarkable leader with the experience, values and vision to pilot the Colleges to new heights.”
“I am struck by the scope of Hobart and William Smith’s impact in Geneva and around the globe, and am looking forward to working with a community so clearly invested in questions, ideas and actions that make the world a better, brighter place,” said Jacobsen. “The Colleges have deservedly earned a reputation for trailblazing academic programs led by a talented faculty and staff; a remarkably engaged pool of alumni and alumnae; and students of deep curiosity and creativity. I couldn’t be more excited to join this vibrant community.”
Described by her colleagues as an authentic scholar and a person of deep character, Jacobsen had broad responsibility at Wesleyan where she oversaw the entire academic enterprise, including athletics, institutional research, and community partnerships. At Wesleyan, she was a thoughtful contributor to student affairs and equity and inclusion, while also helping to create fundraising and stewardship plans and collaborating on admissions and enrollment strategies. With a deep understanding of the complexities of higher education infrastructure and finances, Jacobsen was involved in planning the University’s budget, including supervision of a considerable annual portfolio.
“Joyce Jacobsen has made myriad contributions to Wesleyan University as a teacher, scholar, colleague, faculty leader and, for the last several years, as Provost,” said President of Wesleyan University Michael S. Roth. “Our university has benefitted immeasurably from her many years of innovative thinking and caring practice, and I have every confidence that she will bring these qualities to her new position as president of Hobart and William Smith. We will miss her.”