Since it was founded nearly 10 years ago, Hobart and William Smith Colleges’ Centennial Center for Leadership has operated as an interface for leadership learning on campus. As the Center has evolved, offering an expanding array of programs and opportunities for students, so too has the Center’s definition of leadership advanced, today encompassing “innovative problem-solving in local and global communities.” In recognition of the breadth of the Center’s mission and vision as a place for leadership, entrepreneurship and innovation, the name has been changed to the Centennial Center.
Under this new banner, the Centennial Center will be well positioned to “grow new programs and enhance existing ones while helping students transfer leadership, entrepreneurial skills and innovation into their academic discipline,” says associate dean for teaching, learning, and assessment Susan Pliner who directs the Centennial Center as well as the Center for Teaching and Learning.
Founded in 2008 with a lead gift from current Vice Chair of the HWS Board of Trustees Cynthia Gelsthorpe Fish ’82, the Centennial Center began with a variety of co-curricular programs to engage students in the study of leadership as well as leadership development. From that core programming came branch programs with sub-emphases on global leadership, community leadership and entrepreneurial leadership, from the Beyond Borders program to the HWS IdeaLab, Stu Lieblein ’90 Pitch Contest and HWS Hackathon.
The renaming coincides with the growth of the Entrepreneurial Studies minor, the Colleges’ newest and fastest growing academic course of study, which established a facility in downtown Geneva this fall. Located at 22 Castle Street, the new classrooms, discussion spaces, workspaces and meeting spaces will support Centennial Center and Entrepreneurial Studies programming.
With three floors and more than 7,000 square feet, the Castle Street location will also house office space for the Colleges’ inaugural Margiloff Family Entrepreneurial Leadership Fellow, Ed Bizari, who is developing academic programming that collaborates across campus and with external stakeholders and entrepreneurs. Underwritten by Trustee Will Margiloff ’92 and Colleen Margiloff, and administered by the Centennial Center, the Fellowship serves to enhance the Colleges’ entrepreneurial leadership programming and the applied experience component of the Entrepreneurial Studies minor.