Trekking from across the globe to celebrate steadfast friendships and the legacy of the Colleges, more than 1,000 alums from 50 classes returned to Hobart and William Smith for Reunion last weekend. A tradition marked by the quintessential fireworks over the Quad, the parade on Pulteney, the Twin Oaks tent and more, the return to Seneca Lake set records for giving with the Classes of 1968 winning the Founder’s Cup for having the highest percentage of donors.
[To enjoy coverage of the weekend, including photo galleries, social media and stories visit the Reunion 2018 page.]
Generations of alums convened on campus for the festivities, including Alta Boyer ’32, who celebrated her 82nd Reunion, and John Ford ’53, who celebrated his 65th. For Wesley D. VanDeWater ’78, “the common thread of memories through the years of this institution is inspiring.”
The weekend kicked-off with the Distinguished Faculty Award, which recognized Professor Emerita of Art History Elena Ciletti and Interim President and Professor Emeritus of Economics Patrick A. McGuire L.H.D. ’12 for their immeasurable contributions and profound impact during their 40 years of service to the HWS community.
Friday continued with the Tour de Finger Lakes bike tour, excursions on the William Scandling research vessel, the Davis Gallery’s exhibit “Four by Four: Great Alumni and Alumnae and Great Gifts,” and class gatherings throughout campus and Geneva.
Campus tours also celebrated the numerous developments at the Colleges over the years, including the Gearan Center for the Performing Arts and the renovated Bartlett Theatre, highlights for Iris Marks Sasson ’58. “I feel incredibly privileged to see the new facilities and opportunities that have been created on this campus…To see that HWS continues to use Bartlett Theatre as a space for events and studying shows me that this community remembers its history; that tradition here has meaning.”
Saturday began with classes taught by faculty members on topics ranging from Arthurian legend to the U.S. midterm elections, followed by the annual State of the Colleges. During the State of the Colleges forum, McGuire and Board Chair Thomas S. Bozzuto ’68, L.H.D. ’18 updated the community on current affairs and milestones like ranking No. 1 in study abroad in Princeton Review, as one of the “Best Colleges for Sports Lovers” by Money magazine and Sports Illustrated, and as a top-producing institution for the Peace Corps volunteers and Fulbright scholars. Bozzuto also answered questions from alums as part of the session.
“The Colleges are a place that gives us the opportunity to learn what our potential is and pushes us to fulfill that potential; teaches us what a life of consequence is, and urges us to go on and live lives of consequence. We do what we do because we love this place,” Bozzuto said of the Board of Trustees. “What this place does— I maintain— is unique, is special, and is worthy of every bit of love we can provide it.”
Bozzuto, along with other members his class and Professor Emeritus of Sociology James Spates P’00, P’09, later spoke at the panel “1968: A Year of Change.” Alums also paused during the weekend to remember former classmates at the 50th Reunion Memorial Service in St. John’s Chapel.
The day included the Reunion Forum, wine and beer on the Quad for Taste of the Finger Lakes, open houses throughout campus, and its share of surprises. “I have always wanted to have a photo shoot with [HWS Chief Photographer] Kevin Colton,” said Brianne Ellis ’13, whose engagement to Graham Moller ’12 was captured by Colton at the Bozzuto Boathouse.
Alums also partook in the dedication of a tree in honor of Professor of Philosophy Eugen Baer P’95, P’97 as he retires from his position as Dean of Hobart. The gift, which is from William Smith College and stands beyond Baer’s former office window, symbolizes both “the tree of life and the tree of knowledge,” as Baer reflected in his remarks to the community.
As per tradition, alums celebrated throughout Saturday evening on the Quad with dancing and fireworks over Coxe Hall. For Carol Mergler Bartley ’70, who attended for the 50th Reunion of her husband William K. Bartley ’68, returning to the shores of Seneca Lake was only natural. “A liberal arts education follows you all your life.”