The Rochester Business Journal, a Rochester, N.Y. publication, announced the appointment of Dr. Joyce P. Jacobsen as president of Hobart and William Smith Colleges. The piece, written by Diana Louise Carter, was published on Feb. 8. The article describes Jacobsen’s path from Reno, Nev. to Geneva, N.Y. The article also shared details from Jacobsen’s first address to the Hobart and William Smith community.
The full text of the article is included below.
Hobart William Smith picks first female president
By: Diana Louise Carter
Hobart and William Smith Colleges have named a woman as president for the first time in the joint colleges’ history.
Joyce P. Jacobsen, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn., was welcomed in an on-campus ceremony at the Geneva college Friday afternoon after a national search. Jacobsen’s hiring was recommended unanimously by a college-appointed search committee and approved unanimously by the Hobart and William Smith Colleges.
Jacobsen will begin the job July 1 and take over from Interim President Patrick A. McGuire, who held the job since April 2018. McGuire is an emeritus Professor of Economics at HWS colleges.
An educator at Wesleyan since 1993, Jacobsen holds a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University, a master’s degree from London College of Economics, and a doctorate from Stanford University. In a short speech at the announcement, she said she was particularly touched to be following in a way in the footsteps of Elizabeth Blackwell, the woman educated at Hobart’s predecessor, Geneva Medical College, who went on to the become the first woman to receive a medical degree in the United States. Jacobsen had read Blackwell’s biography when she was growing up in Reno, Nev.
Jacobsen’s scholarly work has focused on the intersection of gender and economics.
Thomas S. Bozzuto, chairman of the HWS Board of Trustees, said of Jacobsen that besides her notable academic achievements and prolific number of publications, she is a person of character. “When I speak with her colleagues and the people for whom she’s worked, they almost always describe her first and foremost as a person of deep and abiding character.”
Bozzuto said Jacobsen has the vision and passion to take HWS to new levels.
The appointment comes after a period of flux at the helm of HWS.
McGuire stepped into the president’s chair last April after then President Gregory Vincent resigned after just nine months on the job. An anonymous accusation of plagiarism in his doctoral work, which Vincent denied, prompted his departure. Vincent, a 1983 graduate of Hobart, was the first African-American and first alumnus to serve as the college’s president. He has been a national figure in civil rights litigation and educational diversity.
The University of Pennsylvania, where Vincent received his doctorate, allowed him to make minor corrections in the citations that had been questioned, but noted the errors were inconsequential.
The committee that selected Jacobsen was assembled in June 2018 and narrowed the field initially in December. The search was conducted confidentially and with the help of an executive search firm, Isaacson, Miller, based in Chicago.
“Through the tireless work of our search committee, and the engagement of our campus community and our network of alums and families, we have chosen from an impressive group of finalists a leader uniquely suited to steer our Colleges into the future,” Bozzuto said.
Jacobsen becomes the 29th president of Hobart College and the 18th president of William Smith College.
Jacobsen and her husband, Bill Boyd, plan to move to the Geneva area soon, and she said they are looking forward to living in the community where she works. Jacobsen has two children and two stepchildren.