The Leslie T. and Joseph D. Waters ’59 Annual Conservative Scholarship will support a student, of any political affiliation, pursuing a major or minor in political science at the Colleges.
The Leslie T. and Joseph D. Waters ’59 Annual Conservative Scholarship will support an academically qualifying and financially deserving student pursuing a major or minor in political science at the Colleges. The scholarship recipient, who will be selected annually, will receive $30,000 for the academic year. The Waters generous commitment will fund the scholarship for five years.
Joseph “Joe” Waters majored in political science and says he gained life experience and confidence at Hobart and William Smith.
“I know what it’s like not to have the funds that you need and that are essential for obtaining an education. When I was a student, I was the recipient, not the donor. Because of others, I was able to go to school. We wanted to create this scholarship for a good student who needs financial support and who has an interest in politics or law,” Joe says.
Students of any political affiliation will be considered for the scholarship. In the spirit of critical thinking and debate, which Joe says was an invaluable part of his education at the Colleges, he added the word “conservative” to the title of the scholarship. He hopes the addition showcases that even a person on the political right values a strong liberal arts education. He encourages future generations of Hobart and William Smith students to engage in meaningful dialogue, in order to challenge assumptions and learn from people with differing opinions.
Joe hopes the fund will jumpstart the political or judicial career of a student who is “interested in doing something good,” and is a “happy contributor” to the betterment of society. He also hopes the scholarship may disrupt nepotism in politics, creating equal opportunity for a young person who does not have political connections in Washington, D.C.
Raised in Rochester, N.Y., by his mother after his father passed away in the 7th grade, Joe worked a paper route for the Democrat and Chronicle. When he arrived at HWS, he joined the staff of the student-run newspaper The Herald and quickly gravitated toward the political science department. “I loved the material and the thinking. I loved Machiavelli,” he says. He pursued student government and was elected student class president. He was also influenced by Professor of Political Science Maynard Smith P’76.
As a student, Joe was a member of Sigma Chi fraternity and the Hobart tennis team. He worked in the dining hall and as a proctor in his residence hall. In addition to the various jobs he picked up over the winter and summer holidays, Joe says scholarships and need-based financial aid supported his education. “I wouldn’t be where I am now without my education and without the life experience I got out of it,” he says. While working on campus, Joe maintained academic excellence and was named to the Orange Key, Chimera and Druid honor societies.
A member of the ROTC at the Colleges, Joe graduated then enrolled in the U.S. Air Force. Following his service, he entered the business world and began a career with the AT&T Bell System. He later transitioned to a career in corporate travel. Joe is now retired and lives with his wife Leslie outside of San Diego, Calif. He has been a steadfast donor to the Colleges, as a supporter of the Annual Fund and the Gearan Center for the Performing Arts. Joe is also a member of the Wheeler Society.
Leslie received her B.A. from the University of Connecticut. She holds an M.B.A. from the University of California.