William Smith Celebrates Student Excellence – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

William Smith Celebrates Student Excellence

The William Smith Dean’s Office hosted a virtual ceremony celebrating the outstanding achievements of William Smith students on Thursday, Feb. 25. Allison Sperling Morris ’10, an attorney with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, delivered the keynote address.

The Celebrating Excellence event recognized phenomenal students through a virtual ceremony on Thursday, Feb. 25, with 25 students inducted into the Laurel Society, the honor society for sophomores and juniors.

In her welcome address, President Joyce P. Jacobsen remarked on the “strength and ingenuity,” “commitment to intellectual rigor” and “flexibility in the face of challenges” of the students being honored.

William Smith Dean Lisa Kaenzig P’22 described the 2021 inductees as “extraordinary achievers” whose success “has required so much resilience” during the challenging times of the past year, while Assistant Dean Kelly Payne acknowledged their capacity to “encourage, inspire and empower people to do more.”

The keynote address was delivered by Allison Sperling Morris ’10, an attorney with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. In her speech, Sperling Morris discussed the challenges of her own speech impediment, the doubts she experienced in her first year at law school and how she did things in her own time rather than when she was expected to do so.

“Be you, be all of you, even the parts of you that you think you want to change,” she told the inductees. “You may find in 12 years that being you when it felt impossibly unpopular or just plain impossible is what’s led you to where you’ve always wanted to be, even if you didn’t know it.”

In her role, based in Denver, Colo., Sperling Morris is focused on civil rights and inclusive education policy. At the Colleges, she studied public policy, Spanish and Hispanic studies and international relations. An athlete, Sterling Morris was a member of the Herons swimming and diving team and participated in Big Brothers Big Sisters, Peer Mentorship, Laurel Society and Hai Timiai. She received her M.S.W. and her J.D. in constitutional rights and reforms from the University of Denver.

The Laurel Society is committed to community service and academic excellence. Through their positive actions as role models and mentors, and their active participation and representation in all areas of the Hobart and William Smith community, the Laurels are dedicated to both the Colleges and Geneva. The new inductees are:

Ashton Ariola ’22
Litzy Bautista ’23
Emma Bilton ’22
Hannah Bilton ’22
Alassandra Bonagura ’22
Colleen Boucher ’22
Misty Chien ’23
Fatou Diokhane ’23
Elise Donovan ’22
Ani Freedman ’22
Madison Hasbrouck ’22
Irini Konstantinou ’23
Caroline Martocci ’22
Saima Mashori ’22
Grace Mongeau ’22
Madeleine Mood ’22
McKayla Okoniewski ’22
Olivia Parisi ’22
Caroline Wren Payne ’23
Star Peña ’22
Shayna Riggins ’22
Amelia Rojek ’23
Niima Sellah ’23
Julia Stockwin ’22
Zoey Wagner ’22