On April 20, 2017 Dr. Gregory Vincent, class of 1982, was named the new president of Hobart and William Smith Colleges, succeeding the tenure of President Mark D. Gearan. The event was held in a fully crowded Vandervort Room and was live streamed on the Colleges' website. I am writing this post because not only am I proud about this decision, but for once in a long-time I am proud to call myself a Statesman.
My career at HWS began almost two years ago, and this past January I celebrated the 3rd year anniversary of joining the Posse Foundation and subsequently being enrolled at HWS. Honestly, I cannot believe how quickly this journey has gone by. That doesn't mean that the journey has been easy though. My time at HWS is nowhere near perfect, and I cannot share the same enthusiasm or love some of my peers share for this place. Some of my friends bleed purple and green, where from the nights stumbling home I have discovered that mine is deep red. Why has my time not been the best? Well there a lot of factors to this. One, I am from a big city and so I cannot appreciate the slowness and smallness of Geneva. Many who come here feel right at home, and I roar out a laugh when some even tell me that this is bigger than where they are from. Secondly, I cannot easily travel. Once again, being in a big city I have the privilege of #UberEverywhere. Some of my friends and I have been able to visit Rochester and Syracuse, but these trips are far and few. Yet, the third reason my time here has not been perfect is simple: who I am.
This is a conversation that some may call cliche, others may ignore it, and some may reply with, "Oh come on it's not that bad." Listen sweetie, my daddy didn't strike oil so unlike you I have had to earn my spot here. Moreover, I have to constantly prove myself because I can be discounted for being seen as angry or bias. What does this have to do with our new president? Simple, I have a new found hope for the future of Hobart and William Smith Colleges. With this announcement I envision a campus where HWS Posse 5 will feel welcomed by both students and the institution.
A few weeks ago a boy from my high school visited for Scholar Day. He won the Posse scholarship and I was amazed that someone who walked the same hallways as me would walk the same dorms as me. He was ecstatic to be here. The same emotions I felt upon my first visit.
Today ties together all these strings because I remember being a freshman and enduring ignorance and insults that made me eager to leave. Besides having to be here, I stayed because of the support my mentor helped us find. From the Provost, to Student Activities, and even President Gearan, the kindness of these people made me believe that I could make it. Here I am writing this post because of them.
Dr. Vincent is a man with a passion for social change and I have no doubt that he knows how to make this campus inviting to everyone who will walk its quad. I will not into his elaborate and impressive background in higher ed and law, but know that he truly is beyond qualified for this role.
I was one of the students present at the first table held by the presidential search committee and to see my comments and concerns be his priority is reassuring. I am proud to be a Statesman today because I see the beginning of a new chapter in the anthology of lives of consequence HWS strives to create.