HWS Inauguration of President Gregory J. Vincent ’83


Good afternoon and welcome my name is Scott Brophy class of 1978 from Hobart and professor of philosophy and the presiding officer of the faculty It’s my pleasure to act as faculty marshal for today’s inauguration to open the ceremony Please welcome All of us And And now the chaplain Maurice Charles and the director of the Abbey Center for Jewish life Julianne Miller Dear friends as we mark this season of renewal for the Colleges I Invite you to remain standing as you are able or to stand wherever you may be and Let us join together in a moment of silent contemplative thanksgiving With gratitude we stand together this day two schools yet one community Thankful for the forethought of founders and elders grateful for the dreams and aspirations of the young May we find blessing in our learning together and may our learning be a blessing to the larger world? With hope we stand together this day rooted in ancient texts and traditions Striving to create, to discover, to build may our words and our works ever be directed to the fashioning of a world more compassionate and just. With joy we stand together this day recalling the memories of bygone days, embracing the horizon stretched wide before us. May our fond recollections and our openness to the future Move us to share our bounty far and wide. With purpose we stand together this day, beside generations who form the circle of these Colleges. May our inauguration of this new president this day Mark our commitment to make the circle wider still. Amen Good afternoon my name is Tom Bozzuto and it is my honor as Chair of the Board of Trustees to welcome you all. Welcome distinguished guests and delegates, faculty, staff, and students alumni, alumnae, and parents, and valued community partners. On Behalf of the Board I would like to welcome you and thank You for joining us at this pivotal moment in the history of the Colleges. The inauguration of the 27th president of Hobart and the 16th of William Smith Dr. Gregory J. Vincent from the Hobart class of 1983. Today as we celebrate Dr. Vincent’s inauguration I’d like to thank the many members of the Colleges’ community who dedicated their time and energy to the presidential search process. I Would especially like to recognize the search committee, headed by trustees Katherine Elliott from the class of 1966 and Tommy Poole from the class of 1961. Their leadership and commitment brought us to this exciting moment today one of the reasons I asked Tommy to Join with Katherine in leading the search is because he did such a spectacular job the last time he chaired a presidential search committee. That search resulted in the 18-year presidency of Mark Gearan. We are so lucky to have President Gearan – President emeritus Gearan – With us today to share in this special moment. Mark’s legacy of innovation and community building have set a tremendous foundation for Greg’s presidency. Thank you, Mark for all that you have done and continue to do for Hobart and William Smith. Let me ask you to get comfortable, please be seated. That doesn’t mean I’m going to go on a long time, but others will Greg Vincent enters the presidency of Hobart and William Smith at a time of increasing complexity in higher education. When the competition for students and philanthropic dollars has never been more intense, Opportunities for innovation are opening new doors for students to learn deeply as they also stretch their knowledge across multiple fields of study. A Talented and well prepared workforce is in high demand in every possible sector from architecture, sustainability, and finance to engineering and biology. Well-educated Graduates are needed in business. They’re needed in government and academia and in the nonprofit sector. In Short, the shape of higher education is swiftly evolving, creating great challenges and great opportunities. It is my belief and the unanimous belief of the Board of Trustees That there is no one better to help us navigate this future than Greg Vincent. Greg represents the very best of Hobart and William Smith Colleges. He has dedicated his life to Ensuring access to education to providing and to providing opportunities for faculty and students to succeed. He is principled and pioneering, Forthright and creative. In the short time he has been here Greg has set forth aggressive plans for, among other things, student access and student success, community engagement, and our financial strength. Greg has a bold vision that will take these, our beloved Colleges to new heights. His plans will require change, and I am along with my colleagues on the board of trustees 100% behind him. The extraordinary energy that Greg brings to this work is Substantial and we are incredibly fortunate That he is taking the helm at this time. As an alumnus, as an expert in higher education and as a leader Greg has the experience, the drive, and the vision We need. So, Greg I say this: You begin your presidency with our full confidence and with the support of Your fellow twenty thousand alumni and alumnae, who stand behind you ready to assist. Thank you very much Good afternoon My name is Nan crystal Arens And I am professor of Geoscience and for the moment I, at least, I serve as the Dean of the Faculty it Is my honor to represent the faculty in welcoming President Vincent to the Hobart and William Smith community. And cause we have to bring props to class. You may be wondering Why I’ve brought a pineapple to inauguration. In my culture the pineapple is a symbol of extravagant welcome and hospitality. I Grew up in rural rural northeastern, Connecticut in a community and a family steeped in the traditions of another time. My mother’s people left, Massachusetts for Connecticut in the early 18th century and By the way, we are really really sorry about that whole witch thing at Salem. We didn’t mean it. In That time in place pineapples were grown commercially only in the Caribbean and They came to New England as perishable afterthoughts Aboard ships that were loaded with nutmeg sugar and rum. Because they were rare and because they were perishable, they were valuable. Any hostess who could put one on her table or, Heaven forbid serve one was communicating the most lavish hospitality. This delicious symbol, and the hospitality it represented was so powerful that we carved it into our furniture and painted it on our walls and sewed it into our linens and even itched it on our gravestones. And Lest you think this is all very quaint and historical, Even into the late 20th century my mother reserved pineapple only for the most special of occasions. That’s what I get for not memorizing There we go. And that symbol was lost on many of the guests who were not from our community. For example a Midwestern boy that I brought home from college at one point stated matter-of-factly that he didn’t care for pineapple and Pushed the plate away. My mother was so offended that She was only coolly polite to this individual for the duration of our relationship. Silly, right Well yes and no. Diversity and inclusion our values that we lift up at HWS. As educators we understand That the most innovative ideas and the best decisions Come from a diverse group of leaders. We know that real equality is based in difference, not in sameness. We know that to be successful in the 21st century, our students need to Be more than tolerant of difference. They need to be able to thrive in diverse communities. Now that all sounds really good But diversity and inclusion is a little like this pineapple it’s prickly on the outside if We are not paying attention, Close attention, we can get stuck on the spines as we try to get to the goodness within. Because we may lack common points of view, having authentic conversations in diverse communities is difficult. Solving problems in diverse communities is difficult, Yet, I believe HWS is ready to have those hard conversations and to solve those difficult problems. President Vincent as I welcome you to this community of teachers and scholars I present to you a talented faculty ready to do that hard work and I present to you this pineapple as a token of our welcome. I’m a little bit taller than she is So first off I’m going to introduce myself, I’m Tyler fuller from the Hobart class of 2018 and today I’m going to read an excerpt from the purpose of Education which is a speech delivered at Morehouse College in 1948 by the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It seems to me that education has a two-fold function, The one is utility and the other is culture. education must enable a man to become more efficient, to achieve with increasing facility the legitimate goals of his life. Education must also train for quick, resolute, and effective thinking. To think Incisively and to think for oneself is very difficult. We are prone to let our mental life become invaded by the lesions of half-truths prejudices and propaganda, To save a man from the morass of propaganda in my opinion is one of the chief aims of education. Education Must enable one to sift and weigh evidence To discern the true from the false, the real from the unreal, and the facts from the fiction. The function of education therefore is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. But education which stops with efficiency May prove to be the greatest menace to society. We must remember that intelligence is not enough, intelligence plus character, That is the goal of true education to complete education gives one not only power of concentration but worthy objectives upon which to concentrate This broad education will therefore Transmit to one not only the accumulated knowledge of the race, but also the accumulated experience of social living. Now you are taller than me Good evening, my name is Brianna Moore And I am William Smith class of 2018 and I will introduce you to a poem called “Barter” by Sara Teasdale. Life has loveliness to sell all beautiful and splendid things blue waves whitened on a cliff Soaring fire that sways and sings and children’s faces looking up holding wonder like a cup Life has loveliness to sell Music like a curve of gold scent of pine trees in the rain eyes that love you arms that hold and For your spirits still delight, holy thoughts that star the night Spend all that you have for loveliness Buy it and never count the cost for one white singing hour of peace Count many a year of strife well lost and for a breath of ecstasy give all you have or could be. It is a privilege to be here to share in this day of celebration on behalf of all alumni and alumnae, as presidents of the associations, We are honored to welcome Dr. Gregory J. Vincent back to Hobart and William Smith as our president. President Vincent, there are 20,000 alumni and alumnae who live in every state of the nation and nearly every country on the planet. We owned businesses and run nonprofit organizations, Among us are teachers and politicians, scientists and entrepreneurs, Artists and economists, and although we may live in different places and have different careers every one of our life stories ,all 20,000 of them can be traced back to Hobart and William Smith. On the occasion of your inauguration, President Vincent We pledge to do everything in our power to Ensure that you have the resources The support and the momentum you need to succeed. We ask in return that you push the colleges and all of us to dream more and achieve more and That you honor our history and heritage as you also forge a path into the future. President Vincent, you have distinguished yourself as an accomplished intellectual, professor, and administrator and are leading a life of consequence. It is our hope that you will serve as a role model to all of our students and an example to our alumni and alumnae of What it means to be deeply engaged with Hobart and William Smith. President Vincent the alumni and alumnae associations are United in our love for our alma maters and we are united in our support for you. We wish you all the best and look forward to working together in the years ahead Hear these words From Deuteronomy the fifth book of Moses Remember the past imagine the future These same words Are inscribed above the east entrance to the Warren Hunting Smith Library Mr. Bozzuto, chair and members of the Board of Trustees Fellow members of the faculty and administration Students of the colleges alumni and alumnae Families and friends of Hobart and William Smith both here present are viewing these proceedings from afar Family friends former colleagues and honored guests of our new president and citizens of Geneva a place which has been since 1818 home to Hobart and William Smith Colleges I Am moved beyond measure by the honor given me as his former dean To stand before you all in this formal ceremony to declare that Gregory J Vincent is well qualified and eminently suited to hold the office to which he has been called. A Man about whom So much lies already in the public domain his myriad academic accomplishments his many accolades His commitment to social justice He has no need of an introduction and least of all a Dean’s recommendation. Of many things in my life I have dreamed however to imagine that I would be called on to introduce a president who is at once a Former student and an accomplished individual for whom I have only the highest Respect for his intellectual acumen and complete confidence and his ability to turn a vision into reality. That dream Was not part of my subconscious. Faith has often a way of bringing the unlikeliest individuals together Gregory Vincent arrived at HWS as a first-year in Fall 1979 from Bronx High School of Science. I arrived also in Fall 1979 from Dartmouth College In New Hampshire as dean of first-year Hobart students and assistant professor of German at Hobart and William Smith. His work as an RA, a resident advisor, caused us to have regular contact over his four undergraduate years and allowed me if I May use a rather old-fashioned phrase To take the measure of the man whose diploma I would sign 1983. I Realized early on and have not once been disappointed since We at HWS had in our student body a young man of impeccable integrity Because first and foremost he knew himself He acted on values which required him to live and work not solely for himself, but also on behalf of others Hoping as a young student to secure for them the same opportunities he would have for himself. A young man who showed respect even while enjoying the life of a student he valued the opinion of his peers and Raised the orange and purple high Never to shame them ever, to paraphrase the lines or quote actually the lines of his alma mater. A young man of humility and tenacity He could acknowledge his mistakes then push ahead to the next goal a young man of much curiosity Not hesitant to proceed beyond his immediate comfort zone. As the second middle year glided, as known then as the junior year was then called, Glided into the baccalaureate the air and the baccalaureate essay, our discussions turn to professions and careers To my own amazement I found myself sharing with him Thoughts Rejected by me at sixteen which a certain man namely my father has suggested I considered Greg claims to quote me still verbatim I Deny not that I may have said those words However for this grand occasion my advice went something like this: Greg find something that you love to do and you will never work another day in your life, Do not be afraid to fail because if you have not failed or faulted once you have not tried and When you try do your best. Whatever you do and wherever you go let your work have meaning for yourself and for others and Above all, Greg do not be satisfied only with having an influence, but work to have an impact. Our conversations did not end with his graduation But have continued over these several decades decades which have provided me with sufficient evidence that my early assessment a Gregory Vincent was right on the mark and For that reason I am able to stand before you all and state with unwavering certainty that Gregory Vincent has made his former dean proud and Caused me to imagine still great things to come from him. Now Greg that’s you There remains one final honor of which you might afford your former dean And if you would stand I want to do something I could not do when you called me that very early morning in April: Ladies and gentlemen, President Gregory J. Vincent. It is now my Extraordinary honor as chair of the board of trustees To officially install Dr. Gregory J. Vincent as the 27th president of Hobart College and the 16th of William Smith College Gregory Vincent in a cohort of incredibly qualified candidates your appreciation of the liberal arts your expertise in higher education and your entrepreneurial leadership style all stood out as An alumnus you have a deep knowledge of our history and a passion to see the colleges achieve new levels of excellence a national expert on civil rights social justice and campus culture during your career you have been a civil rights attorney a successful college administrator a Noted scholar and author and a gifted faculty member. With appreciation for all you have achieved and with confidence in your leadership You have received the unanimous support of the Board of Trustees Dr. Gregory J .Vincent by accepting this charter of the Colleges we charge you with the responsibility of leading the Colleges to the further attainment of the goals envisioned by the authors of this document. By accepting the seals of the Colleges You agree to serve Hobart and William Smith with integrity and diligence. We urge you to bear in mind at all times The rights the obligations and the traditions of the office of the president And now by virtue of the authority of the Board of Trustees I Declare you Dr. Gregory J. Vincent president of Hobart and William Smith Colleges. Good afternoon And thank You all for being here to celebrate this milestone moment in the history of the Colleges and Thank you, Dean Butler Since you we met when I was a very young 17-year old back in 1979 you have been a confidante a Mentor and now a dear friend. I thank you for that wonderful introduction I’m honored to have the board of trustees with us today including chair of the board Thomas Bozzuto and vice-chair Cynthia Gelsthorpe Fish The Board of Trustees is tasked with providing oversight of the colleges and for nearly 200 years They have done so faithfully and with the strong belief and the power of a Hobart and William Smith education a special thank you to trustees Tom Poole and Kathryn Elliott who chaired the Presidential Search Committee That led to today’s ceremony and to whom I am deeply indebted. Thank you both for your trust We are joined by President Emeritus Mark D. Gearan who for 18 years led Hobart and William Smith through a period of unprecedented growth and whose vision has positively shaped today’s Hobart and William Smith Behind me are the faculty These are individuals who dedicate their professional careers and personal lives To their students. They are artists scientists, educators, poets, and researchers, through innovation in the curriculum and the classroom through the mentorship of Students the faculty guide the heart and soul of the Colleges With us our staff, administrators, and coaches Whose love for Hobart and William Smith is matched only by their work ethic. We are joined by the alumni and alumnae and alumni of the Colleges represented by Jane Erickson and Frank Eloise The Colleges boast an incredible group of graduates who are leaders in every Imaginable field, some of whom are with us today. I Am grateful to the parents in the audience who send their children’s to be educated on the shores of Seneca Lake and who are among the college’s most ardent supporters. Every student group on campus from the debate team to Sankofa has sent a representative to today’s inauguration. In My first months at the Colleges. I have found our students to be creative ambitious and engaged. I am honored to serve as president of young men and women So committed to community and so passionate for the future. We have with us delegates from other colleges and universities That like Hobart and William Smith understand the power of higher education to make difference in the lives of individuals and the world. To the members of the Geneva and the regional community. I thank you most sincerely for the warm and gracious welcome you have shown to my family and for creating such a wonderful place to Call home. Finally, thank you to my beautiful wife Kim and Our children who are all here and they too are leading lives of consequence also, my ride-or-die sister Leslie and my cousin, Virginia, and Also here are my parents Cyril and Gloria Who gave me three priceless gifts: Unconditional love, a love of reading, and a church home. Inaugurations are about looking to the future, but they are also important moments to look at the past. For that reason I am honored to be in Trinity Church today. When the right reverend John Henry Hobart Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New York visited Geneva in 1818, he recognized that this beautiful lakeside village Was an ideal place to build what he called an outpost for civilized and learned behavior. The building We are in today was named in honor of Trinity Church in New York City where Bishop Hobart Was rector and it was through that New York City Trinity Church that Bishop Hobart secured a grant to establish Geneva College, which has grown and evolved into today’s Hobart and William Smith. Bishop Hobart’s ministry was ahead of his time. He consecrated one of the first African-American Episcopal Congregations in the country and Ordained Peter Williams as the first African- American priest in New York and only the second in the country. Father Williams served as rector of St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in Manhattan Which was a strong force in the movement to abolish slavery and would eventually become the church home to W.E.B. Dubois, Langston Hughes, Thurgood Marshall, and my family. My uncle and Justice Marshall served on the vestry together at St. Philip’s, and is where I started my own journey of faith. My family’s connection to the Anglican Episcopal Church dates back to at least 1877 when my great-grandparents helped to found the Diocese of the Windward Islands. William Smith College was founded in 1908 by William Smith, Geneva Geneva nurserymen and philanthropist. Smith was influenced by the events of the women’s rights movements in nearby Seneca Falls. He had strong friendships with local suffragettes who encouraged him to found a non-denominational liberal arts institution dedicated to educating women broadly not just occasionally again an audacious move in its day. Fast forward 20 years to 1928 when a bright and promising young man from Omaha, Nebraska arrived in Geneva Only to discover that a Hobart College, which had granted him a scholarship would not house him because he was black. Despite the segregation of the era and the financial difficulties of the Great Depression this young man excelled He tripled majored in Greek, English and psychology, Served as an assistant in the psychology department and published his undergraduate research and the American Journal of Psychology all while washing dishes and local restaurants and working odd jobs to support himself. With the encouragement of the African-American community in Geneva, which welcomed him with open arms in 1932 the Reverend Dr. Alder Adams became the first black man to receive a degree from Hobart graduating magna cum laude and named to Phi Beta, Kappa Adams would go on to become an Episcopal clergyman and the editor and publisher of the Westchester County press He literally changed the course of history at the colleges and made it possible for me 51 years later to enroll at Hobart. One last coincidence or twist of fate if you’d like that is not lost on me. In 1983 the very year I graduated from Hobart the colleges awarded the Reverend Dr. Alger Adams an honorary degree and recognition of his remarkable career and his commitment to community. We stood together on the very same stage. With gratitude to Dr. Adams, I’m honored to have in the audience today his daughter Patricia. Thank you for being here, it means so much to me. Dr. Adams’ powerful story is one of the many that distinguish the Colleges like Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell the first woman to receive a Doctor of Medicine degree Which she earned at the top of her class from Geneva Medical College the precursor to Hobart and William Smith or John Grotzinger who came to Hobart to be a geologist had a great idea That connected his study of millennia old rocks to the search for water and came up with the Mars rover Curiosity Project which he now runs, that is expanding our understanding of the universe Or Dr. Julia James who arrived at William Smith from Brooklyn To be a poet and a dancer and who attended a chemistry lecture Changed her major and went on to become the first William Smith student to earn a Rhodes Scholarship. It’s an honor to have Dr. James with us today. Or Ali Marpet who was told he couldn’t compete in the division one football Program and then came to Hobart where he became the highest Division three student athlete ever drafted in NFL. Today He’s the starting center for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers And is one of only 11 players in the NFL on the union’s Finance Committee, a fitting role for Ali Who studied economics at Hobart. And then there’s me, I Grew up in New York City grandson to West Indian immigrants and son to an amazing mother and father. As A first generation American and college student athelete my father served in one of the last Segregated units in the Army during the Korean War and then used the GI Bill to earn a degree with honors at the City College of New York after graduating he enjoyed a 35-year career as a professional electrical engineer with General Electric and the New York City Transit Authority. My mother Went on to earn her master’s degree while also taking care of her elderly parents raising three children and serving on our community school board for 13 years. When she first was elected in 1970, five years after the 1965 Voting Rights Act She was one of only 1400 African-American elected officials in the country Thanks to a generous Scholarship they sent me to Hobart and William Smith a private college like today believes it has a responsibility to serve the public good .I Took amazing classes that changed my perspective on the world served as a resident advisor Represented the colleges as a student-athlete and received the Martin Luther King jr. Leadership award at graduation. So what do all these people have in common, Alder Adams, Elizabeth, Blackwell, John Grotzinger, Julia James, Ali Marpet, and me? Hobart and William Smith invested in each one of us, gave us opportunities to Soar and then rewarded us for daring to dream big and for making our dreams a reality. At Hobart and William Smith, I learned that being bold means questioning the status quo Looking beyond my own perspectives and engaging in serious inquiry. Hobart and William Smith have a history of taking chances and being bold. Led by our faculty Hobart and William Smith were among the first in the nation to offer programs in women’s studies, African-American studies, and LGBTQ studies. We believe in community engaged scholarship long before it was a buzzword because we have always understood that learning can happen inside and outside the classroom and today for the sixth consecutive year, Hobart and William Smith are on the president’s higher education community service honor roll the highest federal recognition and institution can receive for community engagement. We are ahead of the game with our commitment to global education and Study abroad and today we boast the number one study abroad program in the country. We know that the best kind of education to prepare students for careers in finance and Entrepreneurship is one that pushes students to think about the world from multiple perspectives and today our students compete for internships and jobs at top firms on Wall Street and Silicon Valley. We know that the pursuit of varsity athletics creates character and the ability to work on a team to seek solutions For the greater good and today, the Statesman and the Herons have won 23 National championships, and our student-athletes are consistently recognized for their commitment to academics and community. We understand that we have a responsibility To our environment, so we created the Finger Lakes Institute as a source of research and education on this unique area We call home. Today the Finger Lakes Institute is a leader in the field. We have a strong history of being gutsy of graduating men and women who go on to do bold and big things, of taking action That is ahead of the times, of punching above our weight class to succeed in the face of formidable odds. Our Gifts here at the Colleges is to take students where they are and make them even better. Like 60 minutes correspondent Bill Whitaker, the CEO and chair of fidelity investments Abigail Johnson, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church Michael Curry, the Editor of The New Yorker Dorothy Wickenden and a 2016 and 2017 primetime Emmy Winner, Warren, Littlefield. It is this bold environment that shaped me that enabled me to go to law school and to successfully argue major civil rights cases before the Ohio Supreme Court. It is this bold environment that gave me the courage To go to graduate school and earn a doctorate, become a professor and leader in higher education, And now a college president, and It all started And it all started With a grant from Trinity Church in Manhattan a grant that has resulted in nearly 200 years of excellence. In The coming year I intend to focus on four pillars of effort that I strongly believe Will give us the additional resources and motivation Necessary to take our place among the best colleges in the country. First we must ensure that the student experience is multifaceted, relevant and comprehensive. Second we must deepen engagement within and among key constituent groups Ensuring that all members of the broad Hobart and William Smith community and Beyond understand experience and can leverage the return on investment of a Hobart and William Smith education. Third we must be market smart and mission driven allowing us to dominate the liberal arts market and Fourth we must claim inclusive excellence And diversity as a key strategic priority. This bold place Hobart and William Smith is a physical reminder to each one of us to move into our future with wonder and intent. This bold place Hobart and William Smith Represents the values we hold dear. This bold place Hobart and William Smith inspires us to lead lives of consequence To all of you I pledge my loyalty To our mission I do so in recognition of all that has come before me and with high Expectations for future for the future it is an honor to serve as president and to be back home. Thank you. Oh Beautiful For spacious Skies for amber Waves of grain Waves of grain for purple Mountains Majesty Above the fruited Plains America America God shed His Grace on Thee and Crown thy Good With brotherhood From sea to shining sea Sea, Oh Beautiful For heroes proved in liberating Strife who More Than self their country Loved and mercy more than life America America may God thy gold refine Till all success be Nobleness and Every gain divine Oh Beautiful For Patriot Dream that sees Beyond the years Thine alabaster Cities gleam Though dimmed by you my tears America America my God shed His grace He shed His grace on thee And crown thy good With brother and sisterhood from sea to shining Sea From Sea to shining sea Kim would you join us in front, it’s perfect. Greg and Kim May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers half-truths and Superficial relationships, so that you will live deep within your heart, May God bless you with anger at injustice Oppression and exploitation of people so that you will work for justice equality and peace May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain rejection starvation and war So that you will reach out your hand to comfort them and change their pain into joy and May God bless you with the foolishness to think That you can make a difference in the world So that you will do things which others tell you cannot be done The Lord bless you and keep you The Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious unto you the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and Grant you peace Amen. Members of the audience will please rise and remain standing in their places until the procession from the platform has left. The inauguration ceremony of Dr. Gregory J. Vincent as president of Hobart and William Smith Colleges is now closed

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