The sculpture located near the library on the campus’ of Hobart and William Smith Colleges (always pluralized) is a pair of scissors, put there to represent the dual nature of the colleges. Officially termed the Colleges of the Senecas, the school is actually a combination of two schools in Geneva, New York. The first was Geneva Academy, one of the only schools in the area in 1796, which would eventually become accredited and be renamed Hobart College by 1860. However, when the school was close to bankruptcy, they brought in another investor (William Smith) and “coordinated” the creation of a women’s college that would work in concert with Hobart (sharing some facilities and ALL the money). This coordinate system created separate, duplicate classes for men and women, until time slowly eroded the sex boundaries and brought the schools together.
Today, Hobart and William Smith Colleges is completely coed, offering Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, and a Master of Arts in Teaching to its almost 2100 students. The campus (actually a combination of two) is located on 195 acres next to Seneca Lake and though it still retains some of its divisiveness (the seals are still different and degrees are still divided, with men’s coming from Hobart and women’s from William Smith), their ideals on education are consistent.
With over 40 majors to choose from and a student to faculty ratio of 11:1, students are exposed to a variety courses taught by highly degreed professors that offer a “student-centered education”. Using a mix of interdisciplinary and disciplinary classes, Hobart/William Smith offers an education based on “multiple perspectives and experiences” which utilizes a liberal arts core “drawing from a variety of departments”. Each disciplinary major of study must be accompanied by an interdisciplinary minor to keep with this idea of giving a broad general education as a foundation for your focus in college.
Though no distance learning degrees are offered, Hobart/William Smith does encourage participation in their many intern and study abroad programs (over 50 % of enrollees spend at least on semester abroad), as well as offering experiential learning opportunities in their Summer Research Program.
Their Master’s program may be small (with only a handful enrolled), but the Teaching degree offered can be gotten in almost every discipline offered at the school (the same for those seeking simple teacher certification) and results in a fully accreditation from New York State (which is recognized in many other states). Though Education is one of the more popular majors at the school, they also degree many in the fields of Economics and Biological Sciences.
Offering an increasingly green campus over the years (they have wind farms and employ many measures to lower their carbon footprint), Hobart/William Smith has a history of world-enhancing initiatives, something they hope to pass on to their graduates. This mission of community, “grounded in the values of equity and service”, has led to the school’s continued excellence in educating, earning it recognition and awards through its long and complex history.