A standing room crowd gathered on the Hobart and William Smith campus Thursday afternoon for the announcement of the new president of the Colleges.
Chair of the Board of Trustees Thomas Bozutto joined outgoing President Mark Gearan on stage to introduce Vincent as the new president of the Colleges.
“And so it is with great pride that we announce today the the board of trustees unanimously voted to approve the search committee’s recommendation, also unanimous, naming Dr. Gregory Vincent a member of the class of 1983 as the 27th president of Hobart College and the 16th president of William Smith College. Ladies and gentlemen, Dr. Gregory Vincent.”
Vincent majored in history and economics at Hobart where also played on the basketball and cross-country teams and served as a resident advisor.
“This is in many ways a homecoming for me, a return to the place that was my beginning. Hobart and William Smith sparked my intellectual curiosity. My faculty advisors and deans challenged me to see the world in different ways and pushed me to consider new viewpoints and opinions.”
Vincent earned a law degree from The Ohio State University and a doctorate from The University of Pennsylvania. He served as Ohio’s assistant attorney general, with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission, and practiced law in the private sector before entering a career in higher education. Vincent currently serves as Vice President for Diversity and Community Engagement at The University of Texas at Austin. It’s a role he says has prepared him to be president at Hobart and William Smith.
“One thing that we know is that higher education is a public good. The work that Hobart and William Smith does in the community, the economic impact, the connection to the community, Geneva 2020, all of those things are truly shining examples of what a college and community can do. It truly has been an inspiration to many schools both public and private. So, I think we can look straight to Hobart and William Smith to show how a college can impact a community, the state and beyond.”
In remarks to the audience, Vincent addressed challenges facing higher education including costs, access, and outcomes. He said that higher education and especially a liberal arts education has never been more important.
“The change that we wish to see in the world must start at our colleges and universities, the place where many of our students, for the first time in their lives will confront those who look and think differently from themselves. College is a time where young people come together in meaningful ways to work together, to interact with one another, to learn together, to live together. At Hobart and William Smith they do so under the mentorship of faculty advisors like I had who guide and challenge them to embrace diversity of thought, identity, and perspective.”
Hobart and William Smith began their search for a new president in August after Mark Gearan announced the conclusion of his presidency, the longest in the Colleges history.