Class of 1968 Presidential Forum April 7-10 2016

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Ned Perry prepares to offer our 25th Reunion Classbook to President Adam Falk Every year, Williams hosts the Presidential Forum, a four-day event exclusively for the class whose 50th reunion is two years away. President Adam Falk spoke with—and listened to—the Class of 1968’s participants at breakfast Friday morning, at dinner Friday night, and during Sunday’s farewell breakfast. During the other Forum segments, classmates and spouses experienced today’s Williams by interacting with faculty, students, and administration leaders.

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It would be impossible to capture in words the energy, dialogue, learning, and fun that classmates and spouses experienced Thursday through Sunday. However, here’s a collection of thought-provoking quotes to trigger memories and to give other classmates a feel for the impact of the Class of 1968 Presidential Forum:“The purpose of the Presidential Forum was to bring you back to experience Williams today. What hasn’t changed are the College’s liberal arts values. Jack Sawyer said it best: ‘Liberal arts is the most practical education.’ I’m not worried about the survival of Williams. I am worried about the survival of liberal arts. Calculating the value of a Williams education over a lifetime is impossible. You need to have faith that education prepares you for the future.”Adam Falk, President“The class of 68’s commitment to support the Center as part of your 50th Reunion class gift was an important part of my decision to come to Williams from Middlebury. I was sold on the clear alumni engagement and investment to improve the center. After two months at Williams absorbing what’s been done in the past and what’s being done today, I’m beginning an outreach phase to re-envision the Career Center. That discovery process begins with today’s meeting with the Class of 1968. I’ll have a more comprehensive plan to share with you during the September 30 through October 2 Mini-Reunion, but here are some of the fundamentals of a highly functioning center that we’re already thinking about:

  • We need to full activate the power and influence of the Eph network.
  • Williams needs, beginning this September, a four-year career development process for students.
  • We will build a core career curriculum and offer a ‘certificate of career readiness’.
  • We need to diversify the approaches available for students to prepare for their lives beyond Williams
  • Williams requires a more inclusive and welcoming Career Center for all of our constituents.
  • Our analytics about recent graduates and summer interns must meet the higher standards of the nation’s top colleges and universities.
  • As soon as this initial discovery phase is finished and we’ve begun the most important changes, we need to tell the Career Center story clearly and professionally”

Don Kjellern, Director of the Williams College Career Center (as of February 2016)

“The role of the Williams faculty is to guide students toward a path, not toward some obvious box. It’s sometimes hard for them to find their way.”

Tiku Majumder, Professor of Physics and Director of the Science Center

“My faculty colleagues are smart, caring, and work all the time.”

Thomas Garrity, Professor of Mathematics

“Many qualities of Williams students are the same as when you were here. They are smart, they are go-getters, they take advantage of the learning opportunities, and they like to run things. Today’s Williams students are different in that they seek a global engagement, fill our language programs, are often double majors, and seek a year-round experience through travel, internships, or community service. Today’s students are from 58 countries and represent 38 religious traditions. 40% are students of color, and 20% are first-generation students (i.e., the first members of their families to go to college).”

Sarah Bolton, Dean of the College, Professor of Physics and President-elect of The College of Wooster

“Today’s students grew up in a post-9/11, post-Great Recession America. Unlike earlier generations, they are very aware that everything is not necessarily going to be fine if they just work hard and set goals for themselves. This makes them challenging to teach, but also in many ways more interesting than the generations I taught in the 80s and 90s.”

Gail Newman, Professor of German and Chair, Curricular Planning Committee

“Millennials are digital natives in a social media ecosystem. They form communities differently, and they communicate differently. Social media helps our students keep in touch with each other, with faculty and staff, and with the college itself after Williams.”

Steve Klass, Vice President for Campus Life

(After citing many ambiguities in Miguel de Cervantes’ prologue to Exemplary Novels, a collection of his short stories…) “It’s a privilege to teach students who believe that 17th century Spanish literature is useful! Cervantes showed the benefits of embracing ambiguity and I tell students that their lives are about ambiguity. Ambiguity is at the heart of everything human.’”

Leyla Rouhi, Professor of Romance Languages

“Living in this moment has given students a global consciousness. They are linking their studies with the world to become responsible global citizens.”

Nimu Njoya, Assistant Professor of Political Science

“Williams contributes to the national conversation on diversity and equity. Colleges and universities know that Williams asks hard questions and uses data effectively to drive meaningful change.”

Leticia Smith-Evans Haynes ’99, Vice President for Institutional Diversity and Equity

“Our endowment is approximately two billion dollars. We draw down about 5% of that, or $98 million per year, to fund 48% of our $206 million 2015-2016 operating budget. Our gross tuition per student is $63,000. That amount, times 2,000 students, should yield about $125 million, but due to offsetting financial aid expenses, the college actually collects about $75 million. That net revenue from students funds about 36% of our annual budget. Annual alumni gifts of $22 million funds about 11%, and other revenues of $11 million from sources such as conferences and grants fund about 5%.”

Will Dudley ’89, Provost, Professor of Philosophy, and President-elect of Washington and Lee University

“A good way to look at capital budgeting is to list the projects we’ve completed, the projects under design or in construction, and future projects. Williams has completed renovations of Chapin Hall; Weston Hall, which is now the center for admissions and financial aid; The Log, now open to the public; and the Class of 1966 Environmental Center. Works in process include the Sawyer Quad, the new residence hall near Stetson Court, and a new bookstore on Spring Street. Replacing the Bronfman Science Center and renovating the science complex will be the largest project in Williams’s history. In the future, we’ll be looking at building a new Williams Inn, renovating Saint Anthony Hall (the Center for Development Economics), and WCMA (the Williams College Museum of Art).”

Fred Puddester, Vice President for Finance and Administration & Treasurer

“No one could possibly have asked for more. My only regret was that not every single classmate was there.”

John Dirlam ‘68

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