Student and faculty academic and service accomplishments were recognized and President Joan Hinde Stewart was honored at the 66th annual Class & Charter Day on May 9. President Stewart will retire from Hamilton on June 30 after serving the College for 13 years.
Faculty Chair and Professor of Anthropology George “Tom” Jones called Stewart “the model of a modern college president.” He mentioned in particular Hamilton’s emphasis on enrolling students who are the first in their families to attend college, the decision to become need-blind in admission and the major investments in new and renovated facilities that have changed the footprint of Hamilton across the curriculum.
Caleb Williamson ’17 spoke on behalf of the student body. He has worked in the President’s Office for three years and commented on Stewart’s vision for Hamilton, citing the need-blind program as her greatest contribution. Williamson said he has observed Stewart’s poise, grace and elegance firsthand, and concluded by thanking her for “being head of our Hamily.”
Amy Palmieri, senior assistant in major gifts and a member of the Staff Assembly, represented Hamilton staff. “Walk around campus and you’ll see tangible signs of President Stewart’s presidency. But the College is more than its buildings – it’s the strength of our community,” said Palmieri. “President Stewart sets a good example of why it’s a privilege to work here, marked by large and small gestures that have been the hallmark of our College.” Palmieri presented Stewart with a book of congratulatory messages from Hamilton students, staff and faculty.
In her remarks, Stewart said people often ask her if she feels proud of what she’s accomplished in her 13 years at Hamilton. “Of course, I do,” she remarked, “There are countless achievements in which we can all take pride. But above pride, for me, stands gratitude.
“What I am grateful for, above all, is you,” Stewart said. “For it is you who make the reputation of this great institution, you the faculty and students, you present today who excel in countless ways.” Hamilton, she added, is fundamentally about “the interactions that occur between students and teachers.”