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Hobart and William Smith Colleges names first woman president; Joyce Jacobsen to fill that role

Hobart and William Smith Colleges

Hobart and William Smith Colleges has announced its new president.

Joyce Jacobsen, who is the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, was named Friday as the 29th president of Hobart College and the 18th of William Smith College.

Jacobsen is a professor of economics, and she will be the first woman to serve as the president of the colleges in Geneva.

“Joyce Jacobsen has made myriad contributions to Wesleyan University as a teacher, scholar, colleague, faculty leader and, for the last several years, as Provost,” says President of Wesleyan University Michael Roth. “Our university has benefitted immeasurably from her many years of innovative thinking and caring practice, and I have every confidence that she will bring these qualities to her new position as president of Hobart and William Smith. We will miss her.”

Jacobsen is described as an expert on labor economics, particularly the economics of gender. Speaking to the crowd gathered at the Gearan Center for the Performing Arts, Jacobsen noted the historic context of her becoming the colleges' first woman president.

“The idea that Elizabeth Blackwell went here to Geneva Medical College, the precursor of Hobart and became the first woman physician, and that I am basically, in some sense following in her footsteps now by becoming the first woman president is very deeply meaningful to me," Jacobsen said.

She will start her new role at Hobart and William Smith on July 1st.  She replaces interim president Patrick McGuire. He was named several months ago after the former president, Greg Vincent resigned.

Vincent resigned last April after less than a year on the job. That happened after allegations he may  have plagiarized portions of his doctoral dissertation at the University of Pennsylvania.

An investigation at that university followed, and Vincent was allowed to make revisions to part of his dissertation, and the University of Pennsylvania said he could keep his doctorate of education degree.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.