The president of Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva has stepped down.
Our news reporter Breon Martin has more on his unexpected departure and its impact on students.
GENEVA N.Y. – The time for President of Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Dr. Gregory J. Vincent was cut short when he decided to resign immediately from the position.
Charlie Seider, a senior, Political Science Major at the institution received the news and said, “It’s a bummer to see it happen at this point in the year. President Gearan had come before, and had left such a legacy here and it’s kind of hard to see that closed out by this (the resignation).”
Other students were taken aback when they learned that Vincent was being investigated for potentially plagiarizing his dissertation during his doctoral studies at the University of Pennsylvania in 2004. Michael Levalley a sophomore, Psychology Major said, “I definitely feel that we can’t have a president who plagiarizes even though the claims may have not been legitimate. None of my friends or I can cheat so why should the president of the colleges?”
Others students on campus were shocked by the sudden resignation because they believe Vincent was improving the colleges like Lily Kane, a Senior, Psychology and Education Major.
“I think he has come in with really good ideas about things and really wanted to make a strong impact. I just feel bad for him because he made a mistake and he was probably a lot younger and maybe a little more foolish, but now he has built a career and a life and he shouldn’t have to go through what he’s going through with all of this,” said Kane.
Vincent was appointed president in 2017, and on Friday he made the announcement to the board of trustees that he was resigning, effective immediately.
The 1983 graduate of the institution said in a statement posted to the college`s website:
"This has been a difficult decision because I believe strongly in the value of a Hobart and William Smith education and the trajectory that we have been mapping during the past year. Given the anonymous allegations leveled against my scholarship, however, and the distraction they have caused, I believe this is the best decision for the Colleges and for me. My primary concern is to avoid any further stress to the campus community.”
In the meantime, Pat McGuire will serve as interim president until the board conducts a nationwide search for the next president.
For those current students we spoke with, they also expressed some of the qualities they want to see in the next Hobart William Smith president.
Seider said, “Hopefully someone who can come in and maintain a stable presence” and Kane says she wants to see, “someone who cares a lot about our community and cares a lot about our school.”