Librarian of Congress Receives Blackwell Award from Hobart and William Smith Colleges
The Blackwell Award is named in honor of Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, known worldwide as the first woman to receive a Doctor of Medicine degree and who graduated from Geneva Medical College, a precursor to Hobart and William Smith. The Elizabeth Blackwell Award is given by Hobart and William Smith to a woman whose life exemplifies outstanding service to humanity.
Hayden is the 14th Librarian of Congress and the first woman and first African American to lead the national library. Previous recipients include Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen, Founder of the Special Olympics Eunice Kennedy Shriver, and Nobel Prize Recipient Wangari Maathai, among others.
The award was presented to Hayden by HWS Trustee Thomas S. Bozzuto ‘68, L.H.D.’18, chairman and co-founder of The Bozzuto Group, and by HWS President Joyce P. Jacobsen.
In accepting the Award, Hayden reflected on the nature of the pandemic: “Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell famously said: ‘None of us can know what we are capable of until we are tested.’”
She told graduates: “You are not only being presented with a degree, but you are now being presented to the world. And if you ever had a doubt, you know that the world needs you. You are graduating at what has already been called one of the most significant inflection points in history. And even though you have missed out on some things this year, you have been part of something that is truly historic, a collective experience that will be something to look back on fifty, sixty, a hundred years from now….”
Hayden’s address concluded with a reflection on the strength that comes with experience and perseverance. On the steps of historic Coxe Hall, looking out to the graduates, Hayden shared the wisdom of Susan B. Anthony, who said, “The older I get, the greater power I seem to have to help the world; I am like a snowball — the further I am rolled the more I gain.”
“Be that snowball,” Hayden said. “Seize life and use your power!”