Wandersee Commemoration 2009

Hartwick College will honor the life, work, and memory of Dr. Winifred D. Wandersee the weekend of April 3 with the Wandersee Commemoration, a two-day celebration of women’s history in her honor. (To read the full news release, click here.)

A consummate teacher and scholar, Wandersee was a beloved colleague, leader, and mentor both on and off the Hartwick campus. She was an early recipient of the alumni-selected Margaret Bunn Award for Outstanding Teaching, co-founded the College’s Women’s Studies Program, was the first woman elected Faculty Chair, and served on Oneonta’s City Council. She authored two books and numerous articles, was the College’s first recipient of an NEH Fellowship, and was a core member of the first generation of dynamic women scholars in American history.

“The list of her achievements doesn’t do her justice,” Professor of History Peter Wallace said. “She had a rich, playful, and giving soul, and she mentored many of us. Her legacy of excellence in all aspects of Hartwick’s mission lives on.”

Professor of Anthropology David Anthony also recalled Wandersee's dedication to the College and its faculty: "I still think of Win pretty often, how brave she was being Faculty Chair and speaking to us all, even chiding us all, even when you could hear the tumor crowding every word she said. She just soldiered on, being herself, and leading us in a good direction."

Wandersee passed away in 1994 after a heroic battle with cancer, leaving her lasting mark on the College community, including the Winifred D. Wandersee Scholar-in-Residence Award, given annually in her memory.

The commemoration will begin Friday, when faculty, staff, students, and friends of the College will join Wandersee’s family in recognizing her contributions to the College with the dedication of the Wandersee Room in Golisano Hall.

A commemoration dinner later Friday will be followed by a keynote address in Stack Lounge, Dewar Union. Keynote speaker Kirstin Downey will present Frances Perkins: Her Continuing Legacy, a discussion of her recently released biography, The Woman Behind the New Deal: The Life of Frances Perkins, FDR’s Secretary of Labor and His Moral Conscience. Among the documents Downey researched were Wandersee’s notes and papers for her own planned book, Be Ye Stedfast: Frances Perkins and the Ambivalent Legacy of Gender Politics. Downey’s talk will be dedicated to Wandersee.

On Saturday, April 4, a series of student and faculty panel discussions will focus on student research and Hartwick community perspectives on gender studies, women’s studies, family policies, and politics—themes Wandersee was passionate about. A third panel will honor Wandersee’s life and work.

More information about the Wandersee Commemoration and schedule of activities can be found in the links to the left. Or contact Alicia Fish, Director of Donor Relations, at 607-431-4021 or fisha@hartwick.edu.