Hartwick Presidents Exhibit
Charles Myers 1927-1929
In 1924, the Hartwick Seminary (located near Cooperstown, NY) hired as president and principal, Charles Myers, a long-time Lutheran pastor in Pennsylvania and a trustee of Susquehanna University. Myers accepted the position on one condition: the Seminary would expand its one year of college-level study into a four-year college. In 1926, Myers persuaded the Board of Trustees to authorize a campaign to raise $500,000 for "A Greater Hartwick." With the help of friends of the Seminary, the New York Synod, and the community, Myers successfully promoted his vision and in 1927 the New York Synod agreed to establish Hartwick College, a four-year liberal arts institution, in nearby Oneonta, New York. The Seminary trustees appointed Charles Myers as the College's first president. On September 26, 1928, classes began in the temporary quarters of the Walling Mansion. Myers had expected no more than 25 students on opening day. To his amazement, joy and consternation, no fewer than 102 applicants were clamoring to register for classes. By the end of the semester, enrollment stood at 235. Unfortunately, personality conflicts and policy differences forced Myers to resign before the end of the first academic year.
Charles W. Leitzell 1929-1939
In the summer of 1929, Rev. Charles W. Leitzell replaced Dr. Myers as President of the new college. At age 59, a veteran of numerous pastorates, this Pennsylvania native had served as president of the Board at the Hartwick Seminary since 1917, president of the Board of Hartwick College, chaplain of the New York State Assembly and head of the New York Synod. Leitzell believed passionately, as he wrote later, that "the real purpose of education, in its last analysis, is not so much the impartation of knowledge, but rather the building of character." Leitzell's attempts to carry on the dream of building a Greater Hartwick College were hampered first by the Depression, then by a proposed merger with Wagner College (also a Lutheran institution) in 1936, and finally by an $8,000 deficit in 1938. The fact that the College survived at all during these difficult years is largely due to what an admirer has called Leitzell's "energy, faith, and optimism."
Henry James Arnold 1939-1953
Henry J. Arnold, professor of psychology and dean of special schools at Wittenberg College in Ohio, came to Hartwick in 1939 as the College's third president. A 42-year-old former high school administrator in his native Nebraska, Arnold had a doctorate in psychology and a soft-spoken gentle manner. He was tall and distinguished looking, resembling in appearance, some thought, the familiar figure in the White House, President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Arnold was the first layman to head any of the Hartwick institutions - Seminary, Academy or College. Though not an ordained clergyman, he was a devout Lutheran whose inaugural address asserted, "A well-educated Christian leadership will provide the best possible means of restoring a spiritual balance to our distraught world." Arnold saw the College through the war years, when enrollment dropped as low as 150 students, most of whom were in nursing. The end of the war brought a flood of veterans swelling the student body to 600 and assuring financing for four new buildings. The dramatic growth in numbers, facilities and quality of education resulted in Hartwick's being accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools in 1949.
Miller A. F. Ritchie 1953-1959
Miller Ritchie grew up in a small southern town in Virginia where he became acutely aware of social injustice and racial inequality. Upon graduation from Roanoke College (a sister Lutheran institution to Hartwick), Ritchie vowed "a continual fight on poverty, poor schooling and racial prejudice." In 1950, he became Chair of the Department of Human Relations at the University of Miami and before leaving Miami in 1953 was considered one of the outstanding humanitarians of the South. In his inaugural address, Ritchie clearly articulated the high value he placed on human relations and his vision for Hartwick College's role in improving those relations. "College years should not be a scholarly escape for a season from a world of reality into a world of books and experiments and theoretical discussion. Rather, college years should enable students to face the world of reality and relate to it significantly." During Ritchie's six years at Hartwick he established an Office of Alumni Relations and a Citizens Board, student enrollment increased from 375 to 576, the budget grew 118 percent, capital gifts nearly doubled, and the endowment skyrocketed to over two million dollars. Ritchie left Hartwick in 1959 to accept the presidency at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon.
Frederick M. Binder 1959-1969
At 38 years old, Frederick Binder became Hartwick's fifth president. He had commanded a PT boat during World War II, taught history at Temple University and then served as vice president and academic dean at Thiel College in Greenville, Pennsylvania. Never before had Hartwick seen a leader of his inexhaustible energy or charismatic good looks. Capitalizing on the "baby boom" and low-interest government loans for education, Binder ushered in an era of dynamic and rapid growth in both physical plant and academic offerings. In ten years, eight new buildings went up. He established programs in inter-cultural exchange and interdisciplinary studies, added Russian language and literature courses, and reinstated Greek and Latin. Budgets were five times higher and consistently balanced; and the enrollment, the number of faculty, the number of buildings and total assets had all tripled. In addition, Binder ended Hartwick's direct affiliation with the Lutheran Church to become a fully independent liberal arts college. Binder's stated aim was to "produce the liberally educated person who should possess understanding, not of isolated pieces of knowledge, but of the relationships in our culture of man and of the world of nature." Binder would go on to be president of Whittier College in California, and, later, of Juniata College in Pennsylvania.
Adoph G. Anderson 1969-1976
Adolph (Andy) Anderson took his undergraduate degree and doctorate in chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh. After teaching chemistry at the City College of New York, he served as dean of New College, an experimental undergraduate school at Hofstra University, where he developed his innovative ideas that informed his Hartwick presidency. A Hartwick education, he said, must possess "a hand-crafted quality." Under his administration the Individual Student Program option and a Living/Learning Center were established, and he encouraged the expansion of off-campus student opportunities. He oversaw the design and construction of a beautiful Center for the Arts, eventually named for him, and approved the acquisition of the Pine Lake campus. His presence probably helped prevent turmoil during this tumultuous period on American campuses. He disarmed student concern about outdated regulations by lifting dormitory curfews, and he allowed and even encouraged peaceful protests of such volatile issues as the Vietnam War and the Kent State killings. Adolph Anderson died of cancer in the spring of 1976.
Philip S. Wilder 1977-1992
Philip Wilder came to Hartwick from California State College at Bakersfield where he had been dean, and previously a professor of political science at Wabash College. The impressive 15-year Wilder administration was marked by financial stabilization and growth. The endowment increased dramatically from $9.6 million to over $47 million, providing the College with a solid financial basis. The physical plant also benefited. Nearly 200 acres were acquired, almost doubling the size of the main campus. Under Wilder, the academic calendar changed to 4-1-4 with an intensive four-week January Term, which focused on a single topic; and the curriculum evolved, maintaining an emphasis on liberal arts while adding new majors in information science, computer science, management, accounting, and biochemistry. In 1988, Wilder oversaw the development of Curriculum XXI, an innovative general education program designed to prepare students for the 21st century with a focus on critical thinking, social and global interdependence, and the reliance on science and technology. Philip Wilder was president emeritus until his death in 2007 at the age of 82.
Richard A. Detweiler 1992-2003
A former professor of social psychology and vice president of Drew University, Richard Detweiler guided Hartwick through the implementation of a number of strategic initiatives. Nationally known for promoting computer technology as an educational tool, Detweiler oversaw the modernization of Hartwick's technological facilities. Reflecting his belief that "a liberal arts education must teach people to seek out, process, synthesize and communicate information," Detweiler integrated computers into everyday life at Hartwick by providing all students with a notebook computer, printer, modem and software. Detweiler also established the Sondhi Limthongkul Center for Interdependence, which gave students an opportunity to study abroad during their first collegiate year. Detweiler's Five Plus Plan dedicated the College to educating people "who will thrive in and contribute to the world of the future; people who are prepared to meet the personal, intellectual, and social challenges of a rapidly changing and increasingly interdependent world."
Richard P. Miller, Jr. 2003-2008
Prior to coming to Hartwick, Richard Miller - a Middlebury College graduate - had been the vice chancellor and chief operating officer of SUNY, following his tenure as the senior vice president and COO at the University of Rochester. During his tenure, he was committed to the importance of making "liberal arts in practice a reality," and "student success a tangible and differentiating characteristic" of Hartwick College. President Miller brought in $35 million in new gifts and commitments, and increased the college's endowment by nearly 50%. Miller's efforts to improve the campus led to the renovation of several existing dormitories and other campus buildings, in addition to the completion of Golisano Hall, Hartwick's newest, state of the art classroom building, in 2008. Golisano Hall is a green, LEED certified building. Under President Miller, student enrollment increased, even as he fiercely advocated to preserve a low student to faculty ratio. President Miller has chosen to stay in Oneonta after his retirement.
Margaret L. Drugovich 2008-Present
President Drugovich was formerly vice president for Strategic Communication and University Enrollment at Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio. She started at Ohio Wesleyan in 1998, where she was responsible for new student recruitment and admissions, financial aid, and integrated university-wide communications. Under her leadership the college experienced growth in enrollment while maintaining the quality and diversity of the student body. A native of Geneva, Ohio, Drugovich earned her EDM (Executive Doctor of Management) from Case Western Reserve University, her A.M. in medical sociology from Brown University, and her B.A. in experimental psychology from Albertus Magnus College. President Drugovich took office July 1, 2008. Early in her tenure, President Drugovich presented a collective vision of Hartwick College—an Organizing Principle and Strategic Framework that together have increased Hartwick’s efficiency and effectiveness. Under her leadership, the College also launched its unique and innovative Three-Year Bachelor's Degree program in the fall of 2009. During her presidency, Hartwick has increased its visibility and reputation nationally as a leader in melding a high-quality liberal arts education with experiential learning opportunities.