Hundreds Return for Hartwick Homecoming & Reunion

October 6, 2009

With the autumn foliage nearing its peak, about 800 Hartwick College alumni and their families returned to Oyaron Hill to reconnect with their alma mater, their friends, and some of their most cherished memories.

"It was a lovely weekend," reflected Duncan Macdonald '78, Hartwick's Director of Alumni Relations. "The fact that so many Hartwick College alumni choose to return to campus to celebrate with us is a real testament to the important role Hartwick plays in our lives. It's always great to see so many familiar faces--we had a blast."

Despite intermittent rain showers, things got started on Friday, October 2 with the 18th Annual Wick Athletic Association Golf Classic at the Oneonta Country Club. Dr. Margaret L. Drugovich, Hartwick College President, hosted the 50 Year Reunion Class of 1959 for an induction celebration in Stack Lounge, Dewar Union, during which returning class members were officially welcomed to the 50 Year Club. Meanwhile, outside on Frisbee Field, hundreds assembled for the Weekend Kick-Off BBQ, where they were joined by Hartwick faculty and staff for a gala celebration to start the weekend off on the right foot.

After dinner, reunion classes convened at memorable Oneonta restaurants and watering holes to reconnect with old friends and share stories and memories. On campus, Drugovich presided over the opening of the Arnold Garden, as well as the opening of the Arnold Hall time capsule, buried since 1949.

The ceremony was moved under the tent on Frisbee Field as rains intensified. Speaking of President Emeritus Arnold's legacy, Drugovich called him a "man of courage," noting of the garden that "It was important that we create something to improve the beauty of the campus. What we've achieved is very much a reflection of what I've heard from the campus over the past year."

Three of Arnold's grandchildren--David Arnold, Philip Arnold, and Roberta Cleaveland--were in attendance. "He had a great love for Hartwick and a desire to see it grow, not just physically, but academically," David said of his grandfather. "Arnold Hall may be gone, but his legacy remains. The garden's mission is to grow. President Arnold would feel nothing but the honor of a legacy that can do nothing but grow."

The sun rose in a clear sky and the excitement got started early on Saturday morning, as Drugovich welcomed the 50 Year Club for breakfast. After their meal, the President hosted a brief conversation with the group. "Is there anything on your mind you'd like to talk about?" she asked the crowd assembled in the Chesebro Room of Dewar Union. A wide-ranging discussion followed, touching on the Yager Museum of Art & Culture, Hartwick athletics, Pine Lake Environmental Campus, and more.

Bidding them adieu, Drugovich headed for the Yager Museum opening of "Nursing Through the Years," an exhibit celebrating Hartwick's storied Nursing Program. That exhibition kicked off a day-long celebration of the History of Nursing at Hartwick.

"You represent some of the most vibrant, enthralling, and dedicated members of our community," Drugovich told the assembled crowd of Nursing faculty, students, and alumni.

"We didn't want to tell just a piece of the story. We wanted to tell the whole story of Nursing's history at Hartwick College," Yager Museum Director Donna Anderson explained. Indeed, the exhibit includes archival photographs, uniforms, and books. Alumni present participated in the exhibit by identifying those pictured, and contributing their memories to the long, storied history of Hartwick College Nursing.

"I am very well aware of the proud mantel this program carries in the history of the College and of the nation," said Jeanne-Marie Havener, Associate Professor and Chair of Nursing. She noted that Hartwick College nurses practice in all 50 states, and 12 countries across the globe. "They impact and inspire their communities."

Meanwhile, Alumni College classes got underway across campus. Throughout the day, alumni gathered in studios and classrooms across Oyaron Hill to learn from Professor of Art Terry Slade ("Making Masks for Families"), Professor of Sociology Kate O'Donnell ("From Oneonta to Oxchuc: Weaving Solidarity and Human Rights"), and Mike Bruny '99 ("All I ever needed to know in life I learned as a Hartwick Hawk").

Drugovich held two "official" Conversations with the President on Saturday, discussing "Hartwick in Today's Economy" and "Hartwick's New Three-Year Degree Program" in one session and "2009-10 Athletics Program Review" and "The College's Organizing Principle" in another.

At lunch, the crowd gathered again under the tent on Frisbee Field for the Jazz Lunch, aptly accompanied by the Hartwick Jazz Ensemble. Annual Alumni Awards were presented to Geff Stopper '00 (Outstanding Young Alumnus), Scott Holdren '80 (Outstanding Volunteer), Jennifer Garvey-Blackwell '91 (Distinguished Alumna), Calvin Chase '71 (Meritorious Service), Field Hockey Coach Anna Meyer, and Associate Dean and Director of U.S. Pluralism Programs Harry Bradshaw Matthews (Outstanding Employees).

Throughout the weekend, athletic contests filled the autumn air with the sound of competition. At SUNY Oneonta, the Hartwick volleyball team split four matches at the Oneonta State Red Dragon Invitational during the weekend. The Hawks opened the tournament with a loss to Springfield and a win over Hunter on Friday and wrapped up play Saturday with a win over Plattsburgh and a setback to Lycoming. In Wright Stadium on Saturday, Hartwick fell four points short of staying unbeaten as #20 Ithaca College escaped with a 24-20 win. The Hawks scored with 3:50 left in the game to lift the Hartwick College men's soccer team to a 2-1 win over visiting Northern Illinois on Saturday at Elmore Field.

On Saturday evening, Drugovich presented the first Liberal Arts in Practice Award to Professor Emerita of Nursing Sharon Dettenrieder '65.

Saturday came to a rousing close with Brooks' House of Bar-B-Q dinner and dancing under the Frisbee Field tent, while Sunday featured a memorial service for members of the Hartwick community who have passed away during the past year, followed by brunch in The Commons.

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Hartwick College is a private liberal arts and sciences college of 1,480 students, located in Oneonta, NY, in the northern foothills of the Catskill Mountains. Hartwick’s expansive Liberal Arts in Practice curriculum merges traditional liberal arts study, personalized teaching, and experiential learning approaches to emphasize Connecting the Classroom to the World. Add to that a wide range of off-campus internships, collaborative research, study-abroad opportunities, and a unique January Term, and Hartwick prepares students for the world ahead. Strong financial aid and scholarship programs keep a Hartwick education affordable.

Contact: Christopher Lott
Phone: 607-431-4030