Class of 2013 Recalls Hartwick Experience at BaccalaureateMay 24, 2013
Hartwick College faculty, staff, friends and family gathered today with the members of the Class of 2013 at Foothills Performing Arts & Civic Center for this year's Baccalaureate ceremony. The event continued a series of weekend celebrations marking the Class' final days as Hartwick students, and their first as Hartwick alumni.
"Tonight we gather to celebrate the nature of our learning together," Hartwick College President Dr. Margaret L. Drugovich said to open the ceremony. "You have become something more in the presence of one another. Hartwick College has become something more in your presence."
Reflecting on their time at Hartwick, four of this year's graduates - Ilona van der Ven '13, Haley Cox '13, John Stuligross '13, and Anne Louise Wagner '13 - were chosen to compete for the Abraham L. Kellogg Oratorical Prize. After an introduction from Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Meg Nowak, each of these students reflected on their time spent at Hartwick.
Van der Ven took the podium first to speak about her time at on Oyaron Hill, and her hopes for the future.
"These past four years, or three - or maybe even five years for some of you - have created friendships that will continue to follow us through our life's adventures," she said. "During this time together we have endured tragic losses and celebrated new lives. Together we have been there to experience or witness broken bones and broken hearts. From sunny days up on Strawberry Field to long, dark, cold, snowy walks from downtown - together we have reached many milestones."
"The bonds between sports teams, Greek life, or within majors are unbreakable," van der Ven continued. "These bonds will remain as we drive back over that bridge next year for alumni weekend."
Cox fondly recalled the experiences and opportunities she and her classmates enjoyed at Hartwick.
"You are not one out of 53,000 here," she said. "You are the political science major who travelled to South Africa and the Bahamas and studied abroad in Turkey and Greece. You are the biology major who helped discover a new frog species in an exotic jungle. I'm the water polo player who, more often than not, took on way more than she could handle."
"You will forever be a member of the Hartwick family," she continued, "and just like any other family, you are stuck with us for life! Let us never forget the time we spent here, the family we are a part of, and the experience that no one else will ever live."
In a musical interlude, pianist and instructor Kim Paterson accompanied tenor Sean Carpenter '13 in a rendition of Steven Schwartz's Corner of the Sky, which was greeted by an enthusiastic round of applause when complete.
Returning to the speaking portion of the ceremony, Stuligross recalled the many roles he and his classmates played while students at Hartwick.
"Think about it," he said. "Not only were we students, we were leaders. We were club members. We were activists. We were actors. We were athletes. We were world travelers. And while engaging in these, we were learning.
"Each of us sitting here tonight will have our own definition of success, and that's the beauty of it," he continued, "Class of 2013, I wish you success. Be it in graduate school, an upcoming career, the start of a new family, or simply cherishing the joys of life. Hartwick has given you the tools and opportunities for your own success."
The final of the four student speakers, Wagner, drew parallels between the college experience and the stairs that ascend Hartwick's notoriously steep hillside campus.
"As students, through our metaphorical climb from Anderson to Elmore [Field], we have slowly stored our potential energy through various experiences, including climbing on the ropes course, supporting clubs and organizations, enjoying time with others, completing class projects, experiencing J Terms, and all those journeys up the hill," she said.
"Tomorrow, each of us will possess great deal of potential energy as we stand at the top of the College campus, the climax of our college career," Wagner continued. "From that point we can face our future with the potential energy to do anything and go anywhere."
Selected by the Class of 2013, Professor of Art History Dr. Elizabeth Ayer offered words of advice and wished graduates well in her speech.
"One of the best things about being a college professor - aside from the silly hats - is the opportunity to watch minds and hearts expand and unfold," she said. "You make a tired and cynical world shiny and new - please continue to make it shiny and new. You toss aside outdated prejudices and you lead us to a better place.
"And remember," she continued, "if you think you are too small to make a difference, you have never been in bed with a mosquito!"
After Ayer theatrically donned a "funny hat" [a replica ancient Egyptian Nemes headcloth] to the delight of those assembled, Vice President Nowak again addressed graduates and their families, recognizing their accomplishments and growth throughout their time at Hartwick.
"The Baccalaureate ceremony is a service in celebration of and thanksgiving for lives dedicated to learning and wisdom," she told the Class of 2013. "As I listened to the speeches this evening, it was clear to me that the Hartwick community is truly celebrating lives dedicated to learning."
The audience then rose to its feet as bass Alfonso Wyss ‘13 sang the College's Alma Mater, "Oyaron, Hill of Dreams." The Hartwick College Brass Ensemble, under the direction of Dr. Jason Leo Curley performed G. F. Handel's Water Music as the Class of 2013, their faculty and College Administration recessed to the Foothills lobby where families gathered for celebratory hugs and photographs.
Following the ceremony, graduates and their families headed back to campus for this year's 1-to-Go celebration, with music, food, and dancing marking their last night as Hartwick students before Saturday's morning's Commencement ceremony under a gala tent on Elmore Field.
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Hartwick College is a private liberal arts and sciences college of 1,500 students, located in Oneonta, NY, in the northern foothills of the Catskill Mountains. Hartwick's expansive curriculum emphasizes an experiential approach to the liberal arts. Through personalized teaching, collaborative research, a distinctive January Term, a wide range of internships, and vast study-abroad opportunities, Hartwick ensures that students are prepared for not just their first jobs, but for the world ahead. A Three-Year Bachelor's Degree Program and strong financial aid and scholarship offerings keep a Hartwick education affordable.
Contact: Christopher Lott