Hartwick College Class of 2011 Become Alumni at Commencement

May 28, 2011

Click here for a slideshow of images from Commencement. 

Saturday, May 28, marked one of life's turning points for the Hartwick College Class of 2011, their parents, families, friends, and College faculty and staff gathered under the gala tent on Elmore Field. It was there that the 315 members of the class made the transition from students to alumni in the culmination of their undergraduate experience.

Thousands convened high atop Oyaron Hill to celebrate the students' accomplishments, to watch them receive their degrees, to take part in this celebration of transition.

The gala event began as all such Hartwick gatherings do, when President Dr. Margaret L. Drugovich held aloft the Hartwick Bell and declared with an enthusiastic ring, "The company of scholars has assembled, let the ceremonies begin!"

Following a performance of America by the Hartwick College Wind Ensemble, Student Senate President Samantha Carboni '11 and James Elting, M.D., Chair of the Hartwick Board of Trustees, extended their congratulations to the graduates.

"We cannot say thank you enough to everyone present and those absent today for their strength, support, and wisdom as we come to this day," Carboni said to her classmates. "I truly hope you find happiness and success as you journey through this thing we call life."

"It is my privilege to welcome you on behalf of the Trustees of Hartwick College," Elting said, "Congratulations, graduates. Enjoy this day, it is yours."

Hartwick Faculty Chair and Professor of Sociology Dr. Reid Golden presented Heather Quarles '11 with the Abraham L. Kellogg Oratorical Prize. Faculty deemed her the best orator among those students who gave Baccalaureate speeches on Friday evening at the Foothills Performing Arts & Civic Center in Oneonta.

After a rousing performance of a Gustav Holst's The Planets by the Wind Ensemble, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Michael Tannenbaum took the podium to present the Margaret B. Bunn Award for Outstanding Teaching.

The annual award is presented to the faculty member judged by students who graduated five years earlier to have been the most outstanding teacher with whom they studied. The 2011 Bunn Award recipient, Tannenbaum announced, is Professor of Art Phil Young.

Young came to Hartwick College in 1978 after working at Greensboro College in North Carolina. His teaching centers on drawing, two-dimensional design, paper making and painting.

"After more than 30 years, Phil retains his enthusiasm for his work with students," Tannenbaum said. "He insists on keeping assignments with an 'edge,' and on giving students an active role in creating the content of their work."

In retaking the podium, Drugovich announced the March presentation of the President's Medal for Extraordinary and Exemplary Loyalty to the College to Brian W. Wright, Esq H '02 PM '11.

Wright is a longtime trustee and friend to the College, she said.

"A community of scholars honors those who they hold in the highest esteem," said Drugovich." Hartwick College will always welcome him as one of its own. He will be remembered, and he will be admired, always woven into the fabric of our strength."

Drugovich then welcomed Ambassador George Bruno '64 to the podium for the presentation of the President's Award for Liberal Arts in Practice. Bruno has had an esteemed career in law, politics, and diplomacy, from his beginnings as a civil rights attorney in Mississippi in the 1960s to his current work in democracy an international cooperation with the federal government and NATO.

"Ambassador Bruno, you have worked tirelessly to bolster the values of human dignity and democracy throughout the world, and you continue these important efforts today," she said. "Through your work in diplomacy, democracy-building, and human rights, you embody the ideals of global engagement and service to humanity inherent in a Hartwick education. In the course of your life you have done much to improve our world."

Professor of Biology and Department Chair Mary Allen and Drugovich then conferred an honorary Doctor of Science upon the ceremony's keynote speaker, Gilbert H. Smith '59 H'11. Smith is a leading cancer researcher who has been honored with some of the highest awards in his field.

"No words can convey how excited I am to be here with you on this special day," Smith said. "Standing here on Elmore Field evokes many memories, as I was a member of the first men's soccer team here in 1956. When I reflect on the changes on campus since I matriculated here over 50 years ago, I am stunned and filled with admiration at the changes that have take place on Oyaron Hill."

Examining his long career from Hartwick College graduate to one of the nation's foremost cancer researchers, Smith had several pieces of advice for the class of 2011.

"Question everything," he said. "It is very important not to completely accept or reject anything you see or hear. Think carefully before speaking. Your words have power. Be open to alternative ideas and different pathways. Most importantly, realize that learning should never end until life ends. Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, and most importantly never stop learning."

At the ceremony's summit, following a rousing performance by Hartwick's a cappella ensemble Not So Sharp, Tannenbaum presented the Class of 2011, and Drugovich conferred degrees upon the candidates. As each left the stage, Director of Alumni Relations Duncan Macdonald '78 presented seniors with a replica of the Hartwick Bell. The gift from the Alumni Association symbolized the new graduates' induction into the vast community of Hartwick alumni, and is a reminder of the impact the College has had on their lives.

Sarah Otto '10 presented the class gift. Seventy-three seniors made gifts to the College, which will be used to establish the Class of 2011 Scholarship. The four-year award will be presented to an incoming first-year student based on need.

"Every one of us has benefitted from the generosity of alumni, parents and friends of the College," she said. "As individuals we have each left our mark on this campus, but together we have left a legacy."

Neil Miller '72, Vice President of the Hartwick College Alumni Association, welcomed new alumni graduates to the 17,000-strong body.

"I am truly impressed by the class of 2011," he said. "You guys did a lot of studying while you were here! Now you are one of a select few who have graduated from this College. We welcome you back. Be involved in your College."

He led the class in a ceremonial ringing of their bells, and the tent filled with the joyous noise of the new alumni.

"Members of the class of 2011, you leave here and educated woman, and educated man. You may have travelled across the world, you have probably done some incredible things," Drugovich said in her closing remarks, "my hope is that what you have learned best is how to learn from others."

She led the class in thanking both their parents and their faculty, noting that all had helped the graduates achieve this important milestone in their lives.

Following the Wind Ensemble's performance of the Alma Mater, Oyaron, Hill of Dreams, sung by Quarles, the graduates left the expansive tent behind the celebratory march of the Broome County Celtic Pipes and Drums, proceeding into the May sunshine and the waiting arms of their proud families, and toward their bright futures as Hartwick College alumni.

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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 a uniquely experiential approach to the liberal arts. Through personalized teaching, collaborative research, a unique January Term, a wide range of internships, and vast study-abroad opportunities, Hartwick ensures that students are prepared 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
Phone: 607-431-4030