Commencement Ceremony Makes Alumni of Hartwick's Class of 2014May 24, 2014
Saturday, May 24 was the beginning of a new experience for the members of the Hartwick College Class of 2014. Their parents, families, friends, and College faculty and staff gathered under the gala tent on Elmore Field to celebrate, as the members of the class made the transition from students to alumni in the culmination of their time at Hartwick.
Under occasionally overcast skies, thousands convened high atop Oyaron Hill to celebrate the students' accomplishments, to watch them receive their degrees, and to take part in this celebration of change.
When the Broome County Celtic Pipes and Drums had led the graduates, faculty, and staff into the flag-festooned tent, the gala event began like all such Hartwick gatherings. College President Margaret L. Drugovich P'12 held aloft the Hartwick Bell and declared with an enthusiastic ring, "The company of scholars is assembled, let the ceremonies begin!"
Following a performance of "The Star Spangled Banner" and "America the Beautiful" by the Hartwick College Chamber Choir, Student Senate President Colin Blydenburgh '14 and Francis D. Landrey P'06, chair of the Hartwick Board of Trustees, extended their congratulations to the graduates.
"Together we made the climb, and we have now reached the top, the peak of our undergraduate education - we are all the better for it," Blydenburgh said to his classmates.
"To the Class of 2014, enjoy this day," Landrey said, "You have done it the old fashioned way - you have earned it. Celebrate, but also take a moment to reflect on the change in each of you as a result of your Hartwick journey."
Hartwick Faculty Chair and Professor of Sociology Dr. Reid Golden P'96 presented Jenna Rodrigues '14 with the Abraham L. Kellogg Oratorical Prize. Faculty deemed Rodrigues the best orator among those students who gave Baccalaureate speeches on Friday evening at The Foothills Performing Arts & Civic Center in Oneonta.
After a performance of Mussorgsky's "The Hut of Baba Yaga/The Great Gate of Kiev" by the Hartwick College Wind Ensemble, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Michael Tannenbaum P'14 took the podium to announce the Margaret B. Bunn Award for Outstanding Teaching.
The annual award is presented to the faculty member judged by students who graduated five years prior to have been the most outstanding teacher with whom they studied. The 2014 Bunn Award recipient, Tannenbaum said, is Associate Professor of Accounting Penny Wightman, CPA. She was presented with the award during this year's Honors Convocation ceremony on May 7.
Retaking the podium, Drugovich Presented the President's Award for Liberal Arts in Practice to Jennifer Garvey-Blackwell '91 , Executive Producer of The Vineyard Theatre in New York City.
"You are a champion of the arts and a proponent of how the arts can inspire action and effect change," she said of Garvey-Blackwell, "Your alma mater honors your groundbreaking work in theatre, your leadership in business, your determination to spread the arts throughout your community, and your commitment to providing opportunity to disadvantaged youth."
Drugovich then presented an Honorary Doctor of Laws to Stanford Phelps P'86, Chairman of S.N. Phelps & Co., Commonwealth Oil Refining Co., and Clear Springs Land Company. Phelps and his wife, Emerita Trustee Elizabeth "Betsey" Phelps, co-chaired the Parents Fund at Hartwick College when their daughter, former Trustee Catherine "Kate" McNamara '86 was a student.
"We hold your success, your entrepreneurial spirit, your ceaseless curiosity, your intelligence, and your determination in the highest esteem. Moreover, we celebrate your dedication to the values that have led you to make a tangible impact upon the lives of the young scholars here at Hartwick - and beyond," Drugovich said.
Finally, Drugovich bestowed an Honorary Doctor of Laws upon David H. Long '83, Chairman and CEO of Liberty Mutual Insurance Group.
"You are respected for your business acumen, your work ethic, and your leadership skills," she said of Long. "You are an example to us all, David. We salute your success, and we are, and will always be, proud of your achievements."
Honorary degrees conferred, Drugovich introduced Long, who would address the Class of 2014 on the occasion of their graduation.
A native of Liverpool, England, Long graduated from Hartwick College in 1983 with a degree in mathematics before earning a master's degree in finance from Boston College in 1989. At Hartwick, he was named a John Christopher Hartwick Scholar and selected an All-American for his performance as a member of the College's Division I soccer team in 1981 and 1982. He leads Liberty Mutual Insurance Group, a Fortune 100 global insurance company with $38.5 billion in revenues (12/31/13). Based in Boston, MA, Liberty Mutual operates in more than 28 countries. Long began his career there in 1985 as a financial analyst.
He began his address to the Class of 2014 noting that he did not intend to impart a "big lesson."
"What I have learned though are small lessons that have made a big difference," he told the assembled crowd. "What I have learned is that life can be counter-intuitive, that assumptions matter and assumptions are often wrong; I have learned that any moment can move from the mundane to the memorable in a heartbeat; that the small moments often become the most significant moments; the understated becomes the underscored. And I have learned to define success on my own terms."
"I was going to be a professional soccer player. I wasn't going to spend my career in insurance," Long continued. "No one ever looked at me, this kid from Liverpool who came to upstate New York without a coat, and thought ‘my god, this boy will be a Fortune 100 CEO someday'."
"Up until I came here I had always believed that the old adage, ‘It's not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game that matters,' was written by losers for their loser friends. At Hartwick, I learned that how you play the game is everything," Long concluded. "And so I close by sharing with you, my soon-to-be fellow alumni, my best big-little advice: Define and find success on your own terms and, in pursuit of the big things press into the small moments with all the might you can muster."
At the conclusion of Long's remarks, Hartwick's Not So Sharp a capella ensemble performed "21 Guns" by Green Day. Following their stirring rendition, a moment of silence was held to remember Megan L. Dunleavy '14, who passed away this fall.
Tannenbaum then presented the Class of 2014 to the crowd. In the central moment of the ceremony, Drugovich presented each with a degree, much to the delight of the graduates and their assembled friends and family.
With degrees conferred, Katie Marie Pennings '14 presented the class gift. Seniors, their families and friends made gifts to the College, which will be used to establish the Class of 2014 Scholarship. The four-year award will be presented to an incoming first-year student based upon need.
"Coming to Hartwick would not have been possible without the generous donors who have opened doors for us through scholarships. For many of us, Hartwick would not be an option and we would miss out on these opportunities without this support," she said. "We have the ability to not only open doors for ourselves, but for those future Hawks who will stand on Oyaron Hill."
Neal Miller '72, president of the Hartwick College Alumni Association, welcomed the new alumni to the 17,500-strong body.
"When you look upon your Commencement Bell in years to come, remember your enduring connection as classmates, friends, scholars, and keepers of the proud Hartwick legacy," he said.
As he led the class in a ceremonial ringing of replica bells provided by the College Alumni Association, the tent filled with the joyous noise of the new alumni.
"Members of the Class of 2014, you leave Hartwick an educated woman, an educated man," Drugovich said in her closing remarks. "You may have travelled across the world. You may have done a remarkable thing or two. You have probably learned more than you expected, and perhaps even more than you thought possible. It is my hope that what you have learned best is how to learn from others, for in truth, no pinnacle moment will be yours alone."
She led the class in thanking both their parents and their faculty and staff, noting that all had helped the graduates achieve this important milestone in their lives.
Following a performance of the Alma Mater, "Oyaron, Hill of Dreams," by the Hartwick College Wind Ensemble and vocalists Jessica Spitz '14 and Pennings conducted by Melissa Zimmerman ‘14, the graduates left the expansive tent behind the celebratory march of the Broome County Celtic Pipes and Drums, proceeding into the waiting arms of their proud families, 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