News & Events

Hartwick Citizens Board Names Madolyn Palmer Citizen of the Year

May 5, 2009

Hartwick College is pleased to announce that Madolyn Palmer has been named the Hartwick College Citizens Board Outstanding Citizen of the Year. Palmer (pictured at right with Citizens Board Chair Carol Chesser and Hartwick College President Dr. Margaret L. Drugovich) will be honored during the Board's fifth annual benefit gala, "A Hartwick World Journey," on June 19, 2009.

"Madolyn is a great friend and supporter of the College and is among Oneonta's most devoted citizens," said Hartwick President Dr. Margaret L. Drugovich. "It's fitting that the Citizens Board has chosen to recognize her as the Outstanding Citizen of the Year. She is a wonderful example of the impact that engaged, passionate people can have on the education community and their broader community. People like Madolyn influence the lives of others, one person, one organization at a time."

A 1953 graduate of Oneonta High School, Palmer began her career bringing the community together working as a switchboard operator for the New York Telephone Company. In 1966, she found her life's work, taking a job as a clerk with the Oneonta City School District. Palmer touched many lives in her work with the school through the years, later becoming the district's Administrative Assistant for Business. In her tenure, Palmer worked with 30 years of school administrations, faculty, students and taxpayers, eventually joining the administration and meticulously managing the district's finances.

Palmer's dedication to the School District and her community have stretched far beyond work hours, however. When a High School Cheerleading advisor was needed in 1978, she stepped forward to take on the "temporary" position for four years, and earned the nickname "Pom Mom." Outside the school, Palmer volunteered and actively participated in many local organizations, including Kiwanis, Ladies of the Elks, Catskill Symphony Orchestra, Family Services, ESC Consulting, Daughters of the America Revolution, United Way, Future for Oneonta Foundation, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, Odyssey of the Mind, Red Cross, Orpheus Theatre, First United Methodist Church, Girl Scouts of America and The Salvation Army.

In 1999, Palmer was among the founders of the Oneonta Alumni Association, a group that has grown by leaps and bounds, continuing to bring together young and old for community-building events and gatherings like The Annual Alumni Weekend. She has been a member of the Oneonta Business Women's Association for more than 50 years, and is recognized as one of the Past Presidents for her two years of service in that position. Palmer has served on the Hartwick College Citizens Board for more than 20 years, and as its President from 1994-1995. She has been married to Carver Palmer for more than 50 years. They have three children and five grandchildren.

Founded in 1954, the Hartwick College Citizens Board is a group of area businesspeople and community members. The Board established the Citizen of the Year award in 1980 to recognize an area resident who exemplifies the mission of the Board: to act as an advocate for Hartwick and to affirm the mutually beneficial relationship between the College and the greater Oneonta community. Brian and Josie Wright we named Outstanding Citizens of the Year in 2008, and Geoff and Linda Smith received the honor in 2007. Jim and Karen Elting received the award in 2006, while Bob Moyer was honored in 2005, as were Chandra & Sarah Kaly (posthumously).

The Hartwick College Citizens Board will host the fifth annual benefit gala, "A Hartwick World Journey," on Friday, June 19, 2009. The evening will begin with a cocktail reception at 5:30 p.m. in Stack Lounge in The Agora, Dewar Union on the Hartwick College campus before adjourning for dinner and dancing. Cocktail attire is required for the dinner and dancing event. Music will be provided by Grey Matters Plus, featuring Oneonta talent Jim Matthews, Linda Insetta and Jennifer Insetta Pajerski. All proceeds from the Gala will benefit the Hartwick Fund. The Gala is supported by Wilber National Bank and other Otsego County businesses.

Hartwick College has benefited from the financial support and involvement of the community for more than 75 years. The Hartwick Fund provides the strength and flexibility necessary for maintaining the programs and services that make the College so special. Gifts to the Hartwick Fund support financial aid and scholarships, study abroad opportunities, attracting and retaining first-rate faculty, student-faculty research, Pine Lake Environmental Campus, student services and activities, library and research materials, athletics, academic and internship programs, among others.

"Proceeds from the Gala will support the Hartwick Fund, which has a substantial impact on the unique experience Hartwick offers its students every day," said Alicia Fish, director of donor relations and staff advisor to the Citizens Board.

The cost to attend the benefit event is $125 per person. For more information or to make a reservation, contact Marianne Poteet at 607-431-4013 or

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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