In Memoriam: Former Hartwick Professor Norma Hutman

March 1, 2011

A memorial service for Norma Hutman will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 5, in the Shineman Chapel at Hartwick College. The service will be followed by a reception in the Farrington Room.

Norma HutmanNorma Louise Hutman, professor emerita, passed away on Saturday, February 26. She was 76. The cause was smoke inhalation from a fire in her Oneonta home.

"Dr. Hutman was a committed educator," Hartwick College President Margaret L. Drugovich said. "She challenged everyone to think deeply. She understood the importance of venturing beyond what we know, and into the space beyond certainty. For Norma Hutman, creative thought was our purest expression of freedom. Dr. Hutman was irrepressible, and irreplaceable. "

Norma began her 32-year teaching career at Hartwick College in 1964. She came to the college to teach Spanish, but for the greater part of her tenure was a professor of Comparative Literature and Spanish.

Norma retired from the college in 1996 and was named Professor Emerita of Comparative Literature in 2001. She was the inspiration for the college's Leslie G. Rude Memorial Lecture Series, established in honor of a former faculty member and administrator. In 2009, she established the Florence and George Hutman Scholarship for International Study in support of the college's commitment to international experience.

As an educator, Norma had a reputation for being a dynamic and creative teacher who had a talent for stimulating and provoking her students into reflection. She remained in contact with many of her former students well after their graduation from Hartwick.

"The greatest thing we as a country have created is liberal arts education," Norma said in an interview in 2010. "It's individualized and creative: it added a different element to education. It's an education that can change the world."

Norma's teaching expertise included myth criticism, modern drama, and poetry. Her courses included Public Speaking, Seminar in Myth and Folklore, Pleasure and Art of Reading, The Whodunnit and Howdunnit, Western Literature, World Literature, Poetry Phobia, Modern Drama, and Literary Criticism. She also co-taught with business professor John Clemens an innovative course on the mythology of management.

While a Hartwick professor, Norma served on the academic council (1966-70), on the faculty council (1974-76), and on the admissions committee (1970-74), which she also chaired. She was chair of the college's Humanities division for 12 years.

Norma was a frequent speaker in the college's Faculty Lecture Series and was editor of "Humanitask," the newsletter of the college's Humanities division. For January Term 1994, Norma coordinated "Beyond the Melting Pot: Ethnicity in America," planning programs, events and speakers.

Throughout her career, Norma regularly presented papers at conferences and her articles were published in numerous scholarly journals. Her research interests included the plays of John Millington Synge, the poetry of Edwin Muir, and works of writer Angel Ganivet.

In 2010, Square Circle Press published Norma's children's book, "A Bunny Named Cup Cake: The Complete Cup Cake Stories." First self-published in 2001 and 2002, the Cup Cake stories are about a girl who is challenged by braces and crutches, but overcomes her handicap with the help of a magical plush bunny.

Norma hosted the weekly radio program "Issues Oneonta" for the Central New York Radio Group station WZOZ. She was the longtime director of The Snark & Bandersnatch Players, a community readers' theatre group that she co-founded at Hartwick in 1974 and later revived in her retirement. She was also a certified flying instructor and piloted a Cessna until 2004. Most recently, Norma was learning Mandarin Chinese.

Active in the Oneonta community, Norma was a member of St. James Episcopal Church, the Upper Catskills Community Council of the Arts, and Huntington Memorial Library Association. She was a vice president of the Upper Susquehanna Historical Association and had served as a president and a board member of the Greater Oneonta Historical Society. She also served on the advisory board of Alzheimer's Association.

Norma put her Spanish skills to work in the Oneonta community by serving as a translator, language instructor, and fundraiser for an aid program sponsored by St. James Episcopal Church in the Dominican Republic. The program addressed the medical, educational, employment, and sanitation needs for residents of a slum.

Norma received a BA from D'Youville College in 1956 and an MA from (CASE) Western Reserve University in 1957. She earned a certificado from the University of Madrid in 1959, and a Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh in 1961.

Prior to joining the faculty at Hartwick College, Norma taught at Chatham College in Pittsburgh (1957-1960, instructor in Spanish), the University of Pittsburgh (lecturer, 1960), and Wilson College in Chambersburg, Pa., (1961-64, assistant professor).

Norma was born in Buffalo, NY, on September 7, 1934. She is predeceased by her parents, George and Florence Hutman of Kenmore, NY.

Norma considered her colleagues, students, and friends at Hartwick College to be her family. Those who wish to honor Norma's commitment to learning may do so by making a contribution to the Florence and George Hutman Scholarship for International Study at Hartwick College, which Norma established to honor her parents.

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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: Jen Moritz
Phone: 607-431-4038