Opening Convocation Welcomes Incoming Students

September 2, 2011

Class of2015The Hartwick community welcomed new students with rousing cheers and applause on Friday, September 2, during this year's Opening Convocation. The ceremony in Lambros Arena marked the official start of the 2011-12 academic year and new students' first day on Oyaron Hill.

"Each year, on this day, at this hour, we gather to celebrate the beginning of our academic year, and to welcome our newest students," President Margaret L. Drugovich said in addressing first-year and transfer students. "We mark this moment because we know that our community will change in important ways because you are now with us."

As families, friends, faculty, and staff looked on, Drugovich asked students to take a moment to think with her about this moment as the beginning of their future and as a choice to learn. She solicited the advice of three Hartwick students - Mark Derozier '12, Rachel Rhodes '13, and Brittany Morrisey '12 - who reassured their newest classmates that Hartwick will offer them support, a caring environment, and a transition into a new world of learning.

"Their words also urge you to do what is right for you, to move into unfamiliar spaces, not to do what is easy," Drugovich said. "There is nothing of value for you over in the easy corner. Most people don't talk about how learning takes courage, but I know that it does. You have come to the right place to find your success."

In Hartwick tradition, Vice President for Enrollment Management and Marketing David Conway then presented the 500 members of the Class of 2015 and 40 transfer students to the Hartwick community. He commended their academic preparation and achievements, and their selection from among more than 6,300 applicants.

This year's class comes from 27 states, 13 countries, and five continents. Among the incoming class, Conway said, are writers, musicians, actors and painters, Eagle Scouts, Girl Scout Gold Award recipients, a speed skater, a race-car driver, a pilot, and a bagpipe player. One has appeared on the Today show, one competed for the European water polo championship, and another has played trumpet with Wynton Marsalis.

"It's not hard to be impressed with your many accomplishments," he said.

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Michael G. Tannenbaum and Vice President for Student Affairs Meg Nowak also addressed students and their families, welcoming them to Oyaron Hill and encouraging them to make the most of their time at Hartwick.

"You, the members of the incoming class, are the reason that Hartwick exists, the reason that all the other community members are here," Tannenbaum said.

This is the beginning of a learning experience we have all chosen to share," Nowak said. "My hope is that together we all gain new and exciting knowledge, experience adventures, find success, and make lifelong friends. Hartwick's history and its future are the stories of our students' involvement in our community, inside and outside of the classroom."

Students also were welcomed by Trustee Robert Hanft '69 and Student Body President Eric Schultz '12, who encouraged new students to embrace the opportunities the College has to offer.

A recent addition to Opening Convocation, the ceremony also gave students a closer look at one example of student/faculty research. Sierra Ruff '12, Eryn Niblick '13, and Professor of Biology Mary Allen discussed their research of Strep C bacterium and its effect on Hartwick students, which Ruff transitioned into her senior thesis. The experience is indicative of the type of strong collaborative research new students can seek out and expect during their academic career.

The ceremony also showcased the College's strong music programs, with a three-piece rendition of Journey's Don't Stop Believing, led by Assistant Professor of Music Jason Curley and performed by Phoebe Blume '15, Patrick Duffy '10, and Rachel Hill '13. Opening Convocation closed in Hartwick tradition as Resident Artist in Voice Stephen Markuson led those gathered in the College's alma mater, Oyaron, Hill of Dreams.

As the newest Hartwick students concluded their first College ceremony and made their way across Elmore Field to gather for their class photo, faculty and staff, family and friends stood in recognition of not just the accomplishments that brought them to Hartwick, but of the marks they're about to leave on Oyaron Hill.

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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