Drugovich Outlines ‘Bottom Line’ in State of the College Address

October 15, 2010

Hartwick College President Dr. Margaret L. Drugovich presented the second annual State of the College address on Thursday, October 14 before a crowd of several hundred students, faculty and staff in Lambros Arena.

She used the opportunity to tell the story of the College, noting at the outset that "stories are lived before they are told." A slideshow of campus activities provided the "living" element of the presentation before Drugovich added context to the story.

"Stories take shape in their context," she said, "and some of the context is a bit of a challenge."

From the public ("why do private colleges need taxpayer money?") to prospective students ("will we prepare them for their first job?"), from alumni ("are we good stewards of donated dollars?") to employees ("will we ensure competitive compensation?"), Drugovich outlined stakeholders' questions. Further, she noted a list of challenges, including less federal and state support for private education, increased competition, and a "low and slow" economic recovery.

"Everybody who seems to know, or wants to know, or wants to seem like they know, says this will be a low and slow economic recovery," she said. "Fewer students can afford what we offer, and fewer families believe they can afford what we offer."

The cumulative effect of the challenges, she said, "calls for a game change."

Presenting a cyclical plan of assessment and adjustment, planning, goal setting, objective setting, resource allocation, and more assessment, Drugovich said "it is our job to change our view of liberal arts education. This is how we've done it the last couple of years, and this is how we'll continue to do it."

Hartwick's "evolving story," she said, includes maintaining a sharpened focus, and acting with strategic discipline. The College has made decisions, she said, among them maintaining and supporting a two-division athletic program, beginning a comprehensive campaign, creating an Office of First Year Experience, maintaining a commitment to financial aid, returning to a five-percent draw on the endowment, exploring additional revenue streams, and more.

Further, Drugovich noted that more than $1 million has been committed to operating capital improvements for the 2010-11 fiscal year. Among the projects completed or scheduled are repairing air conditioning in Johnstone Science Center, resurfacing tennis courts, repair of a number of patios, walkways, stairs and roofs, improvements to Slade Theatre, library books, signage, new football uniforms, and enhancing the College's internet broadcast capacity, to name a few.

Drugovich also announced a campus master plan initiative. The 12- to 18-month process will begin in spring 2011. All campus constituencies will be involved in identifying the uses and needs of the campus on Oyaron Hill, which will to a plan to guide development of Hartwick College over the next 20 years.

Continuing to address the College's future, Drugovich noted that many forces will shape the next chapter of Hartwick's story. These include degree completion, first- to second-year transition, "our resolve to improve the first-year experience," shifting demographics, "the need of our students," annual support, the markets, revenue, fiscal discipline, "our willingness to advance our work as a community," and "our commitment to the student experience."

"There is nothing more important than supporting our students," she said. "That's it. That's the bottom line for us."

To conclude the program, Drugovich presented an in-depth slideshow of faculty, staff and student accomplishments, as well grants received, media attention, and national rankings Hartwick has accumulated since the last State of the College address in October, 2009. Acknowledging Board of Trustees Chair James Elting MD, who was in attendance, and the entire board for their support, Drugovich called upon Associate Professor of Music Jirka Kratochvil, who directed the Hartwick College choir in a stirring rendition of selections from Mozart's "Requiem."

"Thank you all for coming," Drugovich said when applause for the choir had quieted. "I believe in this community, and I know you do as well - that's why you're here today. I look forward to continuing to work together with you to move this community forward."

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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