Hartwick History

Hartwick College Valley View

Hartwick College Today

On July 1, 2008, Dr. Margaret L. Drugovich assumed the presidency of Hartwick College. For much of the last 10 years of her tenure, our community and the rest of the world have been dealing with the lingering effects of the Great Recession of 2008-09. Under President Drugovich’s leadership, the College has launched numerous unique and innovative programs to define our place in the future of American higher education:

  • Three-Year Bachelor’s Degree Program
  • Hartwick College Center for Craft Food & Beverage
  • Center for Student Success
  • Peace Corps Preparation Certificate Program
  • Griffiths Center for Collaboration & Innovation (including Makerspace, Fab Lab, E-Hub)
  • University of Fribourg Exchange Program
  • Nursing SimLabs

In a world where accelerating change is the only constant, very few businesses have survived for 220 years as Hartwick has. Hartwick’s history demonstrates that adaptation in our DNA. Education has long been considered the best insurance against poverty. Today, Hartwick is a well-respected College enrolling 1200 undergraduate students. President Drugovich’s commitment to student success and experiential learning is further demonstrated with the recent additions of eight new academic programs:

  • Actuarial Mathematics
  • Creative Writing
  • Criminal Justice
  • Global Studies
  • Environmental Sustainability & Society
  • Public Health
  • Educational Studies
  • Legal Studies

In 2017, the most successful campaign in Hartwick College history closed with more than $34.7 million raised. Well ahead of the $32 million goal, The Campaign for Hartwick Students beat the College’s Bicentennial Campaign and did so in just two-thirds the time. This is a story of community, of 9,719 donors stepping forward and choosing to make a difference for generations of young people. Gifts large and small added up for scholarships to fund tuition and J Term experiences; campus additions and enhancements that are enriching every aspect of the student experience, including athletics and Pine Lake; a stronger Hartwick Fund for operational support; and new initiatives in academics and student life.

From 2008-2017, Hartwick spent more than $57 million enhancing our campus. Since 2014, Hartwick has invested $29 million in new construction, campus renovations, and improvements. Most recent highlights include:

  • Main Campus Gateway Entrance, 2017
  • Hartwick Founder’s Way, Outdoor Gathering Spaces and Amphitheatre 2017
  • New Apartment-Style Living-Learning Community Residence Hall, 2017
  • Yager Patio Improvements, 2017
  • Campus Paving, Sidewalks & Lighting Improvements, 2016-2017
  • Dewar Union, 2016-2017
  • Johnstone Science Center Improvements, 2015-2017
  • Anderson Center for the Arts, 2013-2016
  • Binder Physical Education Center Women’s and Men’s Locker and Team Rooms, 2015 & 2016
  • Clark Hall Language Lab, 2015-2016
  • Shineman Chapel House Celebration Room and Multidenominational Contemplation Space Renovation, 2016
  • Yager Hall Improvements, 2016

Other projects since 2008 included creation and /or improvements to the following:

  • Pine Lake Environmental Campus
  • The Hartwick College Bookstore Expansion
  • John Christopher’s Café, Yager Hall
  • Dewar Union Welcome Desk and Commuter Area, and Stack Lounge and Patio Expansion
  • The Sally Griffiths Herbert ’88 Aquatics Center Improvements
  • James J. Elting H’13 Fitness Center Expansion
  • The William V. Campbell H’10 Fitness Center
  • Slade Theatre Enhancements, Yager Hall
  • Laura’s Lounge Improvements
  • Binder Physical Education Center’s Lambros Arena Facility Improvements
  • Bresee Hall Lobby and Office of Admissions suite and Larsen Lounge Enhancements
  • Golisano Hall, state-of-the-art LEED-certified academic building

Hartwick’s History

Hartwick’s roots reach back to 1797 with the founding of Hartwick Seminary through the will of John Christopher Hartwick — a Lutheran minister who arrived in 1746 from Germany to lead several mission congregations of early settlers near Rhinebeck in the central Hudson Valley. Shortly after his death, his dream of establishing an institution of higher learning became a reality with the founding of Hartwick Seminary in 1797.

The New York State Legislature in 1816 incorporated the new school—the first Lutheran seminary in America—as a classical academy and theological seminary. The Seminary and Academy had a long and purposeful history, training more than 300 ministers and educating over 7,000 young men and women. In the mid-1920s, Lutheran leaders in the state decided to add a four-year “college department.” With the support of the church the Oneonta Chamber of Commerce, and a large enthusiastic citizenry, the College opened in 1928 in Oneonta.

The College developed steadily under Presidents Charles R. Meyers and Charles W. Leitzell and gathered strength through the 1940s and ’50s under the presidencies of Dr. Henry J. Arnold and Dr. Miller A.F. Ritchie. From 1959 to 1969, under Dr. Frederick M. Binder, there was a significant growth in size, physical plant, budget, and endowment.

In 1968, the College and the Lutheran Church concluded that the time had come for an amicable separation, and Hartwick became an independent college.

Dr. Adolph G. Anderson served as president from 1969 to 1976, a period during which Hartwick developed a more flexible and innovative curriculum.

From 1977 to 1992, under Dr. Philip S. Wilder Jr., the College was characterized by the strengthening of its faculty and student body, and by the building of strong financial support.

Between 1992 and 2003, under the tenure of Dr. Richard A. Detweiler, the College grew into the modern age, providing each student a notebook computer and offering freshmen the opportunity to study abroad.

Richard P. Miller, Jr. served as President from 2003 to 2008, during which time Hartwick underwent numerous campus improvements and solidified a strong financial base.

For more about the history of the College, visit the Paul F. Cooper, Jr. Archives. The Archives collects and preserves materials that reflect the biography of John Christopher Hartwick and the educational institutions bearing his name: Hartwick Seminary, Hartwick Academy, and Hartwick College. In addition, the Archives houses over thirty Special Collections. Collections and finding aids, historical papers, and digital collections are available on the Archives webpages.

The Paul F. Cooper, Jr. Archives

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