Campus News

Shining a Light on Leaders: Commencement 2020

Cyrus Mehri ’83, JD will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree in recognition of his influential and inspiring work in civil rights law. A founding partner of Mehri & Skalet, PLLC in Washington, DC, he had settled discrimination-based class action lawsuits for hundreds of millions of dollars against such household names as Texaco, Coca-Cola, and Ford. A generous Hartwick supporter who has endowed both a Global Pluralism Award and a J Term scholarship at Hartwick, Mehri delivered the Commencement address in 2009.

Cyrus Mehri '83
Cyrus Mehri ’83, JD
James Seward
James Seward ’73, H’99
Richard Clapp
Richard Clapp ’62

The Honorable James Seward ’73, H’99 will be recognized with the President’s Award for Liberal Arts in Practice for his commitment to community and his life of service. A champion of economic development across New York, he has brought major government investments to Hartwick College, nonprofit organizations in his hometown of Oneonta, and across the 51st Senate district. Seward has taught government to Hartwick’s political science students and lectured on rural healthcare to nursing students. He has announced plans to cap his career at a remarkable 16 consecutive terms.

Richard Clapp ’62 will be presented with the President’s Medal in recognition of his exemplary loyalty to and enduring support of the College. A former vice chair of the College’s Board of Trustees, he also chaired the search committee that hired Margaret L. Drugovich as Hartwick’s tenth president. Clapp’s generous gifts to his alma mater include a J Term scholarship for international study. He is the retired senior vice president of personnel at what is now Gannett Co., Inc. mass media holding company.


“When you think about what really moves our society forward, you always come back to individuals. These three Hartwick graduates advance social justice on a national and international level, throughout the state of New York, in the corporate setting, and right here at Hartwick. The lens of opportunity opens wide because of the selfless generosity that emerges from their work. How proud we are that their impact grew out of the education they received at Hartwick College.”

—President Margaret L. Drugovich P’12

Featured Speaker Beth LeTendre ’90

Digital marketing pioneer Beth LeTendre ’90 will deliver the Hartwick College Commencement address.

Beth LeTendre

An inspiring leader, she was the 2020 Student Commencement Committee’s top recommendation to President Margaret L. Drugovich P’12.

LeTendre, the chief executive officer of GroupM Performance U.S., is an entrepreneur and corporate leader in technology. LeTendre has led her business through rapid change and growth since 1998 when she and her Hartwick friend Heather Frahm ’90 founded Catalyst, a specialty search, social, and ecommerce marketing agency that now serves Fortune 100 companies. Eight years later, the pair negotiated the acquisition of Catalyst by WPP, the world’s largest communications service company, and two years after that, WPP placed Catalyst within GroupM, the world leader in media.

Today LeTendre leads the U.S. search, social, and programmatic efforts across GroupM, overseeing high performing, innovation driven teams comprised of 850 performance-marketing experts. She focuses on growing GroupM’s specialist performance businesses and scaling best practices in the group’s performance-marketing centers of excellence.

Beyond Expectations

3YD More than 200 alumni have now graduated from Hartwick’s three-year degree program. A few years out, they report being very ready for whatever comes next.

Hartwick remains at the head of the pack. In 2009, this college became one of the first to offer a three-year degree option and its program remains one of the largest and most flexible. Students in 27 majors are able to complete their studies in three years.

When President Margaret L. Drugovich P’12 led the program development early in her presidency, she brought Hartwick to the forefront of national discussions of college affordability. In completing their degrees a year early, these Hartwick students pay three-quarters the cost. Former US Secretary of Education and US Senator Lamar Alexander was among those to take notice, as did many media outlets.

Hartwick’s program stands out for how well it aligns with the College’s four-year experience. No summer study and no online classes are required. Three-year students are athletes and campus leaders, they have internships and study abroad, they serve the College and the community.

Three graduates share the lasting benefits of making this choice.

Gina Profetto ’16Gina Profetto
PhD candidate, integrative biology, University of New Orleans
Biology major, Environmental Science & Policy minor

“Hartwick’s three-year degree program fit my personality perfectly. I’m driven and ready to go. When I heard about the option, I thought, ‘I can do this.’

“During my three years at Hartwick I worked, was involved in clubs, learned to become a leader through Awakening and Challenge Ed, took J Term classes in Thailand and Ireland, built my confidence in an internship, and balanced an 18+ credit hour load.

“I know it must have been really hard, but it was all so good in the end. I thank Hartwick for giving me the opportunity to stretch myself to new limits so I can be where I am today.

“There’s a huge correlation for me between being a three-year and being ready for graduate school and my career. I had such close relationships with professors and everybody at Hartwick. I really like that 1-on-1. I’m considering teaching in a small liberal arts college like Hartwick, but working for the USDA is the dream. I want to be a field researcher out west.


Jefferson Monastoque ’15Jefferson Monastoque
Rick Analytics and Performance Management Analyst; BlackRock, Inc.
Published author
Business and Economics double major
MS in Finance and Investment Management, Temple University Fox School of Business

“I chose Hartwick because of the three-year degree program. No other school had what Hartwick has.

“Saving time and money was efficient. I did the International Baccalaureate (IB) program in high school and came into Hartwick with 12 college credits. Taking extra classes and playing a sport in college kept me disciplined. I made connections with other three-year students, we had priority in choosing classes, and studying the liberal arts became so important. All of Hartwick’s resources were made available to me.

“Finishing college in three years made me stand out in the crowd in graduate school. I went in with strong organizational and time management skills. It’s funny, but in graduate school I had so much free time. It definitely was less stressful than I expected.

“I would do Hartwick’s three-year program again if I had the chance. And I recommend it to students now. Not only will you save money and a year of time, it adds value to your character. When you’re busy, you excel.”


Lauren O’Brien ’16Lauren O'Brien
Global Investigations and Compliance Consultant, Guidehouse
Political science major, Psychology minor
MPA Northern Arizona University

“College was my first time away from home and I threw myself into many different activities to find out what I liked and didn’t like.

“I got the most out of Hartwick and had a full college experience in the three-year program. My academics, three internships, J Term in Arizona, so many extracurriculars, becoming a leader on campus, and the networking and social experience of being part of two classes of students—it all helped me meet my goals personally and professionally. I am very happy with my choice.

“At first I chose Hartwick’s three-year option to save money. I knew I wanted to further my education and that would be expensive, so this was extremely appealing to me. As it turned out, I got a teaching assistantship, so graduate school was paid for.

“If you have ambition, drive, and the attitude, this three-year option is great. Hartwick helped me hone my skills in prioritizing, setting goals, and setting an agenda. Being a three-year set me up for success.”

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