Friday, May 23, 2014
Hartwick College faculty, staff, friends, and family gathered today with the members of the Class of 2014 at Foothills Performing Arts & Civic Center for this year’s Baccalaureate ceremony. The event continued a series of weekend celebrations marking the Class’ final days as Hartwick students, and their first as Hartwick alumni.
“Tonight we gather to celebrate who you have become,” Hartwick College President Margaret L. Drugovich P’12 said to open the ceremony. “Tonight we will acknowledge the commitment you have made to learning, the significance of wisdom, and the power of community. Tonight we celebrate curiosity, creativity, understanding, and the gift of oratory through the talents of your classmates — and tonight we celebrate the gift of inspiration.”
Three of this year’s graduates – Elizabeth Greco ’14, Jenna Rodrigues ’14, and Ben Yacavone ’14 – were chosen from among 16 finalists to compete for the Abraham L. Kellogg Oratorical Prize, which is awarded during Commencement. After an introduction from Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Meg Nowak, each of these students reflected on their Hartwick experience.
Yacavone took the podium first to speak about his time on Oyaron Hill, and the impact of his studies abroad.
“I myself, like many of you, have had the opportunity to study abroad, in places I never thought I would live to see. To experience new cultures – and see these new, unknown places, and become a part of the community in a place so foreign to us – has shaped who I am,” he said.
“We are Hartwick’s newest generation of pioneers, bound to explore the wonders of a new world,” Yacavone concluded. “I hope you’re as excited as I am.”
Following a video salute to the Class prepared by Meghan Luce ’14, Rodrigues took her turn at the podium to reflect upon the impact of a place she learned to love, Hartwick’s Pine Lake Environmental Campus.
“Have you ever watched the sun come up? Pre-dawn light has a gray quality to it. When the sun finally crosses her threshold horizon she paints color on the view. She changes everything,” Rodrigues said. “For me, Pine Lake changed everything.”
“I think every one of us in this room tonight found a place at Hartwick to cultivate our joy, whether the woods, the playing fields, the studio, the Greek house, the laboratory, the theater, the office, the classroom – the place to call home, and the people to call family,” Rodriguez continued. “If we can learn to love a place, we can earn to love the world, which is as beautiful as we decide to make it.”
In a captivating musical interlude, harpist and biology major Jazz Sanchez ’14 performed Johann Pachelbel’s “Cannon in D.” After a rousing ovation, Greco urged her classmates to identify – and speak with – their own unique voice.
“What is it that you have to say, that you have to share with others? That can inspire and light a fire? Maybe you don’t know yet. Maybe your trip to India, or your class in Golisano, or a lab in Johnstone, or an easel in Anderson, or a book you found in the library, or the job you held in Clark was just the beginning of figuring it out,” she said. “But you’ll get there. We all will.”
“So, as you leave here, as you walk across the stage tomorrow and ring your alumni bell, and as you head off into this mysterious ‘real world,’ I’d like you to ask yourself something. And no, not ‘how does my hair look?’ or ‘why did I wear these shoes?’ or ‘wait … what is a degree in this going to do for me!?'” Greco continued, “No, take the time to think about what you have to offer. What is it that you have to say.”
Selected by the Class of 2014, Associate Professor of Nursing Dr. Tina Dalrymple ’00, P’09, P’11, reflected on her fondest Hartwick memories and encouraged students to embrace the next phase of their lives. Dalrymple, a member of the Hartwick community for 16 years as a student, staff member, and faculty member, will depart the College at the conclusion of the academic year as her husband assumes the presidency of Columbia College of Missouri.
“I have had some wonderful experiences here with students throughout the years at Hartwick,” she said, “some I will carry with me as I move on into the next phase of my life.”
“There is so much to be excited about as we all move on into the next chapter of our lives,” Dalrymple concluded. “The memories and experiences that we have from Hartwick College will still be with us supporting us in our new journey – wherever it may take us.”
Vice President Nowak again addressed graduates and their families, recognizing their accomplishments and growth throughout their time at Hartwick.
“Through the lessons you have learned and the friendships you have made while at Hartwick, I wish you success in your life, every single one of you, and I hope enjoy all that is ahead of you,” she told the Class of 2014.
The audience then rose to its feet as tenor Timothy Bell ’14 sang the College’s Alma Mater, “Oyaron, Hill of Dreams.” The Hartwick College Brass Ensemble, under the direction of Dr. Jason Leo Curley performed G. F. Handel’s “Water Music” as the Class of 2014, their faculty, and College Administration recessed to the Foothills lobby where families gathered for celebratory hugs and photographs.
Following the ceremony, graduates and their families remained at Foothills for this year’s 1-to-Go celebration, with music, food, and dancing marking their last night as Hartwick students before Saturday’s morning’s Commencement ceremony under a gala tent on Elmore Field.
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 an experiential approach to the liberal arts. Through personalized teaching, collaborative research, a distinctive January Term, a wide range of internships, and vast study-abroad opportunities, Hartwick ensures that students are prepared for not just their first jobs, but for the world ahead. A Three-Year Bachelor’s Degree Program and strong financial aid and scholarship offerings keep a Hartwick education affordable.
Contact: David Lubell