Class of 2016 Reflects on the Hartwick Experience at Baccalaureate
Hartwick College faculty, staff, friends, and family gathered today with the members of the Class of 2016 in Lambros Arena, Binder Physical Education Center on the College campus, for this year’s Baccalaureate Celebration ceremony. The event continued a series of weekend celebrations marking the Class’ final days as Hartwick students, and their first as Hartwick alumni.
“Welcome to this Baccalaureate Celebration,” said Hartwick College President Margaret L. Drugovich to open the proceedings. “Tomorrow, we will gather on Elmore Field to award you each, individually, the college’s greatest prize: the Hartwick degree. Tonight we gather to celebrate what you have become.
“Our Hartwick community thrives when we share our gifts to the benefit of all,” she said. “You have become more because the people gathered here tonight have shared their gifts with you. Hartwick College has become more because you have shared your gifts with us. Let us now celebrate these gifts and the community we have become.”
Three members of the senior class – Noah Jager ’16, Lauren O’Brien ’16, and Amanda Robinson ’16 – were chosen by their peers to compete for the Abraham L. Kellogg Oratorical Prize, which is awarded at Commencement based upon a vote by faculty. After an introduction from Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Meg Nowak, each of these students reflected on their time spent at Hartwick.
“Above everything else, Hartwick has challenged me in ways I never thought it would,” Robinson told her classmates. “Hartwick has provided us with so many opportunities to explore who we are, to grow as an individual, and to accomplish goals we didn’t even know we had. This four-year adventure has not always been easy … but I can say with confidence that I am appreciative of every experience that I have had here, at Hartwick.”
Following a stirring performance of Aaron Copland’s Laurie’s Song from “The Tender Land” by soprano Morgan McClellan ’16 and Fideliz Campbell ’12, the second speaker took the podium.
“You won’t always remember the last Organic [Chemistry] test, or even the sociology project you did on how Michael Jackson Influenced Today’s Youth,” Jager reflected. “But I will tell you this: the lives you touch, those who touch your life, and the connections you make with other human beings will have the profound denouement on your future and memories. Be selfless and understanding. Do something kind.”
After a video montage of highlights from the Class of 2016’s tenure at Hartwick, O’Brien took the podium to consider the time she and her peers spent on Oyaron Hill.
“I wish you all the best in your future endeavors,” she said to her classmates. “I truly believe the Hartwick experience has prepared us for the challenges and obstacles that adulthood will throw at us. Hartwick has not been a mountain we’ve climbed, but rather has given us the tools that we will use to get over the mountains we will face throughout our lives.”
Clarinetist Morgan Schoonover ’16 and Campbell performed Five Bagatelles for Clarinet and Piano by Gerald Finzi before Associate Professor of Education Mark Davies addressed the gathering. He was selected by the members of the Class of 2016 to offer parting advice during Baccalaureate.
“Tomorrow, as you receive your bachelor’s degree, you take with it the responsibility to utilize all that you have learned here and to live well in your place,” said Davies. “While tomorrow may be about the degree you have earned, in the long run it’s all about the person you become, the people you touch, and the places you inhabit.
“Go forward and live well in the places you find yourself,” he concluded, “and may your journey bring us all to a better place.”
The audience rose to its feet as Martha Degnon ’16 sang the College’s Alma Mater, Oyaron, Hill of Dreams. The Hartwick College Brass Ensemble, under the direction of Paul Blake ’01, performed the Rondeau from Jean-Joseph Mouret’s “Sinfonie de Fanfares.”
Following the ceremony, Class of 2016 hugged, mingled, and celebrated, with the families, faculty, and staff. Together they marked the seniors’ last night as Hartwick students before Saturday morning’s Commencement ceremony under a gala tent on Elmore Field.