President Drugovich address the audience at Baccalaureate 2017

Class of 2017 Reflects Upon Hartwick Experience at Baccalaureate

May 19, 2017

Hartwick College faculty, staff, friends, and family gathered today with the members of the Class of 2017 in Lambros Arena, Binder Physical Education Center on the College campus, for this year’s Baccalaureate Celebration. The event continued a series of weekend celebrations marking the Class’ final days as Hartwick students, and their first as Hartwick alumni.

“Tomorrow we will gather on Elmore Field to award you each, individually, the College’s greatest prize, the Hartwick degree,” said Hartwick College President Margaret L. Drugovich to open the proceedings. “Tonight we gather to celebrate the great gift of learning.

“What we celebrate together is that you have become something more because the people gathered here tonight have shared their gifts with you during your time at Hartwick,” she said. “And that Hartwick College has become something more because you have shared your gifts with all of us. Just as it should be.”

Three members of the senior class – Jennifer McInerney ’17, Taylor Prusinowski ’17, and Sierra Meads ’17 – 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.

“For every success I have achieved I have also suffered failure in the painful process of coming to terms with my limits,” McInerney told her classmates. “But it is by this very process that I have come to know those things I could not possibly have known had I not tried, and failed, and tried again.”

Following a stirring performance of Eric Whitacre’s Goodbye Moon by soprano Margaret Elisofon ’17 and Fideliz Campbell ’12, piano, the second student speaker took the podium.

“We didn’t come here just to learn – we could have done that anywhere. We came here for a particular kind of education,” Prusinowski reflected of her time at the College. “We came here knowing that Hartwick would push us to our limits intellectually. Not only were we challenged in the classroom, but we were pushed to dive into real-life experiences head first.”

After a video montage of highlights from the Class of 2017’s tenure at Hartwick, Meads took the stage to offer a poem as ode to Hartwick’s physical and intellectual architecture.

“Brick by brick, we build/ From our perch on Oyaron Hill we kiss the hot air balloons,/ as if to say ‘see you next time.’/ A small gesture of appreciation for the town’s warm welcome,” she recited. “We watch/ as unsung heroes wave from their storefronts, well wishes,/ a melody of courage,/ one that unites with those of Hartwick faculty and staff./ Their combined encouragement,/ the wind under our wings./ The whispered tune echoes in the valley,/ awakening the world that we are coming./ And we are ready.”

Emily Weite ’17 (flute), Artist in Residence Anna Gonzalez (flute), and Campbell performed Ian Clarke’s maya before Professor of Nursing Theresa Turick-Gibson addressed the gathering. She was selected by the members of the Class of 2017 to offer parting advice during Baccalaureate.

“Your experiences with the arts, humanities, social sciences, physical and life sciences will be with you as you interact professionally and personally,” said Turick-Gibson. “You will find, as I have, that being a liberally educated individual will assist you to understand and relate to others, to apply knowledge that you’ve learned to problem solve, to evaluate and analyze situations, and make thoughtful decisions.

“You have learned these skills for lifelong learning: communication, creating, thinking, and analyzing,” she concluded. “So, be open to growth, be curious, and continue your education throughout life, in every experience. All the best to you, Class of 2017.”

The audience rose to its feet as Lindsay Partelow ’17 sang the College’s Alma Mater, Oyaron, Hill of Dreams, and the Hartwick College Brass Ensemble followed with Thomas Morley’s Now is the Month of Maying, and John Lennon’s All You Need is Love.

Following the ceremony, members of the Class of 2017 hugged, mingled, and celebrated with their families, faculty, and staff. Together they marked the seniors’ last night as Hartwick students before Saturday morning’s Commencement ceremony on Elmore Field.