President Drugovich rings the Hartwick Bell to open Commencement 2017

Commencement Makes Alumni of Hartwick College Class of 2017

May 20, 2017

A Hartwick College education is a transformational experience, and that reality was on display Saturday, May 20 for the members of the Class of 2017. Their parents, families, friends, and College faculty and staff gathered under a gala tent on Elmore Field to celebrate as they made the transition from students to alumni in the culmination of their time on Oyaron Hill.

On a picture-perfect morning, thousands convened high above the City of Oneonta to celebrate the students’ accomplishments, watch them receive their degrees, and take part in this celebration of change.

When the Broome County Celtic Pipes and Drums had led the celebratory march of graduates, faculty, and staff into the flag-festooned tent, the celebration began like all such Hartwick gatherings. Dr. Margaret L. Drugovich P’12, Hartwick College president, held aloft the Hartwick Bell and declared with an enthusiastic ring, “The company of scholars is assembled, let the ceremonies begin!”

Following a rendition of The Star Spangled Banner by the Hartwick College Chamber Choir, Student Senate President Christopher Shaw ’17 and Francis D. Landrey P’06, chair of the Hartwick Board of Trustees, extended their congratulations to the graduates.Student Senate President Christopher Shaw '17

“Whether you travelled from across town or across the ocean, everyone’s journey has led us to Hartwick to celebrate today,” Shaw said to his classmates. “We have all faced the steep steps, as everyone has made their way up the hill and experienced the many seasons and the beauty of this space in the clouds.

“Together, we are about to embark on our own journeys and adventures that will lead us far away from here and far away from each other,” he continued. “But as long as you continue to fan the flame in your heart, you will bring the spirit of this community with you and never truly leave.”

“To the Class of 2017, enjoy this day,” Landrey said. “You have studied hard. You have been inspired not only by your professors, but also your fellow students who have accompanied you on your Hartwick journey. Cherish and maintain those friendships as you move on beyond Oyaron Hill. Celebrate today, because you have earned it, but also take a moment to reflect upon the change in each of you as a result of your Hartwick experience.”

Hartwick Faculty Chair and Professor of History Dr. Cherilyn Lacy presented Jennifer McInerney ’17 with the Abraham L. Kellogg Oratorical Prize. Faculty deemed McInerney the best orator among those seniors who gave Baccalaureate speeches on Friday evening.Jennifer McInerney ’17, winner of the Abraham L. Kellogg Oratorical Prize.

After a performance of Frank Ticheli’s Rest by the Hartwick College Wind Ensemble, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Michael Tannenbaum P’14 took the podium to announce the Margaret B. Bunn Award for Excellence in Teaching.

The annual award is presented to the faculty member judged by students who graduated five years prior to have been the most outstanding teacher with whom they studied. The 2017 Bunn Award recipient, Tannenbaum said, is Professor of German Dr. Wendell Frye.

Frye came to Hartwick College in 1970, Tannenbaum noted, making him the longest serving full-time member of the faculty. Often called “The Father of J Term,” Frye was not only a member of the group that devised and popularized the concept of Hartwick’s January experience, he also led more than 30 J Term courses to Vienna, immersing over 900 Hartwick students in Austrian culture and language.

Frye, himself a Fulbright Scholar, has assisted 21 Hartwick students in receiving Fulbright Awards for international travel and study.

“As President Drugovich has said, Wendell ‘has dedicated his life to creating agents of change by opening the minds of his Hartwick students to ideas that span continents.’” Tannenbaum said. “‘For over 45 years he has changed the way students look at the world, and how they view their role – and responsibility – in making it a better place.’”

Retaking the podium, Drugovich spoke of Rory P. Read ’83, P’09 H’17, before presenting him with an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree. Read, an information sciences major at Hartwick, has gone on to a career as a technology industry leader, with positions of responsibility for such innovative firms as IBM, Lenovo, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), and Dell EMC.

“Since graduating magna cum laude you have fully developed your skill at connecting the vital links between the reality of the day to what you imagine could be,” she said, “You built your career around your capacity to stay open and agile. Never content with good enough, you set out to change the technology landscape with an end goal of making the sector, and the business world, better.”Honorary Degree recipient Rory P. Read ’83, P’09 H’17

The Hartwick College Chamber Choir offered a stirring rendition of Irving Berlin’s Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor before Drugovich introduced Hilary Duffy ’91, who would address the Class of 2017 on the occasion of their graduation.

Photographer Duffy earned a B.A. in sociology with a minor in art history at Hartwick College in 1991. Her advanced studies include certificates from both Teachers College of Columbia University and the International Center of Photography’s documentary program. Throughout her career, Duffy has focused her lens on struggling populations throughout the world. She has worked for clients including Habitat for Humanity, the United Nations, Heifer International, and many more. As an educator, she has passed her passion for human rights and photography on to a new generation.

Duffy began her address recalling the “happiness, excitement, and anxiety” she felt upon her own Hartwick College graduation.

“My work has taken me all over the world and introduced me to some of the most resilient and kind people I have ever met,” she told the Class, “For that I am truly grateful. I’ll be honest though, it was a long road to get here.Commencement speaker Hilary Duffy ’91

“There will be frightening times, clueless times, desperate times and heartbreaking periods,” Duffy said. “There will be professional challenges or rejections that send you into a funk, or tough arguments with people you adore. This all weaves and strengthens the fabric of our journeys.

“So, it’s okay if you don’t know what your next step is, and it’s okay if you have to mow your parents’ lawn this summer,” Duffy concluded. “Because some day, you’ll figure it out.

“To the graduating Class of 2017, I wish you nothing but the best. Carpe diem!”

At the conclusion of her remarks, Hartwick’s Not So Sharp a capella ensemble performed Run to You by Pentatonix.

Tannenbaum then presented the Class of 2017 to the crowd. In the central moment of the ceremony, the graduates were bestowed with the Hartwick undergraduate hood, and greeted by Drugovich, much to the delight of their assembled friends and family.President Drugovich and new graduate

Once each graduate had been individually recognized, Scott Holdren ’80, Hartwick College Alumni Association Board of Directors President, welcomed the new alumni to the 18,000-strong body. Each graduate was presented with a replica of the Hartwick Bell by the alumni association. A tradition which, Holdren said, provides a tangible connection to Oyaron Hill.

“All Hartwick alumni are united through this symbol,” he said. “When you look to your Hartwick Commencement Bell in years to come, I hope you will look back to your time here as fondly as I still do.”

As he led the class in a ceremonial ringing of their replica bells, the tent filled with the joyous noise of the new alumni and their proud families.

“Members of the Class of 2017, now you leave Hartwick an educated person,” Drugovich said in her closing remarks. “You may have traveled across the world. You may have done a remarkable thing or two. You have probably learned more than you expected, and perhaps you’ve learned more than you thought you could.”Graduate of the Class of 2017

“It is my hope that what you have learned best is how to learn from others, for no pinnacle moment is ours alone. This moment also belongs to those who cared for and nurtured you through this day,” she continued, leading the class in thanking both their families and their faculty and staff, noting that all helped the graduates achieve this important milestone.

The ceremony closed with a rendition of the Alma Mater, Oyaron, Hill of Dreams, by soprano Ruth McGaugh ’17 and the Hartwick College Wind Ensemble under the direction of Ashley Duryea ’17. The graduates left the expansive tent behind the celebratory march of the Broome County Celtic Pipes and Drums, proceeding into the waiting arms of their proud families, toward their bright futures as Hartwick College alumni.