Hartwick Starts New Tradition: “First Walk” on Founders’ Way

“We should always remember where we come from. We should always celebrate those who walked before us. Tonight, you will walk in the footsteps of the Founders of Hartwick College.”

With these words from Hartwick College President Margaret L. Drugovich, a new tradition began last night when more than 300 first-year students joined her on the “First Walk” up Founders’ Way.

From now on, each incoming class will take this same walk, symbolically walking in the steps of the College’s founders.

“You are the first to create this new tradition of walking down Founders’ Way. Every new class to follow will walk in your footsteps,” she said.

In her remarks, President Drugovich also discussed the importance of tradition at Hartwick, from the beanies worn in years past, to the new tradition started Sunday evening.

Afterward, students lit candles and processed up Founders’ Way to the pergola located next to Bresee Hall. The President and four students led the way — Emma Dias ’22, Naomi Singer ’22, Tobin Santoro ’22, and Joanna Shaffer ’22 — holding a banner signed by the new class.

A former roadway, Founders’ Way is now a pedestrian footpath that officially opened during True Blue Weekend last October. The dedication celebrated the new walkway as the conclusion of a major piece of the College’s nine-year, $57 million campus renovation. Chairman of the Board of Trustees Francis Landrey at the time called Founders’ Way “A centerpiece of the physical transformation of the Hartwick campus.”

“This college on a hill has always been beautiful,” Drugovich said during the dedication ceremony. “Now that we can pause and see it, and more fully appreciate it, our campus is unforgettable.”

Last night, Drugovich celebrated everyone who had a hand in writing the College’s history as it approaches its 225th anniversary.

“Tonight we honor the vision of John Christopher Hartwick; the steadfast trustees of his estate; the leaders and students of the Seminary; the citizens of Oneonta who made it possible to establish this campus on this site; the faculty who have taught, the students who have learned, and the staff who have supported them here,” she said.

Members of music fraternity Phi Mu Alpha then sang an a cappella version of the College alma mater, Oyaron, Hill of Dreams.

Before heading out to prepare for the first day of classes, students took the opportunity to enjoy cupcakes, collect raffle prizes, and have their photos taken in front of the magnificent view of the valley as the sun set.

For more information and photos of the new “First Walk,” please visit the College’s Facebook page.

Hartwick College is a private liberal arts and sciences college of 1,200 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
E-mail:        lubelld@hartwick.edu
Phone:        607-431-4031

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