News Local Luminaries Set to Inspire Graduates at Hartwick College’s Commencement, May 20

April 6, 2023


Hartwick College will confer an honorary degree on Francesca Zambello, Artistic and General Director Emerita of The Glimmerglass Festival and artistic director of Washington National Opera, and welcome Josh Rawitch, President of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, as speaker at its commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 20. The ceremony begins at 11:30 a.m.

“Francesca Zambello and Josh Rawitch are visionaries who have each demonstrated an exemplary commitment to this region,” said Hartwick President Darren Reisberg. “So, it is fitting that they join us this year – a year in which Hartwick has made such strides in strengthening ties with our community neighbors through initiatives like the HartLand Promise. We take great pride in preparing our students to lead in their careers and be active and engaged community members. Francesca and Josh are exceptional and inspirational role models and will challenge and encourage our newest alumni to pursue their own life of success and significance.”

An internationally recognized opera and theater director, Francesca Zambello’s work has been seen worldwide. She serves as Artistic and General Director Emerita of The Glimmerglass Festival and Artistic Director of the Washington National Opera. She has begun major commissioning programs for new works in both companies that have produced many new large and small-scale works.

In addition to receiving the San Francisco Opera Medal for Artistic Excellence and serving as its artistic advisor from 2006-2011, Zambello was awarded the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the French government for her contribution to French culture. Zambello has also received two French Grand Prix des Critiques for her work at the Paris Opera. Additionally, she was awarded the Russian Federation’s medal for Service to Culture. Other honors for her work include three Olivier Awards from the London Society of Theaters and two Evening Standard Awards for Best Musical and Best Opera.

Zambello’s international honors include Best Production in Japan, the Palme d’Or in Germany, the Golden Mask in Russia and the Helpmann Award in Australia. She was recently honored with the Knighthood of the Order of the Star of Italy for promoting Italian musical and operatic heritage in the United States and worldwide.

In overseeing the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Josh Rawitch manages the daily operation of the non-profit educational institution, whose mission is to preserve history, honor excellence and connect generations. He came to Cooperstown following ten seasons at the Arizona Diamondbacks, where he served as senior vice president of content and communications.

Before that, Rawitch was with the Los Angeles Dodgers for 15 seasons, initially in the marketing department before moving to public relations and spending two years working for Major League Baseball Advanced Media.

He has overseen media relations during trips to Mexico, China, Taiwan and Australia and goodwill tours of Japan, New Zealand and the Dominican Republic. Rawitch has also been venue press chief for the World Baseball Classic on multiple occasions, most recently in Seoul, South Korea.

Rawitch has served on several boards of directors, including the Greater Phoenix Chamber and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. He has helped organize the MLB’s winter meeting’s annual auction, which has raised more than $1.8 million for various charitable causes.

Rawitch was honored with the 2018 Robert O. Fishel Award, which goes to a non-uniformed representative of MLB who best exemplifies public relations excellence and the standards of the longtime baseball public relations executive for which it is named.

He received a bachelor’s degree in sports marketing and management with a minor in business from Indiana University. Rawitch has taught strategic sports communications at Arizona State University and the University of Southern California.

For more information about Hartwick’s commencement ceremony, visit the website.