Opening Convocation at Hartwick: Welcoming the Newest Hawks

The Hartwick community gathered today to welcome more than 450 new students during this year’s Opening Convocation. The time-honored ceremony, held in Lambros Arena of Binder Physical Education Center, marks the official start of the 2018-19 academic year and the first full day for first-year and transfer students at Hartwick College.

Following a processional led by the Broome County Celtic Pipes and Drums, Hartwick College President Margaret L. Drugovich P’12 officially opened the ceremony. Luisa Andrade ’22 and John Walker ’22, along with Student Senate President Joseph R. Nolan ’19, then offered the traditional Matriculation Book – signed by members of the incoming class – to Vice President for Enrollment Management & Student Experience Karen McGrath. Once in hand, she turned the book over to President Drugovich, completing the symbolic “Presentation of the Class.”

President Drugovich welcomed the new students, offering them her hopes and noting, in increments of 50, what they would experience and accomplish in the coming minutes, hours, days, months, and years.

Over the next 50 minutes, she said, the class would hear from members of the Hartwick community, who would share advice that shaped their experience, and the president hoped the new Hawks would find one idea that would resonate. During the next 50 hours, students would experience being part of the first incoming class to walk down Founders’ Way, and hear guest speaker Nadya Zhexembayeva ’01 lecture on the importance of resilience and personal reinvention.

Over the next 50 days, the president noted, the students will have 35 days of classes, and 14 weekend days to fill. She hoped the new scholars would be proud of every choice they made during that time. Most students will have completed their Hartwick education during the course of the next 50 months, she continued, and be part of the College’s 225th graduation class.

And in 50 years, “My hope is that you look back at your success, and see that its seeds were sown here at Hartwick,” she concluded.

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Michael G. Tannenbaum P’14 offered new students four pieces of advice for making the most of academic life. He urged the new class to be curious, resilient, disciplined, and helpful. These traits, he said, will “help you be much more likely to achieve academic and professional success, be positioned to make the world a better place, and make you much more likely to enjoy, and benefit from, the Hartwick journey that starts today.”

Vice President McGrath praised the newest class, calling its members both “engaging and connected.” She said it was the most active of recent Hartwick classes on social media, and noted, “Forty percent of you found your roommates through our Facebook page.”

She also challenged the new Hawks to explore the options and opportunities available to them – and to push themselves outside their comfort zone – listing a range of possibilities open to Hartwick students.

Nolan cited his recent internship in Washington, D.C. as an example of those opportunities, one “he wouldn’t have had without Hartwick College and its truly dedicated and interested faculty and staff.”

He thanked two faculty members, Professor of Political Science Dr. Laurel Elder and Professor of Economics Dr. Carli Ficano, as being specifically influential in obtaining his internship.

“Hartwick’s professors help you achieve things that you never could have imagined possible,” he said, and advised new students to “go to their office hours, and ask questions in and out of the classroom.”

A musical interlude featuring Victor Ewald’s Brass Quintet No. 1, Op. 5 was next delivered by the Hartwick Faculty Brass, a quintet of Hartwick faculty, alumni, and friends. The ensemble included Assistant Professor of Music Dr. Andrew Pease on trumpet; Stephanie Hollander on French horn; Paul Blake ’01 on trombone; and Adam Fredette ’18 on bass trombone.

Professor of Biology Dr. Eric Cooper offered practical advice to new students on the nature and importance of collaboration with Hartwick faculty.

“In your classes, keep your eyes peeled for topics you might want to dive into more deeply,” he said, relaying his own experience in changing his focus from pre-med to molecular biology as an undergraduate.

He also encouraged students to find a mentor, budget their time, and “aim to be a ‘Lego master,’” in reference to developing an interest in something early, and developing it over time.

Tiara Cooper ’19 followed and encouraged students to “put yourselves out there, follow your dreams and work hard.” She reflected on her own journey, and struggles in a particular class that were remedied by reaching out to her professor.

“It meant everything to me, because that semester I learned that people are ready and willing to help you here,” she said.

Opening Convocation closed in Hartwick tradition, with the Hartwick Faculty Brass accompanying baritone Dylan Youngs ’19 in a performance of the College’s alma mater, Oyaron, Hill of Dreams.

Following the ceremony, Hartwick’s newest students moved out to Elmore Field to pose for their class photo with President Drugovich and college mascot, Swoop, after which they began to enjoy additional Welcome Weekend activities to mark the start of their new journey.

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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