Doc Hendley and his book

“Wine to Water” Selected as 3x Hartwick New Student Read

September 22, 2016

For the third year in a row, Wine to Water, Doc Hendley’s seminal book about the world’s fresh water crisis, has been selected as the Hartwick College New Student Read.

Wine to Water tells the captivating story of one man who is changing the world through clean water. In 2004, Hendley – a small-town bartender – launched a series of wine-tasting events to raise funds for clean-water projects and to bring awareness to the world’s freshwater crisis. He planned to donate the proceeds through traditional channels, but found himself instead traveling to one of the world’s most dangerous hot spots: Darfur, Sudan.

“Doc’s inspirational story demonstrates how one person can impact and change the lives of many,” said Dean of Student Success Robin Diana. “Two years ago, when the first-year read committee chose Wine to Water, it was our intent to use it for just one year. After having Doc on campus and reviewing the student ‘Wick 101 evaluations, it was clear to us that Wine to Water was the book of choice for year two, and beyond.”

Hendley’s work has had a profound effect on the Hartwick community. Since introducing the work to Hartwick students, the College started a Wine to Water club, which is in the process of receiving recognition as an official Wine to Water chapter. As an alternative spring break trip, Associate Director of Student Success Ann-Lis Glenn led a group of eight students to the Dominican Republic to work with Hendley’s Water to Wine non-profit by shoveling clay, loading kilns, and educating young children on basic hygiene. They went to homes of those who used the filters to learn from the families about their experiences. Another trip is planned this spring.

The College is also looking at offering a related spring term course that will include a service trip component.

On Tuesday, September 27, Hendley will again visit the Hartwick campus for a presentation, book signing and meetings with select students. At 7:30 p.m., he will speak to the new class (first-year and transfer students) in Binder Physical Education Center’s Lambros Arena about his humanitarian experiences helping people worldwide who lack access to clean water and sanitation. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Hendley is founder and president of the Wine to Water organization. He became inspired to do something about the world’s water crisis when he learned that 1.1 billion people worldwide lack access to clean water, and that unclean water is the number one killer of children in the world. Wine to Water documents his journey from bartending in North Carolina to his first fundraising campaign in 2003 to his 2004 trip to Darfur, Sudan, where he began installing water systems for victims of the government-supported genocide.

In 2009, Hendley was named one of the Top 10 CNN Heroes for his compassionate work.

Through ‘Wick 101, the common course new students take in their first term, the New Student Read program is designed to provide a framework for dialogue that connects students in a thoughtful way with instructors, ‘Wick 101 classmates, and fellow students. The New Student Read serves as the required text and provides an opportunity for students to discuss and reflect on themes of purpose, passion, and personal mission as they make critical decisions during college and beyond.

The ‘Wick 101 curriculum is designed around Wine to Water’s theme, encouraging students to find passion and purpose in life while at Hartwick College.

“This became so much more for our campus than just a first-year read, bigger than we ever expected for our campus, where we all have been moved by Doc’s journey to learn more and do more,” Diana added.

Students from Stamford Central School and Gilbertsville-Mt. Upton will also be attending Hendley’s lecture. They have been reading copies of the book, donated by the College, and members of the College’s Wine to Water club are visiting their classes this week to facilitate discussion about the book.

Wine to Water: How One Man Saved Himself While Trying to Save the World
Tuesday, September 27, 2016
7:30 p.m.
Lambros Arena, Binder Physical Education Center

The presentation is free and open to the public.

For more information, contact Glenn at or 607-431-4744.