By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
Retiring Hartwick College President Margaret Drugovich said she will miss the Oneonta community
when she steps down next year.
“I really enjoyed being part of the Oneonta community and I’ll miss it,” Drugovich said on Monday, Sept. 20, and said how much she liked the warm atmosphere of the people in Oneonta.
“They care deeply about one another and the people in it,” Drugovich said. “It’s just a great place to be and I’ll make sure to tell the next person who will be president that it’s a community they will really enjoy.”
Drugovich, 62, said that she felt she was leaving at a good time because the college was soon going to be having its 225th anniversary. She also said she was happy to step aside next year because it was a good landmark for her.
“I feel good about the 14 years I’ve been here and what we’ve been able to accomplish,” Drugovich said, who noted she began her tenure in 2008 during a recession and was ending it in 2021 during a pandemic.
“We’ve made a lot of progress on campus,” Drugovich said. “We’ve done a lot of good work.”
She also said Hartwick College has changed a lot, noting an increased diversity within the student body, with 35% being from non-white backgrounds. She said the students showed they were more compassionate, more thoughtful and more in tune with their surroundings.
She praised the students, who are “more focused on issues that had to do with justice and the environment,” which was fitting for the times they are living in. Drugovich said the increased diversity, as well as the changing nature of what students at Hartwick College are interested in, is “good for the Oneonta community as well.”
Drugovich said she went to a football game last week and saw the various students in the Hartwick College colors cheering on their team and realized they had developed a great sense of community.
“They want to be members of the community,” Drugovich said.
One of Drugovich’s major accomplishments was developing FlightPath, a support system for students at Hartwick College, in 2017. She said the school’s administration looked at the changing nature of colleges going forward and hired research firms to determine what future students would need to help them with success in education and eventually employment.
“I’m still in awe at what they were able to do,” Drugovich said.
Aspects of FlightPath include an embedded career program, mentoring and providing all students
with a “success coach” in order to help the students and make sure they don’t fall behind.
She also said she was going to be working with Hartwick “to make it a smooth transition” when she eventually leaves. She and the school have not announced a retirement date, yet.
However, Drugovich said she imagines she is going to continue working in higher education and has no current plans to “go fishing.”
She feels the college’s anniversary is a “golden moment” to retire.
“Whenever you bring a new leader into the community, that generates a lot of interest and excitement,” Drugovich said. “My contract didn’t expire until 2024, but we felt this was a good time.”