News of Otsego County

Serving Otsego County, NY, through the combined reporting of Cooperstown's Freeman's Journal and the Hometown Oneonta newspapers.

Hartwick College

Pastor Messner Takes Dip For A Good Cause 


Pastor Messner Takes

Dip For A Good Cause 

The Rev. Paul Messner takes his first dip of the day in the dunking cage at Atonement Lutheran Church’s block party today in Oneonta – credit Keegan Syron’s accurate arm.   Helping Pastor Messner at the cage – in addition to spending $1 from time to time for three rubber balls to throw at their mentor – were members of Hartwick College’s Alpha Sigma Phi national fraternity, from left, Keegan, Syrano Edwards, Les Vaccaro and Connor Roadermel.  The block party benefits the Susquehanna SPCA’s Shelter Us campaign to raise $3.5 million for a new animal shelter at Index.   (Jim Kevlin/

Wrights Do Double Duty When Women Play, Millie Reigns; When Men, It’s Clyde

Wrights Do

Double Duty

When Women Play, Millie

Reigns; When Men, It’s Clyde

Brian R. Wright and his wife, Josie, celebrate his mother Millie’s legacy with Dr. Margaret Drugovich, Hartwick College president, at the dedication of the Clyde and Millie Wright Stadium on Oyaron Hill. But don’t worry – father Clyde’s name is on the other side of the rotating sign. (Ian Austin/

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

The honorees, Clyde and Millie Wright.

ONEONTA – Call it the Clyde Field.

Or, depending on the day, the Millie.

“The sign spins, so when the football team plays, it’s the Clyde Field, and when the girls lacrosse team plays, it’s the Millie Field,” said David Lubell, Hartwick College media relations manager.

On Saturday, Sept. 21, the Wright Field and its new turf was dedicated in honor of Hartwick benefactors Clyde and Millie Wright at the halftime of the True Blue homecoming weekend football game.

“Clyde and Millie donated their time to and invested in the community,” said Hartwick College President Dr. Margaret L. Drugovich during her remarks. “As we dedicate this field, we acknowledge that they will be remembered, woven in the fabric of our strength.”

Clyde Wright, a Milford native and a graduate of Oneonta High School, was a prominent businessman, the owner of Wright’s Grocery and later, Wright’s Electric Co.

“He got to know everybody,” said his son, Brian R. Wright, partner in Hinman, Howard & Katell, the prominent Binghamton law firm. “And he believed that citizens should be involved in supporting the college. So he organized the Citizens Board at Hartwick College.”

Brian Wright and Tony Drago swap sports memories in the Hawks Nest at Wright Field, overlooking the homecoming game. (Ian Austin /

Clyde’s wife, Millie, also got involved with fundraising, and the two of them were frequent guests at science lectures and cultural gatherings on Oyaron Hill. “She was very supportive of a college education,” said Wright. “She thought it was wonderful to see all the students downtown, enjoying Oneonta.”

Clyde also served on the board of trustees, and was recognized by the college’s Citizens Board as a Distinguished Citizen in 1958.

“His citation read, ‘Though his name is known far beyond the confines of this community, it is here that the foundation for his abundant life has been laid, and it is here that has the first place in his mind and heart,” said Drugovich.
Son Brian followed in his father’s footsteps, serving as a trustee for 26 years. “There hadn’t been football at Hartwick College since 1958,” he said. “During my tenure, the school decided it would be good to reinstitute football. It’s good for bringing student athletes and it helps the male and female balance at the school.”
The field was then known as the all-weather field, with what Wright described as a “carpet” of turf. “It was getting a lot of use,” he said. “There was football, and women’s field hockey and lacrosse were becoming popular. It just wore out.”
Wright spearheaded a fundraising effort to raised to re-turf and rededicate the field. In all, $3 million was raised and spread out over Wright and Elmore Field, as well as additional outdoor athletic enhancements.
“There we so many donors and trustees who saw the value of athletics,” he said. “And with all the student athletes coming in, they didn’t need a new dorm or educational building, they needed fields to play on that were comparable to other schools.”
In 2006, the field was dedicated in the Wright Family’s honor under the late Dick Miller’s tenure as college president. He gave Brian Wright a Hartwick College baseball cap, which he wore again on Saturday.
“On that day in 2006, the Hartwick community gathered to name this stadium after the Wright family,” said Drugovich. “On that day, the memory of your father and mother came alive through words of tribute.”
And in 2008, Brian and Josie were named Hartwick College Citizens of the Year – 50 years after his father was so named – and the son has received both an honorary degree and the President’s Medal for Extraordinary and Exemplary Loyalty.
Immediately following the 2019 graduation ceremonies, the old turf – dubbed “Clyde’s Carpet” following the original dedication – was removed, and an entirely new field put in. The turf itself has deeper fibers, and the infill layers underneath are made of sand and rubber pellets to provide more cushion for players.
In all, $450,000 was raised for the new turf field, with Wright providing the lead gift and matching dollar-for-dollar every gift.

In The End, Only Work, Love Matter


In The End, Only

Work, Love Matter

Venerable Harvard Yard, left, and Hartwick College’s centerpiece, Founders Way, dedicated in 2017.

The ironic thing about actress Felicity Huffman and many other well-heeled parents bribing college officials to get their students into top schools is:  It doesn’t matter.

Human beings have lived for 200,000 years. No one’s sure how many of us have walked this Earth, but a common “best guess” is 105 billion.

All but a tiny fraction of those, you must know, never heard of Harvard, Yale or Stanford. Even today, only a fraction of the 7.2 billion living on Earth have heard of the Ivy League – or would care if they had.

Now get this: Despite the inevitable challenges we all face, many of those 105 billion, and today’s 7.2 billion, are living satisfactory lives, some more joyful than others, all containing moments of happiness, and sometimes much more.

This being a local paper, there’s a local angle, beyond all of us knowing a happy person, or two, or many more.

With 10 more of those overreaching parents due to be sentenced this week – perhaps to short prison terms – Malcolm Gladwell’s comparison of Harvard University with Hartwick College from “David and Goliath” (2013) comes to mind.

Gladwell compared the number of STEM students – in the rigorous science, technology, engineering and math fields – at Harvard and at Hartwick.

He found: Even though Harvard’s bottom third of STEM students have higher SATs than the top third at Hartwick, “students in the bottom third of the Harvard class give up on challenging math and science studies just as much as their counterparts in Upstate
New York.”

Comparing themselves to the geniuses at the top of the class, Harvard’s bottom third become “so demoralized … many of them drop out of science entirely and transfer to some non-science major.”

Dipping into another analysis, Gladwell finds “the likelihood of someone completing a STEM degree … rises by 2 percentage points for every 10-point decrease in the university’s average SAT score.

In the case of a young woman considering STEM programs, he figures she would reduce her chances of success by 30 percent by choosing Brown over the University of Maryland. “Thirty percent!” he exclaims.

“The smarter your peers, the dumber you feel,” said Gladwell. “The dumber you feel, the more likely you are to drop out of science.”

This isn’t to dis Harvard.

If you get in – as a number of lively, brainy, disciplined, accomplished Otsego County high school graduates do every decade – great. When you do go, and are surrounded by all those geniuses, don’t forget: You’re plenty smart or you wouldn’t be there.

Elsewhere, it’s been noted U.S. presidents – until lately, exemplars of American accomplishment – were predominantly from small towns, from Niles, Ohio, to West Branch, Iowa, to Tampico, Ill. In small towns, according to one theory, young future presidents learned they could influence their surroundings, and emerged self-confident
they could save the world.

Many didn’t go to college, but “read law,” and many went to fine smaller colleges
like Hartwick – Kenyon, Bowdoin, Union. Harry S Truman went to Spalding
Commercial College in Kansas City, Mo. – and dropped out.

So two cheers for Otsego County – home of small towns, and of Hartwick College.

Even that’s beside the point.

Two-thirds of Americans don’t have college degrees, and many of them – as all of us know from our neighbors – are living happy lives, with meaningful jobs, surrounded by loving family.

One caveat, don’t forget that Brookings’ study from 2014, identifying – statistically – three ways young people can achieve economic security: One, finish high school; two, work fulltime; three, don’t marry and start a family until you’re 21.

Nor is this in praise of poverty. No way.

Let’s go back where we started. Fifteen parents may go to jail this week for something that doesn’t matter.

What did Freud say? Love and work are the sole requirements of a happy life.

Felicity Huffman, husband William Macy and their daughters.

When Huffman’s daughter Sophia learned the news, she told her mother, “Why didn’t you believe in me? Why didn’t you think I could do it on my own?” mom Felicity testified.

“I had no adequate answer for her then,” the mother continued, “I have no adequate answer for her now. I can only say, I am so sorry, Sophia. I was frightened, I was stupid, and I was so wrong.”

Go Hawks! Go Red Dragons, for that matter – SUNY Oneonta has success
stories aplenty as well.  Even further: Go Oneonta Yellowjackets! Go Cooperstown Redsk…, er, Hawkeyes!

The means to happiness may be simpler than we often think.

Hartwick Christens New Field After Wright Benefactors


Hartwick Christens Field

After College Benefactors

During Hartwick College’s True Blue Weekend, the Hartwick Hawks football team Saturday played its first game in the newly re-done Wright Stadium. At half-time, Hartwick President Margaret Drugovich, middle, officially re-named the field after college benefactors Clyde and Millie Wright.   Drugovich is seen with, from left, the Wrights’ son Brian,  Special Counsel, Howard & Kattell, the Binghamton law firm; Hartwick lacrosse player Tim Watson, Swoop, Brian Wright’s wife Josie, board chair David Long, and lacrosse player Rachel Hedden, underneath the new sign at the entrance to the field. The sign will eventually spin so it will read “The Clyde” during boys games, and “The Millie” during girls games. (Ian Austin/

Farmers’ Harvest Festival

Continues For Second Day


HARVEST FESTIVAL – 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Two-day fest continues today, featuring live performances, music, family activities to celebrate the seasons bounty. Farmers’ Museum, Cooperstown. 607-547-1450 or visit

FALL FEST – 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Explore the environmental campus this True Blue weekend. Includes apple cider making, cob oven bread baking, hay rides, live music, opportunity to do the ropes course (closed toe shoes required). Pine Lake Environmental Campus, Hartwick College, Oneonta. 607-431-4064 or visit

TEDx Oneonta Inspires At Slade Theater


Oneonta’s TEDx Evening

Includes CADE Executive

Phoebe Schreiner, Oneonta, Center for Agricultural Development &  Entrepreneurship executive director, presents he talk, “Why America Needs a New Foodshed,” at this evening’s TEDx Talk At Slade Theater at Hartwick College. She was one of five speakers who spoke at the event, but the one local ones.  Others were: “The Real Reason Relationships Fail” by  Abby Medcalf, “Ubuntu 2.0: Humanity’s Operating System” by Getrude Matshe-Kanicki, “Personal Power; Establishing Connections For Success” by Matt Episcopo, and “Rising is a Risk. Do it Anyway,” by Cait Scudder. TEDxOneonta is a locally organized TED event associated with the national TED Talk movement. (Ian Austin/
SUNY, Hartwick Students Come Back On Same Day


SUNY, Hartwick Students

Come Back On Same Day

By JENNIFER HILL • Special to

ONEONTA – Some 2,000 freshman were returning here Wednesday, Aug. 21, arriving the same day at SUNY Oneonta and Hartwick College.

That’s 1,525 at SUNY and 425 at Hartwick.

But arriving students are already looking beyond settling in.

For instance, as part of their orientation this year, SUNY Oneonta students have to learn to think fast.  “Fast O,” that is.

“The ‘Fast O’ is the athletic logo,” said Kim MacLeod, SUNY Oneonta associate director of communications. “Students in shirts with the ‘Fast O’ colors – white, red and black – will run out in the afternoon during the picnic and create a human ‘Fast O’.”

The picnic, part of SUNY’s Founders’ Day celebration on Thursday, Sept 4, celebrating the start of the college’s 130th anniversary year.

At Hartwick, the student body will be looking forward to the True Blue Weekend, its largest alumni-engagement event of the year, which is being moved up to mid-September instead of early October, three weeks earlier than usual. “It just worked out that the home game was happening earlier,” said David Lubell, Hartwick College’s media manager.

U.S. Orthodox Archbishop Headlines Annual Institute Hosted At Hartwick College

U.S. Orthodox Archbishop

Headlines Annual Institute

Hosted At Hartwick College

Orthodox Archbishop MIchael Dahulick keynotes weeklong institute at Hartwick College.

ONEONTA –  Orthodox Church in America Archbishop Michael Dahulich will discuss a bishop’s role in teaching the faith at the annual Hartwick Seminary Summer Institute of Theology at 6:30 p.m. this Thursday at Hartwick College.

Bishop Dahulich will teach on “Wisdom from the Psalms,” part of the annual Institute of Theology underway this week.

Oneonta clergy offering classes this year include Father David Mickiewicz, St Mary’s Roman Catholic Church; Father Vasil Dubee, St Innocents Orthodox Church; The Rev. Cynthia Walton-Leavitt, Red Door Presbyterian; Cindy Korb, retired teacher and missionary, and Carmel Sperti, Director of Faith Formation, St Mary’s.

First Day For New Provost At Hartwick College

First Day At Hartwick College

For John Ehmann, Provost, VP

Dr. Bill Ehmann started as Hartwick College’s new Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs this morning. succeeding Dr. Michael Tannenbaum, who retired this year after a decade with the college. He’s returning to the area after working at Marymount University in Arlington, Va, and had previously been a provost at SUNY Plattsburg, an associate dean at Empire State College and on the faculty at Mercy College.  Dr. Leamor Kahanov from Misericordia University, Dallas, Pa., joins SUNY Oneonta next Monday as provost, the top academic post at colleges and universities.  (Ian Austin,
Of Hartwick’s RN Grads, 80% Already Have Jobs

Of Hartwick’s RN Grads,

80% Already Have Jobs

ONEONTA – Of the Class of 2019 nursing students who graduated last month from Hartwick College, 80 percent of those employed upon graduation were hired by the site at which they completed their practicum.

In other words, if a Hartwick nursing student trained at a facility, they were more often hired there after graduation than elsewhere, the college said in a press release issued yesterday.

Newly minted Hartwick nurses were hired at facilities including:

Posts navigation

21 Railroad Ave. Cooperstown, New York 13326 • (607) 547-6103