News of Otsego County

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


Margaret Drugovich

Hartwick College Aims To Open

Hartwick College

To Open This Fall

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

A smiling President Drugo- vich breaks the good news in her latest video: The college hopes to welcome students back Aug. 22.

ONEONTA – Hartwick College is serious about reopening this fall – and serious about getting it right.

The key to success is a safe campus. The tool to achieve it is “Our Social Compact: A Healthy Hartwick College,” which college President Margaret L. Drugovich announced in her latest weekly video to the campus community, Sunday, June 21, and is central to the reopening plan submitted to the State of New York.

All students returning to campus Aug. 22, as well as faculty, staff and anyone working on Oyaron Hill, will have to review the Compact and sign it. Classes are due to begin Aug. 31.

“We believe (the Compact) is enforceable, we believe that individuals who refuse to agree – whether a student, employee or individual who refuses to adhere – they can’t be on our campus,” Drugovich said in an interview. “We just don’t think individuals have the right to put other people at risk.”

The community is advised “that you will adhere – to markings on the floor, to daily screenings, to masks in the presence of others, to reduced density rules. You will be refused access to campus if you have symptoms. This is what we need to do to minimize the spread,” she said. “We feel we have a right to do so, and we’re going to exercise that right.”

Governor Cuomo’s Reopening New York website posted “Higher Education Guidelines” late Saturday, June 20, and Drugovich advised the campus community that Hartwick’s reopening plan has been submitted to Albany. She said more details will be forthcoming, perhaps as soon as her Sunday, June 28, video.

Hartwick and SUNY Oneonta’s 8,000 students are cornerstones of the local economy, so their plans are of intense local interest in some quarters. While Hartwick is sharing its reopening plans, SUNY Oneonta is apparently prohibited from doing so. “We are not at liberty to say what that is until we receive approval from SUNY,” said spokesperson Kim MacLeod.

Hartwick’s decision didn’t just happen, Drugovich said. It grew out of her creation of a “strategic response team,” convened March 3, 10 days before Cuomo’s emergency declaration.

Key administrators and faculty members, as well as vendors that operate the dining halls and provide other services, have been meeting twice a week since then, “making decisions on what we need to do. First, to close and go to remote instruction; and every significant decision we’ve made since then.”

Drugovich also convenes weekly Zoom conversations, open to all employees, and “145 people show up every week.” In them, “I bring people up to date with what is true,” but “we spend most of the time talking about people’s concerns. I keep people informed, so they can leave and think for themselves, and decide for themselves.”

In early May, Drugovich convened 15 “problem-set groups,” involving more than 100 people, “that came together on one of 15 problems.”

“One problem: how to be ready to deliver education, whether or not we’d be able to meet in person,” she said. “Another problem, how to reopen athletics. Another: how to support students who would not be able to return because of COVID but want to continue their educations.

“That ended up being the core of our plan.”

A key “problem” was how to keep people safe. In addition to individual actions contained in the Compact, “we’ve been making major changes in dining. There’s no more self-service. There will be kiosks to order; or students can order their food online.

“We’re going to be limiting foot traffic. We’re going to screen people as they come into buildings … We’ve been able to operate in a certain way for so long: But this has allowed – has required – us to think differently.”

While Hartwick’s plan is one of the early ones to surface, Drugovich said components will be contained in other institutions plans, because “we’ve all been talking to each other.” In her case, as vice chair of the national Council of Independent Colleges.

She declined to comment on what she’s learned about leadership from watching Governor Cuomo, President Trump and others, but observed, “Many leaders are trying to stay isolated and making decisions on their own. It’s making a terrible mistake. You need the insights of colleagues to solve these problems and solve them well.”

Insights obtained from the last few months? For one, the lack of dependable Internet within short distances from campus. One administrator kept going dark during a meeting.

Another, students have always gotten sick; now distance learning will let the college continue to serve them.

1st Hartwick College Students Returning To Campus Aug. 22


Hartwick Plan Aims

To Return Students

To Campus Aug. 22

‘Social Compact’ Will Require

Healthy Community Practices

In a Sunday video, Hartwick College President Margaret L. Drugovich announced students will begin a phased-in return to campus Saturday, Aug. 22, with classes reopening Monday, Aug. 31.  The state issued guidelines for college reopening on Saturday afternoon, she said, and plans are for Hartwick to release its full reopening plan in the next week, to be discussed in detail by the college president in next Sunday’s video.  Part of the opening, she said yesterday, will involve every student signing “Our Social Compact: A Healthy Hartwick College.”  She continued, “this compact will help each one of us to understand and hold one another accountable for our  commitment to being an educational community.  If we individually make this commitment, we will be able to return to our shared work – together. I know we can do this.  I have confidence in you.”

DRUGOVICH: Hartwick United In Seeking Justice


Hartwick United

In Seeking Justice

Editor’s Note: Hartwick College President Margaret L. Drugovich issued this letter to the college community to address concerns in the wake of George Floyd’s death.


Simply occupying the office of the college presidency does not give me the right to presume that I know how every member of our community thinks or feels. We do not all agree on politics, culture or even the meaning of words. The very nature of an academic community begs us to question and debate every thought, every statement, and every idea that takes flight.

Margaret Drugovich has
served as Hartwick College’s
president since 2008.

But there are some ideas that stand clearly apart from all others. When it comes to human decency, justice, and fairness, there is no room for equivocation.

And so I write to every member of our Hartwick Community to say to all who will listen that we condemn the murder of George Floyd. There is no room for bias-fueled hatred at Hartwick. At Hartwick, we stand with all who seek justice for Mr. Floyd’s death.

It is our responsibility to eliminate the social, health and economic inequities that allow bias-fueled hate to continue. We must stare into the truth that these inequities result in pain for both individuals and our society as a whole. There is no benefit to any one of us if others are treated with less respect, care, compassion, or opportunity and more prejudice, mistrust, anger and cruelty. It is easy to say the words “Black Lives Matter.”

Each of us must act in a way that makes it clear that Black lives do matter. Each of us must act in a way that makes it clear that every life matters.

In my video message on May 31 I spoke to our students about how important it is to get an education that will open doors to spaces of influence so that we can make the change that is so overdue. I hope that my message planted the seed of hope that this madness does not need to continue. Education certainly is not the full answer, nor is it the only answer, but it is one path to a more just future.

I am a white woman who has worked hard to move to a place of relative privilege, but I have also been allowed the opportunity to do so. I cannot claim to fully appreciate the depth of rage and anguish of a woman of color who has been deprived of this same opportunity. I cannot know what it is like to be a black man who fears for his life when he leaves his home.

But I do understand the fear that comes with the inability to breath. If you are angry, hurt, frustrated and afraid, please know that you are not alone. We do care about you. And we will defend and protect your right to live without fear.

We will soon organize a forum for our community to discuss what we have learned from this tragedy and how we can turn that learning into meaningful action. I hope that you will participate.

Hartwick College’s President: Education Helps Ensure Justice


Hartwick College’s

President: Education

Helps Ensure Justice

On May 31, six days after George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, Hartwick College President Margaret L. Drugovich told students about how, through education, they are preparing to ensure justice in the world. She also shared Hartwick’s reopening plans for the fall and asserts, “When given permission, we will be ready.” And she again thanks those who are keeping us safe during this COVID-19 crisis.

SUNY, Hartwick Presidents Will Suspend Classes

SUNY, Hartwick

Presidents Will

Suspend Classes

Beginning March 23, Colleges

To Offer ‘Remote Instruction’

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to


ONEONTA – Both local college presidents – SUNY Oneonta’s Barbara Jean Morris and Hartwick’s Margaret L. Drugovich – this evening announced they will be shifting to online instruction, beginning Monday, March 23.

In sending the students home, both are acting out of concern about the unknown dimension of the coronavirus outbreak, which has emerged downstate and in Saratoga County.

In a statement issued at 7:50 p.m., SUNY Oneonta President Barbara Jean Morris said she was following Governor Cuomo’s directive, issued this afternoon, that “instruction across SUNY will move to other modalities.”

Drugovich Named Vice Chair Of Independent Colleges Board

Drugovich Named Vice Chair

Of Independent Colleges Board

Dr. Drugovich

ONEONTA – Hartwick College President Margaret L. Drugovich was elected vice chair of the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities at the latest CICU board meeting, where a new board chair and seven trustees were also selected.

Drugovich takes over after serving as CICU treasurer and chair of its Finance and Administrative Committee. She succeeds Adelphi University President Dr. Chris Riordan, who was named chair.

As vice chair, Drugovich is a member of the executive committee, and works with the chair to provide oversight, guidance and policy direction to organization, which serves as the collective voice for private, not-for-profit higher education in New York State.



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.

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/
‘Broadway Revealed’ At Hartwick’s Foreman Gallery

‘Broadway Revealed’

At Hartwick’s Foreman

Irene Weinburg, Oneonta, above, enjoys an in-depth panoramic look into the workshops, offices and stages of Broadway in some of the 113 works in “Broadway Revealed: Behind the Theater Curtain” by photographer Stephen Joseph now on display at Hartwick College’s Foreman Gallery. At right, Stephen Joseph, Hartwick President Margaret Drugovich and Sophie Richardson, Oneonta, enjoy conversation amidst the many images after the opening day crowds have died down. A 90-minute tour of the exhibit and lecture will be given at 2 p.m. Tuesday, July 28, by Patrice Macaluso, retired SUNY Oneonta theater professor. (Ian Austin/

Hartwick Hails Class of ’19

Hartwick Class of 2019

Departs Oyaron Hill

Nursing major Mataiah Waters, Milford, above, walks with 214 fellow graduates during the recessional at Hartwick College,’s 88th annual Commencement on Oyaran Hill in Oneonta earlier this afternoon. At right, Hartwick President Margaret Drugovich, rear, joins the crowd in recognizing Eric Cooper, associate professor of biology, who was the recipient of this year’s esteemed Margaret B. Bunn Award for Outstanding Teaching. (Ian Austin/

Hartwick E-Hub Students Share Experiences With Rotary


Hartwick E-Hub Students

Share ‘Liberal Arts In Action’

Rotarian (and Hartwick College president) Margaret L. Drugovich, above, introduces Hartwick students Allison Taft and Taylor Diepold, who spoke at today’s the Oneonta Rotary Club luncheon at The Elks Club.   Each Thursday this month, Hartwick is providing luncheon speakers to the local club.   Today’s topic was the “E-Hub Experience: Liberal Arts in Action” initiative.  Economics Professor Kristen Jones, at left,  explains how uncertainties in the future of the workforce led the college to develop the program, which helps students apply liberal arts training to hands-on problem solving.   Allison Taft spoke of the Applied Theater segment:  for instance, acting students are helping train nursing students by portraying patients’ ailments more realistically; in turn, the program helps the fledgling actors sharpen their skills.   Taylor Diepold described the development of an Agricultural Distribution Model to help local farmers get their produce to market. (Ian Austin/




Ehmann To Succeed Tannenbaum

As College’s Top Academic Officer

Dr. William J. Ehmann

ONEONTA – Dr. William J. Ehmann will be Hartwick College’s next provost and vice president for academic affairs – the college’s top academic officer, President Margaret L. Drugovich announced this evening.

He succeeds Dr. Michael G. Tannenbaum, who is retiring after serving in the role for 10 years.

The appointment, effective July 1, 2019, concludes a four-month national search and brings Ehmann here from Marymount University in Arlington, Va., where he was also provost and vice president.  As an academic, Ehmann is extensively published in the fields of biology and geology.

Hartwick Students Ring In Graduation

Hartwick Class of ’18

Rings In Graduation

Hartwick Collage Class of 2018 grad Tim Kinane, Smithtown, rings his ceremonial graduate bell with the rest of his fellow graduates during today’s commencement. (Parker Fish/
Hartwick President Dr. Margaret Drugovich addresses the Class of 2018.

ONEONTA – Despite the relentless downpour outside, Hartwick College held it 87th Commencement Ceremony today, under a large tent on Elmore Field.

Graduates were processed in by the Broome County Celtic Pipe & Drum Corps to the applause of the thousands of friends and family gathered to celebrate the occasion.

Between multiple musical features, staff and student awards, and two honorary degrees awarded in the ceremony, the crowd dug deep to find the energy to cheer for their graduates as they crossed the stage.

Hartwick College Drops Division I Sports Programs

Hartwick College Drops

Both Division I Sports 

Men’s Soccer to DIII, Women’s Water Polo Cut

By PARKER FISH • Special to

ONEONTA – In a letter addressed to all students, Hartwick College announced this afternoon that it would be withdrawing from NCAA Division I athletics, including from soccer, where it won a national championship in the 1970s.

According to the letter, signed by Hartwick College’s President Margaret Drugovich, Board of Trustees Chair Francis Landrey, and Student Affair Committee Chair David Long, Hartwick’s Board of Trustees voted on whether or not to continue with the school’s two Division I programs, and as a result of the vote, decided to discontinue the two programs at the Division I level.

County Reps, 100 Attendees Consider County’s Future

County Reps, 100 Attendees

Consider County’s Future

Dr. Gerald Benjamin, SUNY New Paltz vice president for regional engagement, presents “County Manager v. County Executive” to a full house at Springbrook’s new Family Engagement Center this morning. The 45-minute presentation, moderated by Hartwick College President Margaret Drugovich, outlined the pros and cons of both governmental structures, as well as ideas for how the Otsego County Board of Representatives might begin the process of considering new management models for the county. At right, incoming county Rep. Danny Lapin, D-City of Oneonta, asks what resources might be available to the county board for further study. (Ian Austin/

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