Hartwick College President Margaret L. Drugovich will retire during the summer of 2022, the college board of trustees announced Monday, Sept. 13.
Drugovich shared her decision in a letter to all members of the Board of Trustees and in a communication to the full college community, according to a media release. Her departure date will be determined in collaboration with the board.
“It has been my honor to lead Hartwick over these past 13 years, and to do so in partnership with the college’s dedicated trustees and our entire community,” Drugovich said in the release. “Working together with our talented faculty and staff, steadfast alumni, and generous supporters, we have enhanced the college’s ability to prepare our students for meaningful and successful lives after graduation, strengthened Hartwick’s national reputation, and increased the college’s role in regional economic development.
"Together we have brought Hartwick to a place of distinction and strength as an important part of the higher education ecosystem," she continued. "I feel confident that the college is poised for even greater success in the years to come.”
During her tenure as the college’s 10th president, Drugovich guided Hartwick through several changes.
“Margaret has led Hartwick with an unwavering commitment to student success, future-focused programming, creative partnerships, and the long-term financial strength of the college,” said Board Chair David H. Long. “She has positioned the college well for its future, and we continue to be grateful for her insightful, innovative and inspiring leadership.”
Drugovich, who joined Hartwick in 2008, has overseen the development of several initiatives during her tenure, among them: FlightPath, an approach to education and professional preparation "designed to provide students with the skills necessary to succeed in a global economy post-graduation"; an accelerated three-year degree program; the development of six undergraduate majors, a graduate-level program in translational biomedical research management, and soon, its Master of Science degree in Nursing Education and a certificate of advanced study in nursing education; and investments in campus infrastructure, according to the release.
At the same time, Drugovich led the development of Hartwick’s Center for Craft Food & Beverage on the college’s campus in 2014 and the Grain Innovation Center, which will be in downtown Oneonta.
Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig worked closely with Hartwick College on many projects including the Grain Innovation Center.
"President Drugovich’s commitment to the future of the Oneonta community — through the pandemic and the development of the downtown Grain Innovation Center — has been vitally important," he told The Daily Star. "Both the Hartwick and Oneonta communities have benefitted from her transformative leadership. I have not only enjoyed working in partnership with President Drugovich but have learned from her. I wish both Margaret and Beth all the best in their future adventures."
Drugovich also led Hartwick during a time of controversy involving its sports programs.
"Hartwick has ... adapted to the changing environment when it was necessary," Drugovich said in a May 2018 guest commentary to The Daily Star. "Our recent decisions to discontinue the college’s participation in Division I athletics and the subsequent changes for men’s soccer and women’s water polo were the result of similar thoughtful consideration, as was our decision to cease men’s tennis. Every decision we make in athletics affects our students, employees and coaches. The appropriateness Division I athletic teams — and their athletic scholarships — in a principally Division III athletic program has been debated many times over the last 30 years. And as difficult as it was, this was the time to make that decision."
The changes caused an outcry among athletes, parents and college alumni, not just because of the changes, but the timing of the changes, as recruiting for D-I colleges had been completed by the time decision had been announced.
The college’s Board of Trustees has initiated a formal search to choose Hartwick’s 11th president. The search committee will be led by Trustee Vice Chair Kathleen Fallon and include representatives from the campus community. The goal is to identify a new leader by the start of the 2022-23 academic year as the college celebrates the 225th anniversary of its founding, the release said.