The 2013 Hartwick College graduates were called to assemble Saturday on Oyaron Hill with Hartwick President Margaret L. Drugovich pronouncing the traditional call to order, “The company of scholars is assembled, let the ceremonies begin.”
Dr. Deepak Chopra gave the commencement address.
Chopra, the founder of the Chopra Foundation and the Chopra Center for Wellbeing, is the author of 64 books, numerous columns and regular contributions to Oprah.com.
A medical doctor and a wellness practitioner, Chopra reminded graduates that despite all of the advances in technology and medicine the world is still beset by war, poverty, terrorism, and both obesity and malnutrition.
“It is imperative for the future of humanity that wisdom becomes the new criterion for sustainable life on this planet,” Chopra said to the 303 graduates. “And wisdom is that knowledge that nurtures life in all its dimensions not only for us but also for the generations that follow us.”
Chopra quoted Mohandas Gandhi and asked the graduates, “Can you be the change you want to see in the world?”
The steady rain and blustery wind seemed to do little to diminish the excitement of the crowd.
George Kansas, a 1986 Hartwick graduate, attended the ceremonies with his daughter, Tessa, class of 2015, to hear Chopra speak.
“This is a tremendous honor for Hartwick to have such a famous speaker,” Kansas said. “He had such an effect on my life”
As the graduates assembled, waiting for the procession, clusters of students paused in front of mirrors, adjusting their gowns and checking their appearance. Family members hovered closely, wiping happy tears.
“I am so nervous,” Kelsey Kimble said as she waited for the ceremony to begin. “I just really want to get this over with.”
Mark Earnest Smith, Hartwick Student Senate president, greeted the graduating class.
“When we first came here, we called Hartwick the college of stairs,” he said. “Now, we call Hartwick home. We are the class of 2013. We are part of the ‘Y’ generations. We are not following social norms, we are creating them.
Three honorary degrees were bestowed. Chopra received an honorary doctor of science. James J. Elting posthumously was awarded an honorary doctor of science, which was accepted by his wife, Karen Elting. Judith Brick Freedman was awarded an honorary doctor of letters.
The candidates for graduation were presented by Michael G. Tannenbaum, provost and vice president for academic affairs.
“This class has been great,” Tannenbaum said. “They seem to be a little more serious than previous classes. They seem to be closer, too. Especially the 22 nursing graduates — they are extremely, closely bonded, more so than any other I have seen in my four years here.”
After receiving their degrees and graduate stoles, the members of the 2013 graduating class each received a traditional Hartwick bell, which they rang in unison at the conclusion of the ceremony.
“My mind is in a whirl,” said graduate Anne Louise Wagner, who studied Spanish and education. “I am really excited to go out and use what I have learned. I am excited for a new world.”