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Keuka College News

France is on the Edge

By Dr. Sander A. Diamond, professor of history

About a week after the deadly attacks on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and the Jewish Kosher grocery/deli in Paris, many world leaders arrived in France to show their support for a grief-stricken nation. Among them was Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “Bibi” told members of the city’s Jewish community that the doors of Israel are open for them and it was time “to come home.” Said one commentator: “A France without Jews would be unthinkable.”

It almost happened during the Nazi Occupation of France during World War II. Had the Allies not liberated France in the summer of 1944 and the war dragged on, there is no question that France may have been Judenfrei, like Poland. However, after the creation of the State of Israel in 1948, several hundred thousand Jews from Arab countries arrived in France, following in the footsteps of the Jews who first arrived in Marseilles (Massilia in the ancient world) around 500 B.C.

Despite their success in nearly every field of human endeavor, France’s Jewish population is frightened. Anti-Semitism has been rising in France faster than any other European country.  Two years ago, a rabbi and his children were gunned down in the south of France. The desecration of Jewish cemeteries and the walls of Jewish institutions is an everyday occurrence, and swastikas are routinely painted on temples, despite the presence of police guards. The Jews of France are living in a permanent state of angst.

Anti-Jewish or anti-Israeli sentiment runs deep in France’s Muslim community and it appears that the younger generation, often living in what we in the States call “projects,” are the most infected. Most are native-born, French citizens, as was the case with the three terrorists in the January attacks. Raised on an endless diet of anti-Zionism in the Arab media and on the web, Jew-hatred is part of their worldview. Their sympathies lie with the Palestinians and more broadly with anti-Western views. Yesterday, they supported Arafat; today, Isis and al-Qaeda, whose views on the Jews (“dogs”) are well known. Attacks on Jews and Jewish institutions are a way to express their radicalism, what specialists on this topic call “soft targets.”

Some of these views are shared by the hard right, the National Front, founded by Jean-Marie Le Pen and today led by 46-year-old Marine Le Pen. She has distanced herself from the older Le Pen, who denies the Holocaust, dismissing it as a myth created by the Zionists whose aim is to control world events. After the attacks in Paris, Jean-Marie Le Pen offered his read on the attack on the magazine and the Jewish deli: the terrorists were hired by Washington and Tel-Aviv, an allegation heard after 9/11.

While the Jews feel unsafe, the Muslims are just as fearful and have more to fear as a backlash of Islamophobia is sweeping France, Belgium, and Germany. This, in turn, will most certainly cause the coalescence of Muslim communities, which in turn may push back with cries of racism which is extant in France, despite the denials. Street protests will be common, calling for more protection.  After all, if the government is protecting the Jews, why not the Muslims? But for others, the solution to their problems is more domestic terrorism, and both the government and the Jews rightfully fear they will be the targets.

It is unlikely that many Jews will heed “Bibi’s” call, and while the rising tide of Islamophobia may cause some Muslims to pack up and leave, it will barely make a dent in the number of Muslims who live in France, about 10 percent of the population.

But there’s no question that France is on the edge, and as much as France without Jews is unthinkable, France without Muslims in the contemporary world is equally unthinkable.

Entrepreneurship in the Finger Lakes Focus of Community Luncheon

Keuka College’s Community Luncheon Series will continue Wednesday, March 25, with a talk by Dundee native Ray Spencer, who, along with his wife Sandi, owns Water Street Wines & Spirits and the newly opened Water Street Wine Bar, both in Penn Yan.

Spencer will discuss “My Entrepreneurial Journey” at noon in the Gannett Room of Lightner Library. He has created or opened multiple businesses in the Finger Lakes region, including a bed and breakfast and his own winery.

After growing up in Dundee and attending the town’s schools, Spencer earned a bachelor of science degree in business from the University of Buffalo. Shortly after graduating from college, Spencer was hired by Glenora Wine Cellars in 1977,  the year of the winery’s inaugural harvest. Just a year later, he became the general manager and held a number of positions—including wine maker—before retiring as vice president of operations in 2003.

“They joke that I was their first employee,” said Spencer. “The New York Farm Winery Act of 1976 had recently been established and it was a catalyst for new wineries to come. Coca-Cola purchased the Taylor Winery and as it is a worldwide company, it realized that it could buy grapes from across the world, not just locally.”

That left local growers without a market for their grapes. Thanks to the Farm Winery Act, it allowed grape growers in New York to establish wineries and sell directly to the public.

“Because I grew up in the area, I was familiar with, and interested in, the Finger Lakes region,” said Spencer, for whom all of his businesses have had wine as a common theme.

Spencer’s latest business, the Water Street Wine Bar, opened January 7, and is the “crown jewel of my career,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to operate a wine bar, and this is the culmination of all I’ve done.”

Tickets for the luncheon are $12.75, $2.50 of which goes to the Penn Yan Keuka Club Scholarship Fund. The fund provides an annual scholarship to a local student attending KeukaCollege. Seating is limited, so reservations are advised. Make checks payable to Keuka College and mail to: Office of Alumni and Family Relations, Keuka College, Keuka Park, N.Y. 14478. Reservations may be made online at The reservation deadline is Friday, March 20.

For more information call (315) 279-5238 or e-mail

Oscar Win Would be Fitting Tribute to Turing

By Dr. Jorge L. Díaz-Herrera, president

Dr. Jorge L. Díaz-Herrera

The Imitation Game, based on the real-life story of Alan Turing and his team of code-breakers at England’s top-secret Government Code and Cypher School in World War II, garnered eight Oscar nominations, including Best Picture and Best Actor in a Leading Role for Benedict Cumberbatch.

Turing built a digital computer that broke Nazi Germany’s most closely guarded encryption code, the Enigma code. That story was superbly told in The Imitation Game, which ended with the filmmakers’ revelation that Turing committed suicide in 1954. An open-minded gay man, Turing was a victim of the discriminatory laws of the day.

Prime Minister Winston Churchill said that “Turing’s work was one of the most important factors in the victory for the Allied forces and had probably shortened the war by as much as two years.” In 1945 he was awarded the Order of the British Empire for his services to his country and in 1951, Turing was elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Society.

However, we knew nothing about this war hero and mathematical and engineering genius until the 1970s, and not until 2012, 100 years after his birth, were his wartime papers declassified. What is now known is that Turing’s brilliant work proved essential to the development of computers and today’s machines rely on his seminal insight. He brought cryptology to the modern world and invented the concept of the programmable computer.

In 1936, while reading mathematics in Cambridge, England, the 24-year-old Turing made an extraordinary discovery: a universal “computing” machine. Turing called this theoretical entity the “automatic machine,” or a-machine; today we call it the Universal Turing Machine. Turing proved that the a-machine could solve any computing problem capable of being described as a sequence of mathematical steps. In 1938 he completed his Ph.D. thesis at Princeton, providing a formalization of the concepts of “algorithms” and “computation.” More importantly, he proved the notion that “software,” a word not coined yet, was capable of encompassing “every known process” as evidenced by today’s world of computers.

Turing’s interest in the human mind, even from 1936, centered on modeling the brain; in the 1940s he developed ideas for artificial intelligence (a term attributed to John McCarthy from the University of Pennsylvania in the mid-1950s). In the early 1950s Turing founded a completely new field: mathematical biology (today’s computational biology, without which we would not have been able to decipher the human genome). In 1952, he developed a chess program for a computer that did not yet exist but which he simulated by hand. It was his fascination with the human brain that led him to develop a test for machine-based intelligence; he called it the imitation game, published in his extraordinary paper “Computing Machinery and Intelligence.” It is now known as the famous Turing Test.

The hardware does not look the same, but the mathematical model of today’s computers is identical to the Turing machine. Proving again that he was way ahead of his time, Turing showed indirectly that we cannot automatically detect machine viruses or other malicious code, which explains why cyber-security is one of the most intractable problems of the 21st century.

The Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) A.M. Turing Award is an annual prize that honors an individual “for contributions of a technical nature made to the computing community.” It is generally recognized as the highest distinction in computer science, the “Nobel Prize in Computing,” now carrying a $1 million prize.

This is a fitting tribute to Turing, who was grossly misunderstood during his lifetime, but today is remembered as a true science and engineering pioneer, and a hero of the theory and practice of computer science.

And while The Imitation Game did a superb job of chronicling Turing’s heroic work during World War II, the film told just a portion of his story. As I left the theater I couldn’t help but wonder how much further ahead computing would be today if Turing had lived longer.

Healey Reaches 1,000 Career Points in Senior Day Win

Keuka College senior Trevor Healey (l) and Men's Basketball Coach Thad Phillips

Senior Trevor Healey (Wethersfield, Conn./Wethersfield) scored 15 points with seven rebounds to become just the 11th student-athlete in the history of Keuka College’s men’s basketball team with 1,000 career points during Sunday’s 89-54 win over Penn College inside the Weed Physical Arts Center.

Senior Adam Starks (Wellsville, N.Y./Andover) added a career-high 18 points while making every shot he took, going 6-for-6 from the field, 4-for-4 on ‘3s’ and 2-for-2 on free throws to spark the Wolfpack (12-8, 9-5) to its most wins in a season since the 2006-07 squad went 13-13.

Healey, a two-time All-North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) forward, etched his name into the record books by hitting a reverse layup with 16:46 remaining to join the 1,000-point club at Keuka College.

The game was stopped, and Healey was honored for his accomplishments before the crowd of 225. He was presented with a commemorative game ball to mark the occasion.

“I just wanted to go out, have a good game and get a win on Senior Day with all my teammates, and also score my 1,000th point,” said Healey, who now has scored 1,005 points in 80 games (12.6 points per game).

“This is very special and I’m very blessed to have been able to play here for four years, and also to accomplish something that only 10 other people have done. It’s awesome and I owe it all to my teammates, my coach (Thad Phillips) and my family for putting me in a position to be able to do this.”

On his historic basket, Starks got the ball on a reverse against a zone defense, and Healey urged Starks, who was red-hot shooting the ball, to put up a shot.

Instead, Starks found Healey wide open in the short corner, Healey dribbled baseline and hit the reverse layup, prompting a two-minute ovation from the crowd.

“You could feel the emotion in the building if I took a shot and didn’t make it when I was getting close to the mark,” Healey said after recording his 18th game scoring in double-figures in 19 contests this year.

“I was obviously a little nervous and it was definitely on my mind, but my teammates and my coach were just telling me to play my game and you will get this. Just the fact that we got a big win at home in front of our family and friends, and we’re on our way to getting into the NEAC tournament, this was a great, exciting win today.”

With four conference games remaining, Keuka sits in second place in the NEAC North, one-and-a-half games behind SUNY Cobleskill (13-10, 11-4). The top three teams from each division advance into the NEAC postseason tournament, Feb. 28-March 1.

Keuka holds a half-game lead over Cazenovia College (11-12, 9-6) and SUNY Polytechnic (10-13, 9-6) in the NEAC North.

The Wolfpack host Cazenovia at 8 p.m. in the home finale before closing out the regular-season with road games against SUNY Poly (8 p.m. Friday) and SUNY Cobleskill (3 p.m. Saturday).

Against Penn College, senior Tyler Hixson (Shortsville, N.Y./Red Jacket) recorded 12 points with 3 rebounds, 2 blocks and 2 assists, and junior Casey Williams (Syracuse, N.Y./Jamesville-DeWitt) added 10 points with 6 assists, 3 rebounds and 2 steals.

Senior Jared Wagner (Pittsford, N.Y./McQuaid) scored nine points (all on ‘3’s) with six rebounds, and freshman Josh Wahnon (Staten Island, N.Y./Port Richmond) added a career-high eight points as Keuka shot 46.8 percent from the floor (29 of 62).

Starks was 4-for-4 on ‘3s’, while Wagner finished 3-for-6, Wahnon was 2-for-2 and Williams was 2-for-3. The Wolfpack shot 61.9 percent from three-point land (13 of 21) in knocking off the Wildcats (3-19, 2-13).

“We were in our shoot-around and I was just really feeling it today, so I told coach ‘I’m just going to throw it up today and do my best’,” Starks said.

“Thankfully, I was able to shoot really well today. Any shooter will tell you when you hit that first shot, everything will fall for you after that. We played really well in front of the home crowd, and my fellow senior Trevor Healey gets his 1,000th career point. It was a great atmosphere. We were a little bit nervous before the game, but I think that really helped us, it gave us an extra edge to play a little bit harder.”

Freshman Dylan Doupe (Phoenix, N.Y./John C. Birdlebough) snared five rebounds as Keuka enjoyed a 47-31 edge on the glass.

Hixson and Starks each hit two layups as Keuka jumped out to an 8-3 lead, but Penn College scored the next four points and trailed 8-7.

After Wagner hit his first ‘3’, Bryce Lonsway (17 points) hit a triple to slice the lead to 11-10, but the Wolfpack responded with a 17-0 run to put away Penn.

Junior Vinney Zambito (Elba, N.Y./Batavia Notre Dame) buried a ‘3’ and Healey converted a three-point play for a 17-10 lead with 11:44 remaining in the first. Starks added two free throws and swished consecutive ‘3s’ for a 25-10 lead.

Junior Miles Boyer (East Rochester, N.Y./East Rochester) added a free throw and Healey sunk a pair at the line for a 28-10 lead with 8:46 remaining.

Keuka led by at least 15 points for the rest of the half and took a 45-25 lead into halftime.

The Wolfpack, who maintained at least a 15-point lead for the rest of the game, led by as many as 36 points in improving to 7-2 at home.

For the latest stories, schedules and results from Keuka athletics, visit, go to the Keuka Athletics Facebook page,, and like us on Instagram and Twitter @KeukaAthletics.

Students Deliver Capital Performance in Albany

From left: Seniors Tom Drumm, Shadayvia Wallace, Erin Scott and Dee Metzger traveled to Albany to advocate more student aid

Advocacy is defined as “the act of pleading or arguing in favor of something, such as a cause, idea, or policy.”

And no one did it better than four Keuka College seniors who traveled to Albany last week for New York Student Aid Alliance Advocacy Day.

Dee Metzger, Erin Scott, Shadayvia Wallace, and Tom Drumm are passionate about Keuka College and the aid that will make it possible for them to join the College’s alumni ranks this May.

Metzger and Wallace shared that passion with a large crowd of students and others gathered in the Well of the Legislative Office Building.  The storytelling continued when all four students met with a staffer in State Sen. Tom O’Mara’s office. They extolled the virtues of TAP and HEOP and reinforced the need to keep those and other student aid programs vibrant for students who will follow their path to Keuka College and other schools in the Empire State.

How good were these students at advocating for student aid?

“If you didn’t believe student aid was a just cause,” said Executive Director of Grants, Governmental Relations, and Compliance Doug Lippincott, “you would after listening to Dee, Erin, Shadayvia, and Tom. Their personal stories were captivating and their knowledge of the issues impressive.”

The New York Student Aid Alliance is a coalition of colleges and universities and other stakeholder organizations that support funding vital student aid programs in New York State.