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Keuka College News > Author Archives: Gretchen Parsells

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 http://events.keuka.edu. The reservation deadline is Friday, March 20.

For more information call (315) 279-5238 or e-mail spevents@keuka.edu.

Keuka College’s Inaugural Day of Giving Exceeds Expectations

In celebration of Keuka College’s 125th Anniversary year, the first annual Keuka College Day of Giving was a huge success.

The College scored a big win January 25, as members of the College community came together to celebrate the Keuka College experience through the inaugural Keuka College Day of Giving. The 36-hour fundraising drive exceeded expectations, raising $253,131.50—more than double the goal of $125,000—from 638 gifts. Most gifts were to the Keuka Fund, which supports every facet of the student experience. The average gift was $396.

“We exceeded our goal because of the incredible outpouring of support from students, faculty, staff, alumni, trustees, community members, and friends,” said Keuka College President Jorge L. Díaz-Herrera. “All of these gifts translate into support for our students, faculty, staff, and collective vision for the future. Your gifts will help us change lives that will change the world.”

Gloria and Jim Long

Jim and Gloria Long, owners of Long’s Cards and Books in Penn Yan, chose to donate because “it’s wonderful to have Keuka College in this area.”

“The College brings diversity, excitement, and enthusiasm—all of the things that are associated with a college, and it’s phenomenal,” said Gloria Long. The Longs received the 2011 Donald and Corinne Stork Award for Community Service. “Keuka College has activities and sports—just so many things that bring life to a community. That’s why retirees are no longer looking for a retirement community; they’re looking for college towns because they’re vibrant. They want to go somewhere that has young voices.”

And just like the Longs and other residents of the community, members of the College community participated from across campus.

“We have had such a tremendous response from all College constituents,” said Vice President for Advancement and External Affairs Amy Storey. “An unprecedented number of faculty and staff—64.3%—participated. Many divisions had 100% participation, and Keuka College employees contributed nearly $20,000 to the effort.”

To increase the impact of the Day of Giving, and to encourage and reward the philanthropy of other participants, Board of Trustees members Kay Meisch ’58 and Barbara Allardice ’61 offered a dollar-for-dollar match up to $125,000.

“This is truly amazing, and is just the beginning,” added Díaz-Herrera.

The primary goal of this event was to collect money for the Keuka College annual fund,which is used to bridge the gap between tuition and operating expenses and helps ensure our students have the best educational experience possible. This was also an opportunity to boost participation in a collective effort and to showcase that we Believe in What We Can Do Together.

And the power of togetherness is something else Jim and Gloria Long appreciate about the College.

“We love that Keuka College student-teachers work at St. Michael’s School, and participate with homework help,” said Gloria. “Field Period™ is wonderful, and we’ve had students work for us part-time during the year and full-time in the summer. We’ve had outstanding experiences [with the students]. Those are big benefits, especially for a small area like we are.”

Each year Keuka College awards more than $11 million in grants and scholarships and is able to assist more than 98 percent of students with the cost of their college education. In addition to the standard federal and state programs available to most students, Keuka College offers grants and many guaranteed scholarships.

Keuka College has never been more committed to the education of its students, and providing the opportunity for them to explore, define, and prepare for their future. Likewise, the College’s tradition of service has never been stronger. Keuka College students, faculty, and staff performed more than 74,550 hours of community service in 2014 alone.

Missed the Day of Giving, or want to donate more? You can still help ensure the continued success of Keuka College and its students by making your donation online at keuka.edu/one25, call (315) 279-5262, or email dayofgiving@keuka.edu.

Keuka College to Raise $125,000 on Inaugural Day of Giving 1/25

Keuka College has been shining on Keuka Lake for 125 years, drawing students from across the county, region, state, country, and internationally. From the beginning, the College has been committed to providing students the benefit of an education at a reasonable cost.

Each year Keuka College awards more than $11 million in grants and scholarships and is able to assist more than 98 percent of students with the cost of their college education. In addition to the standard federal and state programs available to most students, Keuka College offers grants and many guaranteed scholarships.

Keuka College has never been more committed to the education of its students, and providing the opportunity for them to explore, define, and prepare for their future. Likewise, the College’s tradition of service has never been stronger. Keuka College students, faculty, and staff performed more than 74,550 hours of community service in 2014 alone.

Such accomplishments do not occur in a vacuum. It is only because of generous donations that Keuka College is able to make its innovative, private education affordable.

To that end, Keuka College has established a Day of Giving Challenge set for Sunday, Jan. 25 at 1:25 p.m. It goes through Monday, Jan. 26 at 11:59 p.m. The Day of Giving is an innovative online fundraising initiative to celebrate Keuka College’s 125th anniversary by raising $125,000 in one day.

The primary goal of this event is to collect money for the Keuka College annual fund, which is used to bridge the gap between tuition and operating expenses and helps ensure our students have the best educational experience possible. This is also an opportunity to boost participation in a collective effort and to showcase that we Believe in What We Can Do Together.

Whether you have been giving to Keuka College’s Keuka Fund for 40 years or you just made a first-time financial contribution, every dollar counts— regardless of amount. Board of Trustees members Kay Meisch ’58 and Barbara Allardice ’61 will match dollar for dollar until we reach our goal—up to $125,000.

We can’t do this without you.

Help ensure the continued success of Keuka College and its students, make your donation online at keuka.edu/one25, call (315) 279-5262, or email dayofgiving@keuka.edu.

Keuka College Establishes a VITA Tax Center

Stacey Mirinaviciene

Keuka College is an IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) center for the 2014 tax season.

Stacey Mirinaviciene, assistant professor of accounting and certified public accountant, is in charge of the College’s program.

“There are no VITA centers in Yates County, so I applied for the center and was approved,” said Mirinaviciene. “We plan for the center to be open every tax season.”

According to Mirinaviciene, the Keuka College VITA center will prepare tax returns for individuals with earning less than $60,000 a year. The IRS provided computers, software and printers, training materials and all of the forms.

“Open to all Yates County residents, the Keuka College VITA program is a free service completed by IRS-certified volunteers,” said Mirinaviciene. “We will accept taxpayers by appointment beginning Sunday, Feb. 1. We can also come to taxpayers’ homes if they are disabled.”

According to Mirinaviciene, this program was created by the IRS and New York State to “help individuals with tax preparation so they can have it done for free. We have four or five volunteers right now, but we plan to have more. All volunteers must have completed their certification exams and will be supervised by representatives from the IRS.”

With her own full service accounting practice, Mirinaviciene is experienced in audits, tax, and business consulting. She has more than 20 years of experience in both international and national business financial management, and is a member of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), the New York State Society of CPAs (NYSCPA).

Located on the third floor of the Keuka Business Park building in Penn Yan, returns will be immediate and submitted electronically. To make an appointment, call Mirinaviciene at (315) 279-5451.

London Calling

Editor’s Note: This is the third in a series of features on recipients who received Field Period™ scholarships. Junior Emily Michienzi received a Judith Oliver Brown Memorial Award. The award, named after the late 1963 Keuka graduate, is supported by Brown’s family and the Class of ’63. It is designed to assist students who pursue a culturally-oriented Field Period™.

From a young age, junior Emily Michienzi’s mother instilled in her a desire to see the world and expand her horizons. That is why she has always believed that travel is one of the greatest forms of education.

And the Lake Pleasant resident will get the chance to do both as she travels to London during her January Field Period™. Michienzi intends to learn about the social problems plaguing England’s capital city as a participant in Comparative Social Issues, a sociology course offered through Cayuga Community College.

“As a sociology and political science/history major, this trip will greatly enhance my education,” said Michienzi. “In my sociology courses, we often discuss culture. One concept that is foundational in sociology is cultural relativism. This concept is when we see another culture and its practices in its own right, rather than using our culture to judge another’s as right or wrong.”

By traveling to London and experiencing a new culture, Michienzi intends to use cultural relativism “in a more practical manner and then translate that practice into my classroom discussions and other course requirements.”

This trip also appeals to Michienzi’s interest in history.

“America’s history with Great Britain frequently comes up in my class conversations and readings,” she said. “We always compare our government to Great Britain’s since our government was influenced by theirs. One of our day trips in London will be to Downing Street, the British seat of government. I will be able to see their government up close and learn, while on site, more about their government. By seeing this, I will be able to understand how our government is similar and different from Britain’s and then share that knowledge in my classes.”

In addition to visiting Downing Street, Michienzi intends to visit the British Museum, Parliament, and Windsor Castle, among other sites.

“These sites will show us not only the history of one of the world’s super powers, but also the culture and issues the country has faced over time,” she said. “From Britain’s era of serfdom to their current struggle as a world power, we will learn how Britain has changed and impacted the lives of its citizens and the world.”

Added Michienzi: “This trip is a once in a lifetime opportunity that will change the way I think, and understand the world and my classes here at Keuka College.”