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Keuka College News > Author Archives: Keuka Staff

On the Air: WWII Book Boasts Keuka College Connection

Can one person’s life impact someone they’ve never met?

According to T. Martin Bennett, author of “Wounded Tiger,” the answer is yes and 1944 Keuka College graduate Peggy Covell Struble is a prime example. According to Bennett and “Wounded Tiger,” Peggy’s humble service in the wake of war had a profound impact on Capt. Mitsuo Fuchida, the Japanese bomber pilot who led the attack against Pearl Harbor. “Wounded Tiger” details the dramatic change of mind and heart Capt. Fuchida experienced, thanks to Peggy’s life example and that of American POW Jake Deshazer.

Bennett, along with Chaplain Eric Detar, joined Rachel E. Dewey to discuss “Wounded Tiger,” for a special edition of Keuka College Today on WFLR (1570 AM, 96.9/101.9 FM), part of the Finger Lakes Radio Network. The broadcast previews Bennett’s Oct. 17 & 18 presentations on “Wounded Tiger,” which are part of this year’s Green & Gold Celebration Weekend at Keuka College.

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For more information on “Wounded Tiger” at Green & Gold, click here.

Five Softball Players Named All-America Scholar-Athletes

Five student-athletes from Keuka College’s softball team earned All- America Scholar-Athlete honors from the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA).

Earning the academic honors for the Keuka College Wolfpack were Ally Muller (Bath, N.Y./Haverling), Leah Parker (Rush, N.Y./Rush-Henrietta), Liz Warren (Elmira Heights, N.Y./Thomas A. Edison), Suzanne Welch (Palmyra, N.Y./Palmyra-Macedon), and Megan Wilbur (Waverly, N.Y./Waverly).

Warren was also named All-Conference by the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) last season. The now senior went 10-4 in the circle last year with 77 strikeouts in 85.2 innings.

To qualify for All-America Scholar-Athlete honors, a student-athlete had to post a grade-point average of 3.5 or better in both the fall and spring semesters.

Keuka College finished the 2015 season with an 18-9 record. The Keuka College Wolfpack went 15-5 within NEAC play and won seven of their last eight regular season games. They defeated Wilson College to open the conference tournament, but feel to top-seeded Penn St.-Berks and then Penn St.- Abington to end the season.

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

Matt Tantalo Coaches 100th Win for Keuka College

The Keuka College men’s soccer team defeated Gallaudet University Sunday, Oct. 4 for their eighth win of the season. The win also marked the 100th in the 11-season career for Head Coach Matt Tantalo.

“Matt Tantalo is one of those coaches/teachers you want to learn from,” said Director of Athletics David Sweet. “He lives and breathes soccer. He is recognized as one of the top soccer coaches in the area and reaching the milestone of 100 wins is just one more testament to his coaching and teaching ability.”

Tantalo joined Keuka College prior to the 2005 season following a successful season as an assistant coach at Syracuse University. He has led Keuka College to nine winning seasons and the 2007 North Eastern Athletic Conference Championship.

So far this season, Tantalo has guided the Wolfpack to its best start in program history. At 8-0-2, Keuka College is one of 10 programs across NCAA Division III, 415 teams, that remains unbeaten.

Keuka College will return to the field Saturday, Oct. 10 when they host the Pennsylvania College of Technology. Kickoff in this North Eastern Athletic Conference matchup is set for 1 p.m.

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.

Don’t Let the Sun Set on Perkins Loans

By Dr. Jorge L. Díaz-Herrera, president

The clock is ticking on our nation’s longest-running student loan program.

Without Congressional action, the Perkins Loan Program, which began 57 years ago and provides need-based, low-interest loans to 500,000 low-income college students at some 1,500 colleges and universities each year, will expire Sept. 30.

The Perkins Loan Program is an important piece of our campus-based federal aid model and is  vital to keeping College affordable. The program provides federal funds to colleges and universities in order to offer five percent interest loans of up to $5,500 per year to students. Institutions must match at least 33 percent of the funds appropriated by the federal government.

During the 2008 reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, lawmakers included a “sunset” date of Sept. 30, 2015 for the Perkins Loan Program. Institutions will be forced to slowly end their Perkins Loan programs and begin returning their federal disbursements from their institutional revolving funds to the U.S. Treasury beginning Oct. 1.

Further threatening the Perkins Loan Grants Program is the “one grant, one loan” policy proposal floating around Capitol Hill. Assuming that the single loan is a version of the Stafford Loan program, which accounted for $77 billion of the $96 billion of federal loans disbursed in 2013-14, a move to “one grant, one loan” would spell the end of the Perkins Loan Program.

While the Perkins Loan Program is on shaky footing, it has garnered support from many legislators, including two close to home. In July, Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-25th District) sent a letter to the chairman and ranking member of the House Committee on Education & the Workforce calling on the committee to reauthorize Perkins before the Sept. 30 expiration.

Wrote Slaughter: “Perkins loans provide necessary flexibility to colleges and universities, which can use Perkins loans in conjunction with other forms of financial assistance to help students afford the cost of higher education. Perkins loans also act as a lifeline when unforeseen disruptions, such as a parent’s job loss or student’s inability to work enough hours, jeopardize a student’s ability to pay for college. Because they do not accrue interest while a student is in school and maintain a fixed five percent interest rate when repayment begins, Perkins loans often offer a much more affordable alternative to private student loans. Furthermore, the Perkins Loan Program encourages graduates to serve their country and communities by offering partial or full loan forgiveness to borrowers engaged in various types of public service.”

One of the legislators signing onto the letter was Rep. Tom Reed (R-23rd District). The 23rd district is one of the top recipients of Perkins loans in the country; in the last school year, a total of $21.8 million in Perkins loans were distributed to 10,810 students at 11 schools—including Keuka College— in the 23rd. Reed also signed on to a House resolution introduced by Rep. Luke Messer (R-6th, Ind.) that expresses the House of Representative’s support for the Perkins Loan Program.

Private, non-profit colleges such as Keuka College awarded nearly 50 percent of all Perkins loans in 2014-15. However, eliminating the Perkins Loan Program will affect private and public schools alike. Many students will be forced to secure private, higher-interest loans in order to attend college or not attend college at all.

We have heard a lot on the campaign trail about America falling behind its economic competitors. While it is hard to distinguish rhetoric from reality in politics, there is no doubt we must provide more of our citizens with high-level math, science, and literacy skills in order to stay competitive in the global economy. We can’t do that by limiting access to the colleges and universities that teach those skills, which will happen if the Perkins Loan Program is not renewed.

In addition, the failure to reauthorize the program “would eliminate billions of dollars in student aid from the revolving funds that institutions use to disburse Perkins loans,” according to Slaughter. “These revolving funds are what make the Federal Perkins Loan Program self-sustaining, with student loan repayments paying for new loans. The continuation of the program would not cost the government any additional money but its elimination would cost participating colleges and universities millions.”

I commend Reps. Slaughter, Reed, and others for their efforts to keep the program alive. I join them in urging their colleagues to not let the sun set on Perkins loans.

Reich is Wrong about College Being a Ludicrous Waste of Money

By College President Dr. Jorge L. Díaz-Herrera

As predictable as students returning to their college classrooms every fall is the attack on the value of a college education—in particular a liberal arts education—in print.

What makes the latest round of punches surprising is the person throwing them. It’s hard to believe that one of the nation’s leading experts on work and the economy and a graduate of Dartmouth, Oxford, and Yale would pen a piece titled “College is a Ludicrous Waste of Money.”

But that is exactly what Robert Reich, former secretary of labor under President Clinton and current Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley did in a recent issue of Salon.

Professor Reich’s piece came on the heels of “For Some Graduates, College Isn’t Worth the Debt,” written by The Wall Street Journal’s Doug Belkin. In terms of name recognition, Belkin doesn’t pack the wallop Reich does, but his vehicle wields a lot more influence—not to mention readers—than Salon.

Professor Reich gets right to the point, stating that “a four-year liberal arts education is hugely expensive” and “too many young people graduate laden with debts that take years if not decades to pay off.”

As president of Keuka College, I will speak from an independent college perspective only. I disagree with the esteemed Professor Reich. In 2011-12, more than 25 percent of students who graduated with a bachelor’s degree from a four-year independent college or university did not have any debt at all and the average debt load was $19,500. And here is one of the reasons: independent colleges give students nearly six times as much institutional grant aid as does the federal government.

Belkin weighs in on the debt issue, writing “…one in 10 borrowers is 90 days late on payments.”  Perhaps, but the average student loan default rate for independent college graduates is only 5.2 percent.

Belkin states that “roughly a quarter of college graduates with jobs are earning barely more than those with only a high-school diploma.” This is deceiving, since our country is still recovering from a severe economic downturn. But here’s some numbers Belkin did not mention: lifetime earnings of college degree holders range from $700,000 to $1 million more than those who have only a high school diploma.

Professor Reich asserts that “too often in America we equate ‘equal opportunity’ with an opportunity to get a four-year liberal arts degree; it should equate to “an opportunity to learn what’s necessary to get a good job.” You are right on both counts, Professor Reich. A college degree provides the best opportunity to get a good job.

Professor Reich isn’t off base with his contention that “we’ve allowed vocational and technical education to be downgraded and denigrated.” However, to put the blame on “our aspirations to increasingly focus on four-year college degrees” is way off base.

Why do technical and liberal arts educations have to be mutually exclusive? The fact is many liberal arts colleges are infusing some level of vocationalism into their curricula. At Keuka College, we are combining digital with liberal arts. Our graduates will understand the basic canon of our civilization and how to explore and communicate their ideas using modern tools through interactive visual communication, data manipulation and analytics.
As the late Steve Jobs said, “… it’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the results that make our heart sing.”

I hope that Professor Reich did not write the headline for his opinion piece. It would be ludicrous to believe that one of the 10 most effective cabinet secretaries of the last century, according to TIME magazine, actually believes college is a waste of money.