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Archive for the ‘Around the Tower’ Category

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

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.

Sherman Receives Keuka College/GCC Joint Presidential Scholarship

Skip Sherman, third from left, recipient of the Keuka College/Genesee Community College Joint Presidential Scholarship, is flanked by Kim Morgan, director of admissions; Mark Petrie, vice president for enrollment management, Dr. Paul Forestell, provost and vice president for academic affiars; Kyle Cute, admissions counselor; and William Emm M'08, GCC's vice president for planning and institutional effectiveness

Robert “Skip” Sherman, head baseball coach at Genesee Community College (GCC) in Batavia, received the Keuka College/GCC Joint Presidential Scholarship in a ceremony at GCC on Friday, Feb. 6.

Sherman, who lives in Holley with his wife and young children, will begin pursuit of a Master of Science degree in management (MSM) this spring through Keuka College’s Accelerated Studies for Adults Program (ASAP).

Dr. James M. Sunser, president of GCC, and Dr. Jorge L. Díaz-Herrera, president of Keuka College, selected Sherman for the award.

“The goal of providing opportunities for continued academic success is one that GCC and Keuka College proudly share,” Sunser said. “I can think of no better candidate for a scholarship to pursue a Master of Science in management through Keuka College than our own Skip Sherman. I trust Skip will not only be a dedicated student, but with his background and experience, I am confident he will help make a lively and spirited classroom cohort.”

Aside from his role as head baseball coach, Sherman also leads GCC’s academic mentoring program for student-athletes. As a head baseball coach, Sherman has enjoyed many successful seasons with more than 350 wins, but says that the greatest successes of his career have occurred off the field.

“My position is rewarding because I have an impact on the students’ success in the classroom, and their athletic and academic experiences help them be career ready,” he said. “Sixty-eight of my student-athletes have had the opportunity to continue to four-year institutions with a baseball scholarship.”

Leadership and service are core components of Keuka College’s MSM program, which was recently ranked as one of the top 50 MSM programs in the country by The Financial Engineer. Candidates are evaluated for admission based on, among other things, their prior academic experience, volunteer and community service history, and leadership potential.

Sherman’s résumé includes oversight of an impressive number of community outreach programs, including a youth baseball camp and a Kid’s Night program that has hosted more than 9,000 children in nine years.

“This award is an outstanding opportunity, and I am excited to give back everything this master’s program has to offer while working at GCC,” he said.

Keuka College’s MSM program is offered at nearly a dozen partner locations across western New York, including GCC’s Batavia campus. The program features a rigorous accelerated format designed for working professionals, allowing them to earn their degree in 18 months. For more information, visit


Keuka’s Athletic Trainers are Experienced Experts

Jeff Bray (l), Gabrielle Lorusso, and Phil Rahr provide Keuka College's student-athletes all phases of preventive training, care and injury rehabilitation for all intercollegiate sports at the College.

When Keuka College’s student-athletes come to campus as freshmen, they hope to enjoy productive and healthy collegiate careers that include plenty of wins on the field, and success in the classroom.

They also hope to remain healthy as they practice and suit up for the Wolfpack’s 18 intercollegiate sports teams.

While a student-athlete can’t predict when or if they will need the services of an athletic trainer, Keuka College student-athletes are supported by an athletic training staff that includes three National Athletic Trainers’ Association (N.A.T.A.)-certified athletic trainers who collaborate with physicians and other allied health care professionals to provide the best possible medical care.

The athletic training staff administers all phases of preventive training, care and injury rehabilitation for all intercollegiate sports at the College.

Jeff Bray has served as Keuka’s head athletic trainer since July of 1992, while Gabrielle Lorusso has been an assistant athletic trainer since December, 2012, and Phil Rahr was hired as an assistant athletic trainer in August of 2014.

Combined, Keuka’s three athletic trainers possess more than 36 years of experience in athletic training. Their experiences range from secondary school to Division I NCAA athletics to the National Football League.

“Our staff challenges each other to continually improve and gain knowledge of the latest trends in athletic training,” said Bray, adding that each staffer pays attention to the latest trends in sports medicine and has attended recent seminars on the importance of properly diagnosing and treating concussions and concussion-like symptoms.

“Each staff member is committed to treating each student-athlete as an individual, and we work as a unit to develop and oversee a sports medicine program that focuses on the overall well-being of our student-athletes.”

Bray has taped thousands of student-athletes and professional athletes during a career that, among other stops, has seen him work the sidelines of NFL games with the Philadelphia Eagles, alongside pit crews for assorted auto racing events across the world, and behind the bucking chutes at top-flight bull riding competitions.

A native of Sterling, Kansas, Bray earned his bachelor’s degree from Kansas State University (’87) and obtained his master’s degree in education from Boise State University (’90). Bray is a certified athletic trainer who has been certified by the Board of Certification. He is also registered with the New York State Department of Education and is a member of both N.A.T.A. and the New York State Athletic Trainers Association (N.Y.S.A.T.A.).

Both Lorusso and Rahr bring a tremendous skill set with rehabilitation techniques and the ability to relate to the student-athletes. 

Lorusso has been certified by the Board of Certification, and she is also registered with the New York State Department of Education and is a member of both the N.A.T.A. and N.Y.S.A.T.A. Lorusso attended Daemen College and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in health care studies (’11). She also earned her master’s degree in athletic training.

Rahr, who graduated from Keuka College in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in biology, is a certified athletic trainer who has been certified by the Board of Certification.

Rahr received his master’s degree in athletic training from Shenandoah (Va.) University. In both 2011 and 2012, Rahr traveled with and was a trainer for the under-18 boys teams that captured gold medals at the USA Hockey national championships.

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.

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.