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Archive for the ‘Features’ Category

Keuka College to Present a Brief History of Wine Aug. 15

Few places love wine as much as the Finger Lakes region does. But have you ever wondered just how much you actually know about what you drink? The first in Keuka College’s Lectures by the Lake series will be a wine workshop held Friday, Aug. 15 from 3 – 5 p.m. in the Geiser Refectory.

 The workshop will feature a presentation by Associate Professor of Management David Romm.

Prof. Romm will tell the story of wine and what it means to us, how it’s been made, fought over, and appreciated from 4000 BCE to the present day. Prof. Romm’s presentation will be followed by a wine and cheese reception featuring musicians from the Eastman School of Music.

Prof. Romm is uniquely qualified to speak on the subject. His corporate experience spans prestigious brands and venues such as the World Trade Center in New York and the Vista International Hotel in Washington D.C.

While at the World Trade Center, Prof. Romm had sole management responsibility for 23 different food service and catering operations located in every part of the complex. His operations served a wide variety of markets, ranging from vending machines to fine-dining restaurants and employed more than 400 people, earned annual revenues in excess of $12 million and served more than 20,000 people every day.

During Prof. Romm’s tenure at the World Trade Center, he worked with Kevin Zraly, the world-famous sommelier and wine educator. Zraly was wine director at the World Trade Center’s Windows on the World, which was widely hailed as one of the highest-grossing restaurants in the U.S.

In Washington D.C., Prof. Romm organized a wine school that attracted leading California winemakers. Throughout his career, he has also served as a consultant for such organizations as Intercontinental Hotels and Resorts, Marriott Corporation, Gallop Inc., Nestle Inc. and Hilton International. Prof. Romm has presented management seminars in England, Italy, Spain and Indonesia. He has also consulted for Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, N.M. and The Omega Institute in Rhinebeck.

Prof. Romm began teaching at Keuka College in 1991 and currently teaches several courses including Food and Society, which focuses on the complex and significant role food plays in all aspects of our lives.

Tickets for the workshop are $15. Seating is limited, so advanced 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, or reservations may be made online at events.keuka.edu. The reservation deadline is Friday, Aug. 8.

Keuka College’s new Lectures by the Lake series is designed for community members to learn about topics of regional interest from some of the College’s most revered subject-matter experts.

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

Stork Award to Sandy Carlson

Miracle worker. A joy and a blessing. Compassionate and professional.

These are among the adjectives people have used to describe Penn Yan resident Sandy Carlson, who will receive the 2014 Donald and Corinne Stork Award for Community Service Tuesday, Aug. 12.

The award will be presented at a noon luncheon in the Geiser Refectory in Dahlstrom Student Center at Keuka College.

The Stork Award was established by Keuka College to recognize outstanding individuals who exemplify the College’s commitment of valuing individual initiative for the common good. The award was named after the first recipients of the award, Penn Yan residents Corinne Stork and the late Donald Stork, in 1991.

Described as one of the first people to bring a meal to someone in need, Carlson volunteers her time and talents to such organizations as the Once Again Shoppe, Keuka Comfort Care Home, CROP Walk, and the Yates County Public Health Medical Reserve Corps. A volunteer with the Red Cross, Carlson worked in New York City after 9/11 and in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina.

A graduate of the Genesee Hospital School of Nursing, Carlson worked at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hospital’s emergency room for more than 30 years and now serves as a substitute nurse in the Penn Yan Central School District.

A deacon, elder, youth leader and trustee of the First Presbyterian Church, Carlson also serves on the session and is a member of the kitchen and sanctuary committees. An active member of the church’s women’s group for more than 40 years, she serves as the chair of both of the church fall and spring rummage sales.

A board member for the Yates County Christmas for the Needy, Carlson buys toys and stores gently used clothing year-round so that they can be distributed as needed. She also collaborates with her daughter in New Jersey to collect donations from her community for Penn Yan. In addition, she works with various stores which offer discounted items for the needy.

Tickets for the luncheon are $12. Seating is limited, so advanced 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, or reservations may be made online at events.keuka.edu. The reservation deadline is Wednesday, Aug. 6.

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

Keuka College Earns START-UP NY Initiative Approval


Keuka College was one of four upstate New York colleges to be unanimously approved for a tax-free designation thanks to the START-UP NY initiative.

START-UP NY is an initiative from Governor Andrew M. Cuomo designed to provide major incentives for businesses to relocate, start up, or significantly expand in New York state through affiliations with public and private universities, colleges and community colleges. Businesses will have the opportunity to operate free of state and local taxes- on or near academic campuses, and their employees will pay no state or local personal income taxes. In addition, businesses may qualify for additional incentives.

START-UP NY tax relief is more extensive than what is offered under other similar government programs, such as industrial development agencies. Under START-UP NY, participating companies will not pay any state or local taxes for 10 years, including property, income, business, corporate or sales taxes. Franchise fees are also forgiven.

2,530 square feet of vacant space at Penn Yan’s Keuka Business Park was declared eligible for inclusion in the state’s tax-free START-UP NY program, which links universities and colleges to business growth. Part of the initiative states that of the three million feet of space for private universities, 2.4 million feet must go to campuses upstate.

“This proposal was completed in conjunction with the Finger Lakes Economic Development Center,” said College President Jorge L. Díaz-Herrera, “and now that we have this relationship with START-UP NY, we hope to be able to revise our proposal to include the Keuka Commons once construction is underway. The designation would make it even more appealing for high-tech business from out-of-state and new technology startups to come to the Keuka College campus.”

Preliminary plans call for a 30,000 square foot Keuka Commons building across from the main campus with 4,000 square feet designated as tax-free space. Among other things, the building would house the College’s Center for Business Analytics and Health Informatics.

According to Steve Griffin, CEO of the Finger Lakes Economic Development Center, receiving the initiative is a momentous accomplishment.

“The START-UP NY initiative makes a significant incentive for businesses going forward, and is vitally important to keep us in a competitive environment with the rest of the state,” said Griffin.

“The START-UP NY board has also approved plans from Clarkson University, Columbia University, and the University of Rochester—so we are in extraordinarily good company and among one of the first private institutions to have space approved,” said President Díaz-Herrera.

“The space is small enough to get a business started, but has room for future allocations,” said Griffin. “There are overhead doors to accommodate large machinery. I think it will fill quickly.”

Sini Ngobese Named Experiential Learner of the Year

Two career-affirming Field Period™ experiences, a spiritual exploration of Thailand, and being an active member of the Keuka College community helped earn junior Sini Ngobese the Experiential Learner of the Year Award, which recognizes learning from Field Period™, co-curricular involvement, and community service.
At her summer 2013 Field Period™ at Biogen Idec, a biotechnology company, Ngobese gained invaluable career experience, established a network of human resources (HR) professionals, and solidified her career aspirations. Her January 2014 Field Period™ at the Yates County Personnel Department led her to experience a different aspect of HR through interning in the public sector.

“The theoretical knowledge I gained in the classroom was applied in practice, and, through hands-on, experiential learning, I grew in my understanding, skills and abilities,” Ngobese said.

Nominated for the award by Director of Marketing and Communications Pete Bekisz and Professor of Communication Studies Anita Chirco, the Durban, South Africa resident believes her experiential learning opportunities make her a well-rounded candidate that will be an asset to any organization.

“These opportunities have vastly improved my written communication by emphasizing the importance of communicating clearly, yet professionally,” Ngobese said. “My oral communication also improved immensely during these internships, and I believe I have become a much more effective and confident communicator.”

Elizabeth Abbott, senior manager at Biogen Idec and Ngobese’s Field Period™ supervisor, would agree.

“Sini has many strengths, but her ability to communicate effectively, professionally, clearly, and persuasively in both written and oral communication are what really stand out to me,” said Abbott. “Sini’s communication strengths are impressive at any level, and the fact that she is still in school makes it even more remarkable.”

At the Yates County Personnel Department, Ngobese took “great initiative” in problem solving and was well prepared to have high-level discussions, according to Amy Guererri, personnel officer and human resources director for Yates County, and Ngobese’s Field Period™ supervisor.

“Sini took great pride in the quality of the work she produced,” said Guererri. “She quickly gained my confidence in her abilities and proved to be quite capable of performing well at a high level. Her ability to comprehend multifaceted subject matters, and then proceed independently in completing assignments was impressive. It allowed us to cover a wider variety of topics than we had originally thought.”

Abbott, too, was “extremely impressed by how much work Sini did, with little guidance and structure, and still maintain an extremely high quality of work.”

For example, Abbott told Ngobese that she wanted to create a policy template which would assist policy owners in putting together content with a consistent format.

“I thought I would sit with Sini and give her some ideas, we’d go back and forth on a few drafts, and then it would be complete,” said Abbott. “Instead, Sini sent me her first draft of a template, and it was exactly right.”

With Guererri, Ngobese “produced reports and documents that were at a level I would have expected from a seasoned professional,” she said. “During her short time working with us, Sini produced several viable work products and solutions that we utilized and implemented, which greatly benefited our department and Yates County.”

Guererri added she is “incredibly fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet and work with Sini. She is such a bright, determined, capable young woman, and I can state with the utmost certainty that she has an extremely bright future ahead of herself, and will excel in any endeavor she undertakes.”

Ngobese might not have had the same amount of confidence in herself that Abbott and Guererri had in her as she boarded a plane bound for Thailand, a country where Ngobese said she faced language and cultural challenges.

But she chose to participate in a Spiritual Exploration Field Period™ in Thailand, because in the “craziness of the busy streets, dense jungles, tan faces, and humid cabs in Thailand, I had never felt so lost,” she said, “or found.”

Experiencing a culture that differs from her own increased her appreciation of what she loves about her Zulu South African culture.

“Though we are different and eat different foods, worship different deities and have different social and behavioral norms, we all pursue to be happy, loved, and free,” said Ngobese. “My trip to Thailand helped me see that though we are different, at our very core, we are similar.”

Ngobese said her spiritual exploration of Thailand brought her closer to her own faith, Christianity, and helped her gain additional respect and admiration for a different faith, Buddhism.

“I was able to experience Thailand’s delicious food with curious taste buds and smell the rich, and sometimes pungent, odors of its busy streets and clear beaches,” said Ngobese. “I felt the sleek fur of a tiger beneath my clammy, nervous fingertips, and saw the heart-melting adorableness of a dancing baby elephant. There are no words to adequately express my gratitude at being able to embark on this life-changing, independence-solidifying trip.”

Through Field Period™, Ngobese said she has gained a greater understanding of her own greatness and potential.

“To undertake an intimidating adventure in yet another foreign country took courage, and my professional growth has been fostered through challenging Field Period™ opportunities at Biogen Idec and the Yates County Personnel Department,” said Ngobese. “[In all three experiences], I utilized the various knowledge, skills and abilities I have acquired in my liberal arts education at Keuka College.”

Part of the College’s liberal arts education includes the opportunity to get involved outside of the classroom. And Ngobese is taking full advantage of those opportunities as an active member of the Keuka College community.

She serves as an Academic Success at Keuka (ASK) tutor in human resources management and writing, and credits her Field Period™ experiences at Biogen Idec and Yates County with helping her expanded her HR knowledge.

“HR truly feels like second nature to me after having two Field Period™ experiences immersed in its terminology and way of thinking,” said Ngobese. “I believe I am a truly informative resource as an HR tutor, because not only do I have a theoretical understanding of the material, but can provide real-life examples.”

She also serves as an office assistant for the Center for Spiritual Life and the Center for Global Education, is a New Student Mentor, and has been on the Dean’s List since 2011. Ngobese received a Judith Oliver Brown Cultural Exploration Field Period™ scholarship, the Student Senate Leadership Scholarships Rising Senior Award, and was awarded the Center for Spiritual Life Excellence Award.

President of Lambda Pi Eta Honor Society, Ngobese is also active in the Keuka College International Club, where she serves as vice president and community service coordinator. She is a member of Students Helping Students’ Crisis Response Team, President’s Leadership Circle, Budget Allocations Committee, Tuesday Non-Denominational Service Drama Team, Sigma Lambda Sigma, and the Spiritual Life Advisory Board.

Said Ngobese: “Keuka College’s Field Period™ has benefitted my mental, spiritual, and emotional growth, and has revolutionized my college learning. I have aspirations to one day become a full-time Biogen Idec employee, and I look forward to my career with renewed vigor and certainty that this is the career path I want to follow, and I am immensely excited for my future.”

Scott Simon Graces College With Wit, Wisdom

Referencing tweets he posted on Twitter almost nine months ago during his mother’s final week of life, NPR’s Scott Simon, host of Weekend Edition Saturday graced the stage at Norton Chapel during the 26th Annual Fribolin Lecture at Keuka College May 6. Simon shared moments of humor, frustration, wisdom and especially, heart, that came from his time at his mother’s bedside in a Chicago hospital. These poignant memories, shared with an audience of more than 100 guests, will form the foundation for a new book Simon will publish in the next year.

At the close of the lecture, Simon took questions from the audience on the experience. Several guests were quite moved, expressing thanks for his openness sharing the intimate joys and grief of the death of a parent.

See the photo gallery below for more images from the evening:

A Full House

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(Photo by Brett Williams) On Tuesday, May 6, NPR's Scott Simon spoke to an audience of more than 100 guests at Norton Chapel.