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Keuka College will Offer RN to B.S. Degree at Cayuga Community College’s Fulton Campus

Cayuga Community College's Fulton campus

Keuka College will expand its adult degree completion courses to include its first RN to B.S. nursing cohort at Cayuga Community College’s (CCC) Fulton campus.

Formatted through Keuka College’s Accelerated Studies for Adults Program (ASAP), classes for the RN to B.S. nursing curriculum begin in February 2016. Some applicants may need additional credits to meet prerequisite requirements for this program. Apply now to ensure you meet the Oct. 16 deadline for prerequisite registration.

“Cayuga Community College welcomes Keuka College to our Fulton campus,” said Janet Nelson, director of adult learning at CCC. “Already a long-standing University Center partner on Cayuga’s Auburn campus, Keuka College’s presence in Fulton will further enhance local access to degree pathways that are convenient for busy working adults.”

Nelson added that Linda Alfieri, director of nursing at CCC, also supports this new collaboration as one that will help Cayuga RN alumni in the Oswego County area advance their career opportunities by achieving a bachelor’s degree.

Designed for registered nurses (RNs) who wish to earn a bachelor’s degree, the RN to B.S. program consists of 13 courses and 34 credit hours. Using the cohort model, students complete the program  with the same group from start to finish. Classes meet one night each week for four hours, with additional time outside of class to complete assignments, case studies, projects, online discussions, and group work.

During Keuka College’s RN to B.S. program, students complete coursework in nursing research and evidence based practice, population health, prevention and health promotion, technology integration, inter-professional collaboration, and leadership. Students also participate in a Field Period™ experience which provides practical application outside of the classroom.

Upon graduation, Keuka College students are prepared to specialize in a variety of areas, including community health, school health, home care, leadership and management, or specialty services. A bachelor’s degree in nursing also paves the way—and is required—for acceptance into graduate-level nursing programs and advanced nursing practice.

To apply for Keuka College’s RN to B.S. program, visit or contact Laura Alfieris, assistant director of admissions for ASAP, at (315) 694-0573.

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.

Seven Keuka College Nurses, Professor Nominated in 2015 “Nurse of the Year” Awards

Seven Keuka College nurses and one nurse education professor have been nominated for the Fifth Annual March of Dimes  “Nurse of the Year” awards gala. The Keuka College nurses will be among the nominees to be recognized Friday, Sept. 18 at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center.

The event honors outstanding nurses from across upstate New York and throughout the Finger Lakes region who have been nominated for their service in some 22 different categories. In past years, the gala has raised more than $75,000 for the March of Dimes, a long-standing, non-profit organization with a mission to improve the health of mothers and babies, prevent birth defects and premature birth and reduce infant mortality.

The following Keuka College nurses have been nominated across several categories:

Nurses can be nominated for the March of Dimes awards by patients, coworkers, friends, family or other health professionals. Last year, five nurses, including Witter, and Dr. Vicki Record, assistant professor of nursing, also received nominations.

“The Nursing Division at Keuka College congratulates the nominees and are proud of their tremendous accomplishments,” said Dr. Debra Gates, chair of the division. “Keuka College nurses are certainly having an impact regionally and seeing nominations each year for these prestigious awards is testament to that. It’s really wonderful that the March of Dimes takes the time to celebrate nurses and the difference they make. We salute all these leaders in the field of nursing.”   

Keuka College to Host New Concert Series in Celebration of 125 Years

Amenda Quartet

As Keuka College continues to celebrate its 125th year, it will host a series of concerts through April 2016.

Sponsored by Lyons National Bank, the Keuka College 125th Anniversary Concert Series kicks off with a performance of Beethoven’s highly acclaimed string quartets by the Amenda Quartet Sunday, Sept. 20. Free and open to the public, the concert begins at 3 p.m. in Norton Chapel.

During the performances the Amenda Quartet will play two of Beethoven’s string quartets: No. 2 and No. 9. There will be a discussion before each piece to consider the elements of style and interpretation.

A pre-concert conversation will be hosted by Gaelen McCormick, director of the Eastman@Keuka summer camp, and member of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. She will ask members of the Amenda Quartet about how and why they chose these quartets, and lead a question and answer session.

Founded in Rochester in 2010 by four friends, the Amenda Quartet is comprised of Patricia Sunwoo (violin), David Brickman (violin), Melissa Matson (viola) and Mimi Hwang (cello).

Sunwoo began music lessons at the age of five. While studying at Juilliard, she toured with new music group Sequitur, as well as the Naumburg-award winning Whitman String Quartet. She has served on the faculty of the State University of Binghamton and was member of the Bard Festival Quartet.

Brickman took up the violin as a boy, and after training at the Eastman School of Music and Indiana University, he began his orchestral career. He and his wife, Patricia Sunwoo, founded, which offers MP3 files for music lessons.

Matson has played chamber music as long as she can remember. She was a founding member of the Chester Quartet, formed at the Eastman School of Music, and is principal violist of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. She is also the artistic director of First Muse Chamber Music.

Hwang began playing the cello at age eight. She is a founding member of the Franciscan String Quartet and Cello Divas. An adjunct assistant professor of chamber music at the Eastman School of Music and lecturer in applied music at Nazareth College, she also serves on the Board of Trustees of the Hochstein School and Chamber Music America.

Other dates in the Keuka College 125 Anniversary Concert Series include Sunday, Oct.18; Tuesday, Nov. 22; Feb. 14, 2016; March 20, 2016; and April 17, 2016. Each concert is free and open to the public and will be held at 3 p.m. in Norton Chapel.

Fine Art Tiles With a Story to Tell

Part of the "Come Sail Away" series featuring a background recovered from a silent movie theater in Wausau, Wis. Each sailboat design is one of a kind.

Years ago, anyone wishing to enjoy the patterned art of a tin ceiling —popular in Victorian architecture—would suffer a crink in the neck as they looked up. But thanks to Nancy Fobert, tin ceiling remnants reclaimed and enhanced with color glazing live anew as contemporary wall art – no neck strain necessary.

Members of the College community and the public are invited to an artists’ reception featuring the glazed antique tin art tiles of Fobert Designs from 4:30-6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 10 at Lightner Gallery in Lightner Library at Keuka College. Light refreshments and music will accompany the event and Fobert hopes guests will enjoy learning the stories and provenance, or origin, behind each unique piece.

A self-taught artist who has made her living by showcasing her unique creations at juried art festivals for the past seven years, Fobert and her husband, Gary, seek out antique tin ceilings across the country. They have now uncovered original tin ceilings or remnants of ceilings in 50 cities across 12 states, including the Brother’s Lounge jazz club in Cleveland where BB King and other greats played, Willard State Psychiatric Hospital near Ovid, N.Y., an old saloon in Florida, and a silent movie theater in Wausau, Wis.

Signature Butterfly Series pattern, crafted in the "Step In Time" format

When found, Gary Fobert will remove the original tin and transport it back to their home outside Watkins Glen, where he’ll clean off 100 years or more of grime. Depending on its appearance then, “that tells me if I’ll want to add color to the glaze or not,” Nancy Fobert said. While she prefers to keep specifics of her multi-layer process a trade secret, Nancy said she uses a combination of acrylics and signature glazes to enhance the beauty of the original tin patterns. Rather than use a traditional kiln, the couple lays pieces out under the sun to set the glaze.

A special three-panel commission featuring tin recovered from Mechanicsburg, Pa.: "Birch Tree Stand."

Typically, the tin comes from commercial or public properties, but sometimes from private homes, such as one family’s aged cabin in the Adirondacks. Most tin ceilings originated in the late 1800s when ornate plaster engravings adorning ceilings across Europe were desired for American architecture. However, America lacked the trained artisans of Europe, and tin ceilings—painted white—were an economic alternative to European plaster, particularly with the boon in steel and metals during the industrial revolution. Eventually, manufacturers began rolling tin out in sheets, impressing ornate patterns into the metal; squares of engraved tin were fitted together in a fashion similar to contemporary drop ceilings. Tin ceilings were popular through the 1930s.

"Point of View," crafted to resemble a stained glass window.

“They have their own story to tell as far as the history of where each piece comes from,” Nancy Fobert said, adding that the provenance of each tin is documented on the back of her finished “tiles.”

Admitting her craft is “definitely not traditional art,” Nancy Fobert says some of the pieces will be further enhanced with mirrors her husband embeds in cut tin, or wooden frames made by her 75-year-old father, an antiques dealer. In several pieces, small holes or physical elements resembling the keyhole of a door can be found, as she likes to say “I unlocked the beauty of the tin.”

“We felt like the world was missing out on this as an art material and that inspired us to save as much as possible by doing this. I love that we’re preserving part of history,” she says. While her fine art designs can complement many different styles of homes, she adds, “we don’t want to lose the character and integrity of the tin itself. We want you to feel that yes, you are looking at a piece of history, but now it’s made contemporary and cool.”

The Fobert Designs exhibit continues through Oct. 24 at Lightner Gallery and will include the College’s second annual Green & Gold Celebration Weekend. Plans are also in the works for Fobert to speak to art and design students on entering juried art shows.

According to Melissa Newcomb, assistant professor of art, her students can benefit from the opportunity to connect with a professional artist making a living in the field of high-end art. “A lot of students will look for ways to survive on their own as artists and Nancy’s a great example of how it can be done,” Newcomb says.