Keuka College will host its annual Christmas Candlelight Service of Lessons and Carols Wednesday, Dec. 9.
Free and open to the public, the service begins at 7 p.m. in Norton Chapel.
“The worship service will feature scripture lessons, carols, candle lighting, and special music from the Keuka College Chorale and members of the Wednesday Worship Service,” said Rev. Eric Detar, College chaplain. “The service includes lighting candles that represent the various characters in the nativity, which tell the Christmas story.”
The annual service will give those in attendance the opportunity to “participate in a celebration which remembers the Christmas story as told by those who celebrate in the Christian faith,” said Detar. “It is a beautiful service, telling a story through song and candlelight.”
Added Detar: “There is something profound and symbolic in a simple candle flame. It has the power to shatter darkness, and I think it is amazing what a little candle can do. I think that is a helpful image to consider in light of the darkness, pain, and tragedy that have hit our world. A little light can offer hope.”
Keuka College honored veterans and active duty personnel with a Nov. 11 ceremony held in Norton Chapel. Stationed outside the chapel during the event was a World War II Jeep.
In front of an overflow crowd of students, faculty, and staff, the ceremony featured remarks by Chris Leahy, professor of history; New York State Assemblyman Phil Palmesano; New York State Senator Tom O’Mara; as well as Alison Hunt, deputy district director for U.S. Representative Tom Reed. Robert Heselton, a former machinist mate second class, and a Navy veteran of the first Gulf War, offered his perspective as a veteran.
Rev. Eric Detar, College chaplain, offered a prayer of remembrance and played “America the Beautiful,” while Army veteran Daniel Esworthy ’18 and members of the Penn Yan VFW Honor Guard also took part. They sounded a rifle salute and played Taps at the end of the service.
Several other students were involved in the ceremony, including Siobhan Costain ’17, past president of the Keuka College Veterans Club, who presented the College’s donation to the Honor Flight Rochester. Its mission is to fly our heroes to Washington, DC to visit and reflect together at their memorials. Honor Flight is free to all World War II and Korean veterans and to veterans from any era who suffer a terminal illness.
Members of the College Chorale and QKAppella performed the National Anthem, “America, Of Thee I Sing,” and “God Bless America.”
The service included recognition of all veterans in attendance, as well as a presentation dedicated to those who could not attend.
The women’s field hockey, basketball, and lacrosse teams served as ushers and escorted veterans from their pews after the service, while the men’s basketball and lacrosse teams helped serve dinner to the veterans and their families. The dinner was compliments of AVI Fresh, the College’s food service provider.
Before the ceremony, 375 students, faculty, and staff members of the College community signed holiday cards. Part of the American Red Cross Holiday Mail for Heroes program, the College campaign was sponsored by the Staff Advisory Council’s (SAC) Events Committee. Those who took part were asked to write a short message and sign their name on a card. The cards will be distributed to veterans and active service men and women in the VA hospitals in Canandaigua and Bath.
More photos of the ceremony can be found here.
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.
For more information on “Wounded Tiger” at Green & Gold, click here.
Keuka College will commemorate the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day (V-E Day) Friday, May 8.
The ceremony, free and open to the public, begins at 4 p.m. at the College’s World War II Monument, located near Lightner Library.
College President Jorge L. Díaz-Herrera will deliver remarks along with New York State Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, and Dr. Mike McKenzie, associate professor of philosophy and religion. Rev. Eric Detar, College chaplain, will offer a prayer of remembrance, and Rabbi Ann Landown of Temple Beth-El will recite the Jewish Prayer for the Dead, the Kaddish. Members of the Penn Yan VFW Honor Guard will also take part.
After the ceremony, refreshments will be served in Lightner Library.
V-E Day is celebrated each May 9. It was on this day when the Allies accepted Germany’s Unconditional Surrender in a destroyed Berlin, the German capital. It had been decided at the Casablanca Conference in 1943 that nothing less than the Unconditional Surrender of our foes would be accepted. On May 7, 1945, the Germans surrendered unconditionally at Rheims at the headquarters of the Supreme Allied High Commander, General Dwight Eisenhower.
And Keuka College has a strong connection to the events in Europe nearly 4,000 miles from its idyllic lakeside campus.
When the United States entered the First World War in 1917 two years after the sinking of the Lusitania, some of the young men at Keuka College left school and signed up. Some served stateside while others served on the Western Front or in the Navy. Germany was defeated and signed the Armistice on November 11, 1918. In the 1950s, Armistice Day was renamed Veterans Day and every year since the erection of the College’s World War II Monument in May 2005, the College has gathered around our monument to salute all who served in past and current wars.
“On the 50th anniversary of V-E Day in 1995, the students of the Political Science and History Club decided to commemorate this day,” said Dr. Sander A. Diamond, professor of history. “A brass plaque and an oak tree recall that stellar day which included a fly-over by the U.S. Air Force out of Syracuse.”
“Ten years later, the Club erected the World War II Monument on the 60th anniversary of V-E Day,” Dr. Diamond added. “It is well used each Veterans Day, Holocaust Remembrance Day, and Memorial Day. On one side of the Monument, the names of all of the theaters of war are listed; on the other, a salute to our Nursing Cadet Program, setting in stone the connective link between the war and our institutional history. As we did in 1995 and 2005, we honor ‘The Greatest Generation.’”
Twenty-four years after the First World War ended, America was again at war. While Keuka College began its 125-year-old journey as a coeducational institution, it emerged from the First World War as a women’s college. Early in the war, Eleanor Roosevelt, the wife of the President, visited our campus and suggested to our president ways the College could contribute to the massive war effort. With so many of the young men from this rural area in uniform, it was suggested that the students could help with the harvests.
It was also suggested that the College start a Nursing Cadet Corps Program. Within two years, many of our nursing graduates found themselves in the various theaters of war and some served in the Occupations of Germany and Japan after the war.
“Both the Field Period™ and the nursing program are rooted in the war years, and today are among the central constellations of this fine institution,” said Dr. Diamond.
And according to Dr. Diamond, Keuka College will not be alone in our commemoration.
“World leaders have gathered to commemorate V-E Day and there will be celebrations in Washington, Paris, Brussels, Ottawa, Amsterdam, and Copenhagen,” he said, “We can pride ourselves as an institution that we too have taken time to remember, making another intergenerational transfer of values, which cement the connective links between nations.”
For many area nonprofit organizations, the rhythm of daily operations can leave few resources to tackle special projects.
That’s why the 18-year community service day collaboration between Keuka College and the Yates County Chamber of Commerce, known as Celebrate Service …Celebrate Yates(CSCY), is so well-received by nonprofit leaders who welcome volunteers to help with spring cleaning and other projects.
And Sunday’s (April 12) annual day of service set new records, with a volunteer corps of students and community members some 297 strong chipping in at a record 32 nonprofit work sites around Yates County.
“As far as what it means to us, we really appreciate the help,” said Dick Smith, trustee for the Bluff Point United Methodist Church.
Smith was all smiles Sunday, welcoming four women from the Catholic Daughters of the Americas at St. Michael’s Church in Penn Yan to help rake stones pushed by snowplowing from the parking lot into the surrounding grass over the harsh winter months.
“We just couldn’t get it done otherwise,” Smith added, estimating a congregation where as many as 80 percent of parishioners may be seniors unable to labor long and the other 20 percent busy young families with little time to serve. A similar challenge faces St. Luke’s Episcopal in Branchport, where CSCY volunteers, including members of the Penn Yan Rotary and Keuka College women’s soccer team, reported to serve.
One of the Bluff Point volunteers —new Penn Yan resident Deborah Smith — said CSCY was one of the first local events she heard about after joining the Catholic Daughters.
“Good cause, great day, good exercise — all kinds of benefits are coming out of it,” Deborah Smith said, adding the event was also a great way to meet people in her new hometown.
At another corner of the church lot, the nearly 70-degree temperatures and bright sunshine found Deb Thurling in high spirits.
“I’m hoping to bulk up my muscles to bowl better on Tuesday and beat Pastor Judy [Wunder of Bluff Point UMC] and her husband in our senior league,” Thurling quipped.
Thurling’s enthusiasm was matched by four Keuka College students trekking the steep hills of Route 364 near Delooza Road with Rev. Jeff Childs of the Penn Yan United Methodist Church for the church’s two-mile stretch of “adopted” highway. Asked what exotic findings they’d uncovered, senior Brianna Jackson and junior Lakeisha Ford launched into a few bars of “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall,” while sophomore Dakota Warren held out a skeletal bone from a cow. And not just any bone —Warren insisted her classroom training in occupational therapy classes confirmed it was a lumbar bone.
Other findings included a hubcap, a tire resembling a hula hoop, metal building pipes, parts of a house shingle, “and a little sign and a stick to make music,” according to senior Rachel Guthrie.
“I love this!” Guthrie said of her first CSCY experience. “I do highway cleanups at home in North Rose. It couldn’t be a better day.”
And it wasn’t just the great weather or the opportunity to give back that found so many volunteers relishing the moment. At the Yates County Habitat for Humanity site in Dresden, freshman Alyana Murphy said she likes “paying it forward,” but added, “It’s nice to know more about the community where I go to school, and I like how people from the College and community get together to help each other.”
Similar sentiments were expressed by four members of the Keuka College men’s golf team, assigned to the Keuka Lake chapter of the Izaak Walton League on Guayanoga Road. All four students, all first-time CSCY volunteers, were marveling at the quiet they’d discovered while stacking logs and moving brush as three members of the women’s soccer team tackled the windows and floors inside the clubhouse.
“It’s so peaceful, going from the campus to this,” said freshman Mike Parrow, while the sounds of small wildlife and a running stream nearby were heard. “We’re coming back, and we’re going fishing.”
The foursome knew they’d miss next weekend’s hunter safety course due to a golf match in New Jersey against Rutgers-Camden but were hoping to catch an upcoming chicken and biscuits dinner hosted by the Walton League May 2, said freshman Rory Doremus.
“I told them I got the applications right inside and we’re always looking for new members,” Skip Johnson, chapter president, said with a chuckle. “This is fun. I love working with the kids and everything.”
Indeed, many children and families participated this year, increasing the makeup of the volunteer corps to a 58 – 42 percent split between the College and community members, organizers reported.
And perhaps Kristine Mattison, a pre-K teacher at Penn Yan Elementary School serving at City Hill Cemetery in Penn Yan, could be the poster child for the value of starting young when it comes to community service.
“I grew up helping clean the City Hill Cemetery—it was my spring, summer, and fall job. And I still do. A lot of people have family buried here, including some of my relatives. Everyone works together to keep the cemetery clean and ready for visitors. Everyone here is having a great time,” she said.
CSCY is underwritten each year, thanks to the generous support of local businesses and merchants serving as sponsors. The 2015 Day of Service sponsors include: Arc of Yates, American Legion Post 355, AVI Fresh, Chrisanntha Construction, Eaves Family Dental Group, Ferro Corporation, Finger Lakes Realty, Graphic Connections, Keuka College Student Senate, the Office of Alumni and Family Relations, the Office of Student Affairs, Keuka Spring Vineyards, Knapp & Schlappi, Knights of Columbus, K-Ventures, Loyal Order of the Moose Lodge 2030, Lyons National Bank, Phelps Sungas, Stork Insurance, and Tony Collins Class of ’77 Celebrity Golf Classic.