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Posts Tagged ‘jorge diaz-herrera’

Beyond 9 – 5

Carol Sackett and two of her paintings, "Still Waters," left and "Sunrise," right.

By day, Penn Yan resident Carol Sackett manages the circulation desk at Lightner Library, a post she has held for 32 years. But through March 7, visitors to Keuka College can glimpse a different side of her, as seen in three oil paintings gracing the walls of Lightner Gallery.

Sackett’s paintings are on display alongside numerous other works from members of Keuka’s faculty and staff, whose job titles may not necessarily disclose the individuals as creative “artists-in-residence.”

Beyond 9 to 5: The Hidden Talents of Keuka’s Faculty and Staff runs through March 7 in Lightner Gallery,located in Lightner Library. It features  a range of artistic mediums, including painting, photography, ceramics, glass work, digital art, and film.  More than 20 faculty and staff members submitted work for the show, including President Jorge L. Díaz-Herrera.

During a special artists’ reception – open to the public – Thursday, Feb. 21 from 4:30 – 6 p.m., the exhibit will also feature select culinary art from four members of the faculty and staff. The exhibit remains open daily during library hours, available online at: http://lightner.keuka.edu

Hand-painted glass by Doreen Hovey

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The “P” Word

Franklin Delano Roosevelt once said “a full pocketbook groans louder than an empty stomach.”

Professor of Psychology Dr. Drew Arnold contends that FDR’s statement rings truer today than it did in post-Great Depression America.

“It seems that poverty hardly enters our national discourse,” said Arnold, who delivered the keynote address at the annual academic convocation today (Aug. 28). “The word poverty is seldom used by politicians. President Obama has been using the term ‘vulnerable’ instead of ‘poor.’ It’s become the ‘p’ word.”

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“Fired Up” President Outlines Vision at Inauguration

Saying that “we are obliged to reconsider a liberal arts education in a digital, connected world,” Keuka College President Jorge L. Díaz-Herrera today (May 4) set  the College on a path to become “the cradle for the next generation of scientists and humanists.”

In remarks after being invested as the College’s 19th president, Dr. Díaz-Herrera encouraged the faculty of this “great institution to create the liberal arts curriculum for the 21st century.

See what President Díaz-Herrera had to say about his inauguration.

“What if we were to integrate computational methods seamlessly across the curriculum?” said the president, a native of Barquisimeto, Venezuela. “What if we were to produce criminal justice experts who solved cybercrime, nurses proficient in medical informatics, and English majors fluent in digital storytelling?”

Reaffirming the College’s historical commitment to the liberal arts, the president disagreed with those who question the value of a liberal arts education because graduates can’t find jobs.

Watch the full inauguration

“A liberal arts education provides its own rewards and combined with our Field Period innovation is a superb preparation for the world of work and service,” he said. “A liberal arts foundation is good for the economy and for democracy.”

Even highly technical jobs require a high degree of intellectual skills and contextual understanding, said the president, who pointed to Google, which is hiring 6,000 new employees this year, 5,000 from the liberal arts or humanities.

Dr. Melissa Brown '72, chair of the Board of Trustees, invests Dr. Jorge L. Díaz-Herrera as the 19th president of Keuka College.

“As the late Steve Jobs said, ‘Technical skills are not enough,’” said Díaz-Herrera, contrasting what Daniel Pink, chief speechwriter for former Vice President Al Gore, calls conceptual workers vs. knowledge workers. “Conceptual workers are anchored in the liberal arts—strong in science, math, and humanities, plus technology.”

An education with a liberal arts base “allows us to be able to address difficult, global, complex issues by allowing us to place this knowledge in context without compartmentalization,” said Díaz-Herrera. “This is an education that unique places like Keuka can provide, and it’s one of the reasons that drew me to the job.”

Although the president has spent a good deal of time “ascertaining the hopes, dreams, and concerns” of the College community, he also spearheaded a campus-wide, long-range strategic planning effort. One of the first outcomes of that work is a new mission statement:

Keuka College exists to create citizens and leaders to serve the world in the 21st century.

Among the many topics being discussed during the on-going strategic planning process is the arts.

“We must bring the arts back to Keuka College,” said the president. “Conversations are under way with the Eastman School of Music to see what we can do together. Another exciting project is the potential reviving of the Sampson Theatre in downtown Penn Yan. We should be part of this effort and also participate wholeheartedly in the Penn Yan 20/20 planning effort. The Finger Lakes Museum is another project that plays in this arena.”

Díaz-Herrera pledged to “enthusiastically give my full dedication to the College in the only way I know: with passion and firmness. You can be sure that I will put my heart and soul toward moving this institution to the next level.”

But the president said a team effort is required to reach that level.

“Resilient academic institutions succeed because their faculty, staff, students, and friends are strongly committed to them,” he said. “I will need your total commitment, and I will work hard on building confidence and trust to achieve the solidarity needed to address difficult and changing times.”

In the discussions he has had with members of the College community during his 10 months on the job, Díaz-Herrera said one thing resonates loud and clear.


“Our community is passionate about this place,” he said, “and I must confess that the enthusiasm is contagious. I am fired up!”

To view a brief album of photos from the Inauguration, click HERE.

Cover Story: A Man of Many Talents

“His expertise in computing, combined with his passion for music and his international background, is a robust ‘soup’ that exemplifies the important balance between a liberal education and a strong discipline.” —    Dr. Jeremy Haefner, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, RIT


Jorge Díaz-Herrera’s mother knew her son could handle first grade, and she wasn’t going to let an age requirement or piece of furniture prevent him from attending.

“I could read and write, but there wasn’t any room at the school and you had to be 7 to enter first grade; I was 6 1/2,” recalls Díaz-Herrera, who grew up in the Venezuelan city of Barquisimeto, located in the foothills of the Andes Mountains. “My mother talked to the teacher, who was a friend of the family, and she said that if I brought my own chair, they would take me as an auditing student.”

So, little Jorge Luis trudged off to school, chair in tow.

“It was only three blocks but it looked like 30,” he recalled.

But he made it and did so well that “before the year was over, they admitted me and I sailed through sixth grade passing ‘eximido’—exempted from taking finals every year.” (more…)

College Honors Veterans, Those Serving Now

Keuka College honored current military servicemen and women and those who served in past wars and foreign conflicts Friday in a ceremony marking Veterans Day.

Members of the Yates County VFW perform a Presentation of Arms during the Veteran's Day service Nov. 11.

“Today, we pay tribute to the veterans of World War II, Korea and Vietnam, including those nurses who were trained at Keuka College. The College’s nursing program was created in response to the need for nurses in World War II,” said President Jorge L. Díaz-Herrera in a welcome at Norton Chapel.

First known as Armistice Day, the nation marked the laying down of arms that took place on the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, following the signing of the armistice that ended World War I. President Woodrow Wilson, feeling the weight of his decision to send American “doughboys” into battle in Europe, asked citizens a year later to honor the sacrifice of their fellow countrymen with solemn pride, said Chris Leahy, associate professor of history.

“Wilson envisioned that every Nov. 11 from that point forward would see parades throughout the small towns and big cities of the United States, and a brief suspension of business at 11 a.m.,” Leahy said.

In 1938, it became a federal holiday, but not until 1953 was a name change proposed, Leahy said. After Kansas shoe store owner Al King began a campaign to recognize all veterans, not just those from World War I, a Kansas Congressman introduced a federal bill, which was signed into law in 1954 by President Dwight Eisenhower. Thus, it officially became known as Veterans Day.

Professor of History Sander Diamond described the stately precision with which the 22 domestic and 24 overseas cemetery battlefields or memorials are kept in tribute of those who gave their lives. In 1921, one more tradition, that of placing a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, was begun when Sgt. Edward Younger first placed a spray of white roses on the third of four caskets of unidentified American soldiers placed in a row at a city hall not far from the Meuse-Argonne cemetery in France. The casket Younger chose was taken by ship for burial at Washington’s Arlington National Cemetery, where other unknown soldiers have been buried alongside it, he said.

Diamond noted that the last two World War I veterans, American Frank Buckles and England’s Harry Patch, both died at age 110 this year. Since America’s first war, the War for Independence, some 2,489,335 men and women have given their lives for their country, including 3,542 in Iraq and 1,425 in Afghanistan, where military conflicts are not yet resolved. And many who serve come back home with horrific wounds, both physical and psychological, from disfigurement to mental problems once called “shell-shock” but known today as PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), he added.

“It is now up to us and our government to see to it that our most recent veterans have their needs met, no matter what the cost, even in this era of cost-cutting,” Diamond said, drawing parallels between the Keuka mission, which stresses “service above self,” and the mindset of many veterans and family members who wait for their return home.

“We are mindful that American service men and women are still fighting and dying in Afghanistan.  This gives Veterans Day more immediacy, more poignancy,” said Leahy, adding that it was important to honor and remember the brave women, as well as men, who have served.

The event closed with a prayer of remembrance, led by College Chaplain Rev. Eric Detar and a Presentation of Arms by an honor guard from the Yates County VFW, Post 745, at Keuka’s World War II monument, which stands near Lightner Library.

“We cannot fully repay those who gave up two lives, the life they were living and the life they would have lived,” said Detar.

Check out more photos from the service.

Message to New Students: Embrace Change

While acknowledging that most people resist change, Rita Gow, the 2010-11 Professor of the Year, urged the College’s incoming class today (Aug. 30) to embrace it.

Rita Gow

Gow, the keynote speaker at Keuka’s academic convocation, said that change “pushes us outside our comfort zone.

“But it’s good to step outside that box,” she explained. “You are excited to be here at Keuka and you are wondering how this new experience is going to work out. We all feel a bit of anxiety at some point—this is not necessarily a bad thing. It can motivate you.”

The associate professor of accounting told the Class of 2015 and new transfer students that they came to college to make changes in their lives.

“You hope to gain knowledge that will serve you well in whatever choice of major and career you contemplate,” said Gow. “Some of you came here with definite ideas in mind and others have no clue. College is a journey. You may take many different turns in the road to find out what satisfies you and makes you happy.”

Gow urged the newcomers not to be afraid of failure.

“We resist change because of the fear of unknown,” she said, “but it’s really a fear of failure. Students often don’t talk in class because they have a fear of failure—not getting things right. You can’t fail if you don’t try, but you can’t succeed either. Failure is the only way to learn how to succeed.”

New Board of Trustees member Carolyn Klinge '79 poses with students before academic convocation.

Gow cautioned that she was not talking about failure in terms of academics.

“It is not OK to fail your courses,” she stated.

Gow then combined academics with aspirations, saying that “whatever your perception of your abilities in high school, wipe the slate clean and change it now.

“When a student thinks something is hard in my class, I tell them they have the ability and they can do it,” she said. “They just need to try, by taking it step by step. Effort and practice will help you to be successful in anything you do.”

It was the first academic convocation for President Jorge L. Díaz-Herrera.

President Jorge L. Díaz-Herrera.

“I have been here about two months longer than you so, in essence, we’re all newcomers to Keuka Park,” he told the new students. “You will always be special because we came to Keuka together.”

Although he has only been president a short time, “I can honestly say that you made the right decision to attend Keuka College,” he said. “How do I know this? I did my homework before I applied for the job—just like you did. And, I’m pleased to say, all the good vibes I had about Keuka College have been reinforced in the short time I’ve been on campus. In the many conversations I have had so far, one thing resonates loud and clear: our community is passionate about this place and eager to help. You and I made the right choice. We made the right decision to come here and join the Keuka family.”

Díaz-Herrera praised Keuka faculty members for being “leaders in their fields. You will learn from some of the top educators in our country. But they also are superb advisers, consultants, and confidants.”

And like the faculty, Keuka staff members “are terrific at what they do and we all put the needs of our students first.”

More photos from Academic Convocation.