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Posts Tagged ‘jorge diaz-herrera’

Murray Receives Keuka College/FLCC Joint Presidential Scholarship

Newark resident Johnathan Murray, assistant director of the One Stop department at Finger Lakes Community College (FLCC) in Canandaigua, received the Keuka College/FLCC Joint Presidential Scholarship at a May 1 reception attended by his FLCC colleagues and representatives from Keuka College.

President Díaz-Herrera, Murray and FLCC President Barbara Risser

The Joint Presidential Scholarship gives an FLCC employee the opportunity to pursue a Keuka College degree tuition-free through an Accelerated Studies for Adults Program (ASAP) cohort meeting for weekly evening classes at FLCC. When one employee completes the major requirements of his or her degree program, another can apply. Murray will begin a program to earn a Master of Science degree in management (MSM) Aug. 27.

He was selected for the award by Dr. Jorge L. Díaz-Herrera, president of Keuka College, and Dr. Barbara Risser, president of FLCC. Both were on hand during the presentation, when Murray received a standing ovation.

“I am deeply honored to have been selected for the Keuka College/FLCC Joint Presidential Scholarship, and touched by all the support I have received from my friends and colleagues,” said Murray. “Thank you!”

Keuka College partners with several community colleges across upstate New York to offer ASAP courses at each host campus; some of the partner schools also offer the Joint Presidential Scholarship to their employees. At FLCC, the most recent recipient was Jon VanBlargan, a financial aid counselor who received his Keuka College MSM in 2014. Lynn Freid, director of workforce development for FLCC, received the Joint Presidential Scholarship to pursue a Keuka College bachelor’s degree in organizational management, graduating in 2012. In addition, Mike Fisher, registrar/director of the One Stop department and Murray’s supervisor, received his Keuka College MSM in 2010.

Left to right, Mike Fisher, registrar/director of One Stop, Murray, assistant director of One Stop, and Carol Urbatis, vice president for enrollment management at FLCC.

Murray got his start at FLCC as a student aide at the Wayne County Campus Center in 2003. After earning his associate degree from FLCC in 2005 he went on to receive a bachelor’s degree in business administration/accounting from Rochester Institute of Technology. In 2005, he also became the evening coordinator of FLCC’s Newark facility. He became a One Stop department specialist for FLCC five years ago, and since December 2011, he has served as the One Stop assistant director. In his free time he enjoys bird-watching, digital photography, cooking and baking with friends.

“My work is an important piece of my life,” said Murray. “I enjoy working in higher education and watching students mature and find their passion. The MSM program at Keuka will permit me to improve upon our service to our students and came highly recommended from my peers who have completed the program before me.”

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.

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

Oscar Win Would be Fitting Tribute to Turing

By Dr. Jorge L. Díaz-Herrera, president

Dr. Jorge L. Díaz-Herrera

The Imitation Game, based on the real-life story of Alan Turing and his team of code-breakers at England’s top-secret Government Code and Cypher School in World War II, garnered eight Oscar nominations, including Best Picture and Best Actor in a Leading Role for Benedict Cumberbatch.

Turing built a digital computer that broke Nazi Germany’s most closely guarded encryption code, the Enigma code. That story was superbly told in The Imitation Game, which ended with the filmmakers’ revelation that Turing committed suicide in 1954. An open-minded gay man, Turing was a victim of the discriminatory laws of the day.

Prime Minister Winston Churchill said that “Turing’s work was one of the most important factors in the victory for the Allied forces and had probably shortened the war by as much as two years.” In 1945 he was awarded the Order of the British Empire for his services to his country and in 1951, Turing was elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Society.

However, we knew nothing about this war hero and mathematical and engineering genius until the 1970s, and not until 2012, 100 years after his birth, were his wartime papers declassified. What is now known is that Turing’s brilliant work proved essential to the development of computers and today’s machines rely on his seminal insight. He brought cryptology to the modern world and invented the concept of the programmable computer.

In 1936, while reading mathematics in Cambridge, England, the 24-year-old Turing made an extraordinary discovery: a universal “computing” machine. Turing called this theoretical entity the “automatic machine,” or a-machine; today we call it the Universal Turing Machine. Turing proved that the a-machine could solve any computing problem capable of being described as a sequence of mathematical steps. In 1938 he completed his Ph.D. thesis at Princeton, providing a formalization of the concepts of “algorithms” and “computation.” More importantly, he proved the notion that “software,” a word not coined yet, was capable of encompassing “every known process” as evidenced by today’s world of computers.

Turing’s interest in the human mind, even from 1936, centered on modeling the brain; in the 1940s he developed ideas for artificial intelligence (a term attributed to John McCarthy from the University of Pennsylvania in the mid-1950s). In the early 1950s Turing founded a completely new field: mathematical biology (today’s computational biology, without which we would not have been able to decipher the human genome). In 1952, he developed a chess program for a computer that did not yet exist but which he simulated by hand. It was his fascination with the human brain that led him to develop a test for machine-based intelligence; he called it the imitation game, published in his extraordinary paper “Computing Machinery and Intelligence.” It is now known as the famous Turing Test.

The hardware does not look the same, but the mathematical model of today’s computers is identical to the Turing machine. Proving again that he was way ahead of his time, Turing showed indirectly that we cannot automatically detect machine viruses or other malicious code, which explains why cyber-security is one of the most intractable problems of the 21st century.

The Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) A.M. Turing Award is an annual prize that honors an individual “for contributions of a technical nature made to the computing community.” It is generally recognized as the highest distinction in computer science, the “Nobel Prize in Computing,” now carrying a $1 million prize.

This is a fitting tribute to Turing, who was grossly misunderstood during his lifetime, but today is remembered as a true science and engineering pioneer, and a hero of the theory and practice of computer science.

And while The Imitation Game did a superb job of chronicling Turing’s heroic work during World War II, the film told just a portion of his story. As I left the theater I couldn’t help but wonder how much further ahead computing would be today if Turing had lived longer.

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:

Hand-painted glass by Doreen Hovey


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.”


“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.