Buoyed by high spirits and sunny skies, the 488 members of the Keuka College Class of 2015 and marched forward into the future, inspired by words of advice and encouragement from two high achievers. Saturday marked the 107th Commencement Exercises for Keuka College.
Both U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D- N.Y.), and Dr. T. Alan Hurwitz, president of Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. relayed personal stories of overcoming adversity, offering advice to the graduates how to turn challenges into stepping stones.
While pursuing his first degree in electrical engineering, Dr. Hurwitz had no tutors, interpreters or note-takers, and had to rely entirely upon lip-reading. In one especially challenging electronics course, he had the option to take an F as his grade and repeat the course, or take a D and move on. After careful consideration, Hurwitz chose the F “because failing meant that I had another chance,” he told graduates.
“After the second time around, I got an A,” he said. “As you embark on your careers or post-graduate studies, remember that failure is not the end. Failing at something does not mean that you are a failure. It simply offers you an opportunity to learn and grow and do better the next time.”
Indeed, Dr. Hurwitz’s own story showcases his drive to overcome the many challenges and barriers he faced growing up as a deaf child in Sioux City, Iowa, before eventually rising through the ranks at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) at the Rochester Institute of Technology to become its president. After a 40-year career at NTID, Dr. Hurwitz went on to become president of Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., which, similar to NTID, serves students who are deaf or hard of hearing.
In a similar way, Sen. Schumer also made the most of a challenge faced after earning his bachelor’s degree. After missing an opportunity to travel the world for one year on an all-expense paid scholarship, Schumer stopped moping, dusted himself off, graduated law school and went on to earn his first seat as a NYS Assemblyman at the age of 23.
“The fact that you’ve gotten this great education at Keuka College and the fact that you are the first generation to grow up amidst this new technology so it’s almost instinct to you means one thing: If there was ever a time to figure out what your dream is and reach high for it, even if it seems hard to get to, now is that time,” Schumer told graduates in a surprise visit to the stage. “Reach deep down inside yourself. See what you’re made of. See if you can achieve that dream. My advice to the Class of 2015 is very simple: Go for it!”
“It’s not only my hope, not only my prayer, but indeed it is my confidence that you will succeed with flying colors and achieve your dreams,” Schumer said.
In additional activity at Commencement:
For more photos from Commencement, click here.
Keuka College’s Community Associates Board is seeking nominations for the 2015 Donald and Corinne Stork Award for Community Service.
The College established the award to recognize individuals who exemplify its historic commitment to the value and benefit of using individual initiative for the common good. It was named after the first recipients (1991) of the award, Penn Yan resident Corinne Stork and the late Donald Stork.
Nominations may be sent to Kathy Waye, executive director of alumni and family relations, c/o the Office of Alumni and Family Relations, Keuka College, 141 Central Ave., Keuka Park, N.Y., 14478 or email@example.com by Friday, May 15.
The 2015 award will be presented Tuesday, Aug. 11, at noon in the College’s Geiser Dining Hall, Dahlstrom Student Center.
In celebration of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, members of the Keuka College community will gather to participate in a traditional afternoon tea Wednesday, March 6.
Sponsored by the Women’s Center, Office of Multicultural Affairs, and Office of Alumni and Family Relations, the event will run from 4-5 p.m. in the Brezinsky Room.
In addition to sipping tea, attendees will hear a talk by Iva Deutchman, professor of political science at Hobart and William Smith (HWS) Colleges. She will discuss “Women in Politics: Past, Present and Future.”
“Iva is an expert in her field and a dynamic individual,” said Chevy DeVaney, director of multicultural affairs. “Attendees should expect to be engaged, educated, and have a good time.”
Deutchman holds doctoral and master’s degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, and a bachelor’s degree from Hofstra University. At HWS, she has served as the co-director of the media and society program; chaired the Committee on Academic Affairs and the political science department; and served as coordinator of the women’s studies program.
“The afternoon tea is symbolic as we use it to bring together women and men from across campus to talk about shared experiences, individual stories and most importantly spending time in the presence of other women,” said DeVaney.
But the tea is not just for women. According to Kathy Waye, director of alumni and family relations, “men are invited, and I think this provides an opportunity for men to better understand women’s issues.”
A day of global celebration for the economic, political and social achievements of women, “International Women’s Day is important because it celebrates the economic, political and social achievement of women,” said DeVaney. “It also draws attention to the gender inequalities that still exist. This day reminds us that there’s still work to be done, and provides a forum for women around the world to unite their voices on issues that affect us.”
Reservations may be made by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or ext. 5871.
Forty-nine faculty and staff members were recognized for their service and dedication to Keuka College at Community Day Aug. 20.
Five-year service awards were presented to: Eva Moberg-Sarver, director of student activities/associate director of New Student Orientation; Doreen Hovey, executive assistant to the vice president for academic affairs; Jonathan Accardi, director of campus recreation; Christopher Leahy, associate professor of history; Andrew Robak, assistant professor of chemistry; Patricia Mattingly, assistant professor of nursing; Jennifer Mealy, assistant professor of social work; Kimberly Fenton, interlibrary loan librarian; Joshua Ficks, manager of TeamWorks!; Judy Gilmartin, administrative programmer; John Locke, director of instructional design and multidisciplinary studies; Kathleen Snow, academic skills counselor; Marjorie Multer, administrative assistant, admissions; Julie Burns-Percy, assistant professor of social work, Accelerated Studies for Adults Program (ASAP); Jessica Noveck, student services representative; Chevanne DeVaney, director of multicultural affairs; Teri Spoor, IKON site manager; Craig Gelder, manager, Follett Bookstore; Terry Reape, dining services; Korey Goodman, dining services; Steven Riekofski, maintenance; and Sue Morse, housekeeping.
Ten-year service awards were presented to Tim Sellers, associate vice president for academic affairs; Vicki Smith, chair and professor of occupational therapy; Tom Tremer, chair and professor of criminology/criminal justice; Anna Decker, secretary, education graduate studies and administrative assistant, Lightner Library; Sharon Tyler, associate professor and librarian; and Susan DeLyser, human resource manager.
Fifteen-year service awards were presented to Jean Wannall, professor of occupational therapy; Anne Weed, vice president of academic affairs; Brad Turner, technical support technician; Kathy Waye, executive director of alumni and family relations; and Kasey Klingensmith, professor of biology.
A 20-year service award was presented to Jeff Bray, assistant director of athletics and head athletic trainer.
Twenty-five year service awards were presented to Doug Richards, chair and professor of English; and Sherry Fox, accounts payable.
Thirty-year service awards were presented to Tom Carroll, professor of chemistry and physics; and Joan Magnusen, professor of biology.
Merit awards were presented to: Laura Alfieris, assistant director of admissions; Carroll; Rachel E. Dewey, communications specialist; Kathleen Hastings, assistant director of admissions counseling; Jennie Joiner, assistant professor of English; Kelly Lickert, head coach, women’s lacrosse; Eugene Mont, resident director, Ball Hall and retention counselor; Tim White, resident director, Blyley and Harrington Halls and retention counselor; and Penny Webber, office manager for Academic Success at Keuka (ASK).
Two Presidential Awards for Sustained Outstanding Achievement were presented to Christen Accardi, marketing manager, ASAP; and Tracy McFarland, associate vice president for student development.
Editor’s Note: This is the second of six profiles of nominees for the 2012 Student Employee of the Year award that will be presented at the Annual Student Employment Awards Luncheon April 16.
According to Kathy Waye, executive director of alumni and family relations, the Office of Alumni and Family Relations at any college or university plays an important part in the success of the institution.
So it is “vital” that the students who work in that office are great ambassadors for Keuka, she said.
There is no doubt in her mind that senior Ron Burd fits the criteria. That’s why she—along with Terry Finger, office manager for the Office of Alumni and Family Relations and Eva Moberg-Sarver, admissions event coordinator—nominated Burd for the Student Employee of the Year award.
Burd, a political science/history major from Penn Yan, has worked for the alumni and family relations office for two years.
“Our alumni, families, and community members really enjoy their interaction with Ron,” said Waye. “He is great at multi-tasking projects which is necessary in our office. He always gives 110 percent to any project that he is given.”
Burd is responsible for answering questions, running reports, typing, filing, planning and working special events, and contacting alumni, families, and community members.
“When his projects are complete, he doesn’t hesitate to see if someone else in the office needs assistance, a true sign of a team player,” said Waye.
“What makes Ron even more special is he also works for admissions,” said Moberg-Sarver. “Ron originally started working for admissions over his January break in 2010 as a student ambassador, helping us with special events, and evening and weekend visits. During that time he became far more than an employee for six weeks. He was hired as a summer employee last year and has been asked to return again this year.”
While working in admissions, Burd’s primary responsibilities include answering questions, making phone calls, giving tours, and sending mailings. But most importantly, says Moberg-Sarver, he helps students feel comfortable during their campus visits.
“He is always willing to help in any way that he can,” said Moberg-Sarver. “He is a dependable and wonderful resource for students who are looking at Keuka.”
Fingar says she “can’t emphasize enough that Ron is a congenial and reliable person. He wants to make a difference with his life, and you can sense his confidence and genuine expectation to succeed.”
“He is committed and willing to give his best in everything in which he participates,” she said. “He shows great drive and initiative, he delights in the work he does, and he completes the work in a highly professional manner.”
According to Moberg-Sarver, Burd is considered a valuable member of both staffs.
“Not only is he remarkably prompt and reliable in performing his various duties as a student assistant and student ambassador, he goes beyond his job descriptions in many ways,” she said. “He doesn’t hesitate to make suggestions to make the projects in each office a success.”
Waye says Burd takes challenging courses and excels in them.
“He has made the Dean’s List, and values learning for learning’s sake,” she said. “He is an excellent student who is always willing to help a classmate when needed. His demeanor makes him very approachable.”
In addition to his academics and work-study positions, Burd is active in several extracurricular activities including Student Senate, the Political Science and History Club, and the Multicultural Student Association (MSA), which he serves as vice president. He is a starter on the men’s soccer team and is a member of the Health and Fitness Club, Intramural Advisory Board, and the Sociology, Criminology, and Criminal Justice Club.
Added Waye: “Ron is one of those students that you know will make a difference in the world. We are excited to see what he achieves. The sky is the limit for this young man.”