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Meet Kathy Waye, Director of Community Relations and Events

Editor’s Note: For the last 18 years, Kathy Waye has served the College in her role as executive director of alumni and family relations and has served as the College’s face to the local community, overseeing Keuka College’s Community Associates Board and serving as chair of the Yates County Chamber of Commerce. In order to focus more strategically on community relations and campus-wide events, Kathy will now be serving the College as its director of community relations and events. We thought this would be a good time to have you get to know her a bit better.

Meet Kathy Waye

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.

Penn Yan is my home. I attended Washington College in Maryland for my graduate and undergraduate degrees in political science and history. I stayed there to work after I graduated. I was the assistant women’s lacrosse coach for a few years in addition to working in admissions.

This is my 35th year working in higher education.

Why did you choose Washington College?

It is the oldest college in Maryland and the 10th oldest in the country. It’s the only college that George Washington allowed to use his name. He served there on the Board of Trustees. It was full of history. There was a lot of opportunity there– opportunity to interact with politicians and many distinguished scholars. I’d always been adventurous so the distance from home didn’t bother me.

Originally, I thought I wanted to go to law school, but, after participating in an internship with the state legislature in Annapolis, Maryland, I realized it wasn’t the field I wanted. Unfortunately we didn’t have Field Period™ there.

Soon after, I realized that I loved working with people. I was always extremely involved in student activities and leadership. I was a tour guide, class officer, a head Resident Assistant, a student senate officer, and an officer in the Alpha Omicron Pi national sorority.

While I was in school, admissions leaders asked me if I’d be interested in working for the College after graduation. My answer was yes. While working in admissions, I was responsible for many different areas including the alumni admissions volunteers, transfer students, minority students, tour guides, and the largest number of freshmen applications.

Why Keuka College? Why 19 years?

In 1997, I decided it was time to return home since my parents were getting older, and I’d lost three siblings. My daughter, Allie, was my parents’ only grandchild so it was important to be closer.  When Keuka College offered me a position that year as Director of Freshman Admissions I felt blessed. I love working here.

Keuka College feels like home. I grew up in the area and spent a lot time on campus as a child. My parents knew faculty and staff members. We lived locally and I always came here to swim or take dance lessons.

I stayed in admissions for just about a year until I realized it was time to come off the road. My parents’ health was declining and I was raising a daughter. It was time to change careers to reflect my family commitments. I switched departments, started as an advancement specialist, and worked my way up.

I feel honored that I am one of six people to receive honorary alumni status. They’ve always made me feel like family here. My daughter also grew up on campus, went to school here, and was extremely involved as a student. The College has touched our family in so many ways.

What does a director of community relations and events do?

As a member of the local community, I know just how important the relationship between the College and the community is. My hope is that I can connect each entity, help inform people, and help the College be a valuable and valued community partner.

I hope to offer more programming and help people feel comfortable utilizing what we have to offer on campus. Soon, we will be holding Community Connection Town Hall meetings to inform people about what’s happening on campus. Further, we hope to utilize faculty and staff more in the community.

At the recent Yates County Chamber of Commerce annual dinner, they announced my new position and people were very pleased. Since that announcement, many people have reached out to me. It is very exciting!

I know that our alumni will be in great hands with Brittany Chambers. She had worked with me before in alumni and family relations and I know she can do the job well. I’ll still be here for people, of course, but I’m excited for this new chapter and excited for Britt.

Last book you read?

Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman, the sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird, is on my bedside.

You manage the College’s relationship with more than 12,000 alumni across the world. I’m sure it’s hard to choose one, but what’s your favorite story you’ve heard from a Keuka College alumnus/alumna?

It’s hard to identify just one. Today, I got a call from an alumna in Costa Rica congratulating me on my new position. I have to say I’ve loved working with people from all eras of Keuka College history. I’m the one that’s been blessed having those opportunities. I’ve been able to talk to everyone from 100-year-old women to recent graduates. I’ve seen the whole span of life in our alumni.

Through all these chapters, working in admissions, alumni relations, and now with the community, I’ve learned so much. Keuka College is such a special place. I’ve learned the history of the institution through the different age groups, and I think that ties into my love of history. As a history major, you learn to analyze everything and remember things. We were taught to be effective public speakers. I still utilize all that in my current position.

I really believe in Keuka College and I have a love for my hometown of Penn Yan. I think this position will enhance the connection between them.

Favorite place on campus?

The Point. I remember during one of my high school homecoming events in Penn Yan, I was a cheerleader. That night we came out to the water and I remember thinking, “Why would anyone leave here?”

Who was your hero growing up?

My parents. They lost three children to a fatal genetic disease and never complained about anything. Their endless love for their family made every day count for all of their children. My father was named New York State history teacher of the year and my mother was named the number one women’s field hockey player in New York State and was a member of the women’s national field hockey team. They taught and coached for a combined 64 years. They were always extremely involved in the community. They are truly my heroes and served as role models to everyone they came in touch with.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

Community service is very close to my heart, so I try to stay very involved in it. I also spend my extra time visiting my daughter, Allie, who now lives in Florida. We love to travel so we are always on the go. I would have to say the Caribbean is one of our favorite spots in the world, next to the Finger Lakes, of course.

Ten years in the future, when you look back on your time at Keuka College, what do you hope you’ll be able to reflect on?

That I made both places better and that I made a difference in people’s lives. I want people to realize just how important both the College and the community really are—and just keep that shared history and relationship growing.

What’s your favorite annual College event?

I’d have to say Green & Gold Celebration Weekend. Having everyone involved makes it so special. When we used to host just reunion weekend during the summer, there would only be a few students working here that were able to participate. Now that it’s held during the school year, so many more people are involved. It’s nice to be able to share the history and love. I enjoy seeing young students hearing a 80-year-old alum tell their own college story. With my new role, I’m looking for more opportunities to expand the community involvement in Green & Gold Celebration Weekend as well.


Eleanor, Nik, and So Much More

You know that old saying, right?

“There’s something for everyone.”

Seldom is it true, but in the case of Keuka College’s Green & Gold Celebration Weekend, it’s impossible to find fault with that description.

The College has assembled a stellar lineup of events Oct. 16-18, ranging from a look at former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt’s impact on the College to a performance by Nik and the Nice Guys, North America’s No. 1 party band. Also on the agenda are a carnival and fun zone, theatre production, Athletics Hall of Fame induction, fireworks display, and plenty more.

The big weekend was the focus of the September edition of Keuka College Today, which airs on WFLR (1570 AM, 96.9/101.9 FM), part of the Finger Lakes Radio Network. Executive Director of Grants, Government Relations, and Compliance Doug Lippincott  talked with the dynamic duo from the  Office of Alumni and Family Relations, Kathy Waye (executive director) and Laurie Adams (assistant director), about the upcoming fall spectacular.

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“Go for It!”

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.

Dr. T. Alan Hurwitz

“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.

Sen. Chuck Schumer

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:

Lauren Esposito poses for a group selfie with the Class of 2015.

For more photos from Commencement, click here.

Deadline for 2015 Stork Award Nominations May 15

Sandy Carlson, left, was the recipient of the 2014 Stork Award. She received a clock from Corinne Stork at the luncheon.

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 protected] 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.

Afternoon Tea Planned to Celebrate International Women’s Day

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 [email protected] or ext. 5871.