Keuka College will celebrate International Education Week (Nov. 18-23) with a variety of events.
Sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Affairs, and the Keuka College International Club (KCIC), International Education Week is an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide. Celebrated across the country, the week also promotes programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn, and exchange experiences in the United States.
According to Allison Schultz, international student adviser, International Education Week “is dedicated to celebrating and promoting the importance of international education here at home, as well as overseas.
“Whether it’s getting to know our international students better, or encouraging our domestic students to travel abroad,” said Schultz, “International Education Week is a wonderful way to remind students, staff, and faculty that though we may come from different places, we are united by our desire to learn more about the world around us, be it by arts, crafts, food, music, or general conversation.”
International Education Week ”provides an opportunity to learn more about each other in fun and interesting ways,” said Chevanne DeVaney director of multicultural affairs and direstor of the Women’s Center. ”We are hopeful that these events will encourage more students to expand their worldview by venturing outside of the U.S.”
Among the events to mark the week at Keuka include an African drumming presentation Wednesday, Nov. 20, by Wacheva, a multicultural dance and drumming group from Syracuse. The group will perform “Rhythms of African Drumming” from 5-6 p.m. in the Weed Physical Arts Center’s auxiliary gym. The name Wacheva comes from the language of the Gouro people, an ethnic group in West Ivory Coast, West Africa, and means ‘unity.’
Another highlight of the week’s events include KCIC’s Mr. and Miss Keuka Pageant fundraiser Saturday, Nov. 23, from 8-10 p.m. in Geiser Dining Hall, Dahlstrom Student Center. Admission is $2 per person.
“We have 12 contests in the pageant—six males and six females—and contestants have been asked to showcase their heritage, share cultural norms in their native countries, and answer questions such as ‘what would be a typical outfit for a first date?’” said Schultz.
In addition, 14 students have entered pictures from all over the world in a photo competition. Students can cast a vote for their favorite photos, and three winners will be awarded prizes: 1st place $75, 2nd place $50, and 3rd place $25. All of the photos will be on display in the Geiser Refectory entrance walkway throughout the week.
Other International Education Week events include:
All are free and open to the public.
Keuka enrolls 74 international students representing 14 countries, including Nepal, India, Mexico, Canada, Guatemala, Saudi Arabia, Ecuador, Lebanon, China, South Africa, Vietnam, Zimbabwe, Japan, and Uganda.
Martha Niver has vivid memories of June 16, 1963—the day she graduated from Keuka College.
But most of the memories are centered around baccalaureate, held prior to commencement. That’s because the speaker was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who traveled to Keuka Park with his wife, Coretta Scott King
Niver, who was “moved by the power and eloquence of Martin Luther King’s speech,” met the civil rights leader and his wife after the service.
“I stood in line and was able to thank Dr. King for coming to Keuka and shake his hand,” she recalled. “He then signed my baccalaureate program with ‘Best Wishes, Martin Luther King.’ I treasure the opportunity I had to listen to one of the best speakers and best leaders of the 20th century.”
College President William S. Litterick invited King to deliver the baccalaureate address and receive an honorary degree. However, there were some supporters of the College who questioned the wisdom of inviting a speaker who was controversial due to his passive civil resistance of authorities in Alabama and other parts of the South.
In a July 23, 1963 letter to King, Litterick wrote: “As you can well imagine, there was no unanimous opinion among students, faculty or trustees supporting our invitation to you and Mrs. King. There was opposition.”
King faced opposition on a daily basis while leading a movement that achieved historic reforms, and his pursuit of a color-blind society cost him his freedom on numerous occasions.
Two months before his speech at Keuka College, King was jailed in Birmingham, Ala. While incarcerated, he penned his famous Letter from Birmingham Jail, a turning point in the war to end desegregation in the South.
“There was talk that local law enforcement had suggested we call off his attendance at the ceremony and I remember talk of boycotting graduation if the College agreed,” said Lynda Seeger Flanger, a member of Keuka’s Class of 1963. “There was a sense of excitement and a little fear around campus the week of finals as the ceremonies approached. Somehow, it seemed even more important than job hunting or what we were doing next.”
Interviewed for a 2004 story on King’s visit, the late Professor Emeritus of Biology Jim White said he couldn’t recall any dissension in the faculty ranks.
“There was a lot of concern for his safety,” said White. “Police were everywhere; on campus and along the route to the College.”
“We heard lots of stories – about how the State Police were lining the road to Keuka from Penn Yan to assure safety and how there might be disruption on campus,” said Marilyn Baader, a 1963 Keuka graduate.
There were no incidents that day, and in the weeks following, it became clear King’s words were enough to change the minds of those who opposed his visit to Keuka College.
Wrote Litterick: “Your eloquence, your clear, sincere and forthright expression of views, your quiet, unreserved understatement, which was very powerful, all contributed to the changing of the minds of many of those who had opposed our invitation. Every single member of the Board who was in opposition has written to me or expressed to me verbally his complete change of heart after hearing you.”
Due to a tight schedule, King could not attend commencement and so, in a break of Keuka tradition, received his honorary degree at baccalaureate. Nonetheless, he was impressed by what he saw on campus.
In a July 3 letter to Litterick, King wrote: “Mrs. King and I enjoyed every minute of our visit. We only regret that a terribly crowded schedule made it impossible for us to spend more time on such a beautiful campus.”
King was humbled that the College selected him to receive an honorary degree.
“…my thanks to you and the trustees of Keuka College for bestowing upon me the Doctor of Letters degree, I will always be indebted to you for this great honor. I only hope that my work will prove worthy of such confidence and support.”
History recorded that it did.
Social responsibility has long been part of the Keuka College fabric, particularly as it pertains to the local community.
For example, Keuka students, staff, and faculty participate in Make a Difference Day, the Angel Tree Project, and Celebrate Service…Celebrate Yates. Members of the College community also volunteer their time and talents at such places as Milly’s Pantry, the Humane Society of Yates County, and Clinton Crest Manor, among others.
Four years ago, Keuka began a new tradition of service to the local community–one that honors the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Three Keuka students—seniors Tyler Hoosier, Justin Hess and Justin Napolitano— have organized a community day of service Monday, Jan. 21 to mark the federal holiday. The event is designed to benefit local non-profit organizations.
“Justin, Tyler, and Justin are helping coordinate site locations, activities, volunteers, food for the volunteers, and the basketball clinic that will be held that day,” said Chevy DeVaney, director of multicultural affairs, who is supervising Keuka’s MLK Day of Service.
“I have participated in the MLK Day of Service for the last three years and wanted to be more involved this year,” said Hoosier, a management major from Saratoga Springs.
So did Napolitano, a Syracuse resident.
“I participated in the basketball clinic with my teammates one year, and helped paint the campus safety office last year,” said Napolitano, a management major. “This year, I have the opportunity to help organize the event.”
This is Hess’ first time participating in the MLK Day of Service.
“I respect Dr. King’s dreams, visions, and goals, and now I have the opportunity to match my words with action,” said the political science/history major from North Rose.
“Participating in the MLK Day of Service will give me a different outlook on people who may be struggling,” said Napolitano. “Performing community service not only helps others, but it’s the right thing to do.”
“By helping organize the MLK Day of Service, I am helping others and getting first-hand experience of what it’s like to plan events, which is something I am considering for a career,” he said.
Volunteers will gather at Penn Yan Baptist Church at 9 a.m. and be placed into groups. After a welcome from DeVaney, volunteers will head to various sites, including Clinton Crest Manor, the ARC of Yates, Yates County Arts Center, American Legion, and Finger Lakes Community Health.
“Volunteers should expect to do anything from Wii bowling and painting fingernails to clearing debris from construction worksites and painting,” said DeVaney.
In addition, members of Keuka’s men’s and women’s basketball teams will conduct a hoop clinic at Penn Yan Middle School.
Lunch and a reflection of the day for all volunteers will be at 11:30 a.m. at the church. Lunch for the children who participate in the basketball clinic will be held at the school after the clinic.
The fourth annual event at Keuka comes three months before Celebrate Service… Celebrate Yates, a day of community service organized by Keuka students and the Yates County Chamber of Commerce. It has helped dozens of non-profit organizations and agencies enhance the quality of life in the region for the past 15 years.
Dr. King and Keuka College have a connection dating back nearly 40 years. He delivered the baccalaureate address and received an honorary Doctor of Letters degree June 16, 1963. He was accompanied to Keuka Park by his wife, Coretta Scott King.
To volunteer, or for more information, contact the Office of Multicultural Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (315) 279-5225.
Carl Atkins, professor and chair of the music program and professor of fine arts at RIT, will speak and perform at Keuka College Monday, Feb. 27.
Atkins will speak at 4:15 p.m. in the Brezinsky Room of Dahlstrom Student Center, and then be joined by the other members of Culture Clash for a 7 p.m. performance in the Brezinsky Room. Part of Keuka’s Black History Month celebration, both events are free and open to the public.
Atkins formerly served as chair of the jazz studies program at the New England Conservatory of Music and co-director of the Thelonious Monk Institute for Jazz Performance. He was also president of the David Hochstein School of Music and Dance and the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra.
He has served on the faculties of Northeastern University, Brown University, the University of Rochester, and the Eastman School of Music. Atkins has also served as associate dean for advanced studies and served on the faculties in musicology and jazz studies at the New England Conservatory.
A noted saxophonist and composer, Atkins has enjoyed a broad musical career that spans European classical music to jazz. He has performed or recorded with such major artists as Diane Wilson, Ray Charles, Wayne Shorter, and Herbie Hancock, among others.
Also among his credits are performances and recordings with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Pops Orchestra, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Columbus (Ohio) ProMusica, Boston Musica Viva, the American National Opera Co., the Black Collective of New York, the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, and the John Coltrane Memorial Orchestra.
Atkins received a Bachelor of Music in woodwinds from Indiana University, a Master of Music in conducting from the New England Conservatory, and a Doctor of Musical Arts in performance and literature from the University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music.
The other members of Culture Clash are Howard Potter (vibes and marimba), Geoff Smith (bass), and Jay Alan Jackson (percussion).
For some, Martin Luther King Day was a day off.
However, for others—including some 60 members of the Keuka College and Penn Yan communities—their day off turned out to be a day on. The volunteers turned out to participate in various community service projects to mark the birthday of the slain civil rights leader.
The event was organized by Keuka College criminal justice majors Danielle Gravel and Cortney Chamberlain to celebrate the Jan. 16 federal holiday.