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.
What do a box of crayons, a bag of pepperoni, Flo of Progressive Insurance fame, a prom-going zombie, the Ball Hall tower, and a fox have in common?
They were all characters who won the annual Halloween costume contest held on the Keuka College campus Wednesday, Oct. 31.
Tracy McFarland, associate vice president for student development, portrayed the crayon box, while Eva Moberg-Sarver, director of student activities; Eric Detar, chaplain; and resident directors (RD) Kevin Perry, Tim White, Rebecca Capek, Margeaux DePrez, and Kelsey Deso posed as the crayons.
McFarland and her colorful crew earned first place in the group category.
Junior Ariel Scott (zombie), an organizational communication major from Unadilla, received the top prize in the scariest category, while the most original prize went to Amanda Burlingame, a senior adolescent mathematics/special education major from Keuka Park, for her portrayal as Flo.
The top costumes in the male and female categories went to Nathan Calabria (the fox), and Jennie Snyder (pepperoni). Calabria and Snyder, part of the D.R.I.V.E. program, earned $30 each for their efforts.
For staff and faculty, a Halloween hat contest with desk-to-desk competition, was held. Human Resources Manager Sue Delyser, earned bragging rights with her ‘hat’—the Ball Hall tower.
Each contestant received a gift certificate to the Terrace Café courtesy of AVI Fresh, the College’s food service provider.