According to author T. Martin Bennett, good deeds done in the shadow of humility can have a monumental impact on the lives of others.
This was true, Bennett says, of Keuka College Class of 1944 graduate Margaret “Peggy” Covell Struble, whose quiet life of service ultimately had a transformative impact on Capt. Mitsuo Fuchida, the Imperial Japanese Navy bomber pilot who led the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. The true story of how the lives of the Covell family, Fuchida, and American POW Jake DeShazer intersected and impacted one another are told in detail in Bennett’s nonfiction novel “Wounded Tiger.”
Nearly nine years of research across two continents went into the book, and Bennett will travel to the Keuka College campus to offer a presentation on “Wounded Tiger,” at 11:30 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 17 in Hegeman Hall, Room 109. The presentation, which is free and open to the public and members of the campus community, takes place during the College’s Green & Gold Celebration Weekend Oct. 16-18. This year also marks the 125th anniversary of Keuka College. Bennett will also give the message at the 9 a.m. Sunday service at Norton Chapel on campus.
“Peggy was, in many ways, a very ordinary person who made some extraordinarily big choices with no idea about the impact it would make. She made the right choices, and they were monumentally good,” Bennett describes.
According to Bennett’s research, Fuchida had “a complete change of mind and heart,” thanks to the faithful example of Peggy Covell Struble and American Jake DeShazer, a bombardier who was part of the Doolittle air raid against Japan, but was captured in China as a POW.
Struck by what he calls “an epic story” that was “very visual, and very cinematic,” Bennett began researching Fuchida, Covell and DeShazer. “It only got better. I looked for primary source documents and people close to the survivors and asked them who else I should talk to.”
“It’s a story of hope and inspiration and it’s universal,” he adds. “If it were fiction, people would just roll their eyes and say ‘That’s ridiculous; it’s simply too far out to be true.’ Except it really happened and Peggy was the fulcrum of change in this international global conflict stemming from the Pacific War.”
“She never intended to do anything great. She just tried to help people,” Bennett says. “She wasn’t interested in any publicity for herself, which makes her story even better. She was a catalyst.”
According to Bennett and “Wounded Tiger,” Peggy Covell Struble lived out a deep faith, refusing to speak ill of the Japanese people even after her missionary parents— who raised her in Yokohama, Japan and later, the Philippines—were martyred by Japanese soldiers during the war. Along with fellow missionaries, the Covells were killed as suspected spies in December 1943 in the mountains of the Philippines where they fled just after the start of the war. They never knew their daughter graduated from college.
Nonetheless, Peggy demonstrated love to Japanese POWs as she served in a military hospital in Utah where she encountered Fuchida’s flight engineer. Hearing of her example and that of Jake DeShazer after the war, Fuchida could no longer hold contempt against Americans, which led to radical changes in his own life.
“What I tell people is that Peggy’s life had a huge impact, but you have an advantage over her. She’s not here and you are,” Bennett explains, referring to her passing in June of 1995. “People want to do good, and I think this story can be a huge inspiration to them.”
His Saturday presentation will include a showing of a movie “trailer” concept for “Wounded Tiger,” as Bennett has met with prospective investors to develop the companion screenplay into an independent film. The presentation will conclude with questions and a book signing, and copies of “Wounded Tiger” will be available for purchase then and at the campus bookstore.
With a Japanese translation finished and a Chinese translation in the works, Bennett is hard at work on updates for a second printing; all are targeted for release in 2016. Alumni with memories of Peggy Covell Struble are encouraged to attend the 11:30 a.m. presentation Sat. Oct. 17 in Hegeman Hall during Green & Gold Weekend. Bennett will also participate in a memorial service for alumni held on Sunday morning at Norton Chapel.
For more information on Bennett, the multiple facets of the “Wounded Tiger” project or copies of the book in print or E-book formats, visit www.woundedtiger.com.
KEUKA PARK, N.Y.—When George Kotlik came to Keuka College, he never imagined he’d end up at Yale University. But thanks to a paper he co-wrote with Dr. Angela Narasimhan, assistant professor of history and political science, that’s exactly where he was this April.
It’s rare for even seniors to present their findings at a scholarly conference attended by experts in the field. But Kotlik did so —as a freshman.
Kotlik brought a research proposal to Dr. Naraminhan last fall. Here’s where the interests of student and professor intersect. The question? When students in the U.S. study the American Revolution, is the story told through a purely American point of view? What’s the British take on the American War for Independence? To search for an answer, they decided to examine how American government textbooks address that era and why.
The resulting paper, titled “Colonial Controversy: Examining Critical Perspectives on the American Revolution in Undergraduate American Government Textbooks,” was presented at the New England Political Science Association conference, held this year at Yale.
Fascinated with early American history since childhood, Kotlik said discussion on early forms of government in Narasimhan’s American Government class piqued his interest further.
“The paper examines the American Revolution and outlines, in depth, the British perspective on the Revolution. We took a look at five different American government textbooks and examined the Founding Era in each. What we found was really interesting,” Kotlik said. “The books that leaned more towards a pro-British standpoint offered more factual information than those that leaned more towards the American standpoint.”
According to Narasimhan, it’s extraordinaryfor an upperclassman to co-author a paper with a professor, let alone a freshman, “and it was a terrific experience for us both,” she said. “George quickly distinguished himself from his peers this year, with outstanding academic achievement across the board.”
Beyond the process of research and writing the paper, Kotlik said he gleaned experience in understanding the process of peer review that paper proposals receive before they can be accepted for publication in a scholarly journal.
“Attending the conference was a very exciting time,” Kotlik added. “Overall, it was a unique experience that I am so thankful for and wouldn’t trade for the world. It’s all thanks to the wonderful professors at Keuka College.”
Another competition trophy has joined the collection in the division of Business and Management on the second floor of Hegeman Hall, as the Keuka College Enactus team brought back a symbol of its performance at Friday’s (March 22) regional competition in Baltimore, Md.
Members of the presentation team, which included six student speakers, two alternates, and two audio-visual coordinators, presented Ann Tuttle, interim chair of the division, with a first runner-up trophy Monday morning. Keuka finished behind the University of Virginia, York College, and Messiah College.
Enactus is an international, non-profit organization that works with leaders in business and higher education to mobilize students to make a difference in their communities while developing the skills to become socially responsible business leaders. The international organization formerly known as Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) changed its name to Enactus this fall. (more…)
It was just a doctor’s visit, but seeing how to access her medical chart online gave Keuka College social work student Cyndy Bundy an idea: why couldn’t social workers consult online, too?
Now, the Eastwood resident is soaring to new heights, thanks to her proposal for social workers to use social media as a way to combat issues like sexting, cyber-bullying, and suicidal tendencies.
Bundy was invited to share her poster presentation at the national Association of Baccalaureate Social Work Program Directors Conference (BPD), a competitive academic event, which will be held in March in Myrtle Beach, SC. She is the first Keuka social work student and first ASAP student to receive an invitation to present at a national conference. Bundy is pursuing her bachelor’s degree in social work through Keuka’s Accelerated Studies for Adults Program (ASAP). She attends classes at the Onondaga Community College site.
According to Assistant Professor of Social Work Vikki O’Conner, Bundy’s poster presentation demonstrates how social workers need to keep informed and up-to-date on social networking as a form of communication and relationship building in a technological age. (more…)