Keuka College President Jorge L. Díaz-Herrera, along with a select number of other invited college presidents and higher education leaders, will today (Dec. 4) join President Obama, the First Lady, and Vice President Biden to announce new actions to help more students prepare for and graduate from college.
The White House College Opportunity Day of Action helps to support President Obama’s commitment to partner with colleges and universities, business leaders, and nonprofits to support students across the country to help our nation reach its goal of leading the world in college attainment.
The summit—which will include remarks from U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, President Obama, the First Lady, and Vice President Biden—begins at 9 a.m. and will be available for live streaming.
Participants invited to the White House will commit to new action in one of four areas: improving degree completion, creating partnerships that encourage college-going, training high school counselors as part of the First Lady’s Reach Higher initiative, and increasing the number of college graduates in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
As a member of the Yes We Must Coalition, Keuka College has made its commitment to making the dream of achieving a higher education a reality for more students than ever before.
“Everyone, certainly society as a whole, benefits from greater access to higher education. To maintain America’s leadership role and continue our long history of technological innovation, a college education must be available to all who are willing to achieve one,” said Díaz-Herrera.
The Yes We Must Coalition is a three-year-old organization of small, non-profit, private colleges and universities where 50 percent or more of each campus’ undergraduate enrollment is eligible for federal Pell grants to assist with the cost of college. The coalition’s purpose is to share resources, information, and promising practices to improve the success of low-income and first generation students as well as to be a voice for students in the policy arena.
Expanding opportunity for more students to enroll and succeed in college is vital to building a strong economy and a strong middle class. According to the White House, today only 9 percent of those born in the lowest family income quartile attain a bachelor’s degree by age 25, compared to 54 percent in the top quartile.
“A liberal arts-based education is the most powerful tool one has when it comes to advancing socioeconomic status,” said Díaz-Herrera. “Twelve U.S. presidents, six U.S. Supreme Court chief justices, and more than 50 percent of today’s Fortune 500 CEOs have a liberal arts education. As a liberal arts institution, Keuka College is preparing the next generation of citizens and leaders to serve the nation and the world of the 21st century.”
Keuka College’s Digital Learning at Keuka College (DL@KC) initiative is a revolutionary combination of digital learning, the liberal arts, and hands-on experience in professional practice. This fall, the College introduced the new Digital Studies minor, designed to give students in any field practical, real-world, and useful experience with analytics, big data analysis, digital storytelling, and coding.
“Leading the world in college attainment is a lofty goal for the future, and Keuka College is doing its part by creating and implementing forward-thinking curricula that will ensure our graduates are poised for success in the 21st century’s global, technology-driven economy,” said Díaz-Herrera.
Part of the Keuka College educational model provides students with the genuine understanding of not only how to make computer technology and the digital tools of the age work for them, but how to think in computational as well as conceptual terms.
But that thinking and understanding is not limited to students. Case in point: Keuka College President Jorge L. Díaz-Herrera, who is one of four editors of the recently published Computing Handbook, Third Edition (previously the Computer Science Handbook).
Robert J. Duffy, lieutenant governor of New York state, will deliver the address and receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree at Keuka College’s 106th commencement Sunday, May 25.
Former mayor of Rochester, his hometown, Duffy was elected the Empire State’s 76th lieutenant governor alongside Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo Nov. 2, 2010 and began a four-year term Jan. 1, 2011.
Appointed by Cuomo as chair of the Regional Economic Development Councils, Duffy has focused on supporting the governor’s efforts to rebuild New York’s economy and position the state to be a global economic leader.
Cuomo also named Duffy chair of the Spending and Government Efficiency (SAGE) Commission. In that role Duffy oversees an effort that seeks to make state government more modern, accountable, and efficient. Duffy has also played an instrumental role on the governor’s Mandate Relief Council, chairing a series of statewide mandate relief hearings that sought input from local government officials and constituents as the state seeks to reduce the statutory and regulatory burden on local governments and school districts.
Duffy presided over the historic passage of the Marriage Equality Act—one of Cuomo’s signature issues—on June 24, 2011 while serving in his capacity as president of the New York State Senate.
In 2012, Duffy was awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, given annually by the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations to honor notable American citizens who demonstrate a life committed to community service.
Duffy was elected mayor of Rochester in 2005 and was re-elected four years later. Prior to that, he had a 28-year career with the Rochester Police Department, the last seven as chief of police.
He holds a bachelor’s degree from RIT and a master’s degree from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School.
The “face of Game Day and Event Management” and a “role model, mentor, and friend” were the respective recipients of the 2014 Student Employee and Work-Study Supervisor of the Year awards, respectively, at the Student Employment Awards Luncheon April 17.
Senior management major Brandon Jacobs and Interlibrary Loan Librarian Kimberley Fenton were selected by two separate panels of judges.
Jacobs, nominated for the award by Jeff Bray, associate director of athletics, has worked in Game Day and Event Management for four years.
“You think when you go to a sporting event on the Keuka College campus, it just happens—but it only happens because of Brandon,” said Bray, who sees the Walworth resident as a co-worker.
As the student supervisor for Game Day and Event Management, Jacobs’ role is “absolutely critical” to the success of hosting home sporting events.
“Over the past year, Brandon has become the ‘face’ of our game management staff,” said Bray. “Referees, visiting coaches, and our own coaching staff know he is someone they can count on and is the ‘go-to’ person.”
Jacobs is responsible for the organization and set-up for more than 70 home sporting events—including equipment, sound systems, scoreboards, visiting locker rooms, and game officials.
“In doing so, it has been assumed by many that he is member of our professional staff; not a student employee,” said Bray. “When those individuals comment on a job well done, they are shocked to learn that he is a student. Brandon has aspirations of becoming a college athletics director and has really taken stock in his opportunity as a work study student.”
The other student nominees were Lee Bottoni, Kayla Garrow, Karina Cochran, Kelsey Morgan, Brianna Long, and Megan Barney.
“Recognizing our work-study students is important, and this is an opportunity to honor the best of the best of our student workers,” said Sally Daggett, human resources manager. “I am proud of the work all of our 442 students, who perform 870 jobs for an average of six hours a week. If we were to hire full-time employees to do the work they do, we would need 103 more full-time employees. So, Keuka College students do a massive amount of work.”
Fenton was one of five work-study supervisors nominated for the award. She was nominated by occupational science majors Alysa Halsey and Faith Garlington.
Both were nervous about finding a work study position when they arrived as freshmen on campus, but since then, Halsey and Garlington believe Fenton has welcomed and included them in many library related tasks.
“Ms. Fenton has steered me toward success in any activity that I do,” said Halsey, an occupational science major from Pulaski. “She gives me freedom and allows me to feel independent by figuring out problems on my own, but reminds me she will always be there to answer any questions I have.”
That freedom and independence includes creating display case designs for patrons of the library to view.
“Ms. Fenton usually just lets me do whatever inspires me about the particular topic that is being displayed at the time,” said Halsey. “I use my imagination for the appearance, and my knowledge for the information that is being displayed. She provides me with the responsibility of creating displays, but I know that if I need advice or help I can always go to her for guidance.”
Garlington, who also assists in creating displays, agrees.
“I have also used my academic background in the creation of specialty displays for different disease awareness months,” said Garlington. “As an occupational science major, I have learned about many disorders which have ‘awareness months’ and I am often recruited to come up with display ideas. When I achieve these special goals, the other librarians also support me. They notice a particularly job well done and offer support in any task with which I may struggle.”
Halsey says Fenton creates a “quality and challenging environment by pushing me to work for the things I don’t believe that I can accomplish. She exemplifies the characteristics of a leader and a role model while helping me achieve the goals and dreams that would otherwise be out of reach.”
In her time with Fenton, Garlington has “gradually received more responsibility. [For example], this past fall when Ms. Fenton hired a new assistant to replace a graduating senior, I was entrusted to train her in many different aspects of the job. I had to act as a professional while showing the new student how to do many tasks. This made me feel as though I was a part of the library staff.”
The other supervisor nominees were Lori Haines (assistant secretary to the Board of Trustees/board liaison and presidential support specialist.), John Boccacino (sports information director), Michelle Polowchak (director of human resources) and Karlee Roberts (D.R.I.V.E. peer mentor supervisor).
“Thank you to our student workers for the excellent work you do across the entire campus, and to our work study supervisors who provide a positive working environment,” said Anne Weed, vice president for academic affairs. “Thank you to all the nominators for recognizing how important it is to make people feel the worth of what they do every day.”
Each of the nominees was recognized at the luncheon by his or her nominator and presented with a gift. The names of the student and supervisor award recipients will be added to two separate plaques housed in the Center for Experiential Learning. The Student Employee of the Year plaque is hung up in the winner’s work-study location until the following year’s awards luncheon.
By Mike Kelly ’14
On Sunday, under sunny skies, more than 218 volunteers – from community members to College students, faculty and staff – spread across 20 non-profit work sites in Yates County to complete community service for the 17th annual Celebrate Service…Celebrate Yates (CSCY) event. Those are the largest numbers of volunteers for the day of service since its record-breaking 248 volunteers back in 2010.
A collaboration between Keuka College and the Yates County Chamber of Commerce, CSCY is the one day each year when volunteers join hands across the community to serve the county’s non-profit agencies, completing tasks such as raking, cleaning, repairing and painting. This year’s work sites included camps (Camp Cory, Camp Koinonia, Camp Iroquois), cemeteries (St. Michael’s Cemetery, Evergreen Cemetery), and other non-profit organizations such as Milly’s Pantry, Penn Yan Ambulance Corps., and the Izaak Walton League chapter clubhouse in Guyanoga.
First-time volunteer and Yates County District Attorney Valerie Gardner said she was “thrilled to assist in community projects that benefit us all.”
Gardner’s entire office staff participated this year, handling spring cleaning tasks at the Arts Center of Yates County Sunny Point location in Dundee. According to Gardner, the event served as a “good way to connect [Keuka College and Yates County] and to foster good interaction.”
Given the severity of the winter weather this year, Rev. Eric Detar, co-chair of the CSCY steering committee and chaplain for Keuka College, said he was initially nervous that extended wintry conditions might hinder volunteers from completing the full array of work – often outdoors – that non-profits count on each spring. But with near 60-degree temperatures and sunny skies at the youth baseball complex on Elm Street in Penn Yan, where he was serving with others, Detar let out a sigh of relief.
“It was a beautiful day because the weather was perfect and the community worked together,” Detar said, adding that when it comes to CSCY, he holds firm to a 1968 quote from Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: “Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve…you only need a heart full of grace.”
Over at the ARC of Yates on Hamilton Street, Mike Wainwright ’15, was also upbeat, pleased that the weather held out for the day.
“It was nice to be out in the sun and enjoy the day and work with your hands—and nice to be outside after a week of studying,” Wainwright said.
Working in a garden nearby was Haley Jordan ’15, who recently returned from Costa Rica, where the College’s Alternative Spring Break team had conducted community service during the final week of March.
“While there, we talked about how to give back at home and that got me motivated to come back and do community service locally,” said Jordan, a first-year volunteer.
Eric Saltrelli ’15 was also part of the group of CSCY volunteers helping the ARC clean up garden beds and lay sod to prepare for spring.
“I just like to help out the community and help those who can’t necessarily do this and make their surroundings look nice,” the first-year volunteer said, adding: “Any chance I get, I want to help out.”
Around the county, volunteer teams also participated in the first-ever CSCY Selfie Contest, snapping photos of themselves at work sites. Some of the selfies entered into the contest included one of Jordan stepping inside a tall blue recycling bin, Richard Weit ’15 posing with lost shoes on a pole at Camp Cory and the district attorney’s team getting in the spirit with a CSCY committee member at Sunny Point. Selfies were posted across the Instagram, Facebook and Twitter social media platforms and two winners were selected, one winning a Dunkin Donuts gift card and another an iTunes gift card.
CSCY received additional help from a number of Keuka College student athletes who volunteered as teams to serve at Camp Cory. The efforts of collegiate student athletes were mirrored by their high school counterparts, as more than a dozen volunteers affiliated with the Penn Yan Academy baseball teams pitched in at Camp Koinonia in Italy Valley.
Molly McGugian, a Keuka College alumnus and now manager of the College’s Teamworks! Adventure course also assisted at Camp Cory. As a student, McGuigan volunteered with CSCY and was excited to come back to serve her community Sunday.
“It’s a great opportunity for our athletes to get a different look at the community we are in,” she said, adding, “It’s great to see people are still enthusiastic and willing to help.”
This year, CSCY was supported through the generous donations and in-kind goods and services of the following sponsors and business merchants: ARC of Yates County, AVI Fresh Catering, Eaves Family Dental Group, Esperanza Mansion, Ferro, Fitzgerald Brothers, Keuka College Campus Safety, and the Office of Alumni and Family Relations; Knapp and Schlappi, Knights of Columbus, K-Ventures, Lyons National Bank, Ricoh, Roto-Salt, Seneca Lake Duck Hunters Association, Stork Insurance Agency, Tony Collins Class of ’77 Celebrity Gold Classic, and the Yates County Chamber of Commerce.