When they were youngsters, students who took part in the mid-year conferral of degrees Sunday, Dec. 8 at Keuka College, learned their ABCs.
Prior to receiving their diplomas, they learned their five Ps.
“My goal today is to encourage you to live by a plethora of Ps: perspective, preparation, persistence, passion, and principles,” said Dr. Anne Kress, president of Monroe Community College (MCC), the featured speaker at the ceremony.
Perspective, said Kress, “is what helps you see the huge wave about to overtake you is made up of small drops of water, each easily deflected. It’s what allows you to keep a sense of humor when things get stressful, to prioritize when the piles of work look like canyon walls all around you.”
Preparation, she explained, is what opens the door to opportunity; it’s what turns potential into reality. “We prepare not by talking and rushing but by researching, reviewing, reflecting, and listening.”
Persistence, according to Kress, “is how you get up time and time again until you cross the finish line. As the great philosopher, Bond, James Bond, once said, ‘I don’t stop when I am tired; I stop when I am done.’”
Passion is the ‘P’ that lights the fire, she explained. “Community colleges are my passion; they’re in my blood, heart, and soul. Keep your passion. It will warm you and reward you; it is invaluable.”
Kress said principles are hard won. “If you haven’t already, you will come to a day when you need to make a choice between doing the right thing and doing something quite different. Remember that such a choice won’t just impact you, it reverberates and it rebounds. Make sure you have non-negotiables, articulate them to those around you, and keep them safe and secure.”
Tina Fey, stated Kress, “claims the worst question in the world to ask a working mother is: ‘How do you juggle it all?’ I’ll extend it: it’s the worst question to ask anyone. During your time at Keuka, you’ve had to juggle too many balls and sadly, I’m here to tell you that won’t change even after today. With perspective, preparation, persistence, passion, and principles—and your outstanding Keuka education—you have more than enough power to keep the most important balls speeding through the air successfully.”
Rochester resident Lakesha Carter, who received her Bachelor of Science degree in organizational management through Keuka’s Accelerated Studies for Adults Program (ASAP), also spoke at the ceremony. Earlier this year, she was inducted into the Keuka College chapter of Alpha Lambda Sigma, the national honor society for adult students.
A wife and mother, Carter said “the driving force behind my success as a Keuka College student is the many competitions I have with myself and the message I am sending to my children by continuing my education.
“I grew up in the projects in Rochester,” she added. ”I am the youngest of seven children. I am the only the second person in my family to graduate from high school and the first one to go to college. I wanted to give my family something to be proud of. I want to be able to show my children that I don’t just talk the talk; I walk the walk.”
Another highlight was the presentation of the Adjunct Professor of the Year Award to Karen Reid, who has taught in the Division of Social Work since 2007 and served as a cohort adviser since 2010. She was nominated by Ed Silverman, director of the ASAP social work program.
“Karen has been instrumental in the growth and excellent quality of the social work program in the Syracuse/Auburn region,” said Silverman. “She has gained the respect of her students and colleagues alike with her honest and straightforward approach to student teaching and helps each student achieve personal and professional growth, and academic success.”
Silverman said Reid “challenges students to get out of their comfort zone and encourages each of them to trust in their own potential and strength. Her success in reaching students has its foundation in her own modeling of high quality and competent social work. Students appreciate her ability to bring real-world connection to concepts covered in the classroom.”
Added Silverman: “Karen is of the mindset that if she does a good job, then she knows that the students will go out into the world and truly make a difference in the life of someone who is hurting or in need.”
Dr. Anne M. Kress, president of Monroe Community College (MCC), will deliver the address at Keuka College’s mid-year conferral of degrees Sunday, Dec. 8.
More than 100 traditional and Accelerated Studies for Adults Program (ASAP) students will receive degrees at the ceremony, which begins at 1 p.m. in Norton Chapel.
Since beginning her tenure at MCC in 2009, Kress has elevated the college’s role in several key areas—readiness for college, college completion, workforce development, diversity and sustainability—to better serve the needs of students and the community.
New initiatives launched under her leadership include an enhanced Honors Institute, which provides the most academically prepared students with a comprehensive program of study that includes undergraduate research, and more meaningful collaborations with area school districts in strengthening the K-12 pipeline and improving college completion rates.
A native of Milwaukee, Wis., Kress earned a doctoral degree in higher education administration, master’s and bachelor’s degrees in English, and a bachelor’s degree with honors in finance, all from the University of Florida.
Her career spans more than 20 years as an administrator and educator in higher education. Kress is a member of the American Council on Education’s Commission on International Initiatives; the American Association of Community Colleges’ Commission on Academic, Student and Community Development; and the Council on Foreign Relations’ Higher Education Working Group on Global Issues. She also serves as a member of a State University of New York Innovation Team focused on advancing the “Seamless Education Pipeline” initiative in SUNY’s strategic plan.
In 2011, Kress was named a member of the Regional Economic Development Council by New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. Locally, she is a board member of the Rochester Business Alliance, Greater Rochester Enterprise and the United Way of Greater Rochester.
Other highlights of the ceremony include the presentation of the Adjunct Professor of the Year Award and a speech by Lakesha Carter, a Rochester resident who will receive a Bachelor of Science degree in organizational management. College President Dr. Jorge Díaz-Herrera, Chairman of the Board of Trustees Robert Schick, and President of the Keuka College Alumni Association Jeremy Hourihan ’08 will also address the graduates.
Keuka College honored veterans and active duty personnel with a Nov. 11 ceremony held in Hegeman 109 and on the lawn near the World War II memorial.
The ceremony featured remarks by College President Jorge L. Díaz-Herrera; Chris Leahy, associate professor of history; Sander Diamond, professor of history; and Linda Park, director of Lightner Library. Eric Detar, College chaplain, offered a prayer of remembrance, and members of the Penn Yan VFW Honor Guard also took part.
Before the ceremony, members of the College and area community signed some 580 holiday cards that will be sent to veterans and active-duty service personnel across America and abroad.
Part of the American Red Cross Holiday Mail for Heroes program, the College campaign was sponsored by the Staff Advisory Council’s (SAC) Events Committee, co-chaired by Paulette Willemsen, secretary for the Division of Education and Division of Social Work, and BJ Hill, office manager for student affairs.
“Writing cards to our service men and women is a good way to spread holiday cheer and make them feel appreciated,” said Willemsen.
Vicki Tobias, database administrator and committee member, agrees.
“I had four brothers, a sister, and now a niece and nephew serve in the military, and I appreciate what they have done and continue to do,” she said.
Committee member Judy Gilmartin, administrative programmer, said writing her name on the cards “makes a more personal contact with a veteran, and I believe everyone should think about all of those in the service, not just those we know.”
Senior Caroline Arancio, an organizational communication major from Clinton, took time to sign a card because her best friend just returned from basic training, and “I want him to know that I am proud of him and support him.”
Olivia Hudson, a junior occupational science major from Adams, “doesn’t think the people in the military get enough credit for all they do,” while Bryan Chaffee, a sophomore criminal justice/criminology major from Keuka Park, wanted to “thank those who fight for our freedom.”
Aubrey Clark, a sophomore occupational science major from Fillmore; Dani Alred, a junior organizational communication major from Horseheads; Emily Grecco, a sophomore psychology major from Waverly; Jakiem Brown, a junior educational studies major from Rochester; Nicole Naidoo, a sophomore accounting major from Durban, South Africa; and Melissa Whipple, a sophomore psychology major from Victor all wanted to sign a card to show their appreciation for the service our military personnel provides.
Those who took part were asked to write a short message and sign their name on a card. In addition to writing messages and signing their names, many members of the campus and local community donated cards, including students at Keuka Lake School and Prattsburgh Central School, residents of Clinton Crest Manor, and participants in College’s Big Brothers Big Sisters program.
Keuka College will mark Veterans Day Monday, Nov. 11, with a 4 p.m. ceremony at the World War II memorial near Lightner Library. (In case of inclement weather, it will be held in Hegeman Hall 109.)
College President Jorge L. Díaz-Herrera will deliver remarks along with Chris Leahy, associate professor of history; Sander Diamond, professor of history; and Linda Park, director of Lightner Library. Rev. Eric Detar, College chaplain, will offer a prayer of remembrance, and members of the Penn Yan VFW Honor Guard are expected to take part.
After the ceremony, refreshments will be served in Lightner Library.
Erected by members of the Political Science and History Club in 2005, the memorial commemorates the 60th anniversary of V-E Day, honors World War II veterans, and recognizes the contributions Keuka College nurses made during the war.
One of the Yates County Chamber of Commerce’s most popular programs is Business After Hours (BAH).
The Chamber says BAH is “a great way to stretch your business contacts and have a little fun at the same time.”
On Sept. 11, members of the Chamber did just that at Keuka College. The event was held at the Lucina, home of College President Dr. Jorge L. Díaz-Herrera.
Mike Rogoff’s college career got off to an inauspicious start.
He blew up the chemistry lab at Hofstra University.
“I started my college career as a pre-med major because I planned to become a psychiatrist,” explained Rogoff, Keuka College’s 2012-13 Professor of the Year who delivered the keynote address at academic convocation today (Aug. 27). “Things went pretty well in my biology courses, but chemistry was another story. I was barely making it through chemistry lecture with a D- average but the big problem came when I blew up the chemistry lab.”
No one was hurt, but “‘Big Boom Boy’ got bounced from pre-med,” recalled Rogoff.
But then he “bounced back.” Rogoff changed his major to psychology and the rest is history.
“It’s great if you start with a major that fits you right away and you stay with it throughout college,” said Rogoff, who joined Keuka faculty in 1971, “but don’t feel like a failure if your first major just doesn’t fit your talents and interests. These changes help you build your personal and professional identity. They help you find out who you are, what you’re good at, and what you really want to do.”
Rogoff credited one of his teachers (Dr. Vane) and adviser (Dr. Cohen) for helping him “grow into my new major” and building his “confidence as a learner.
“I needed that support,” he said. “I didn’t feel good about myself when I bombed out of pre-med. As a matter of fact, I felt downright stupid. But my adviser helped me flip things around. He reminded me that I had done pretty well in my biology courses even though I had a hard time in chemistry.”
According to Rogoff, he also got a lot of support from the upperclass psychology majors, and by the time he finished at Hofstra, he was on the Dean’s List and admitted to all seven of the graduate schools to which he applied.
“Not too shabby for the ‘Big Boom Boy,’” quipped Rogoff, who holds master’s and doctoral degrees from Cornell University.
Said Rogoff: “My main message here is that you’ll have the same opportunities as you grow into your career. Here at Keuka, you’ll have access to many circles of support and that will help you continue to develop your competencies and interests. You’ll continue to gain insight into who you are, what you can do, and what you want to do.
“Let us help you accomplish your dream,” added Rogoff. “Let us help you develop your competencies, and let us help you build your support and bounce-back skills. Increasingly, you’ll be able to put into place the circles of support. You’ll be able to help others build resilience. All of this can help make the world a better place.”
Academic convocation marked the official opening of the 2013-14 academic year and College President Dr. Jorge L. Díaz-Herrera and Robert Schick, chair of the Board of Trustees, welcomed new students to campus.
Schick urged the students to get involved.
“Make a new friend every day: another student, faculty member, any of the staff of the College. Immerse yourself into the very fabric of the College by joining clubs and participating in sports as a participant or fan.”
Friendship was also on the president’s mind. He told the students they could “expect to make plenty of friends, many of who will become lifelong friends. You can definitely expect to make memories that will last a lifetime.”
He also said they can expect to make a difference—both on campus and in the larger community.
“Community service at Keuka is important,” he said. “Last year alone, our students devoted more than 60,000 hours of service.”
The College’s 105th commencement began May 26 in Keuka Park, resumed at four locations in China in mid-June, and concluded June 22 in Hanoi, Vietnam
“There are very few students anywhere in the world today who, like yourselves, will earn separate undergraduate degrees from two great academic institutions, from two different nations, two far apart continents, and in two very different languages,” said President Jorge Díaz-Herrera to graduates of the Keuka China Program (KCP) at Jimei University in Xiamen June 19.
KCP marked its 10th anniversary in 2013 and prior to Jimei, the president officiated at KCP ceremonies at Keuka’s three other partner universities in China: Tianjin University of Science and Technology, Yunnan University of Finance and Economics, and Wenzhou University.
“Global learning and exploration is a reality and we at Keuka College have had first-hand experience for more than a decade and our offerings are expanding,” said the president. “Keuka is now a global leader in the fields of career development, experiential education, and international business and management.”
The president credited Administrative Chancellor for China Campuses Dr. Michael Hwang for successfully bringing Keuka’s Field Period model to China “with his extensive knowledge and writing in career management.
“He helped us successfully export the experiential learning model to China, which together with career management, offers major benefits to our students in building successful careers, living productive lives, and contributing to society. This has allowed us to become a global leader in experiential learning.”
On June 22, 31 Keuka degree were awarded to 31 gradautes at Vietnam National University in Hanoi. Although one can find many things that separates those who received their degrees by the shore of Keuka Lake and those who did likewise in the capital of Vietnam—such as language and culture— there is one thing that unites them.
You will always be a part of Keuka College’s “extended family of graduates—a network that extends all over the world,” said Díaz-Herrera.
The president urged the graduates to “invent your future—and make sure you have an impact. However, “while moving into the future, remember that your time in the Keuka-Vietnam program is not ending, but continuing in a different form.
“Use that network but also become an active part of it; we expect to hear of your accomplishments and look forward to your continued involvement with Keuka College,” he added. “You are, for now and always, an important part of the Keuka family, your alma mater.”
Editor’s Note: When it comes to commencement, the address given by the invited guest typically garners the most attention. For example, Esther Yoder’s ’60 talk at Keuka’s 105th commencement was covered on online and in the area print media. However, there were some other noteworthy moments from May 26 and we’ll take a look at some of them here.
“Everyone has a duty to repair the world,” said Sophia Veffer, who delivered the baccalaureate address. “We share our humanity and we all want to live in a peaceful world.”
Veffer, past president of the Holocaust Resource Center of Buffalo Board of Directors and current executive board member, said the main reason she gives lectures at schools and colleges is to spread the message not to be a bystander.
Citing the Holocaust and present-day genocides as examples, Veffer said bystanders are the most dangerous group because “they enable the perpetrators to commit their crimes by being silent. They make an amoral decision to tolerate the injustices in their society. “
Veffer urged the Class of 2013 and others who attended the service to “be vocal when you witness injustice and discrimination.
“Don’t say, ‘I, alone, cannot change the world.’ One person can make a difference, for example, Rosa Parks, who did not want to give up her seat on the bus and ignited the Civil Rights Movement. Even if nobody will listen to you, it makes you a better person that you tried to repair the world. It gives you self respect because you tried to make this global world a more peaceful world to live for yourself and other people. Each one of you can make a difference in your own way. Be a caregiver and be a caring and involved citizen and repair the world. What you do matters.”
In the past, said Veffer, one’s immediate neighborhood was very narrowly defined; it included their school, church, block around their home, playground, etc. That has changed.
“You are the generation that lives in a global society, where your neighbors may live in Rwanda or Turkey,” explained Veffer. “And you live in a very diverse world. You have to adjust to different life styles, different customs, different religions, etc. Your whole world is your neighborhood and as good neighbors, you have to stay connected and care for the welfare of each human being. You have to be participating and caring global citizens because what happens in one part of the world can affect us.”
Baccalaureate also featured On Love, the class poem written and read by Erica Ruscio; The Prayer, a song performed by Amanda Burlingame and Chelsea Sherwood; an Unity, an interpretive dance performed by Ashlee Eilers, Johnathon Pugh, and Elizabeth Vinette.
Professor of the Year
President Jorge L. Díaz-Herrera described Professor of Psychology Mike Rogoff as “a dedicated educator who exhibits great enthusiasm for learning and a passion for helping students to be successful. His commitment to students has been evident over the years in his innovative teaching and in the individual assistance he provides to his students.”
Students routinely describe Rogoff, who came to Keuka in 1971, as “amazing,” “well-prepared,” “fantastic,” “challenging,” “genuine,” and “a great person.”
“In four decades of student-centered teaching, he has truly exemplified Keuka’s emphasis on the individual student,” said the president. “His particular attention to the well-being of first-year students deserves commendation. Over the past decade and more, he has made significant contributions to our retention efforts through his research analyzing student study habits. This work has been of enormous benefit to the College, to his colleagues on the faculty, and most especially to students, as he compiled, interpreted, and shared with colleagues the data he collected.”
In addition to his work in the classroom, Rogoff served as chair of the Division of Basic and Applied Social Sciences for many years.
“In this role, he managed a division of independent-minded colleagues in a persistent and often admirably tireless manner,” said the president. “In untold ways, he performed the day-to-day administrative work that kept a centrally-important division running.”
Most recently, his work on the ad hoc Curriculum Task Force “testifies to his continuing commitment to enhancing students’ educational experiences at Keuka,” added Díaz-Herrera.
Retiring Faculty Members
Vice President for Academic Affairs Anne Weed recognized:
Michaela Cosgrove, professor emerita of Spanish, who will be the focus of an upcoming feature story on Keuka College Today.
A sundial reflecting Keuka’s global impact is located in front of Dahlstrom Student Center.
Few college dropouts go on to become college presidents but one who did spoke at Keuka College’s mid-year conferral of degrees today (Dec. 9).
Of course, Dr. Carole A. McCoy eventually received three degrees—including a Doctor of Public Administration— and in 2007 became president of Jefferson Community College (JCC) in Watertown.
Since then, McCoy has led the campus through the development of a new strategic plan, facilities master plan, and feasibility study for the implementation of student residence halls. She also played a key leadership role in creating the partnership between JCC and Keuka that provides North Country residents the opportunity to pursue Keuka bachelor’s degree completion programs through its Accelerated Studies for Adults Program (ASAP).
Keuka President Dr. Jorge L. Díaz-Herrera referred to McCoy as “one of our state’s most dynamic and visionary community college presidents.”
Not bad for someone, who in 1973, “was a college dropout working as a directory assistance operator.
“Always believe it is never too late to change,” said McCoy. “I attended college one year and never felt that I fit in or saw the purpose of getting a degree. I was in my late 30s when I achieved my baccalaureate degree, in my 40s when I completed my master’s degree, and slightly north of 50 when I finished my doctorate.”
While conceding there is some risk associated with change, McCoy said there is risk with not changing as well.
“Complacency is a big risk,” she explained. “It seems like almost every day we read about the number of high-tech jobs that are going unfilled in the United States because we don’t have workers with the needed skills. And how many jobs no longer exist because they become obsolete? Complacency is not a good thing.”
She also urged the Class of 2012 to “find something you can be passionate about. Passion for something is what gets you up in the morning and has you excited about your day. Passion sustains you when you are having a rough time. Passion is about what’s in your heart. We make small decisions from our heads, but our big decisions, our life decisions, the decisions that really matter need to come from our hearts. Over my career, I have changed jobs several times because I was still seeking that one thing I could be passionate about for the rest of my life.”
That one thing was being president of JCC.
“Consider the words of Mark Twain, who said, ‘The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why,’” said McCoy. “I lead a community college because I am committed to providing a college education to anyone who can possibly benefit from that education. For me, community colleges are the epitome of democracy. We transform lives through learning. The day I understood the mission of the community colleges was the day I knew why I was born.”
Palmyra resident Randy Kuhn, who received his Master of Science degree in criminal justice administration, also spoke at the ceremony. An officer with the Newark Police Department, he received a bachelor’s degree from Keuka in 2010.
Another highlight was the presentation of the Adjunct Professor of the Year Award to Gary Prawel, who began his Keuka career as director of campus security and served as the first director of ASAP’s criminal justice program. Prawel has taught criminal justice in ASAP since the program’s beginnings in 2001 and teaches Introduction to Sociology and criminology courses in the traditional program on a regular basis.
The director of the ASAP criminal justice program —Richard Martin—nominated Prawel for the award. He wrote that “Gary takes personal ownership of each student in the class. Their success is his success and their failure is his failure. He believes strongly in the American justice system and considers it a privilege to be able to continue to have a hand in teaching the future of that system. His successes are evident in almost all of the police agencies in Monroe County, as those in command positions of the county’s law enforcement agencies have been taught by Mr. Prawel at one time or another.”
Dr. Carole A. McCoy, president of Jefferson Community College (JCC), will deliver the address at Keuka College’s mid-year conferral of degrees Sunday, Dec. 9.
The ceremony begins at 1 p.m. in the Weed Physical Arts Center gymnasium.
McCoy was appointed the fifth CEO of JCC Feb. 1, 2007. Since then, she has led the campus through the development of a new strategic plan, the facilities master plan, and feasibility study for the implementation of student residence halls while maintaining an emphasis on enrollment growth.
In addition, she played a key role in bringing bachelor’s degree completion programs to the North Country through Keuka’s Accelerated Studies for Adults Program.
McCoy donates her time and talents to several community organizations, including the Fort Drum Regional Liaison Organization, Greater Watertown-North Country Chamber of Commerce, WPBS, Victim’s Assistance Center, and Watertown Rotary Club. She is also a member and secretary of the New York Community College Presidents Association.
Prior to assuming the presidency of JCC, McCoy held three posts at Anne Arundel Community College in Arnold, Md.: vice president for learner support services, vice president for learning systems and technology, and chief of learning systems and technology.
She was also director of research computing at The Children’s Hospital of Boston, Mass., and manager of technical services and manager of applications for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
McCoy earned her Doctorate of Public Administration degree from the University of Baltimore, Master of Business Administration from the University of Massachusetts, and Bachelor of Arts in economics from Framingham (Mass.) State College.
Palmyra resident Randy Kuhn, who will receive a Master of Science degree in criminal justice administration, will also speak at the ceremony. He is an officer with the Newark Police Department and a 2010 Keuka graduate (B.S., criminal justice systems). Another highlight will be the presentation of the Adjunct Professor of the Year Award.
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