There’s a new athletics team coming to Keuka College, but they won’t be playing on the new turf field or inside the gym. Instead, they’ll use the College’s new $2 million network infrastructure and 10GBps data backbone to compete in the virtual world of “League of Legends,” the most popular online game in North America. Varsity-level competitive online video gaming—or eSports—will arrive at Keuka College in early 2016.
The student-athletes on the College’s eSports team will find support from a full-time coach, attend regular practice sessions, and represent the Green & Gold in matches, and championship tournaments.
“Sports require students to exercise and develop strategic thinking, teamwork, leadership, and communication skills in a competitive environment,” says David Sweet, Keuka College’s director of athletics. “‘League of Legends” and similar games provide this opportunity, and we’re thrilled to offer this to our student-athletes.”
Online sports are a natural fit for Keuka College. Under the leadership of President Jorge L. Díaz-Herrera, the College is integrating digital competencies, digital literacy, and data analysis throughout the entire academic curriculum and college experience.
“Athletics, whether they’re played on the field or online, provide opportunities for deeper learning,” says Dr. Díaz-Herrera, who previously served as the founding dean of the B. Thomas Golisano School of Computing and Information Sciences at the Rochester Institute of Technology. “eSports provide students with a training ground to practice making rapid decisions, managing resources and expenditures, and working as a team. All of these skills, along with the technical concepts online gaming exposes students to, are essential for the professions of the future.”
According to Dr. Paul H. Forestell, provost and vice president for academic affairs, eSports provides students the chance to hone their time management skills and contributes to building a student’s sense of confidence and character.
“We’re excited and supportive of this from an academic perspective,” Dr. Forestell says. “Keuka College has always designed unique opportunities and programs to meet the needs of tomorrow’s world. This is just the latest iteration.”
Keuka College President Dr. Jorge Díaz-Herrera will share part of his musical heritage as he performs a recital on the Arpa Llanera Venezolana (South American Harp) Sunday, Nov. 1.
The concert begins at 2 p.m. at Rochester’s historic Chapel Hill, formerly the chapel at Sacred Heart Academy. It will be a benefit to support the Arts & Cultural Council of Rochester.
A native of Venezuela, Dr. Díaz-Herrera began playing harp, Venezuelan cuatro, and guitar as a young teenager. Since then, music has been a large part of his life. During his performance, Dr. Díaz-Herrera will demonstrate the rich melodies of Latin American music and different playing techniques of the harp.
Dr. Díaz-Herrera has performed at a variety of venues including at a harp conference at Kilbourn Hall at the Eastman School of Music and at the Eastman School of Music’s Summer Music Camp.
Tickets are $20 for Arts & Cultural Council members and $25 for nonmembers, and are available online, at http://artsrochester.org/, or make your check payable to Arts & Cultural Council (with ‘concert’ in the memo line) and mail to: Arts & Cultural Council, 31 Prince Street, Rochester 14607. Seating is limited.
A ceremonial ground-breaking for the coming Keuka Commons building —the first new construction on the Keuka College campus in more than 40 years —was held Oct. 17. The ceremony was staged at the corners of Central and Assembly Avenues where the new building will be erected; actual construction is not slated to begin until November.
President Jorge L. Díaz-Herrera was joined by Board of Trustees Chair Bob Schick, Vice President for Finance and Administration Jerry Hiller, Trustee Bebette Yunis and two members of the Krog Corp. of Buffalo for the ceremonial dig.
Chairman Schick welcomed members of the Board of Trustees, along with alumni and College employees to the morning ceremony, which took place during Green & Gold Celebration Weekend. This year’s festivities also marked the College’s 125th anniversary.
Schick announced that the two-story, 28,000- square foot building will house the College’s bookstore, cafe, health center, Center for Professional Studies (CPS), Center for Business Analytics and Health Informatics (CBAHI), and provide additional retail space that can be used for new ventures.
“Since 1890, the leaders of Keuka College have been committed to enhancing the education and experience of local residents,” Schick said, adding that the joint-venture project with Krog Corp. will improve amenities for students and community neighbors. “As the leaders of Keuka College, We Believe in What We Can Do Together with and for our local residents and campus community,” he concluded.
President Díaz-Herrera added his enthusiasm for the new project, indicating the return of CPS staff to the main campus will unify adult student programs with traditional ones on campus, and that watching CBAHI programs harnessing the tools of technology and data analytics in partnership with emerging businesses will be exciting.
According to Dr. Díaz-Herrera, the construction of Keuka Commons will help carry forward the new vision for the school, which builds upon the one established by founder Dr. George Harvey Ball 125 years ago. In the 1880s, Díaz-Herrera said, Dr. Ball envisioned an educational institution that would meet the needs of the region’s youth with an emphasis on academic achievement, community service and practical trades.
“Since then, our College has remained focused on preparing students for success through rigorous academics, professional practice, community service and personal transformation,” Díaz-Herrera said. “I’m so excited to be part of the continued vision of George Harvey Ball and to be part of Keuka College at this time in history when we are building and growing for a bright future. Let’s dig in!”
Keuka College dedicated the Dr. Barbara S.’61 and David Allardice Alumni Center as part of its annual Green & Gold Weekend. Last year, the College announced the creation of the Allardice Alumni Center and acknowledged the Allardices generosity to the College.
With this gift, the Allardices envision the center becoming the hub for all alumni events. Specifically, they want to make sure the Center facilitates the transfer of the Keuka College spirit from generation to generation by bringing alumni together in a place they can call their own.
“It gives me great pleasure to be at the Allardice Alumni Center, as it will ensure long-standing relationships between Keuka College and its alumni,” said College President Jorge Díaz-Herrera, who called the Center one of the most elegant buildings on the College’s campus.
Additionally, funds will be available for professional development opportunities and travel, programming for alumni, and assure the Center always has the best tools, technology, and software available.
“Barbara and David hope that their gift will leave a legacy that communicates how much they love and care about Keuka College, and that others will see this contribution and consider ways they can leave a legacy, large or small, that promotes something they love,” said Amy Storey, vice president for advancement and external affairs.
And one thing Barbara and David love are the relationships they have formed, not only with the alumni of Keuka College, but the staff, faculty, and students as well.
“The Allardice Alumni Center provides the perfect setting to continue these extraordinary relationships Barbara and David have invested in so significantly,” said President Díaz-Herrera. “In part, this is due to their extensive history and strong relationship with the College that spans decades. In fact, Barbara and David have been giving to the College for 28 consecutive years.”
In addition, Barbara and David contribute to the Keuka Fund, have endowed numerous scholarships, and are members of the Keuka College Leadership Circle. The couple has also given to the Katharine F. Wilhelm ’67 Scholarship, the Division of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, the Student Alumni Association, the Adopt-a-Student Program, the Keuka College Golf Classic, and funded a music series on campus. They have also been consistent donors to David’s alma mater, Bryant College.
Barbara’s connection with the College also includes representing her fellow alumni on the Presidential Search Committee, the Alumni Executive Council, a Board of Trustees member, and serving on the cabinet for the Campaign to Save Ball Hall, among other involvements.
Both Barbara and David have held professional positions with Keuka College. Barbara served as director of student programs from 1965-1973, while David advanced the College’s mission as an assistant, and later associate, director of development.
“David and Barbara are among the rare individuals who consistently invest in the special things that bring people together,” said President Díaz-Herrera. “I thank them for their thoughtfulness, their gift, and their enduring loyalty to the Keuka College community.”
By Dr. Jorge L. Díaz-Herrera, president
The clock is ticking on our nation’s longest-running student loan program.
Without Congressional action, the Perkins Loan Program, which began 57 years ago and provides need-based, low-interest loans to 500,000 low-income college students at some 1,500 colleges and universities each year, will expire Sept. 30.
The Perkins Loan Program is an important piece of our campus-based federal aid model and is vital to keeping College affordable. The program provides federal funds to colleges and universities in order to offer five percent interest loans of up to $5,500 per year to students. Institutions must match at least 33 percent of the funds appropriated by the federal government.
During the 2008 reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, lawmakers included a “sunset” date of Sept. 30, 2015 for the Perkins Loan Program. Institutions will be forced to slowly end their Perkins Loan programs and begin returning their federal disbursements from their institutional revolving funds to the U.S. Treasury beginning Oct. 1.
Further threatening the Perkins Loan Grants Program is the “one grant, one loan” policy proposal floating around Capitol Hill. Assuming that the single loan is a version of the Stafford Loan program, which accounted for $77 billion of the $96 billion of federal loans disbursed in 2013-14, a move to “one grant, one loan” would spell the end of the Perkins Loan Program.
While the Perkins Loan Program is on shaky footing, it has garnered support from many legislators, including two close to home. In July, Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-25th District) sent a letter to the chairman and ranking member of the House Committee on Education & the Workforce calling on the committee to reauthorize Perkins before the Sept. 30 expiration.
Wrote Slaughter: “Perkins loans provide necessary flexibility to colleges and universities, which can use Perkins loans in conjunction with other forms of financial assistance to help students afford the cost of higher education. Perkins loans also act as a lifeline when unforeseen disruptions, such as a parent’s job loss or student’s inability to work enough hours, jeopardize a student’s ability to pay for college. Because they do not accrue interest while a student is in school and maintain a fixed five percent interest rate when repayment begins, Perkins loans often offer a much more affordable alternative to private student loans. Furthermore, the Perkins Loan Program encourages graduates to serve their country and communities by offering partial or full loan forgiveness to borrowers engaged in various types of public service.”
One of the legislators signing onto the letter was Rep. Tom Reed (R-23rd District). The 23rd district is one of the top recipients of Perkins loans in the country; in the last school year, a total of $21.8 million in Perkins loans were distributed to 10,810 students at 11 schools—including Keuka College— in the 23rd. Reed also signed on to a House resolution introduced by Rep. Luke Messer (R-6th, Ind.) that expresses the House of Representative’s support for the Perkins Loan Program.
Private, non-profit colleges such as Keuka College awarded nearly 50 percent of all Perkins loans in 2014-15. However, eliminating the Perkins Loan Program will affect private and public schools alike. Many students will be forced to secure private, higher-interest loans in order to attend college or not attend college at all.
We have heard a lot on the campaign trail about America falling behind its economic competitors. While it is hard to distinguish rhetoric from reality in politics, there is no doubt we must provide more of our citizens with high-level math, science, and literacy skills in order to stay competitive in the global economy. We can’t do that by limiting access to the colleges and universities that teach those skills, which will happen if the Perkins Loan Program is not renewed.
In addition, the failure to reauthorize the program “would eliminate billions of dollars in student aid from the revolving funds that institutions use to disburse Perkins loans,” according to Slaughter. “These revolving funds are what make the Federal Perkins Loan Program self-sustaining, with student loan repayments paying for new loans. The continuation of the program would not cost the government any additional money but its elimination would cost participating colleges and universities millions.”
I commend Reps. Slaughter, Reed, and others for their efforts to keep the program alive. I join them in urging their colleagues to not let the sun set on Perkins loans.