Two graduating classes, six separate ceremonies, and nearly 500 students all added up to a Commencement weekend like none other at Keuka College on May 22 and 23.
After the coronavirus pandemic derailed last year’s on-campus celebration, students from both the Classes of 2020 and 2021 took part in this year’s 112th Keuka College Commencement.
“We promised our graduates last year we would find a way to have them walk across the stage and publicly celebrate their achievements as soon as we were able,” said College President Amy Storey. “We’re thrilled that day finally arrived.”
Class of 2020 graduates took part in Commencement ceremonies at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturday. The Class of 2021 celebrated at 3 p.m. Saturday and three subsequent celebrations on Sunday. The separate ceremonies were designed to keep the numbers of students and guests within public-health guidelines.
But little else was changed from past commencement ceremonies during the weekend extravaganza.
Graduates were urged by speakers including President Storey and Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Brad Fuster to build on the strengths and experience they’ve amassed during the challenging past year; share their gratitude with the family, faculty, and friends who have supported them along the way; and to thank one very special person: Themselves.
“You wouldn’t be dressed in a cap and gown today unless YOU had put in the work,” President Storey told graduates. “You wouldn’t have overcome the unique challenges of the pandemic unless YOU had persevered. You wouldn’t be in a position to launch a career in the field of your choice unless YOU dedicated yourself to obtaining the necessary skills and knowledge. In short, you wouldn’t be where you are today without YOU.”
She also acknowledged the unprecedented challenges the pandemic created for students – and how their ability to overcome those challenges will serve them going forward.
“Graduating from college is a tremendous accomplishment – and never has that accomplishment been more impressive than this past year,” President Storey said on Sunday. “As a member of the Class of 2021, you’ve proven you can handle any challenge that comes your way.”
Also taking place during Commencement ceremonies:
- An Award of Higher Education was presented to Lisa Arthurs, Brian Bishop, Markques Burton, Cody Cronk, Allison Kimball, Khya Krieger, Caleb Nwaobia, and Christine Willson, eight students from the DRIVE (Diversity, Respect, Inclusion, Vision and Experiential learning) program. DRIVE is a collaboration of the Dundee Central School District, the ARC of Yates, and Keuka College. In the program, College students serve as peer mentors to young adults with intellectual disabilities as they assimilate into the College environment and explore their personal goals.
- Melissa Newcomb, associate professor of art, was named the College’s 2021 Professor of the Year. Professor Newcomb was praised for providing an encouraging yet challenging environment for her students, as well as leading numerous international learning expeditions.
- Michael Long, adjunct professor of business and management, was named the College’s 2021 Adjunct Instructor of the Year. Professor Long was cited for his leadership skills, prompt and thorough feedback to his students, and his incorporation of real-world expertise into his course material.