Longtime Board Member, Penn Yan Resident Marcia Dugan Receives Honorary Degree
Marcia Dugan professes alumni-like affection for Keuka College; however, the Penn Yan resident is an alumna of Antioch College.
"I'm not a Keuka College alumna, but I feel like one," said Dugan.
On Sunday, the longtime Board of Trustees member joined the ranks of Keuka alumni, receiving an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree at the College's mid-year conferral of degrees. Barbara Risser, president of Finger Lakes Community College (FLCC), also received an honorary degree.
Dugan was first elected to the Board of Trustees in 1994 and served nine years, was re-elected in 2004 and again in 2007. A 1953 graduate of Antioch College, she was presented for the honorary degree by Marilyn Baader, a member of the Board and 1963 graduate of Keuka College.
"Marcia has been a tireless advocate for her alma mater and I can attest that she has that same passion for Keuka College," said Baader. "The contributions she has made to my alma mater are greatly appreciated, and I know many alumni echo my appreciation. She has given her time, talent, and treasure to Keuka College."
Dugan was director of public relations at Keuka College from 1972 to 1980 and held the director of public affairs post at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (RIT) from 1980 to 1995. An advocate for the hearing impaired, Dugan served as president of the Hearing Loss Association of America Board of Directors from 1996 to 1998 and was president of the International Federation of Hard of Hearing People from 2001 to 2006.
Locally, she was instrumental in establishing the Yates Performing Arts Series and the Yates County Arts Council, and is a founding member of the Keuka Arts Festival. She received the Finger Lakes Council Boy Scouts of America Distinguished Service Award in 2006 and the New York State Senate's Woman of Distinction Award in 2004.
"Trying to put into words what this wonderful woman has meant to her family, Keuka College, Yates County, our nation, and the world is difficult," said Baader. "But I think I found something that comes close. In 1998, Marcia won the Oticon Focus on People Award that recognizes ‘remarkable people making a difference in their families, communities, and the world… people who contribute, succeed, teach, create, improve, and inspire… and who happen to be hard of hearing.
"That is Marcia Dugan."
Risser also spoke at the ceremony and told the graduates that serendipity "is a wonderful thing.
"Learn to watch for it as you move through life and you'll be surprised how much fun it is when your life plan gets thrown out the window and you suddenly find yourself in an unexpected and exciting place," she said.
While conceding that "there's some real value in thinking through our personal goals in life," Risser urged the graduates to "leave yourself open to those wonderful, accidental discoveries and unexpected opportunities that can nudge you off your carefully crafted—and sometime a little too comfortable—life plan."
Risser, a former faculty member and administrator at Onondaga Community College, shared some serendipitous moments from her life.
"I never imagined that I would be a college president," she said. "About the time I was finishing my dissertation, several people sent me links to a position posting for president of Finger Lakes Community College. When the third FLCC flyer showed up on my desk with a post-it note from a friend saying, ‘You should do this,' I recognized it as one of those moments.
"That year (2007), I defended my dissertation in March, interviewed at Finger Lakes in April, graduated in May, and started as FLCC's fourth president in August," she added. "I didn't see that one coming."
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