Keuka College alumni gather at the Ridgemont Country Club in Greece, where plans for the 2020 move to the Empire 8 Conference were discussed.
Keuka College’s move to the Empire 8 Conference is still more than a year away, but judging from the turnout at a kickoff event in Monroe County Thursday night, interest and enthusiasm are already building.
Several dozen Keuka College alumni turned out at the Ridgemont Country Club in Greece to hear officials from their alma mater map out plans for the College’s transition into the New York-based athletics conference.
“We were thrilled to see alumni from many different generations come together to celebrate Keuka College’s invitation to the Empire 8 and to envision the future of the College's athletics program,” said Keuka College Associate Vice President for Advancement and External Affairs Pete Bekisz.
Along with Bekisz, Director of Athletics Dave Sweet, Associate Athletic Director/Head Athletic Trainer Jeff Bray, and Associate Director of Athletics for Facilities and Operations Jon Accardi outlined the College’s preparations as it takes steps to bow out of its longtime athletics home, the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC), to join the Empire 8 beginning with the 2020-21 academic year.
The College intends to raise more than $1.6 million to renovate locker rooms, enhance the College’s weight room and strength center, and bring enhanced live-streaming to the Jephson Community Athletic Complex, among other revisions, the athletics trio told the crowd.
Sweet also reiterated the College’s continuing excitement about the move, which was announced in February.
“The Empire 8 invitation is recognition of the incredible level of achievement our student-athletes attain, both on and off the field,” he said.
That excitement was evident among the crowd at the country club, which included several tables of alumni from the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s.
“We didn’t know what to expect, so we’re absolutely thrilled with the turnout,” said College alumnus Marc Misiurewicz ’95, who hosted the event.
The selection of a Greece country club for the kickoff event was no accident. With Empire 8 rivals to include Monroe County-based Nazareth and St. John Fisher colleges, Keuka College wants to be sure its substantial Rochester-area alumni base is well aware there will be games close by to come cheer at.
“The NEAC has been great to us, but we play a lot of games at colleges out of state,” explained Accardi. “In the Empire 8, not only will we have more of a fan base, but our student-athletes won’t have to spend so much time on the road.”
Keuka College will become the ninth full member of the Empire 8, joining Nazareth, St. John Fisher, Utica, Houghton, Alfred University, Elmira, Hartwick, and the Sage Colleges. Keuka College currently sponsors 22 varsity teams.
For information on Keuka College’s move to the Empire 8, follow the Wolves on social media or visit KeukaAthletics.com.