The ‘Pillars’ of Keuka College

A contingent of strong, successful, and supportive women help propel Keuka College’s success and progress.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Very few institutions can succeed without the solid support of foundational individuals – those wise, driven, committed leaders who provide consistency, encouragement, and concrete resources. Keuka College is fortunate to have a strong contingent of such partners – women who share the vision, mission, and goals of the College, and who use their wealth and wherewithal to propel progress.

They are the pillars of Keuka College, and they include alumni and supporters such as Dorisanne Weimert Osborn ’51, Katherene “Kay” Tuttle Meisch ’58, Esther Carter Yoder ’60, Barbara Schaefer Allardice ’62, Audrey Wolcott, Bebette Yunis, and Kristen DeLuca.

“I’m very fortunate to have worked with each of these incredible women, I look up to each of them, and I aspire to be just like them,” says Keuka College Director of Community Relations and Events Kathy Waye. “They all worked outside of the home, and came to Keuka College to be leaders. They all know the importance of giving back.”

As Women’s History Month draws to a close, we take a moment to salute these women who have contributed so much to Keuka College’s rich history – and, more importantly, its promise-filled future.

Dorisanne Weimert Osborn ’51 

Dorisanne Weimert Osborn ’51 recently turned 89, which is roughly the number of years Keuka College has played an important part in her life. 

Attending Keuka College runs in the family—Dorisanne’s daughter, Carol Osborn Buetens, is a member of the Class of 1983 and her sister-in-law, Dorothy, is a member of the Class of 1942. And talk about a Keuka College love story: Dorisanne met her future husband, Charlie (Dorothy’s brother), on the front porch of Ball Hall!

Dorisanne’s ties to Keuka College didn’t end with graduation; if anything, they’ve grown stronger over the years. She returned to her alma mater in 1979, where she served as assistant professor of education, and created the College’s special education program.

After retirement, Dorianne continued to remain closely linked to the College (and simply close – she and Charlie live adjacent to the campus). She serves as the president of the Class of 1951, as well the Class of 1951 Fund chair. Active in the Penn Yan Keuka Club, she has also been involved in Alumni Association through its Records and Recognition Committee and its Executive Council. She currently serves as a Class Representative for classes up 1962. 

She is a Johnson-Anderson Heritage Society member and consistent donor to the President’sCircle. She also led efforts to establish the Class of 1951 endowment and, with Charlie, established the Osborn Memorial Scholarship in 1982.

Dorisanne and Charlie can regularly be seen at such College events as President’s Forum Dinners, Backpack to Briefcase career fairs, Rising Stars receptions, Alumni Networking Fairs, Green & Gold Celebration Weekend, Board of Trustee Events, Move-in Day, and the annual Stork Award Luncheons.

“Dorisanne Weimert Osborn ’51bleeds green and gold!” says Laurie Adams ’83, associate director of alumni relations. “At 89 years old, she’s still very active as a representative for the Pathfinders on the Alumni Association Executive Council; she attends sporting, cultural, and academic events on campus; and she is always looking for ways to financially support the College as well. Her selflessness for her alma mater is admirable.”

Katherene “Kay” Tuttle Meisch ’58

That selflessness for Keuka College extends to Katherene “Kay” Tuttle Meisch ’58.

Like Dorisanne, Kay is a past member of the Alumni Association Executive Council, where she served on the Green Ribbon Committee and was the vice president of finance. In addition, she was the co-chair of the President’s Circle Committee. 

Elected as an alumni trustee, Kay has served the College’s Board of Trustees in various capacities for nearly three decades including on several committees and as part of the Executive Board.

A loyal and consistent donor to Keuka College, Kay is a member of the Alumni Association Nominating Committee, the Johnson-Anderson Heritage Society, the booster club, and the President Circle Society. She also served on President-Emeritus Dr. Arthur F. Kirk’sAlumni Advisory Board, comprised of former trustees and former student trustees.

In addition, Kay and her husband, John, have hosted alumni groups at their homes in Arcadia, Calif., Rochester, and Rushville. She has served on the steering committee for both the Bridge to Tomorrow and Shaping the Future: One Graduate at a Time campaigns, and was a Rally Chair for the Campaign to Save Ball Hall.

In appreciation of her dedication and passion for the College, Kay received the Eleanor Judd Wilkes Service to Keuka College Award and the Norton-Blyley Presidential Medallion.

Esther Carter Yoder ’60 

Like Dorisanne and Kay, Esther Carter Yoder ’60’s passion for Keuka College runs deep. From humble beginnings as a farm girl from West Auburn, Pa., Esther became a successful businesswoman, one who has never forgotten Keuka College.

She came to the College with little more than the clothes on her back, and while she worked hard—both in the classroom and out—there were times she wasn’t sure she’d be able to stay.

Enter Ralph Wilkes, who served as business manager/treasurer for theCollege, and who became Esther’s knight in shining armor. He always found a way to keep her in school, so it was fitting that Esther presented Ralph with an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters at Commencement in 1997. Esther received the same degree at the 2013 Commencement, where she also delivered the Commencement address.

As with Dorisanne, attending Keuka College runs in Esther’s family—despite the fact her grandfather didn’t believe in women attending college. Her aunt, Ruth Carter Breitweiser, was a 1938 Keuka graduate and her cousin, Annita Breitweiser, is a 1975 Keuka graduate.

A few years after her own graduation, Esther and her husband, Herb, opened an antiques restoration business in Endicott, N.Y. As a result of the chemicals used in the shop, Herb developed Lou Gehrig’s disease, and later, cancer. Esther knew she had to make a career change, so she began working at the local Subway shop. And the rest is Subway history. 

She worked her way from general manager to field representative to helping open scores of franchises across the country and around the world.

But even as Esther was traveling the world, Keuka College was never far from her heart. A regular donor to the Keuka Fund, Day of Giving, and the booster club, Esther has served in vital roles in the College’s last five campaigns, including The Next 125: The Comprehensive Campaign for Keuka College.

A trustee emerita, Esther served on the College’s Board of Trustees in various capacities for 20 years. She is a member of the College’s Johnson-Anderson Heritage Society, has served on the Alumni Association’s Executive Council, and, like Kay, served on President-Emeritus Dr. Arthur F. Kirk’s Alumni Advisory Board.

A recipient of the Norton-Blyley Presidential Medallion, Eleanor Judd Wilkes Service to Keuka College Award, and Evelyn Zill Diehl ’51 Philanthropic Heritage Award, Esther regularly attends regional events, HouseParty Reunions, and Leadership Weekend.

Dr. Barbara Schaefer Allardice ’61 

Like many of those who have come before her, Dr. Barbara Schaefer Allardice ’61 has great affection for her alma mater, which began when she was a student. 

Barbara served as the president of student government, participated in dance and theatre productions, and was a member of the campus ministry program. She was also a member of several honor societies.  

Like Dorisanne, Barbara returned to the College to serve on the faculty. Two years after her graduation, she joined the psychology department and was director of student programs. She also served as assistant and associate director of development, not to mention Alumni Association president and alumni representative on the Presidential Search Committee. She received the Alumni Association’s Professional Achievement Award.

Barbara now serves as chair of The Next 125: The Comprehensive Campaign for Keuka Collegeand has been instrumental in driving past campaigns to success. She is also a member of the Board of Trustees and the President’s Circle Committee, as well as the Keuka Fund National Committee. 

And Barbara’s service comes in other forms. She is a Keuka College Leadership Circle Charter member and a member of the Johnson-Anderson Heritage Society. A consistent donor to the Keuka Fund, Adopt-a-Student program, Day of Giving, and the Class of ’67 Endowment, Barbara is also a regular contributor to a number of Keuka College scholarships. The Keuka College Endowment Fund, SIFE team, and booster club have also been recipients of her generosity. 

But alumni may be the largest contingency to benefit from Barbara and her husband, David’s, support. They made a seven-figure gift to endow the campus’s Barbara ’61 and David Allardice Alumni Center.

Barbara is a regular at President’s Forum events, Green & Gold Celebration Weekend, Fribolin Lectures, Community Luncheon Series events, Lectures by the Lake, and Stork Award luncheons. She also attended regional events, Founder’s Day Weekend, class reunions, College to Career fairs, and Backpack to Briefcase events.

Audrey Wolcott

The name “Audrey Wolcott” is one of the most recognizable on the College campus. While not a Keuka College alumnae—she attended Mary Washington College and George Washington University—Audrey is a treasured friend of the College, one who is heavily interested in and supportive of the College.

A member of the Board of Trustees for nearly 20 years, Audrey is now a trustee emerita. During her tenure, she served as Chair of the Student Affairs Committee, was a member of the Academic Affairs Committee, and member of the Investment and Buildings and Grounds Sub-committees, and waspivotal in launching the transformative strategic plan during the 2012 summer Board retreat. Today, Audrey continues to offer sound advice and expertise to Board members and College administrators.

Audrey and her husband, Arthur, have been extremely generous in providing funding for diverse and varied College initiativessuch as the Keuka Fund, Day of Giving, Friends of Lightner Library, the booster club,Sweet Court, and the DRIVE program. They have also helped sponsor Alternative Spring Break trips. 

Student-boosting initiatives such as the Katherine F. Wilhelm ’67 Scholarship Endowment, the Stork Scholarship, and the President Joseph G. Burke and Professor Diane M. Burke Scholarship have also benefitted from her generosity, as have several College campaigns.In addition, Audrey is also the force behind the basketball court outside Harrington and Blyley halls, and the hearing loop system for Norton Chapel.

Audrey has attended numerous regional events, reunion weekends, Fribolin Lectures, and Stork Award luncheons. In appreciation of her loyalty, leadership and service, Audrey was the recipient of an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters in 2015.

Bebette Yunis and Kristen DeLuca

Like Audrey,neither Bebette Yunis nor Kristen DeLuca are Keuka College alumnae. But like Dorisanne and Esther, Keuka College is part of their family.

Bebette is the second generation to serve on the College’s Board of Trustees, following her father, Nicholas Yunis, a trustee from 1999-2002. And there’s a third generation: Bebette and Kristen’s nephew, Michael Delvecchio, is a junior communication studies major.

A current trustee, Bebette is active on a number of committees and, with Kristen, has attended and hosted regional events, campaign events, Green & Gold Celebration Weekend, the Community Luncheon Series, and the annual Stork Award.

One of her and Kristen’s most visual contributions can be seen not on campus, but in Penn Yan. They provided funding for the bright green and gold Keuka College banners festooning the main thoroughfares in downtown Penn Yan. 

They have also donated to the Keuka Fund, field house expansion, Day of Giving, the Burke Scholarship, Dahlstrom Student Center Challenge,Sweet Court, and The Next 125: The Comprehensive Campaign for Keuka College, and are members of the Keuka College Leadership Circle.

In addition, Bebette and Kristen participate in Celebrate Service…Celebrate Yates, a partnership between Keuka College and the Yates County Chamber of Commerce.

Dedication and Desire

Keuka College’s “pillars” are, in short, difference-makers, says the College’s Kathy Waye.

“Keuka College would not be Keuka College without them and their involvement,” she says. “They all generously support the College. They all have dedication and a desire to see Keuka College succeed. And they are all continuing a legacy of service and social responsibility, which ensures current and future students have the same opportunities they did.”