98-year-old Keuka College student planning next courses

Staff Writer
The Chronicle Express
Marjory Corwin receives an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Keuka College President Joseph G. Burke. Also shown are Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Ginny Coombs, College Chaplain Rev. Jeff Falter, and Al Ginkel, an emeritus member of the Board of Trustees.

Al Ginkel, an emeritus member of Keuka College’s Board of Trustees, refers to Marjory Corwin, the 98-year-old Keuka Park resident, as the “poster woman for lifelong learning.”

“Many found it remarkable that you started taking courses at Keuka College as a 70-something, non-matriculating student in 1984,” said Ginkel, who presented Corwin for an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree at the College’s mid-year conferral of degrees Sunday, Dec. 7. “But, as it turned out, we hadn’t seen anything yet. Here you are, at age 98, still taking courses and proving that yes, you are never too old to learn.”

A non-matriculating student, Corwin received a certificate in fine arts at the May 2003 commencement after she completed the college’s fine arts courses.

“She asked me what she could do next,” said College President Joseph G. Burke.

It turned out to be history and Burke presented her a certificate in history as well as an honorary degree Sunday.

“If not for Keuka College, I would not be doing what I am today,” said Corwin. “I’ve enjoyed every single minute of it and I expect to continue. It keeps me busy.”

Corwin, who took various courses from Professor of Art and noted sculptor Dexter Benedict, has created numerous paintings, including colorful landscapes. She has also taken courses in ancient, modern, United States, and European history.

Corwin gives a lot of credit for her determination to her classmates, saying they help her “keep a youthful point of view.”

“But what you have given your fellow students is much more meaningful,” said Ginkel. “You have inspired them to keep on learning.”

Corwin started taking classes as a way “to meet new people” after she and her late husband, Bill, moved to Keuka Park from Pittsford following retirement. Bill was a member of the Keuka College Board of Trustees, Rotary, and the Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hospital Foundation.

She, too, has been a community activist, donating her time and talents to Penn Yan Manor Nursing Home, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Daughters of the American Revolution, Whatsoever Club, and the Yates County Arts Center.

“While our students would do well to follow your example as a lifelong learner, they would also do well to emulate your commitment to social responsibility,” said Ginkel.

“Marjory Corwin,” said Burke, “is truly an inspiration to us all.”