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“Strength to the Nation and Help to Humanity”

And with the goal of “raising an army of country people from comparative ignorance and consequent weakness to superior men and women who shall bring strength to the nation and help to humanity”, the Rev. George Harvey Ball, a Baptist minister, opened the doors of Keuka College (click here) in 1890.

The administration building of Keuka College, named Ball Hall, originally contained all of what was known as Keuka College when it opened in 1890. I can’t imagine a more beautiful setting along the shores of Keuka Lake with the surrounding hills of farmland, vineyards, and fruit trees.

Today Keuka College consists of many buildings; classrooms, athletic fields, dormitories, and a magnificent chapel which sits between Ball Hall and Keuka Lake. My first impression of the Chapel as we drove up to the building was that it remained me of a fort with stone walls surrounding the building. We did not go inside but even from the outside I could see that it was something special. Keuka College’s website contains a video of a wedding being held inside the chapel (click here). The chapel was named Norton Chapel after then President Dr. Arthur H. Norton and was built in 1964. The beauty of this building is certainly a tribute to the architect as it reflects the natural beauty and space of the Finger Lakes surroundings.

Behind the Chapel sits beautiful Keuka Lake. There is a boat docking area, picnic benches, a huge fire pit, and a swimming area complete with life guard if classes become too boring or if your mind needs a “change of scenery”.

Keuka College has gone through many changes in its one hundred and twenty two year history as it closed in 1915 due to financial troubles and re-opened in 1921 as Keuka College for Women. It wasn’t until 1985 that Keuka College re-opened its doors to men. Rev. George Ball’s goal of producing people who strengthen the nation and help humanity is still intact as each student is required to spend 140 hours each year in a self-directed learning experience.

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