Keystone College to Host Dennis Farms Symposium

For the 12th consecutive year, Keystone College will continue its partnership with The Dennis Farm Charitable Land Trust by hosting an annual symposium on Wednesday, Oct. 11, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Theatre in Brooks on campus. The event is free and open to the public.

The annual symposium focuses on the history and tradition of The Dennis Farm and its meaning to the local community and the nation. Keynote speaker for this year’s event will be Michael Idriss, manager of African American Interpretive Programs at the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia. Mr. Idriss will discuss the museum’s Forten Exhibition and contrast the exhibition’s subject, James Forten, a wealthy, free African American living in urban Philadelphia around the time of the American Revolution with his contemporary, Prince Perkins, a land-owing free African American farm owner in rural Northeastern Pennsylvania. The symposium will conclude with a tour of The Dennis Farm with Keystone students serving as tour guides.

“Keystone College is once again proud to be an educational partner with the The Dennis Farm Charitable Land Trust as we host this important symposium on our beautiful campus,” said Keystone College President John F. Pullo, Sr. “The Dennis Farm has played such a meaningful role in our nation’s history and we are delighted to celebrate that history with everyone from The Dennis Farm and with our campus and local communities.”

The Dennis Farm Charitable Land Trust is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of The Dennis Farm. The 153-acre historic farm located in Brooklyn Township, Susquehanna County, was purchased and settled by the ancestors of Denise Dennis, free African Americans who journeyed to Northeastern Pennsylvania from Connecticut in the late 1700s. Today, The Dennis Farm serves as a living tribute to the lives and accomplishments of this remarkable family and Ms. Dennis serves as president and CEO of The Dennis Farm Charitable Land Trust. In 2012, Keystone began hosting The Dennis Farm Symposium and Field Tour, an annual on-campus conference which also included guided tours of The Dennis Farm conducted by Keystone students.

Under Ms. Dennis’ leadership, The Dennis Farm, which is open to the public, has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places; featured in the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture; honored by Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Historical and Museum Commission and Department of Agriculture, and listed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s map of rare African American historical sites in the Northeast United States.

The symposium marks the latest in a series of events in which Keystone has served as an educational partner with the Dennis Farm Charitable Land Trust. Last summer, The Dennis Farm was honored during a special semi-quincentennial Bell Presentation Ceremony as one of Pennsylvania’s most revered historical landmarks in celebration of the nation’s upcoming 250th anniversary in 2026. The ceremony took place at The Dennis Farm and followed by a luncheon at Keystone.

Recognized as one of the best educational values in Northeastern Pennsylvania, Keystone offers more than 50 undergraduate and graduate degree options in liberal arts and science-based programs in business, communications, education, natural science, environmental science, and social sciences. Located on a beautiful 276-acre campus 15 minutes from Scranton, PA., and two hours from New York City and Philadelphia, Keystone is known for small class sizes and individual attention focused on student success through internships, research, and community involvement.

The Chamber Hosts International Women’s Day Luncheon

Keynote address offered by Dr. Damary Bonilla-Rodriguez speaks on women’s equity in the workplace. Athena International Award presented to Laura Ducceschi.

Scranton, PA —The Greater Scranton of Chamber of Commerce hosted their International Women’s Day Luncheon, sponsored by The Honesdale National Bank at Marywood University. Keynote speaker Dr. Damary Bonilla-Rodriguez offered a stirring challenge to step up and lead while focusing on the international theme, Embrace Equity. The luncheon included the presentation of the ATHENA Leadership Award, sponsored by Michael A. Barbetti LLC, to Laura Ducceschi, president & CEO of The Scranton Area Community Foundation.

Dr. Bonilla-Rodriguez commented, “Women’s History month is an opportunity to acknowledge the circumstances that women face in the workplace and in terms of achieving a level of economic success, educational attainment, and other opportunities to climb the leadership ladder as it relates to their livelihood.”

“International Women’s Day means so much. The importance of women’s contributions all over the world, to our community right here in Scranton. In terms of the workforce, women play such a key role, and we need to be able to continue supporting women so they can overcome barriers and become what they want to be,” stated Ms. Ducceschi.

The keynote speaker, Dr. Damary M. Bonilla-Rodriguez, a national leading authority on leadership development, especially as it pertains to diversity and inclusion. Dr. Bonilla-Rodriguez delivers keynote addresses from roles in the non-profit, private, and government sectors and her doctoral research. 

The ATHENA Leadership Award, sponsored locally by Michael A. Barbetti LLC Certified Public Accountants, honors an exceptional individual who has achieved excellence in their business or profession, has served the community in a meaningful way, and has assisted women in their attainment of professional goals, and leadership skills. “Laura Ducceschi embodies these characteristics wholeheartedly,” shares Mr. Durkin.