Bringing Spring Semester to a Close

This was Cornell’s last week of classes, all of which have been online since early April.   I teach a graduate level course in infrastructure policy in Cornell’s College of Human Ecology and speaking as someone who has never taught online, the last two months have been a real eye opener. I have come to realize what an enormous privilege it is to be a student at a residential college with constant in-person interaction with fellow students and faculty.  This is what all of us in the Class of 1974 experienced as undergrads.  Now, Cornell students, like students all over the world, have been deprived of this extraordinary opportunity because of the pandemic.

Kristen and I have been hunkered down at our home in Boston since mid-March, but we made a trip to Ithaca this week. Walking around campus as the first signs of spring are showing (it has been a late spring here, with snow (!?!) a few days ago) one feels the absence of the essential energy that makes the Hill the vibrant, stimulating place we all remember.  Whether that energy, in the form of 20,000 students, returns this Fall is now under intensive study by the University. Does Cornell bring back all students, some students, or no students in person?  We should know the answer by late June.

In the meantime, Cornellians’ creativity and passions are finding outlets that remind us why our Alma Mater is special.  Watch and listen to:

  • The Cornell Alma Mater performed virtually by members of the CU Wind Symphony (check out the students’ majors at the end—Any Person, Any Study….)
  • Cornell Chimes End-of-Year Concert earlier this week featuring two students working the chimes’ hand and foot pedals atop McGraw Tower and sending music across campus as dusk settles (check out the campus views).

Stay safe and healthy,