President Corson’s Reflections from June 1974 Still Relevant Today

When we sent our “Graduation Reminiscences” email to classmates in late May, including a cover photo of the 1974 graduation issue of The Cornell Daily Sun, we heard from a number of you asking about getting a copy of Cornell President Dale Corson’s graduation speech.  Cornell’s historic documents, including graduation speeches, are kept in the University Archives which are part of the Cornell libraries.   And although all Ithaca campus libraries have been closed to the public since March because of COVID-19, the University Archivist was recently able to go back into Olin Library and access a copy of President Corson’s address.

This typed commencement speech, which Corson gave at Barton Hall on June 3, 1974, includes quotes from notable authors, alumni and academics, as well as some humor.  And although most of us were likely sitting in Barton Hall on that warm June day, we probably have very little recollection of what President Corson shared.  Fortunately, we now have another chance to “hear” what Dale Corson said. In re-reading this speech 46 years later, you can’t help but be impressed with its resonance and relevance to today’s unsettled times.

Take a few minutes to read the speech—I believe you will be rewarded by the perspective it affords us all, as Cornellians and citizens of the world.

President Corson’s speech is posted on our class website—you can read it here.

Happy reading and please be well!