Cornell Hawks, Reunion Talks

This will be the week when the first of Big Red’s and Arthur’s four eggs is likely to hatch in the nest high above Alumni Fields on Tower Road.  Big Red and Arthur are Cornell’s resident red-tailed hawks and they return each spring to Ithaca.   If you haven’t been paying attention, click Red-tailed Hawk Cam and watch in real time as these two magnificent creatures usher in the Spring. (Warning:  This website is habit forming.)

Speaking of Spring, our 50th Reunion is around the corner.  One update:  our class’s now-traditional Reunion visit from the Cornell President on Friday morning is confirmed.  Plan to set aside this hour to meet and hear from President Martha Pollack.

Of course our Reunion celebration weekend is not all serious fare.  On Saturday morning classmates will be sharing RED (aka TED) talks about wine-making, earth source heat, mating flies, Roman emperors, baseball, poetry, Hollywood, and various other topics.  And earlier on the schedule, on Thursday afternoon, we will be treated to the Ithaca premiere of the film The Artist & the Astronaut which has a number of Cornell and Class of ‘74 connections.

Go grab your printed registration invite or click here to register for Reunion.

Note: If you are unable to be in Ithaca over Reunion, you can still be a part of the fun virtually.  On Thursday evening (8pm EDT) Corey Earle ‘07—Cornell’s de facto historian—will be giving a retrospective of our time on the Hill, live at our headquarters and via Zoom.  On Saturday night WVBR will be broadcasting live (9-11pm EDT) from our HQ and will be beamed “around the world”.

Hope Spring weather has arrived wherever you are!

With 50 Days Until Reunion–We Have a Challenge

Counting down–it’s just 50 days before our 50th!

Reunion registration is open and going strong, leading us (we hope) to a record-breaking turnout.  If you haven’t registered yet, you can do so here and still get early bird pricing.

We have a very full program scheduled for our class this Reunion.  You won’t want to miss the Campus Climate discussion with Rabbi Ari Weiss, Executive Director of Cornell Hillel, at our headquarters Friday morning, or our classmates’ RED Talks at headquarters on Saturday morning.

Our Class of ’74 Memory Book is filling up with fun memories and updates.  Don’t be left out!  Create your page before Reunion. Whether or not you are attending Reunion, your Memory Book page will help you reconnect with other classmates.

AND with just 50 days to go, we have an exciting challenge–The Touchdown Challenge.

Touchdown, the Cornell bear, WANTS YOU to help our Class of ’74 break the all-time Cornell University record for 50th Reunion Giving Participation.  Our goal is to have 774 classmates make a gift to ANY Cornell area for ANY amount.  We have 50 days until Reunion and we need almost 200 additional classmates to donate to achieve our goal.

 Touchdown also WANTS YOU to know that your new gift (assuming you have not made a gift since July 1, 2023) will help us unlock an additional $10,000 donation to our Class of 1974 Scholarship Fund.  As soon as we hit our donor goal, that $10,000 will be deposited in our Scholarship Fund.

If you are not yet among our 50th Reunion donors, get your name on the donor list by clicking here.  Your gift will be counted as part of the Class of 1974 totals helping us reach our 774-donor goal.  Not sure if you’ve made a gift for our 50th Reunion?  Send an email to one of us. 

We are looking forward to seeing you at Reunion and in the Memory Book.

And thank you in advance for doing your greatest good!

The Sun, The Moon and Our 50th Reunion

Cornell is back in session after “Spring” Break (which weather-wise felt like it was in January).  But the campus is beginning to show some spring color and you can feel the students’ sense of purpose to get things finished up in a short five weeks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looming academic deadlines did not stop everyone on campus from pausing for a couple of hours to witness the eclipse which was 98.8% totality in Tompkins County, albeit with cloud cover.  The last total eclipse in Ithaca, in 1925, was captured in this oil painting by Louis Agassiz Fuertes, Class of 1897.  Our Cornell Observatory, where we will be stargazing at Reunion, is named for Fuertes.  You can see this painting on Reunion weekend in Cornell’s Kroc Library.

While we did not have an eclipse during our time on the Hill, there were equally momentous occasions that we will celebrate at Reunion on June 6-9.

Registration for Class of ’74 events and housing is now open—just click here to register.

Plan on coming Thursday for a premier showing of a new movie with deep Cornell roots, The Artist & the Astronaut, (4:00pm Thursday), followed by a festival with food trucks, music, etc. on the Quad next to our headquarters in the new Ruth Bader Ginsburg Hall (you are going to like the rooms, coffee shop, etc.). Thursday night also features Cornell historian, Corey Earle ’07, giving a retrospective of Cornell in the early 1970’s (to jog our memories!).

Reunion enthusiasm is running high, so get your registration in (and send me your favorite 70’s song to be included in our Reunion playlist).

We are looking forward to seeing you in June!

Help Us Eclipse Cornell’s 50th Reunion Records

Our 50th Reunion is only two months away, but there’s still time for the Class of ’74 to make Cornell history.

Total eclipse of the Sun. The moon covers the sun in a solar eclipse.

For decades, the Class of ‘74 has blazed a path across the stratosphere of Cornell Reunion records.  And we’re close to doing it again!  So as the solar eclipse approaches, we’re asking you to help us eclipse the greatest reunion record of all: the most money ever raised by a 50th Reunion class.

We’re only $8 million away from breaking the record.  To do so, we need to raise the additional funds before June 30th.  Impossible you say?  Not for the Notable Class of ‘74.

Here’s how we can break the record:

First, we need participation from those of you who haven’t yet made a gift.  The more donors we have, the more money we will raise.  Make a Gift.

Next, we need a little luck.  We’ll need a few of you to surprise us by making the largest gift you’ve ever made to Cornell.  We’ll also need those of you who’ve given generously in the past but haven’t yet made your 2024 gift to be generous again.  A great way to maximize your giving is to make a three-year pledge of at least $5,000 per year.  If you do that, Cornell will count the full value of your three-year pledge toward our 50th Reunion Campaign.  Jordan Martin Clark (jam597@cornell.edu) (607 254-6188) is the person to contact at Cornell to make a three-year pledge.

Finally, if you’ve included Cornell in your estate plan by way of a will, trust, IRA, or annuity, but haven’t yet told Cornell, please do so before June 30th.  If you do, Cornell will count 60% of the current value of your planned bequest toward our class’s 50th Reunion Campaign total.

There are three important things to keep in mind about three-year pledges and planned gifts.  Cornell does not request documentation so your estate planning documents will remain private.  Cornell does not hold you to your pledge or future bequest because it understands that your financial situation or your plans may change over time.  Lastly, Cornell can help ensure you have set up your gift in a way that accomplishes your charitable goals.  Amy Jacobson (aj433@cornell.edu) (607 254-5829) is the person to contact to let Cornell know the university is in your estate plan.

If we do all this—and our history says we can—we will break 50th Reunion records with:

  • 774 Donors(gifts of any size)
  • 140 Cornell Giving Partners(gifts of $1,000 to $10,000)
  • 74 Tower Club Donors(gifts of $10,000 or more)
  • Most Dollars Raised

 

Thanks in advance for supporting Cornell and for helping the Class of ‘74 eclipse Cornell’s 50th Reunion records!

Springtime News and Giving Day

Spring has arrived at Cornell!  So that means it will probably snow during finals week.

This past weekend, on campus, featured the 40th Spring Runway Show presenting the undergraduate designers in the Cornell Fashion Collective.  With the Academy Awards coming up on Sunday, Cornell Historian Corey Earle ’07 shares a fun story about the many Cornellians in Oppenheimer.  And in more Hollywood news, a new documentary about our classmate Christopher Reeve, Super/Man:  The Christopher Reeve Storymade its debut at Sundance to great acclaim.  Cornell always makes us proud!

The big news for our class continues to be our upcoming 50th Reunion in June.  The excitement is mounting and palpable, with so many classmates planning to return to campus, some for the first time since graduation.  As I read through the many fond memories our classmates share in our Class of ’74 Memory Book, the sense of the collective pride and gratitude for our Cornell experience is profound.

Next Thursday, March 14th, is Cornell’s Giving Day: a day for being grateful for these Cornell experiences and for giving back.  We hope you will join ’74 classmates by doing the greatest good that feels right for you.

Did you know that our [Notable] Class of 1974 supports two scholarships?

The Christopher Reeve ’74 Scholarship goes to a Theatre Arts student, in memory of our classmate Chris Reeve.  Begun in 2006 by several classmates, the Christopher Reeve Scholarship  has played a big part in the lives of a half a dozen or so extraordinary and talented students.  The current Reeve Scholar is Angel Katthi ’24.  For her senior thesis, Angel produced and directed Peerless, a dark and comedic take on Shakespeare’s Macbeth.  Read the Sun’s review here.

The Class of 1974 Scholarship was started in 1999 by classmates Bob and Joan Saltsman Oelschlager in celebration of our 25th Reunion.  The recipients, selected by Cornell, generally receive this scholarship throughout their undergraduate years.  Our class has supported 7 students since 1999.  Our current Class of 1974 Scholar is Summer Parker-Hall ’25.  Summer, who grew up in Chicago, is a junior in the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences and a starting forward and leading scorer on the Cornell Women’s Basketball team.

Both scholarships continue to be funded by many ’74 classmates as part of their annual giving.  Please join our class officers this Giving Day and make a contribution to one or both of these scholarships.  Or, just give to any area of Cornell that you choose through the Giving Day link.  Your gift of any amount will count toward our lofty Reunion goal of getting 774 donors.  Note: you CANNOT actually make a gift through these links until Giving Day on March 14th.

Thank you in advance for doing your greatest good!

See you in June!

Gong Xi Fa Cai! Celebrating the Year of the Dragon and our 50th Reunion!

Saturday begins a new lunar year–the Year of the Dragon.  Having spent 27 years in Asia, I experienced firsthand many new year celebrations and they were fun, filled with a spirit of renewal and hope for the new year ahead.  Most of us in the Class of ’74 are dragons* and we proudly claim the distinction of being the MOST auspicious of the zodiac animals.  A dragon year is also auspicious so it is fitting that our big 50th Reunion is this year.  Of course Cornell has always honored dragons on Dragon Day!

President Frank Rhodes at Dragon Day 1993.

 

We hope you have been receiving the various emails and postcards keeping you up-to-date about our Reunion plans.  Visit the 50th Reunion page on our class website for the latest information or reach out to our Reunion Chairs or me.  Please complete your page in our Class Memory Book  I hope you are planning to join us in June.  Registration will open in April.

If you haven’t seen President Pollack’s recent letter about upcoming talks, lectures and task forces addressing campus-wide issues that surfaced this past fall,  you can read it here.  In the spirit of the new year, let’s hope that Cornell and all Cornellians will continue to work together, talk to and respect each other and safely uphold the founding values of the University we all love.

We are proud that our Class of 1974 Scholar Summer Parker-Hall recently helped CU Women’s Basketball get Coach Dayna Smith her 100th Ivy win against Dartmouth.  Read about the game and Summer here.

On another proud but sad note, classmate Jim Schoonmaker shared this screenshot from the Grammys honoring his friend and WVBR colleague and classmate Kendall Minter.  Jim was able to watch the stream of his funeral in December.  Jim and WVBR will be live broadcasting from our class headquarters on Friday during Reunion and playing our songs; we will have a toast to Kendall.

 

 

Gong Xi Fa Cai!  Wishing you all a very healthy and prosperous new year full of renewal and hope!

* Year of the Dragon 1952 was January 27, 1952-February 13, 1953.  Those born before are Rabbits and after are Snakes.  All have wonderful qualities.

Our Class of ’74 Holiday Elves are Hard at Work for our 50th Reunion Year–Happy Holidays

It’s the holidays and our very own Class of ’74 elves are working hard to make our 50th Reunion year one to remember.

Our “have-fun elves,” Reunion Chairs John Foote, Cris Cobaugh and Bob Baldini, have been planning lots of fun for all of us in June.  Check back here often for the latest information and watch your inbox.

Our “do-good elves,” Fund Chairs Andrea Glanz, Jim Irish and David Miller, are always thinking about how we can use our gratitude for our time at Cornell to pay it forward and “Do the Greatest Good” for Cornell and others.  Please check out this  Tax-Smart Giving Strategies webinar that they put together for us before the end of this tax year.  And, if you choose to make a gift to Cornell, you can do so here.

Our “list-checking elves,” Memory Book Chairs Diane “Kope” Verschure and  Marleen Kay Davis, are making a list and checking it twice so that you can participate in our Cornell Class of ’74 Memory Book.  You should have received your invitation to create your page in our book last week.  If you haven’t, please let me know at scdeford@gmail.com.

And finally, in this season of light, I pass along two Cornell stories that have warmed my soul.  These stories don’t make national news, but they sure show what kindness can do.  Happy Holidays!

Interfaith Dinner Serves Empathy and Understanding

Opening Doors 

Celebrating Our Years on Campus and the 50 Since–Class of ’74 Memory Book

To commemorate and celebrate our years at Cornell and the 50 years since, we are creating Cornell Class of ’74 Memory Book.  Whether you are joining our 50th Reunion in Ithaca, June 6-9, or just joining in spirit, we invite you to share your memories and your life experiences with our classmates.

Our Class of ’74 has engaged a platform, BrightCrowd, which has worked with other universities and Cornell classes during reunions to create these books of memories.  BrightCrowd helps classes make wonderful, and secure, memory books.

Each classmate will be invited to make their own page for this memory book.  You can share as much, or as little, as you like about yourself, your life, your family, your Cornell memories.  It’s very easy, flexible and fun and a great way to reconnect and connect with classmates.  You can upload fun old and new photos.  You can continue to work on your page until well after our Reunion in June because you will surely be making new memories and new friends that weekend!

Your invitation to participate in this book will come via email soon–within the next few days.  Look for that email in your inbox to get started.  

It will come with a detailed letter of instructions.  But feel free to send any one of us your questions and we will do our best to answer questions as quickly as possible.

We look forward to seeing you in the Cornell ’74 Memory Book and at our 50th Reunion in Ithaca, June 6-9, 2024.

Giving Thanks and Giving Smart

As Thanksgiving and our 50th Reunion approach, I hope you are reflecting gratefully about your time at Cornell and how it has contributed to your life.

Our 50th Reunion Campaign Chairs, Andrea Glanz and Jim Irish, are hosting a webinar for our class about tax-smart giving strategies that can help both you and Cornell.  This webinar will be held on Thursday, November 30th, at 1:00 pm ET.  You should have received an invitation with a registration link last week but you can also register here.  The webinar will be recorded for those who can’t make it.

Two members of Cornell’s Gift Planning Team will join Andrea and Jim to discuss strategies you can implement now before the calendar year ends, as well as longer term strategies, to make a high-impact gift in honor of our 50th Reunion.

I hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving and I hope to see you in Ithaca in June!

Be well!

Cornell Now and Then, AI and Reunion Hotel Rooms

As you are likely aware, the last few weeks have been difficult for the Cornell community.  Following several hateful incidents, the Cornell administration brought in law enforcement professionals, increased security, spent time in dining halls with affected undergraduates, and committed to increased focus on eliminating hate speech, antisemitism, and Islamophobia.  You can get the latest communication from President Pollack here.

While our days on the Hill also had their turbulent moments, those were certainly simpler times. Much of Cornell campus life from our time, in the late 1960’s/early 70’s, was documented by Jim Cunningham ’71, whose thousands of photographs were donated recently to Cornell by his family.  Jim passed away last year, but fortunately the memories he captured on camera will live on for generations of Cornellians.  See more here. 

Moving ahead to the present day, witness how AI is now everywhere.  Cornell has a number of faculty members researching, teaching about, and trying to make sense of, AI—click here.  And check out this video of the recent on-campus panel on “AI and Free Expression” moderated by Kavita Bala, Dean of the new Ann S. Bowers College of Computing and Information Science, featuring several faculty stars.  This panel starts at minute 48.30.

Finally, you will be receiving an email from the University, later this month, with a list of hotels that have blocks of rooms for Reunion weekend.  These rooms are available on a first come first served basis so keep an eye on your inbox.  But before you book, remember that we have one of the new dorms, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, for our 50th Reunion HQ and “hotel”.  “RBG” is located near Donlon and has comfortable bedrooms (singles and doubles), semi-private bathrooms, and a full-service café with coffee, breakfast pastries, burritos and more.  It’s only a 14-minute walk to the center of campus AND there are no hills to climb.

If for whatever reason you did not receive your 50th Reunion Save the Date refrigerator magnet, please send me an email (with your mailing address).

The countdown to Reunion continues.  Hope to see you on campus in June!