Meet Our Christopher Reeve Scholar

In the spirit of Oscars week, we—the [Notable] Class of ’74—can be proud of our support of the next generation of performing artists through our Christopher Reeve ’74 Scholarship. This Scholarship, which supports a student who is majoring in Performing and Media Arts, was established in 2006 in honor of our classmate. The plaque in the lobby of the Schwartz Center, Cornell’s performing arts venue, says it all:

Christopher Reeve ’74

1952-2004

Actor    Superman    Hero

Over the past 15 years the Reeve Scholarship has played a big part in the lives of a dozen or so extraordinary and very talented Cornellians.  The current Reeve Scholar is Thea Goldman ’22.  Thea writes:

 

This year has no doubt been a wild one. From being sent home early from my study abroad, then to catch COVID at the beginning of the pandemic, nothing about the year has been ordinary.  However, thanks to the Reeve Scholarship I have been lucky to achieve some amount of normalcy in my Cornell education. Your financial support gave me the opportunity to study abroad, which despite its hasty and unexpected ending was rewarding and exciting.  I studied in London and was able to travel throughout Europe. It was the best experience of my life and taught me so much about myself and the world.Without your support, it would have been impossible for me to continue my education. So, truly, thank you. Your support means so much to me.

If you would like to support the Reeve Scholarship and Cornellians like Thea, click HERE .

 

Now, the envelope, please…

John Foote

jhf25@cornell.edu

 

PS:  Brief Biography of Christopher Reeve

“Chris was extraordinary. He was endowed with a great many talents. He had a wonderful mind, wide ranging interests, a willingness to take risks. He was an athlete and scholar with a passion for acting, which began very early.” This is how Christopher Reeve’s mother remembered her son in 2006 newspaper article.

Chris started acting early indeed. By age nine he was already appearing in professional theater and by high school he had decided that theater was to be his life. But perhaps it was Cornell’s number one sport that caused him to become a Cornellian.   Chris, who had been the starting hockey goalie for four years at Princeton Day School, showed up at Lynah Rink in the Fall of 1970 for freshman tryouts. As he recounted. “I got absolutely shelled, and I thought, ‘You know, I’m probably going to end up with no teeth’, so I retreated to the safety of the theater department. That was the end of my hockey career. In retrospect, I made the right choice. And I still have all of my teeth.”

The right choice certainly. While majoring in music theory and English, Chris was performing in various theatrical productions at Cornell. He then was accepted his senior year to the Juilliard School of Performing Arts where he honed his craft. Chris went on to act in and direct numerous feature films, television movies and plays and established himself as in an important creative force on the performing arts scene.

In 1995 Chris fractured his neck in an equestrian competition and his life took a dramatic turn. After a year-long recuperation he returned to acting, but most of his attention was focused on promoting issues related to paralysis, including spinal cord research and financial support for persons with disabling conditions. In 1999 he became the chairman of the Christopher Reeve Foundation that supports research to develop effective treatments and cure for paralysis caused by spinal cord injury and other central nervous system disorders.  In 2003 Chris was awarded the Lasker Award for Public Service in recognition of his “perceptive, sustained, and heroic advocacy for medical research in general, and people living with disabilities in particular”.

Chris died in 2004 at the age of 52. His legacies are many, and although Chris never wanted to be synonymous with the character in his breakout role, Superman, there is something in that film that helps us understand Chris. As he told Gene Siskel, “The key word for me on Superman is ‘inspiration’. He is a leader by inspiration. He sets an example.”  Chris lived the part.

Giving Back

Today is Cornell Giving Day—a day for being thankful and giving back to Cornell as generously as your personal situation allows.  Certainly the world has changed in the past year, with the pandemic and economic fall-out affecting most of us.  Cornell has changed as well, yet the university has succeeded in bringing most students back to campus for various types of instruction—hybrid, remote, or in-person.

Support from alumni is critical for Cornell to continue offering the best experience possible to students.  Please consider making a gift today to any area at Cornell.

You can specify a Cornell program or club that is near and dear to your heart.  We hope you will consider supporting our Class of 74 Scholarship, which helps a deserving undergraduate student annually.  Our current scholarship recipient is Wendi Gonzalez, AAP ’21 from North Carolina. (Read about Wendy’s Cornell journey here.)  Or you can make a gift to your college’s Annual Fund that will go where it is needed most — student financial aid, faculty hiring and retention, and start-up research funding.

Many families of Cornell students have had to adapt to new circumstances in the past year.  Cornell’s Division of Student & Campus Life has provided essential services—virtual programs, dining options, wellness and fitness offerings and career advising—to help students successfully navigate through these unusual times.  Any gift you make to Student & Campus Life on Giving Day will be doubled thanks to the generosity of a $40,000 matching gift from alumna Ronni Lacroute ’66.

Cornell students and faculty are tackling the profound challenges of our time.  We encourage you to take just a minute today and make a donation on Cornell Giving Day.  Donations of any size and for any purpose are appreciated.

Thank you and best wishes!

Perseverance: Never Giving Up, and Always Giving Back

A year ago COVID caused Cornell to go to all virtual learning.  Students finished that Spring semester virtually.  In the Fall we were the only Ivy to offer some in-person learning and we welcomed our students back to campus in February to finish this school year.  Read some Freshman stories of how our students have navigated their unique first-year experiences.  That’s perseverance!

As Cornell alums, we haven’t been able to visit the campus, go to a reunion or Homecoming, attend a class event or watch a Cornell athletic contest, but we have persevered through the magic of Zoom with a virtual Reunion, Global Mixers , and the recent virtual Cornell Alumni Leadership Conference.  You can watch conference highlights here.  The Cornell Statler Hotel’s chef cooking demo is highly recommended.

And then there is the ultimate in celebration of that never-give-up spirit with the “Touchdown Confirmed” message of the 2020 Perseverance rover landing on Mars.  Listen here to NASA aerospace engineer Swati Mohan ’04 calmly calling the play-by-play landing.

We didn’t give in, we didn’t give up but we can give back as we and Cornell have persevered through a year like never before.  Next Thursday, March 11, is Cornell Giving Day.  Save the date and watch the video here.  And on March 11 you can make a donation here.

This has been a year that has truly tested our ability to persevere but we are seeing the green shoots of never giving up.  Just like we eventually see the melt of the winter snow on campus.

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s to a hopeful Spring!  Please be well!

[Notable] Classmates Celebrate Black History Month and More

In celebration of Black History Month, Cornell Wellness sat down with our classmate Dr. Renee Alexander.  Renee, before retiring in June  2019, was Cornell’s associate dean of students and director of Intercultural programs.  She won a highly acclaimed Perkins Prize for her work in furthering the University’s values of racial and cultural diversity.  Her interview is open, candid, motivational and inspirational as she discusses health, lifestyle, inspirations and hopes. She exhorts us to “live our best life” and “each one reach one”.  Watch her full interview here.

Cornell Trustee and our classmate Dr. Cynthia Cuffie is part of a PCCW (President’s Council of Cornell Women) Panel discussing what it means to be a powerful black woman working in America today.  This event is February 10th at 6:00 pm EST.  Click here to learn more and register.

The University is celebrating Toni Morrison MA ’55 all this year.  During Black History Month there are two special events:  A roundtable discussion on February 18th (Toni’s 90th birthday) with Morrison Scholars, and a reading of her classic, “The Bluest Eye” on February 19th. To learn more and to register, click here.

Cornell Botanic Gardens is hosting a lecture by Dr. Carolyn Finney, author of Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors.  Dr. Finney will discuss the complexities and contradictions of American history related to green space.  She’ll also talk about the emergence of creative responses to environmental and social challenges.  To learn more and register click here.

Students have arrived back on campus to get ready for the start on classes on Monday. Most classes will be online again this semester, but there will be some in-person instruction.  Returning students were greeted by (you guessed it) snow and lots of it–20 inches and still counting.  Brings back memories of snow days, an impassable Libe Slope and those miraculous Straight chocolate chip cookies.

We’ve been able to enjoy interesting webinars and fun mixers over the past few months.  Check our Class Website and our Class Facebook Group often so you don’t miss anything.

Stay connected and stay well!

Sharing–Upcoming Events, COVID Experiences, Cornell Concerts of the ’70s

Sharing, during the time of COVID, seems impossible!  We can’t share space, a meal or even a smile.  We are distant, we’re masked and often alone.  But it’s never been more important to share whatever and however we can.
 
To that end, some classmates are working with our Class Correspondents to use the final “published” Class Notes in the Cornell Alumni Magazine’s last issue as the platform to share our COVID epiphanies, experiences or discoveries.  Here’s how, from Jodi Sielschott Stechschulte:
 
How are you coping with COVID?  The past 11 months have been an extraordinary global experience.  We would like to collect your stories of how you have handled the changes it has caused in our lives.  What have you done about work, play, family relationships, friendships, pets, travel, etc.?  Have you found any innovative coping mechanisms or created any new traditions?  In the face of incalculable global loss, how have you kept going?
 
Please send your experience(s) to me at jodisteck@gmail.com with the subject line ’74 COVID Response.   We’ll share them with classmates via our Class Column and other Class of ’74 communication channels to be developed in the coming months.
 
Hoping to bring us all some inspiration and perseverance to get us to the end of this pandemic in 2021 with our sanity and sense of humor intact.
 
There is a publishing deadline of February 15th so get your stories in soon.  
 
Some of our fellow Classes of the ’70s are sponsoring fun webinars that are open to our class.  
 

Cornell Concerts of the '70s

Reminder:  Great Cornell Concerts of the ’70s:  Music and Memories, a webinar by Corey Earle, is being sponsored by the Class of ’78.  It’s Sunday, January 31, at 7:00 pm ET.  For more information and to register click here.
 
 
 

epidemic_book-211x300

The Class of ’72 has invited us to their sponsored webinar Persevering Through the Epidemic:  Cornell and Typhoid in 1903.  This is scheduled for Tuesday, February 2, at 7:30 pm ET.  Find information, suggested reading and register here.

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Our class has been actively participating in the  Cornell Global Mixers and has a ’74 Pre-Party Suite where over 50 classmates have visited with each other.  These mixers happen every two weeks alternating between Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoons.  The next one is February 6th.  Details and registration are here.  And follow them on Facebook here.
Check our class website and our class Facebook page regularly so you don’t miss any events.
 
So classmates let’s share!  
 
And please be well!

New Year’s Resolutions for a Hopeful New Year

Happy New Year!  Has a new year ever been more anticipated or welcomed?  I hope you and your loved ones were able to celebrate the holidays in some way.

This beautiful campus view won’t be seen by many until classes resume in February.  The University’s plans are to provide instruction both in person and via Zoom this winter/spring and the expectation is that most students will be back on campus. Fingers crossed that the Cornell Community will be able to control COVID as successfully as it did in the Fall.

 

 

 

With the New Year comes resolutions.  Here are some suggestions:

  1. Learn Something New:  Connect to Cornell here for the latest in online events, on-demand videos and podcasts.
  1. Make New Friends and Connect with the Old:  Our Class is participating in the very successful Global Mixer AND we have a Pre-Party Suite for an hour or two before each one.  They happen at different times every couple of weeks.  These invitations and registration are sent by Cornell but, if you aren’t getting them, let me know and I will make sure they have your correct email.  You can also join the Cornell Global Mixer Facebook Group.
  1. Take Care of Body & Mind:  Try meditating by watching one of the coolest art installations on campus– Cosmos–an homage to Carl Sagan. Just click here, play some music, get comfortable, and focus your attention on the cosmos patterns and the sky (the dawn break is great).
  1. Travel More:  You can, virtually!  Take an education vacation through Cornell’s Adult University.  See the world here.
  1. Give Back:  Cornell Cares Day is Saturday, January 9th.  Look here for ways to show you care.

Whatever you resolve to do in 2021 I hope connections to Cornell and our Class help!

Happy and Healthy New Year!

Cornell Sounds, Global Mixer, Winter Fun, CAU, Trivia

Winter has arrived in Ithaca and campus has already been blanketed in snow.  Cornell is quiet with most students back home for the last week of classes and exams followed by the very long holiday break.  Classes begin again February 8.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Activities for alumni continue in earnest!  Here are some recommendations:CORNELL ACCORDING TO SOUND, DEC 9:   This one-hour, free, sound-only experience, by Chris Hoff ’02 and David Harnett who have an NPR podcast, includes unusual sounds—the chimes from Cascadilla Gorge, women’s hockey skate blades on the Lynah ice, a horse on a Vet School treadmill, antique reuleaux machines in display cases on the Engineering Quad, and the Annabel Taylor organ.  Act fast to register: Wed. Dec. 9 at 8pm Eastern time.

CORNELL GLOBAL MIXER with CLASS of 1974 PARTY SUITE, DEC 12: Tony Chen, MBA ’16, organizes virtual happy hours twice a month with alumni from around the world.  Our [Notable] Class is participating this Saturday, December 12 from 8-10pm. Our ’74 Pre-Party is from 8-9 and the Global Mixer is from 9-10.  For more info and to register, click here.

SNOW DAYS, ICE SKATING & WINTERTIME FUN, DEC 14:  Corey Earle ‘07, lecturer in American Studies and unofficial Cornell historian, offers his last class of the year Monday Dec. 14 at 7:30pm Eastern time and features the traditions of Cornell during the season that seems to last forever in Ithaca.  Corey’s lectures are informative and entertaining.  And free.  Register here.

CORNELL ADULT UNIVERSITY WINTER SESSION, DEC-FEB: Cornell is offering week-long, weekly and weekend courses in film, wine, astronomy, Hip Hop, spider biology, digital technology, immunology and more.  For pricing and to register, click here. 

CORNELL TRIVIA: The latest issue of Cornell Alumni Magazine has a terrific 72-question Big Red trivia quiz.  If you haven’t yet paid your class dues for 2020-21, please visit.  You’ll get access to the trivia quiz and other stories in this award-winning publication.

Enjoy the holiday season and please be well!

Thankful for Big Red Cures for COVID Blues

Thanksgiving is next week and COVID has us feeling a bit less in the spirit of the holiday as we all keep adjusting to this new, strange normal.  But there are some things out there for which we can be thankful.

Cornell has completed the in-person semester as planned and to much national praise for its handling of the virus.  Our alma mater has made us proud with its students, faculty and administration all working together.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The University has organized and shares many “experiences”–Big Red cures for the COVID blues!

Cornell, virtually, welcomed us all back with StayHomecoming 2020.  It featured a COVID discussion with Dr. Anthony Fauci ’66 and Kate Snow ’91 and current Cornell students, President Pollack’s State of the University, a discussion on Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s ’54 influence on the world, and other fun digital events.  Relive them here.

American Studies lecturer/unofficial Cornell historian Corey Earle ’07 invites us to enjoy his webinars and lectures.  Watch here and sign up for alerts.

Announcements from Cornell about future events are arriving in your inbox fast and furiously–don’t hit delete.  They contain information and links to sign up for interesting discussions and webinars like these and the ones above.

Especially in this season, reach out through call and virtual meetings to your old friends from your days on the hill or the new ones you’ve made at reunions or other events.  Keep your Cornell connections strong.  And look for a post-Thanksgiving email about a Cornell Global on-line party with a special Class of ’74 get together on December 12th.

I hope you and your loved ones are all well and finding a way to celebrate Thanksgiving and the holiday season.

Happy Thanksgiving and please be well!

Class Scholar Wendi Gonzalez ’21–Her Cornell Journey

Even as it seems that the world has stood still, our Class Scholar Wendi Gonzalez is in her final year in the College of Art, Architecture & Planning.  We first met Wendi in September of 2016 as a newly minted Cornell Freshman from High Point, North Carolina.
Through her photos and letters to us we’ve gotten to watch her Cornell journey.  After her first semester she wrote to us about her new friends, new foods she’d eaten, terrifying Slope sledding and sleeping through two early classes–the quintessential Freshman experience.  After her third semester she shared that her hardest professor probably got the best work out of her.  She joined NOMAS (National Organization of Minority Architecture Students) and helped them fund raise to get Cornell students to a competition in Chicago, where last year they won second place.  Read about that here.  Spring ’19 with the Cornell in Rome program brought places to life that Wendi had only ever read about and she was able to share that with us in person at our 45th Reunion.

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Despite COVID, she spent this past summer in Reno, Nevada interning at one of Tesla’s operation centers.  Her work included helping to design manufacturing facilities for Tesla.

Wendi recently caught up with classmates Kristen Rupert and John Foote. They shared her thoughtful message to our class and her photos.  You can read her message here.
Ever gracious, Wendi has let us see her life and work at Cornell and always conveys gratitude to our class.  As our Class of ’74 Scholar she makes us incredibly proud.  This scholarship, started over 30 years ago by our classmates Bob and Joan Saltsman Oelschlager, is supported by members of our class.  If you’d like to help support it, click here and designate “Class of 1974 Scholarship.”
Enjoy Wendi’s story and successes!