North Campus Memories–Balch Hall

As you have probably heard, North Campus is undergoing a dramatic change called the North Campus Residental Expansion.  NCRE has already added five new dorms and several thousand beds; sophomores are now required to live on campus.  Cornell is also modernizing older dorms and first up is much-beloved Balch.  After a 2-year top to bottom renovation, Balch’s capacity will double to 450 beds.

Balch is the only remaining all-female dormitory on campus.  (Currently, Barbara McClintock Hall on North Campus has been temporarily designated all-women.)  In 1920, Cornell formed a committee to research the feasibility of constructing a new women’s dormitory to meet the growing female enrollment. In 1922, a plan for the construction of a dormitory on North Campus was submitted and approved by Cornell’s Architectural Advisory Board. In 1928, the university accepted the $1,650,000 donation of Allen C. Balch, Class of 1889 and Janet Balch, a graduate student from 1886 to 1888. According to legend, Janet Balch insisted that her husband donate the money for the dormitory after attending an event at Allen’s fraternity.  As the story goes, she was offended by the behavior of the undergraduate brothers and believed that a dormitory dedicated to the welfare of female students was important. This Sun article is a great read.

Recent Balch residents treasured the vintage, original wooden Stickley furniture that graced students’ rooms, including bookshelves and mirrors with heart engravings.  Fortunately, most of this furniture is being recycled and has been consigned to Significant Elements, an architectural salvage store in downtown Ithaca.  The furniture, in good condition and pictured below, is priced between $25 and $50. If you want a piece of history, call Significant Elements at 607-277-3450.

Until recently, some Balch rooms’ closets held wrought iron racks that women used to store their fancy hats.  No word on where the hat racks ended up.



Ah, memories…

Celebrating Summer, 70 and our 50th Reunion

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Let’s celebrate!  For Cornell students summer is over but Move-In Week started Monday and that’s exciting.  The campus looks great and feels ready to celebrate a much more normal school year!

While current Cornell students are heading back to campus, I hope you and your friends and family are still celebrating summer.  COVID has kept us pretty isolated for 2 years but this summer everything seems to have opened up and people are finally getting together.

For many of us we have been able to celebrate our 70th birthday with our loved ones.  That was certainly the highlight of my summer!  My daughters arranged a surprise visit from some dear Cornell friends to add an already fun weekend in Nashville.  As you celebrate your 70th birthday or any special event, don’t forget to send notes and photos to Bill Howard who is once again compiling these memories for our [notable] class as a lead up to our 50th Reunion.

Reunion planning has already started.  It is our big one, after all!    Bill is compiling photos.  Bob Baldini Cris Cobaugh and John Foote are pulling together a team to plan events and activities for our 50th Reunion.  Ideas and volunteers are needed and encouraged!  Please get in touch with Bob, Cris or John if you’d like to get involved, or if you have just one suggestion about reunion.  Mary “Mi” O’Connell is spearheading our affinity outreach so we can connect classmates and get a good turnout on campus in June 2024.  We are collecting music selections for Reunion—see P.S. below!

Happy summer!  Celebrate and be well!

PS: Last month we said we are going to  feature in our Class Reunion HQ a playlist of all the favorite songs during our time on the Hill. We have received the selections below; send us yours! (Email .)

·        American Pie

·        Dancing in the Moonlight (multiple votes!)

·        Magic Carpet Ride

·        Joy to the World

·        Brown Eyed Girl

·        My Girl

Bill Nye Science Guy at Reunion, Top Songs 1970-74, CU’s 2-mile Deep Borehole

I have just returned from Ithaca and the 2022 Reunion.  After a 2-year hiatus due to COVID, reunion was almost normal (as was graduation two weeks earlier).  The weather was fantastic and the schedule was jam-packed, featuring the dedication of the recently renovated Martha Van Rensselaer Hall and a very entertaining talk by Bill Nye ’77 (the Science Guy) who was celebrating his 45th reunion.  His talk can be found here.










And speaking of reunions, our 50th (don’t look now) is less than two years away—mark June 6-9, 2024 on your calendar. Also, we are going to feature in our Class HQ a playlist of all the favorites during our time on the Hill. Please send me ( the song(s) you want included. (For starters, I am suggesting Magic Carpet Ride by Steppenwolf.)  The play list will be available on Spotify.

Another very cool (actually hot) development on campus at reunion was the groundbreaking for the Cornell Borehole Observatory  (CUBO). This 2-mile deep hole in the ground will be a proof of concept to harness the heat of the earth to heat the Cornell campus. (The university has a goal of carbon neutrality by 2035, and earth source heating is a key part of the plan.)  It will take about 2 months to drill the hole (24/7) and then a number of months to collect and analyze data.   Over the 5 decades I have been a Cornellian, rarely have I sensed so much excitement across the university—Drill Baby Drill!

One final note:  Cornell’s fiscal year ends on June 30.  Please consider making a gift of any amount, to any area or program at Cornell, by clicking here.

Hope your summer is off to a good start.

Celebrating Cornell Women Athletes and Giving Day

It looks like spring is arriving both on campus and metaphorically in the COVID fight.  As the snow melts and in-person classes have resumed, there are many signs that a more normal “new normal” is emerging.

Two years of COVID have tested our resolve and shown our resilience.  Cornell students adapted and so did we alums.  Reunions and Homecoming went virtual and Cornell Global Mixers took off.  Many classes, including ours, sponsored fun and fascinating webinars by unofficial Cornell historian Corey Earle ’07.

Title IX Then and Now, A Celebration of Cornell Women’s Athletics was presented last month.  We had 177 people join the call, representing six decades of Cornell alums, athletes, coaches and friends.  Our moderator Corey Earle ’07 shared Cornell women’s athletics history, our alumnae panelists relayed their experiences, and our student athletes (including one our own Class of 1974 Scholar) suggested Cornell should hire more women coaches and assistants and continue to recruit more diverse athletes.  The energy in the chat on the webinar was wonderful and such a tribute to the tremendous accomplishments of Cornell Women athletes.  As one alum noted in the webinar, “We’ve come so far, but still have far to go”. If you missed it you can watch the webinar here.

March 16th is Cornell Giving Day.  If you want to support women’s athletics (or men’s) or would like to support students like Class of 1974 Scholar Summer Parker-Hall or just want “To Do The Greatest Good” for what you are passionate about at Cornell, please join in that day and make a gift.

Enjoy the spring and please be well!

Celebration Cornell Women in Sports

February is a snowy, icy and, luckily, short month.  It is a month that usually keeps us all inside being entertained by sports on television.  This year we get a couple more weeks of NFL football, the run-up to NCAA March Madness, NHL Hockey and NBA Basketball, AND the 2022 Winter Olympics!

I feel like there is a little competitive athlete in every one of us who participated in, coached, drove to or watched little league and t-ball, pee wee leagues, swim teams, gymnastic teams, powder puffs and flag teams, y-youth teams, junior hockey, lacrosse, and tennis.  And the Olympics highlights the things we all love about sports–the values, the joy, the humanity of it all!

Featured in the 2022 Olympics are 7 Cornellians–all in women’s sports (even though one is a man)!  Current student and now silver medalist Karen Chen ’23 is on the US Figure Skating Team and current Cornell Women’s Ice Hockey Head Coach Doug Derraugh ’91 is an assistant coach for Team Canada.  The other five are Cornellians and all ice hockey players.  Four are competing for Team Canada and one for the Czech Republic.  Read more here and here.

It is very fitting that the Big Red is being represented by so many women in Olympic women’s sports as Cornell and the country celebrate the 50th anniversary of Title IX.  If you haven’t been following Cornell Women’s Athletics 50th you can catch up on social media–TwitterFacebook and Instagram.  And watch this great video clip.  You will be proud!

Cornell Women’s Tennis Team Spring 1974

As part of the University’s celebration of Title IX, the Class of 1974 (we were there when it happened!) is sponsoring a Cornell Women’s Athletics webinar featuring Corey Earle ’07 (Cornell historian) and a panel of two Class of 1974 women athletes and two current student athletes.  Panelists include:

Linda Smith McKeown ’74 – ice hockey & track
Molly McBee Miller Ettenger ’74 – ice hockey & tennis
DeeDee Maizes ’22 – swimming

Summer Parker-Hall ’25 – basketball (and recipient of our Class of 1974 Scholarship)

We invite you to join us for this look back at the history of women’s athletics at Cornell.  The webinar is Wednesday, February 23rd, at 8:00 pm ET.  Register here.

Go Big Red!  Go USA! Stay warm and be well!

New Year Resolutions and Celebrations

Happy New Year!  The new year is a time of resolutions and celebrations.  Let’s do both!

Cornell’s Campaign To Do the Greatest Good launched this fall.  It is a campaign to raise at least $5 billion and (perhaps even more challenging) to connect at least 200,000 Cornellians!  So classmates, let’s do our part and make our New Year’s resolution to connect with each other. Here are some good ways to do so:

  • Our Class of 1974 Facebook Group has grown by 0ver 50% in the past year–join if you haven’t.
  • Keep our Class strong by paying your Class Dues.
  • Send news about yourself and your family to our Class Correspondents.
  • Cornell Global Mixers happen every other Saturday (the next one is Saturday, January 22nd) and we have a Class of ’74 Pre-Party Suite hosted by classmate Bonni Schulman Dutcher–drop in for a few minutes and catch up with friends.
  • Consider hosting a zoom meeting with small groups of ’74 friends.
  • Our Class Photo Site (password:  notable).  Classmate Bill Howard is compiling pictures of us as we enter our 70th year as a run-up to our 50th Reunion. Send yours to Bill Howard  with a little information about what you are doing and he will share them.
  • Turn the page into a new year and join the Big Red Reads Book Club–meet other Cornellians and read more!

And let’s celebrate! This year, Cornell celebrates women’s athletics and the 50th anniversary of Title IX. As part of this celebration, the Class of 1974 (we were there when it happened!) invites you to join Cornell historian Corey Ryan Earle ’07 for a webinar that looks back at the history of women’s athletics at Cornell. The webinar will include a panel of two Class of 1974 women athletes and two current student athletes, including Summer Parker-Hall ’25, a forward on the Cornell women’s basketball team who is also the current recipient of the Class of ’74 Scholarship.  The webinar is Wednesday, February 23rd, at 8:00 pm ET.  Register here.

Happy and Healthy New Year!

[Notable] Women of the Class of ’74

Ezra Cornell, wisely, founded Cornell as a coeducational university.  Cornell was the only Ivy and one of only a few other higher education institutions that welcomed women at the time.  Our years at Cornell were special for women and this school year we are celebrating significant anniversaries of women at Cornell.

As part of Cornell’s Celebration of 50 Years of Women’s Athletics with the 50th Anniversary of Title IX, our Class is sponsoring a webinar in early 2022.  And if you have women’s athletic memories and photos to share, please send them to classmate Diane Kopelman VerSchure so we can make them part of that webinar.

Cornell is also celebrating 50 years of Women’s Studies at the university.  Read here about how this curriculum began at Cornell and how it changed the life of classmate Marylynn Salmon.  Several events are being planned as Cornell alumni and faculty are remembering the barriers, the hurdles and the support the experienced at the launch of this significant program.

I was recently sent this inspiring story about two of our classmates, Lila Miller ’74 DVM ’77 and Rochelle Woods ’74 DVM ’77, the first two Black women to earn a veterinary degree from Cornell.  I think you’ll enjoy it.

So let’s celebrate our good fortune of attending such a forward-thinking school at such an important and transformational time and be thankful for our alma mater.

Happy Thanksgiving!

To Do the Greatest Good

Fall at Cornell is always so beautiful and this fall, with a more bustling campus, the return of in-class learning, sports and activities, it seems even more spectacular.

Speaking of spectacular, last week brought very big news from our alma mater.  Cornell announced the launch of a new campaign–To Do the Greatest Good–a campaign to raise $5 billion and connect 200,000 Cornellians!

“To do the greatest good”, a handwritten phrase taken directly from Ezra Cornell’s notes to the New York State Legislature in 1865, was his reason for founding Cornell University.

You can watch launch video here, with an introduction by Ezra Cornell IV ’70 and Katy Cornell ’01, and inspirational words and work from students, faculty and alumni and absolutely beautiful images of our Cornell.   Learn more about To Do the Greatest Good and how you can be a part of it and, in the words of poet Lamin Johnson ’21, “dream a dream that dares to do the greatest good.”

Cornell Celebrates 50 years of Title IX–Share Your Memories

The 2021-2022 school year has just begun and it’s wonderful to see the excited albeit masked faces of students back on campus and in class.



This year is a big one for women’s sports as Cornell—and the Ivy League– prepare to celebrate 50 years of Title IX*.  Our Class of 1974 was there—in 1972–when Title IX changed women’s athletics!  We will be sponsoring a webinar later this year about Title IX, as a complement to other commemorations planned for 2021-22.

Cornell has offered women’s sports for more than 100 years.  In 1897, Big Red women were engaged in basketball and rowing.  By Fall 1972, Cornell fielded a dozen women’s intercollegiate teams out of Helen Newman Hall.  Today, the university has 18 women’s varsity teams.  Read more about Cornell women’s sports history here.

Our class is collecting stories about classmates who were active in women’s sports during our time at Cornell.  If you have a Cornell women’s athletic experience to share—either your own, or one about a roommate, friend or coach, please send it to our classmate Diane Kopelman VerSchure at or 508-733-6101.  Photos are welcome too! Women athletes from our Notable class prevailed athletically at Cornell despite minimal budgets, limited travel, no official uniforms, a lack of practice facilities and more.  We look forward to sharing classmate stories in future Class of 1974 email newsletters.

The best way to join in Cornell’s celebration is to follow the Big Red on social media–TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

Go Big Red and please be well!

Back to School with our New Class Scholar

Hope your summer has been good and safe.


Even though the calendar says we have some more of summer to enjoy, students will be returning to Ithaca this week for what hopefully will be a “normal” school year.  All Cornell students are required to be vaccinated and although the University is not currently requiring faculty and staff to be vaccinated, any campus community member who is unvaccinated must participate in ongoing testing.  And in response to the Delta surge, masks are required inside campus buildings regardless of vaccination status, for at least the beginning of the semester.  Cornell COVID-19 policy details are here.


Fingers crossed…. 


This Fall we will be welcoming the Class of 2025!  These talented young people come from every state (except Wyoming) and represent over 113 countries. Approximately 20% are first generation college students, and one third of admitted students self-identify as underrepresented minorities.   We can take pride in the fact that Cornell is living up to its motto of “Any Person, Any Study”.


Some new students will be moving into new dorms recently completed on North Campus.  The five new residence halls carry the names of author Toni Morrison MA ’55, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg ’54, Nobel Prize winner Barbara McClintock ’23, ’25 & ’27, Chinese diplomat and scholar Hu Shih ’14, and Ganedago, which is the Cayuga Nation ancestral name of the land on which Cornell was built.  Learn more about the North Campus Residential Initiative here.   


Summer Parker-Hall 2

We are welcoming our new Class of ’74 Scholar. As you may recall, our former scholar, Wendi Gonzalez, graduated this past May with her BArch. Our new scholar is Summer Parker-Hall who graduated from Loyola Academy High School in Wilmette, Illinois in June. Summer was an outstanding scholar-athlete at Loyola, starring on the Ramblers’ girls’ basketball team. She intends to play hoops at Cornell. We will be sharing more information about Summer in the months to come.


Please join me in wishing Summer and all of the current Cornellians the very best this year.