Connect, COVID and Cornell

These are unsettling times so we are reaching out more often.  We encourage you to touch base with classmates via email, phone, Zoom calls or our class Facebook group (link is at the bottom of the email).  Social distance does not mean social disconnection.  So track down your old friends and catch up!

The Cornell campus is quiet, with most undergraduates back home and all classes cancelled until April 6, when courses will re-start remotely.  Touchdown, the Cornell bear, remains on campus but she has taken appropriate precautions to protect against the coronavirus.

Cornell is presenting a free COVID-19 virtual panel on March 24 at 1pm EST and March 28 at 7am featuring a panel of professors.  Register here.

In other Cornell-related coronavirus news, did you know that Dr. Anthony Fauci, the impressive public face of the pandemic and a key member of the White House coronavirus task force, is a Cornell alum?  He graduated from Cornell Medical College in 1966 and has served six US presidents over the 50 years he’s been a doctor at NIH.  Fauci is currently the top infectious disease expert in the US.

And, Cornell Engineering and Weill Cornell Med are collaborating on the possibility of repurposing 3D printing machines to manufacture ventilators, which are in short supply globally.

With all of the bad news, we can take hope in the fact that spring has arrived in Ithaca. Crocuses and snowdrops are blooming, the ice has left Beebe Lake, and the red-wing blackbirds have returned to the Arboretum ponds—surly signs of brighter times ahead.

Stay safe, stay healthy and stay engaged!

Bad News, Sad News, Good News & Giving Day

Because of coronavirus concerns, Cornell President Martha Pollack just announced Cornell will move to all-virtual instruction, prohibit gatherings of more than 100 people, discourage travel, and require students to complete all coursework at their permanent home residences after spring break.  Learn more about this just-breaking news here.

Recently I attended the annual Cornell Alumni Leadership Conference (CALC) in Las Vegas. The weekend was filled with wonderful tributes to our beloved 9th president Frank H. T. Rhodes.  Read more about the man, his work and his legacy here.  The campus memorial service is April 25th.

Maybe spring is approaching (always a hard call in Ithaca) but Libe Slope is snow-free at least for now.  This week the campus is celebrating with the Moog Festival  in honor of Robert Moog ’65, an electronic music pioneer whose archives have just been opened at the Cornell Library.  And the Black Excellence in Fashion  show is on display in Martha van Renssalaer Hall and is a must-see for fashionistas. Both events are displays and one can visit them in person or online through our links.  Sadly, online may be a “thing” for a while.

Giving Day is tomorrow and I would like to introduce you to classmate David Miller and his wife Anne Wenzel, recent winners of our Fred Bosch Award for their outstanding work on participation for our 45th Reunion, and share their Giving Day Message.

We are delighted to be involved with the Class of 1974, expanding outreach and inviting classmates to stay connected or re-connect.  Anne is not a Cornellian herself but has enjoyed reunions with David since we started dating 30+ years ago.  And we are proud to have watched both our children grow, flourish and graduate from Cornell (Emily Miller, Human Ecology ‘16 and Jeremy Miller, Engineering ‘19).

Cornell Giving Day—the annual one-day university-wide on-line fundraising extravaganza—is TOMORROW, March 12! 

With the acceleration of all things internet, on-line giving invitations are ubiquitous and easy to ignore.  But they are also just as easy to respond to with a quick donation.

Cornell Giving Day is really a highly democratic form of philanthropy, easy for all to engage and join.  You can specify a Cornell program, department, team or club that is near and dear to your heart.  Our family gives to the Class of ’74 Scholarship and the Big Red Marching Band, which created a valuable community of musicians for our children when they were at Cornell.

We encourage you to take just a minute on March 12th and make a donation on Cornell Giving Day.  All donations of any size and for any purpose are appreciated!  General support gifts and donations designated for our Class of ’74 Scholarship and/or our Christopher Reeve Scholar are also very welcome.  (Please note these links will not go live until Giving Day). Thanks!


Anne Wenzel and David Miller

Vice Presidents, Annual Fund Participation

Please join Anne, David and me in participating in Giving Day!

Thank you and best wishes!

Shelley Cosgrove DeFord

President [Notable] Class of ‘74

Our New Christopher Reeve Scholar

Kristen Rupert shares this fun introduction from our new Christopher Reeve Scholar Thea Goldman.

Go to your 50th High School Reunion

This year, make it a point to get back to your high school reunion. For most of us, 2020 is the 50th anniversary of our high school graduation, and spring-summer 2020 is when many of the reunions happen. If ever there’s a time when a reunion class has critical mass, it’s 50 years out. The big reunions, high school or college, are 10-25-50. Fifty is special because of the, well, you know, odds of making it to the next one. (Actually, the odds are decent: College graduates live to almost 90 for women, mid-80s for men.)

If your high school alumni network is loosely organized and you haven’t heard about a possible reunion, check in with old high school friends you’re still in touch with. Reach out to your high school.  Many schools now have alumni offices or education foundations that can help connect alumni to each other and to the school.

Facebook is one of the best places to find long-lost classmates. Your high school alumni and maybe your HS class have a Facebook group. If there isn’t one for your class, you can create one easily. Make the group name public and the contents private. Mine is called Monroe High School Rochester NY MHS Class of 1970.  Invite people you know into the group and ask friends to invite their classmate friends. Ask them to post photos and a summary of how they’ve lived the last half century.

As for our Fair Cornell: Classes were canceled last Friday because of blizzard conditions.

Views of the bridge to Engineering quad on Cornell’s December 2nd, 2019 Snow Day. (Nandita Mohan / Sun Staff Photographer)

The women’s and men’s hockey teams are ranked #1 and #2 in the nation. The men’s basketball team beat Princeton (upset) and Princeton beat Cornell wrestling (bigger upset as Cornell hadn’t lost an Ivy match since 2002-2003). Dean of Engineering Lance Collins is bailing for Virginia Tech, which wants to set up a Cornell Tech NYC-like operation outside DC called Innovation Campus. Cornell’s Dean of the Dyson School, Lynn Wooten, is heading to Boston to be president of Simmons University.  And this is the month for you to vote for two Cornell alumni-elected trustees (deadline Feb. 29 5 pm EST); you get either an email or paper ballot. Your vote can make a difference because, sadly, voter turnout is often soft. For info, go to

Happy New Year, Vegas, Book Club & Video

Happy New Year! I hope 2020 has started well for you.

As Cornell students are headed back to campus this weekend for the spring semester, I remember heading back to the Hill in the dead of winter. Ithaca winters can be quite severe but they can also be beautiful.













2019 was a busy and fun year for our class. We celebrated our 45th Reunion in June where we broke attendance and fundraising records. Thank you for engaging with our class and Cornell! This year let’s make our New Year’s resolution to keep and build on those Cornell connections.

We already have several class opportunities planned for 2020. A handful of classmates will be in Las Vegas for the annual Cornell Alumni Leadership Conference Feb. 20-23. If you are interested in joining us for meetings or social events in Vegas, please let me know and I will send details.

We’re working with Cornell’s English Department to roll out a class book group and reading project this spring. All Class of 1974 dues payers can receive the book and participate in a Cornell faculty-led on-line discussion. Be sure to pay your class dues now and stay connected to our class and Cornell. Not sure if you’ve paid? Email me at Pay online here. When you pay your dues, you’ll receive the award-winning Cornell Alumni Magazine. Check it out here.

As we look ahead at 2020 and beyond, take a minute to look back at 2019 at Cornell. (Click here to watch.)

Hope to see you in 2020!

Best wishes,

Fall News from Campus

Fall reports from Cornell tell of a campus ablaze both in color and spirit.

Our [notable] class organized and hosted a fun Homecoming tailgate for the Classes of the ‘70s.  Over 160 alums from our decade joined the party.  Many thanks to classmates Roberta and Lou Walcer, Dale Lazar and grill master Walt Scott for putting on a successful, annual event.  Hope to see you there next year.

In her recent annual State of the University address, Cornell President Pollack reminded us that Cornell University was founded not only as a legacy but as an investment.  Ezra Cornell was “seeking a very specific return – to do the greatest good with his fortune, and to do it for posterity.”  Read more here.

The University is studying how to enlarge its public policy footprint.  One option is to transform the College of Human Ecology into the College of Public Policy.  This would have far-reaching implications for many departments currently in the College. For more information, check out FAQs.  Also read about student reactions here.  Things are happening fast, so if you have some thoughts about this, send an email to Hum Ec Dean Rachel Dunifon at

Did you know that Cornell has a wine program through which you can buy wine made by Cornell alums?  Our classmate Joan Heller, Chem E ‘74 and her husband Steve Heller, MS CALS ’74, owners of H-L-R Cellars, are among the Big Red vintners featured this fall.  Learn more here.

There’s still time to suggest a book for our own Class Reading Project.  Suggestions so far include books by Vonnegut, Salinger, Pynchon and several grads from the 70’s and 80’s, including a few classmate authors.  We’re working with the Cornell English Department to identify faculty to lead our book discussion.  Send book ideas to classmate Kristen Rupert at

Be sure to pay your 2019-20 Class Dues in order to continue receiving benefits such as Cornell Alumni Magazine (this month’s issue has terrific articles about the Vet College’s Wildlife Health Center, a Cornell Ag and Nutrition Institute in India, and the Big Red Band) and the book project.  Not sure if you’ve paid?  Contact classmate Jodi Sielschott Stechschulte at  To pay your dues on-line, just click here.

Wherever you are this fall, I hope you are enjoying the season!

Class Legacy New Students; Book Ideas; Homecoming Tailgate

Fall semester classes at Cornell are well underway with three legacies of The Notable Class of 1974 starting as new students.  To welcome these students and others, classmates Mary Berens, John Foote and Kristen Rupert hosted their annual welcome picnic on move-in day.














L to R: Andy Chang ’74, Kaitlin Chang ’23 A&S, Mary Berens ’74, Renee Alexander ’74, Alison Dreizen ’74, Rosie Dreizen ’22 ILR, John Foote ’74, Kristen Rupert ’74.  Missing: Lisa Liff ’23 ENG and her mom Merlise Wan.  Lisa’s dad is Chuck Liff ’74, deceased. 

Please help us choose a book for our new Class of 1974 Book Project!  Although Cornell has ended its annual freshman reading project, we are going to do our own, based on the expressed interest of a number of our classmates.  Once we’ve identified a book, we will provide it to all class dues payers and then offer a follow-up discussion webinar moderated by a Cornell faculty member.  Wherever you are in the world, you can participate!

Do you have ideas for a book that might meet the following loose criteria?

  • set in our time at Cornell, or
  • set in Ithaca, or
  • written by a Cornell author (professor, alum, staff, parent) or
  • a book that you think our classmates would find interesting, stimulating, rewarding, fun.

Send your suggestions to Kristen Rupert at (Click here to see a partial list of former Cornell new student reading project books.)

Our class is partnering with other Classes of the 1970’s to present a Homecoming weekend tailgate barbecue in Ithaca Noon to 3pm on Saturday, October 5.  Football is at 3pm versus Georgetown.  Homecoming weekend is full of events for all ages including lectures, fireworks, a road race, arts tour and concert—see details at here.  Questions about the 70’s tailgate can be directed to classmate Roberta Bandel Walcer at  Register for the tailgate here.

If you’ve not yet paid your class dues for 2019-20, now is the time!  Pay by October 8 to ensure you don’t miss an issue of Cornell Alumni Magazine.  You can pay on-line here.  Not sure if you’ve paid?  Contact Jodi Sielschott Stechschulte at

Finally, this is my final email as President of the Class of 1974.  Serving as class president has been an honor and a joy, and I am delighted to pass the leadership torch to our new Class President Shelley Cosgrove DeFord.  Thanks to all of you for your support, ideas, volunteer participation and more.  You make our class Notable!

New CU Students, Moon Landing, Stump at the Straight, Class Dues

Happy August!  Cornell summer school classes are finishing up this week and new students arrive on campus in just two weeks.  We actually have a handful of classmates whose kids are coming to Cornell this fall as new students!

Cornell celebrated the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Moon Landing last month with campus lectures, panels, a concert, and an ongoing Apollo 11 exhibit at Kroch Library.  Two Cornell scientists were among the researchers who received moon dust samples from NASA after the Apollo astronauts returned to Earth.  These samples were on display at Olin Library in September 1969 and 8000 visitors viewed the moon dust.  And a Cornellian figured out the TV camera that allowed hundreds of millions of people to watch live images of the Apollo 11 astronauts’ walk on the moon. Learn more here.

Speaking of Cornell history, the current issue of the Cornell Alumni Magazine has a terrific article on Cornell Collectors’ Items from the University Archives.  Kroch Library houses thousands of artifacts ranging from a copy of the Gettysburg Address in Lincoln’s own hand; the typewriter of Cornell 1921 graduate and author ofCharlotte’s Web E.B. White; handwritten sketches by Mozart and Beethoven; a signed first edition of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender is the Night; a hanging chad voting machine from the 2000 election; LGBT activism buttons; and a piece of the beloved Willard Straight Hall stump from the early 1970’s. All can be seen in-person by the general public.  Click here to view these priceless treasures.

And speaking of Cornell Alumni Magazine, it’s time to pay your Class of 1974 class dues for 2019-20 if you’ve not already done so.  Annual dues are a very reasonable $60 AND include a subscription to the  Magazine and other benefits.  This is a good way to stay in touch with the class and with Cornell.  Dues also help pay for the class website, events, Reunions and more. Pay on-line at here.  Not sure if you’ve paid? Email Membership VP Jodi Sielschott Stechschulte at

Finally, as a new Cornell year has just begun (on July 1), we are starting to plan how to reach more ’74 classmates and get people engaged as participants, in-person or virtually, in class affairs as we move toward our 50th Reunion.  Ideas, suggestions and volunteers welcome!  Please reach out to one of us!

Thanks and enjoy the rest of the summer.

45th Reunion Year Ending, Photos, Gifts & Ithaca Summer Fun

We’re still basking in the glow from our wonderful 45th Reunion celebration in Ithaca earlier this month.  With great weather and a strong turnout of classmates and friends/family, it’s no wonder the weekend was a success!  Whether you were there in person or in spirit, we hope your memories of our class and our time on the Hill are good ones.

Photos from Reunion weekend are being posted weekly by classmate and photo guru Bill Howard.  Check out our class photo site and send any photos—from Reunion, from your days at Cornell—to Bill at so we can add those pics to our class photo archive.

More than 700 classmates made a gift to Cornell on behalf of our 45th Reunion.  If you have not yet made a gift, you have only four days left—Cornell’s fiscal year ends June 30.  Please consider a donation of $45.00, or $19.74, or any amount, to any Cornell cause—scholarships, chimes, robotics, athletics, chorus, etc.  It’s easy–just click here to see the many options and choose one that matches your interests.  Do it now!  Thanks.

Ithaca is a great place to spend time in the summer.  The most recent Cornell Alumni Magazine features an information-rich piece on “161 Reasons to Come Back to Ithaca This Summer.”  Check out all the fun things to do—on campus, near campus, downtown and in the area— here.












As always, thanks for your support of Cornell and the Class of 1974.  Happy Summer!

Reunion Recap, Cornell Crosswords, Dues







Our Class celebrated our 45th Reunion in great style last weekend in Ithaca!  The weather gods were with us as we enjoyed 3 straight days of warm, sunny, clear, blue-sky weather.  We broke records for 45th Reunion attendance and fundraising!  You can see our Class Reunion photos at here. (password is notable) More will be up next week so check back.  Also send photos you took to Bill Howard and we’ll add them.

One highlight of the weekend was a breakfast talk by Cornell President Martha Pollack, who shared an update on the university’s current challenges and opportunities, discussed the impact that U.S. immigration policy has on bringing new and diverse faculty and students to Cornell, and reiterated the importance of strong links between the Cornell Tech Campus in NYC and Ithaca.  Video from our Town Hall with President Pollack should be available on our Class Website next week.

Another highlight was our evening of Cornell trivia, Cornell crosswords, and “Note-ables” music performed by classmates.  Can you name the best-selling ice cream at Cornell Dairy?  Can you identify the “Campus creature that emerges once a year”?  What about “Lake located far below campus”?  While we can’t resurrect the trivia contest in this email, you can print out your own copy of the crosswords here.  No cheating by checking answers ahead of time!

We were joined at Reunion by Class of ’74 scholars Wendi Gonzalez, Architecture ’21 and William Nnuro, Biology & Theatre Arts ’21.  William wrote, “I talked to as many of you as I could and each conversation gave me a burst of inspiration and hope for my future.  I can’t stress enough how grateful I am.”

We welcomed 18 classmates for whom this was their first reunion.  Most said it won’t be their last!  These first-timers came from as far away as Oregon, South Carolina and Wisconsin and as close as Massachusetts and New York,  Another cohort of classmates came back for the first time since our 5th Reunion.  It’s never too late…so remember that for our 50th (eek!) Reunion in 2024.  

Finally, now is the time to pay your class dues for 2019-20.  Due payers receive the award-winning Cornell Alumni Magazine and help support class activities.  TheMagazine is a great way to stay in touch with what’s going on at Cornell and with our class.  Pay dues on-line here, or mail a check made payable to our class to Box 37333, Boone, IA 50037-0333.  Dues are $60, $65 for a couple, or $30/$35 with no Magazine.

Thanks for helping to make our 45th Reunion year such a success!  P.S. We still have until June 30 to reach our ambitious 1000 donor goal, so please make a gift, if you haven’t already, here.  Keep us Notable!