Cornell Giving Day–Supporting ’74 Scholarships

Next Thursday, March 16th, is Cornell’s Giving Day: a day for being grateful for your Cornell experiences and for giving back.  We hope you will join ’74 classmates by doing the greatest good that feels good for you.





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

The Christopher Reeve 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 dozen or so extraordinary and talented students. For Giving Day this year, our class has selected the Reeve Scholarship as the fundraising cause we are promoting.

The Class of 1974 Scholarship was started in 1999 by classmates Joan and Bob 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 sophomore in the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences and a starting forward 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.  The giving links are listed below.  Note: you cannot actually make a gift through these links until March 16.

Giving Day
The Christopher Reeve Scholarship

The Class of 1974 Scholarship

Thank you, in advance, for doing your greatest good!

Giving Back–Academic Year End

Fortunately the pandemic health crisis and economic fall-out are subsiding, just in time for the start of summer.  That is indeed good news!  Vaccination rates are increasing and activities are returning to relative normal. Cornell University was able to hold in-person graduation ceremonies, albeit in a different format than in previous years when thousands of happy families crowded all together at Schoellkopf Field.

Cornell, proactively and creatively, kept much of the Ithaca campus open and kept students and faculty safe and socially distanced.  And come Fall, most parts of the university will be back to in-person work and study.

Many of us may already be back at work and out of home offices, meeting friends in restaurants, getting on airplanes and traveling for vacations and family reunions.  It is with a profound sense of relief and gratitude that we look forward with hope and optimism.

Please join us in supporting our alma mater as Cornell comes out of a difficult and disruptive time, slowly returning to normal and making plans for a new academic year and many possibilities for students to learn and make a difference in the world.

We encourage you to take just a minute and make an academic year-end donation by June 30th.  Gifts of any size and for any purpose are appreciated.  Click here to give.

Thank you and enjoy your summer!

Anne Wenzel and David Miller

Vice Presidents, Notable Class of 1974 Annual Fund Participation

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!

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!

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.

Class of ’74 Supports Cornellians–Meet Our Scholars

Class of 1974 Scholarships

The Class of 1974 Scholarship was established in 1999 as part of our 25th Reunion campaign by classmates Joan and Bob Oel- schlager. Students selected by Cornell receive this scholarship, each year during their course of study.

Class of ’74 Scholars are:

• Musfeq Khan ’03, Arts & Sciences, Bangladesh

• Katherine Arcos ’04, Arts & Sciences, Long Beach, NY
• Anthony (Tony) Bandanza ’08, Arts & Sciences, New Hampshire
• Sabina Sattler ’12, CALS, Connecticut
• Garrett Guillen ’16, ILR, California
• Wendolin Gonzalez ’21, Architecture, North Carolina

Our current Class of ’74 Scholar, Wendolin Gonzalez, is a rising third-year architecture student, who has just returned from the Cornell in Rome program. She grew up in High Point, North Carolina, and will be working with a Boston architecture firm this summer. Wendi sent us a letter about her experiences in the Cornell in Rome program.

“My experience in Rome has been incredible. I still have yet to get over the shock of living ten minutes from the Pantheon. Everywhere I go there’s a monument that I had seen hundreds of times in books growing up. I used to flip through magazines and sketch from pictures, but now I can actually go see these in person.

It feels as though I just arrived yesterday and in the blink of an eye the semester is coming to an end. The field trips around Italy and to Berlin have been great and I’ve been able to see not just Rome but much of Italy. Thankfully, classes aren’t as rigorous so I can spend afternoons soaking up the culture.”

Christopher Reeve Scholarship

This scholarship is given to a student in the Theatre Arts program, in memory of Christopher Reeve ‘74. Both the Class of 1974 Scholarship, along with the Christopher Reeve Scholarship, continue to be funded by many classmates as part of annual giving commitments. Recipients receive support each year. Past scholarship winners have been:

• Christine Bullen ’08, Arts & Sciences, Colorado
• Katherine Karaus ’10, Arts & Sciences, Virginia
• Bridget Saracino ’11, Arts & Sciences, Rochester NY

• Nate Mattingly ’14, Arts & Sciences, Cortland, NY

The current Chris Reeve ’74 scholar is William Opoku Nnuro Jr, a freshman planning a double major in theatre and biology. He writes:

“From a young age, my parents & grandparents instilled the love of reading and knowledge in my brothers and I and they pushed us to be the top of our class at all times. I owe it to them that I was accepted into such a prestigious university and I hope to pay it forward for my kids one day.

My experiences living in Texas and then moving to a completely different environment in Ghana have also shaped me into the person I am today. The struggles I have witnessed motivate me to effect positive change wherever I go, through my actions and through my creative endeavors. Lastly I would just like to say a huge thank you to the class of ’74 for the Christopher Reeve scholarship which helped make it possible for me to attend Cornell University! I am excited to be given the opportunity to meet you all and hear your stories!”

Class of ’74 Scholar Wendi Gonzalez sends note from Rome

My experience in Rome has been incredible. I still have yet to get over the shock of living ten minutes from the Pantheon. Everywhere I go there’s a monument that I had seen hundreds of times in books growing up. I used to flip through magazines and sketch from pictures, but now I can actually go see these in person. 

It feels as though I just arrived yesterday and in the blink of an eye the semester is coming to an end. The field trips around Italy and to Berlin have been great and I’ve been able to see not just Rome but much of Italy.  Thankfully, classes aren’t as rigorous so I can spend afternoons soaking up the culture.  If you ever have a chance, I would highly recommend spending a few days in this amazing city.