Bringing Spring Semester to a Close

This was Cornell’s last week of classes, all of which have been online since early April.   I teach a graduate level course in infrastructure policy in Cornell’s College of Human Ecology and speaking as someone who has never taught online, the last two months have been a real eye opener. I have come to realize what an enormous privilege it is to be a student at a residential college with constant in-person interaction with fellow students and faculty.  This is what all of us in the Class of 1974 experienced as undergrads.  Now, Cornell students, like students all over the world, have been deprived of this extraordinary opportunity because of the pandemic.

Kristen and I have been hunkered down at our home in Boston since mid-March, but we made a trip to Ithaca this week. Walking around campus as the first signs of spring are showing (it has been a late spring here, with snow (!?!) a few days ago) one feels the absence of the essential energy that makes the Hill the vibrant, stimulating place we all remember.  Whether that energy, in the form of 20,000 students, returns this Fall is now under intensive study by the University. Does Cornell bring back all students, some students, or no students in person?  We should know the answer by late June.

In the meantime, Cornellians’ creativity and passions are finding outlets that remind us why our Alma Mater is special.  Watch and listen to:

  • The Cornell Alma Mater performed virtually by members of the CU Wind Symphony (check out the students’ majors at the end—Any Person, Any Study….)
  • Cornell Chimes End-of-Year Concert earlier this week featuring two students working the chimes’ hand and foot pedals atop McGraw Tower and sending music across campus as dusk settles (check out the campus views).

Stay safe and healthy,

Almost Spring, Giving Day, Summer Classes

Happy almost-spring!  Winter is winding down in Ithaca and students are looking forward to spring break in just two weeks.  There’s still a bit of snow left on the Cornell campus—check out the live camera feed here


Our 45th Reunion is just three months away.  We hope you will join the hundreds of classmates planning to be in Ithaca June 6-9.  You can participate now in our 45thReunion activities by reaching out to classmates, dorm-mates, teammates, fraternity brothers or sorority sisters, undergrad work friends—anyone you knew at Cornell with whom you’d like to reconnect.  If you’ve lost touch and can’t find someone, we can help–just let us know whom you’d like to reach.

TODAY is Cornell Giving Day which is another way you can be involved in our 45thReunion.  You can make a donation of ANY amount, to ANY area of Cornell, and it will count toward our Reunion fundraising goal.  It’s easy and fun (in fact, we made our gift this morning.) Please help our class reach our goal of 1000 donors by making your gift today!  If you’d like to give to our Class of 1974 scholarship, click here or just go to the general Giving Day website and type, under “Other,” “Class of 1974 Scholarship, Fund #012825.”  Our class scholarship money is put to good use.  Read about our current class scholar here.

Looking ahead, why not think about taking a one-week Cornell Adult University course on campus this summer?  Classes run July 7-August 3 and offerings range from history to birdwatching to biking to gourmet cooking to social justice to climate change to golf to beer-making to Latin dance to literature to kayaking to wines to humor to literature. Bring friends, kids, grandkids.  Ithaca is at its best in mid-summer. for details.

Hope to see you in June! 

Cornell in Space and in Boston

Did you know that a team from Cornell’s Center for Astrophysics and Planetary Science is heavily engaged with NASA’s space program?  The Cornell-NASA connection began with the late Carl Sagan and is carried on today by Steve Squyres, Professor of Physical Science at Cornell who studied under Sagan.  Squyres is Principal Investigator on the NASA Mars Rover project which began with the 2004 landing of the Opportunity and Spirit rovers on Mars.  Expected to travel just 1000 yards before expiring in 90 days, both rovers far exceeded those goals.  Spirit eventually lost all power in 2010; however Opportunity traveled 28 miles and survived 14 years before being caught in a massive Martian dust storm last June and falling silent. And although NASA still sends daily communication to Opportunity, experts anticipate that this month—February–will mark the end of Opportunity’s remarkable story.  Read more herein this recent NY Times article. 


Looking ahead—way ahead–Professor Squyres and Cornell colleagues are part of a finalist team for a billion dollar NASA mission to Jupiter’s moons and comets.  This mission will launch in 2025 and samples will arrive back on Earth in 2038!  Learn more here. 

Back here on Earth, our Notable Class of 1974 is hosting an informal gathering in Boston this coming Saturday, February 9 at 6:30 pm at The Summer Shack, 50 Dalton Street, Boston.  The Class will provide hors d’oeuvres and we’ll have a cash bar.  No RSVP needed—just show up!

Our 45th Reunion is just four months away!  You should have received a large postcard last month with Reunion info.  In late March you will receive a registration packet with details on Reunion activities and events.  Reach out now to friends to encourage them to attend.   I hope you will join us in June!

Why we give to Cornell…

Class of 1974 Class Scholarship winner sends this beautiful letter of gratitude. Read it here and learn more about Garret Guillen and our Class Scholarship.

Academic Year 2015 — 2016
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Oelschlager and the entire Class of 1974,
As I approach my final semester at Cornell University I realize that there is no way I could have adequately expressed appreciation when I first received your gift that allowed me to enter this amazing campus over 3 years ago. I still remember having the discussion with my parents, after the initial elation of being admitted, about whether or not attending this renowned institution was financially feasible. After receiving aid coupled with scholarship funds from your donations I’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy every minute of my time at Cornell. Reflecting on all the experiences, the people, the classes, the campus, and all other aspects of the Cornell community I realize that it is time so valuable I couldn’t have known its worth as an incoming freshman and time that I hope to provide for another incoming freshman someday. As my brother goes through his freshman year at Cornell I try and explain to him the unique significance that his time at school will offer him because I am so excited that someone so close to me now has the same opportunity that I have enjoyed so greatly. Yet I experience difficulty trying to express my immense appreciation of my Cornell experience to him as I realize that his experience will also be unique and that he must find it on his own. I experience the same difficulty while trying to express my immeasurable gratitude to you and your colleagues who have made this experience possible for me. I now realize in my closing year that you have all sought to provide a student with such an incredible education because you all have received a similarly valuable gift in all of your own unique experiences at Cornell; and I now also carry that desire to share our Cornell community with others in need. I would like to thank you all again for allowing me to become a part of this amazing campus for the past 3 years; and I want to express my desire to continue to share this Cornell experience long past graduation.
With gratitude,
Garrett Guillen


New College of Business

President Garrett and Provost Michael Kotlikoff announced in December a proposal to create a new College of Business at Cornell.  This College would include the current Johnson Graduate School of Management, the undergraduate business program (called “Ag Ec” in our day, now called “Applied Economics and Management (AEM)”) which is now in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and the School of Hotel Administration.  To learn more about this proposal, which would require a change in the university by-laws, you may want to read both the official university announcement here and the Cornell Daily Sun articles and comments here.

Zinck’s Night-Thursday, Oct. 15

All Cornell alumni, parents, and friends are invited to celebrate the long standing tradition of Zinck’s Night! Join in the fun at an event near you!  Almost 50 events are planned around the globe:  two in DC alone.


Reunion 2015 and 2014

Reunion Weekend is underway in Ithaca. You can see livestream events!  Or, re-visit our own 40th Reunion memories from 2014:  Cornell’s website captures all kinds of activities from 2014, while our class Reunion webpage has highlights for our class from last year!  Check out videos at our phanfare site. The “Then and Now” video was especially popular.

The 2015 Reunion is  targeted for the Classes of the 5’s and 0’s–i.e. the Class of 1975.  The 2015 Reunion will also have special Sesquicentennial events along with the last Reunion State of the University address by President David Skorton.

Class of 1974 Membership

All classmates are members of the Class of 1974, and welcome at all class activities and events. Additionally, class dues help us with these events and communication.  Learn about class membership.

Class of 1974 Christopher Reeves Scholar: Christine Bullen ’08

Christine hails from Colorado Springs, Colorado where she made her performing debut at age five playing a rat that gets blown up by a cannon in The Nutcracker. Seventeen years later, Christine received a BA in Theatre Arts from Cornell.

Since graduation, Christine has split her time between California and New York. On the west coast, she’s trained in improv comedy with The Groundlings and performed in San Francisco with sketch group Killing My Lobster, named the Bay Area’s best comedy group. In the Big Apple, she’s worked on indie films, shorts and webseries.

Christine returned to Cornell for the Class of 1974 40th Reunion. She gave a great, and very funny, recap of her time at Cornell during the Friday Trivia Night at the Class Headquarters.



Class of 1974 Scholar: Garrett Guillen ’16

Fall 2012

Dear Class of 1974,

I would like to begin by expressing the utmost sense of gratitude for your incredible generosity and the personal hospitality shown to me. An incoming freshman could not have asked for anything more and I will always remember the kindness of the members of your class.

My name is Garrett Guillen and I am honored to be the recipient of the Class of 1974 scholarship award. I am studying in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations. I am from Upland, California and I went to Damien High School in La Verne, California. I have two siblings: Kyle (15) and Claire (12). My parents are Manuel and Carole Guillen. I am very close to my family and consider them to be the most influential people in my life. They have always been there for me to motivate me and I attribute my success in large part to them.

As for my own personal endeavor, I am unsure of my specific career plans. My primary interest at this point is a possible career in law but I look to keep an open mind; as I delve into my studies my interests are sure to change. One goal I am sure of is to contribute as much as possible to the Cornell community because it has presented itself as such a bountiful opportunity to me; I only see fit that I give back what it is sure to provide for me. I would like to thank you again for your generosity and to express my excitement at being a member of the Cornell tradition.

Go Big Red!

Garrett Guillen ’16