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 diane.verschure@cornell.edu 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.

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

dbm86@cornell.edu

Cornell Graduation Greeting from Our Class Scholar

Big Red graduation was this past weekend and it was as unusual as the year that preceded it. Most important, however, is it happened in person with graduates and family members in attendance. While there was a limitation on the number of guests, there was no bound on the happiness that always accompanies this most positive and affirming event.

Our class can take special joy and pride in this year’s commencement; our Class of ’74 scholar, Wendi Gonzalez, received her Bachelor of Architecture degree. Wendi’s five years on the Hill have been transformative  and she has the distinction of being one of three architecture graduates who have been asked to return to Ithaca in the Fall to be a freshman mentor and teacher.

Wendi certainly did the work, but our class, through your support of our Class Scholarship, was instrumental in making this opportunity possible.  In Wendi’s words:

Hello Class of 1974,

What a year it has been! I am sure none of us planned to be stuck inside and wearing masks for an entire year and a half. And yet we all persevered, learned how to use Zoom, and now see light at the end of the tunnel.

 I am happy to say I completed my architecture thesis and will be adding my book to the Fine Arts Library thesis collection as my predecessors have done before me. The Wines exam was a little harder than I thought it would be, but thankfully I made sure to carefully study Burgundy and Bordeaux. And while I was not able to sit next to my classmates and taste test in person, I did buy a few of the bottles from the list provided and was able to enjoy it with a small group of friends.

 Upon graduating I am sure there will be many tears of joy and sadness as we close this chapter to start anew. Thankfully, I have been granted a Teaching Associate position in the Architecture department, so I do not have to say goodbye quite yet.  I am ecstatic to see all the new freshmen arriving a week early to enjoy O-week in person and make their own memories on campus.

 I think of my own memories and am immediately struck with a feeling of appreciation. I am so blessed that the Class of 1974 chose to support me through my journey at Cornell. A simple thank you does not seem sufficient for what I have been fortunate to experience during my time here. I will never know how to repay such kindness except to pay it forward. I will always be grateful for the opportunities I was given.

 Thank you all so much for your support!

Best wishes,

Wendi

You have made a positive difference in the life of an extraordinary young woman!

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!