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!

[Notable] Classmates Celebrate Black History Month and More

In celebration of Black History Month, Cornell Wellness sat down with our classmate Dr. Renee Alexander.  Renee, before retiring in June  2019, was Cornell’s associate dean of students and director of Intercultural programs.  She won a highly acclaimed Perkins Prize for her work in furthering the University’s values of racial and cultural diversity.  Her interview is open, candid, motivational and inspirational as she discusses health, lifestyle, inspirations and hopes. She exhorts us to “live our best life” and “each one reach one”.  Watch her full interview here.

Cornell Trustee and our classmate Dr. Cynthia Cuffie is part of a PCCW (President’s Council of Cornell Women) Panel discussing what it means to be a powerful black woman working in America today.  This event is February 10th at 6:00 pm EST.  Click here to learn more and register.

The University is celebrating Toni Morrison MA ’55 all this year.  During Black History Month there are two special events:  A roundtable discussion on February 18th (Toni’s 90th birthday) with Morrison Scholars, and a reading of her classic, “The Bluest Eye” on February 19th. To learn more and to register, click here.

Cornell Botanic Gardens is hosting a lecture by Dr. Carolyn Finney, author of Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors.  Dr. Finney will discuss the complexities and contradictions of American history related to green space.  She’ll also talk about the emergence of creative responses to environmental and social challenges.  To learn more and register click here.

Students have arrived back on campus to get ready for the start on classes on Monday. Most classes will be online again this semester, but there will be some in-person instruction.  Returning students were greeted by (you guessed it) snow and lots of it–20 inches and still counting.  Brings back memories of snow days, an impassable Libe Slope and those miraculous Straight chocolate chip cookies.

We’ve been able to enjoy interesting webinars and fun mixers over the past few months.  Check our Class Website and our Class Facebook Group often so you don’t miss anything.

Stay connected and stay well!

Sharing–Upcoming Events, COVID Experiences, Cornell Concerts of the ’70s

Sharing, during the time of COVID, seems impossible!  We can’t share space, a meal or even a smile.  We are distant, we’re masked and often alone.  But it’s never been more important to share whatever and however we can.
 
To that end, some classmates are working with our Class Correspondents to use the final “published” Class Notes in the Cornell Alumni Magazine’s last issue as the platform to share our COVID epiphanies, experiences or discoveries.  Here’s how, from Jodi Sielschott Stechschulte:
 
How are you coping with COVID?  The past 11 months have been an extraordinary global experience.  We would like to collect your stories of how you have handled the changes it has caused in our lives.  What have you done about work, play, family relationships, friendships, pets, travel, etc.?  Have you found any innovative coping mechanisms or created any new traditions?  In the face of incalculable global loss, how have you kept going?
 
Please send your experience(s) to me at jodisteck@gmail.com with the subject line ’74 COVID Response.   We’ll share them with classmates via our Class Column and other Class of ’74 communication channels to be developed in the coming months.
 
Hoping to bring us all some inspiration and perseverance to get us to the end of this pandemic in 2021 with our sanity and sense of humor intact.
 
There is a publishing deadline of February 15th so get your stories in soon.  
 
Some of our fellow Classes of the ’70s are sponsoring fun webinars that are open to our class.  
 

Cornell Concerts of the '70s

Reminder:  Great Cornell Concerts of the ’70s:  Music and Memories, a webinar by Corey Earle, is being sponsored by the Class of ’78.  It’s Sunday, January 31, at 7:00 pm ET.  For more information and to register click here.
 
 
 

epidemic_book-211x300

The Class of ’72 has invited us to their sponsored webinar Persevering Through the Epidemic:  Cornell and Typhoid in 1903.  This is scheduled for Tuesday, February 2, at 7:30 pm ET.  Find information, suggested reading and register here.

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Our class has been actively participating in the  Cornell Global Mixers and has a ’74 Pre-Party Suite where over 50 classmates have visited with each other.  These mixers happen every two weeks alternating between Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoons.  The next one is February 6th.  Details and registration are here.  And follow them on Facebook here.
Check our class website and our class Facebook page regularly so you don’t miss any events.
 
So classmates let’s share!  
 
And please be well!

New Year’s Resolutions for a Hopeful New Year

Happy New Year!  Has a new year ever been more anticipated or welcomed?  I hope you and your loved ones were able to celebrate the holidays in some way.

This beautiful campus view won’t be seen by many until classes resume in February.  The University’s plans are to provide instruction both in person and via Zoom this winter/spring and the expectation is that most students will be back on campus. Fingers crossed that the Cornell Community will be able to control COVID as successfully as it did in the Fall.

 

 

 

With the New Year comes resolutions.  Here are some suggestions:

  1. Learn Something New:  Connect to Cornell here for the latest in online events, on-demand videos and podcasts.
  1. Make New Friends and Connect with the Old:  Our Class is participating in the very successful Global Mixer AND we have a Pre-Party Suite for an hour or two before each one.  They happen at different times every couple of weeks.  These invitations and registration are sent by Cornell but, if you aren’t getting them, let me know and I will make sure they have your correct email.  You can also join the Cornell Global Mixer Facebook Group.
  1. Take Care of Body & Mind:  Try meditating by watching one of the coolest art installations on campus– Cosmos–an homage to Carl Sagan. Just click here, play some music, get comfortable, and focus your attention on the cosmos patterns and the sky (the dawn break is great).
  1. Travel More:  You can, virtually!  Take an education vacation through Cornell’s Adult University.  See the world here.
  1. Give Back:  Cornell Cares Day is Saturday, January 9th.  Look here for ways to show you care.

Whatever you resolve to do in 2021 I hope connections to Cornell and our Class help!

Happy and Healthy New Year!