Commencement Weekend

Over the last 12 years Kristen and I have attended Cornell’s Commencement–not because we have children to cheer on, but because it is a day of great joy and even greater possibilities. This year, Commencement had a slightly different flavor. At 10:00am on a hot and sultry Sunday morning, more than 5000 undergrads and grads began marching into Schoellkopf. Then the heavens opened. In minutes, everyone—parents, faculty, students, trustees–was soaked to the skin. First time it’s rained on Cornell’s graduation in at least 25 years! But the show went on, students cheered when it was announced the program would be shortened, and by the end of the event the sun was back out.

A poignant moment occurred at the beginning of the ceremony when it was pointed out that the empty chair on stage was in memory of Cornell’s 13th president Beth Garrett, who never had the opportunity to participate in one of Cornell’s signature events. Provost Michael Kotlikoff gave a memorable, thoughtful, optimistic commencement address about what makes a Cornell education special and how important it is to learn about and respect different points of view. He called Cornell “the most unpretentious, democratic and rigorous Ivy.” Read more here.

Graduation 2016

For those of us in the Notable Class of ’74, graduation day was particularly special. Our Class of ’74 scholar Garrett Guillen ’16 received his degree from ILR. We were introduced to Garrett in August 2012 upon his arrival in Ithaca from his home in Los Angeles. He had never been East and is the first person in his family to attend college. Over the next four years, Garrett navigated Cornell, succeeded both in and out of the classroom and, in his own words, had a “life changing experience.” Garrett’s parents made their first-ever trip to New York State and Ithaca for Commencement. We applaud Garrett for his courage and perseverance and wish him the best. As a class, we should all take a bow; the scholarship fund that Bob and Joan Saltsman Oelschlager ‘74 had the vision to start on behalf of our class, to which hundreds of classmates have made a contribution, is making a real difference in the lives of young people and our University.

Go Big Red!


John Foote ‘74

Campus Update, NYC Photos & Dues

This is the last week of classes for Cornell students, and spring has finally arrived on campus.  Study week begins Thursday and exams start on Monday.  Cornell’s 11th president, Hunter Rawlings, has begun his term as Cornell’s interim president—again.  Cornell women’s lacrosse team won the Ivy League tournament squeaking by Penn, 11-10, in Philadelphia on Sunday.  The Big Red hosts the next round of the NCAA women’s lacrosse tournament this coming weekend in Ithaca.

Last week our [notable] class hosted a great event in New York City for the classes of the ’70s, and it turns out that we got folks from the 60’s too!  Classmates Alice Brown and Marleen Kay Davis organized a guided tour of the High Line, the refurbished elevated freight line that is helping to resurrect Manhattan’s West Side.  Afterwards all gathered for cocktails at the Frying Pan at Pier 66 Maritime Bar on the Hudson River.  A great time was had and you can see the photos here.  (Password is notable)


Events like this take place thanks to funds from your class dues.  Last month you received a letter from our Membership Chair Jodi Sielschott Stechschulte encouraging you to pay your class dues.  In addition to helping us pay for class events, dues help us plan and organize our reunions, continually communicate with classmates through our website, emails and paper mailings.  And your class dues support the award-winning Cornell Alumni News.

Your dues are due by June 30.  Thank you to all who have already paid and, for those who haven’t yet, please do so soon.  It’s easy.  You can pay on-line here.  Or you can just send a check made payable to Cornell Class of 1974 to Cornell University, P.O. Box 25841, Lehigh Valley, PA 18003-9695.

Dues are $60 and include your annual subscription to the Magazine or $30 without the magazine.  Dues for Class Couples are $65 and $35, respectively.

Our class remains strong because we never give up on making and keeping Cornell and Class of ’74 connections.  Thank you for being a part of that effort and thanks for supporting our class through class dues.


Dale Lazar

President [Notable] Class of ‘74

Saying Farewell to Beth Garrett

Six months ago Cornell and the Ithaca community greeted Beth Garrett and celebrated her inauguration. It was a spectacular late summer day and the Arts Quad was alive with excitement and expectation. Today the community gathered again, this time in Bailey Hall on a blustery early spring day, to bid a final farewell to our 13th president.

As I sat in Bailey waiting for the memorial to begin, I thought back to Charter Day last spring when Beth was first introduced to Cornell. A panel of current and former Cornell presidents plus the Harvard president—all graying eminences—sat in Bailey Hall discussing higher ed challenges. When Beth was asked to join the group on stage, all eyes were riveted on this person who projected an unbelievable amount of energy; her smile, her confidence, her intellect, and her very red dress captivated and electrified every one of us. At today’s ceremony there was a portrait of Beth placed where she had sat that afternoon—a clear reminder of our loss.

The memorial ceremony (which you can watch here) was a somber affair. The chair of the Cornell board of trustees, a student mentee, a friend of 25 years, her Weill Cornell attending physician and the Cornell provost each spoke of Beth’s extraordinary energy, passion, intelligence and her ability to engage. It was her doctor who helped all of us in attendance today put this profound loss in perspective. Dr. Orli Etingen was with Beth on her last day. She related that Beth managed to whisper a request: “Tell them there is a great road ahead for Cornell.”

We only wish Beth could be on that road with us….


John H. Foote ‘74

Klarman Hall, Art for the Tech Campus & Class News


It’s been an unusual winter in Ithaca—not much snow, and temperatures ranging from the single digits to the mid-50s. The only thing for sure is that the days are getting longer and the ice on Beebe Lake is mostly melted.

night5-22-2In January, the new Klarman Hall opened on the Arts Quad.  It is the first new humanities building on campus in more than 100 years—yes, you heard that right—and is located behind Goldwin Smith Hall.  This spectacular light-filled structure contains faculty offices, seminar rooms, an atrium, an auditorium, and the relocated Temple of Zeus.  You can access Klarman Hall from East Avenue or from Goldwin Smith.  Check out photos of Klarman Hall here.

Construction is underway in New York City at Cornell’s Tech Campus on Roosevelt Island, with the steel for the first building already in place.  Prior to tearing down the old Goldwater Hospital on the island, Cornell worked with art conservators to locate, remove and conserve several murals in the hospital that were commissioned during the 1930’s as part of President Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration (WPA.)  The WPA employed thousands of artists between 1935-45 to create public art.  The four artists chosen for the hospital project each painted a mural in the hospital’s public rooms. One mural had been uncovered in 2001, and two were discovered in 2013 under layers of hospital paint.  One mural was never found.  Over the past few years these murals have been cleaned and restored, and the mural panels are now on display at Cornell’s Johnson Museum of Art.  The murals will eventually be installed at the new Cornell Tech campus.  To learn more about this fascinating project, click here.   To see the murals, visit the Museum’s website here.

Our class correspondents need news in order to write the class column for Cornell Alumni Magazine!  If you have an update about yourself or a classmate–regarding retirement, a new job, a wedding, a class you are taking, a new or old hobby, travel, whatever—please send it to Jim Schoonmaker at, Lucy Babcox Morris at, or Helen Bendix at  Thank you!


Dale Lazar

President [Notable] Class of ‘74


Welcome Letter

Happy New Year!

2016 presents several opportunities for classmates to attend Cornell events in various cities around the world. New Cornell President Beth Garrett is doing a World Tour in the first six months of 2016, with speaking engagements across the US (Philadelphia, Florida,California, Boston, Dallas, Oklahoma and Chicago) and globally (Mumbai, Beijing, and Hong Kong.) She will outline her priorities and goals for the university in her alumni talks.  Check out the dates of these speaking gigs and register here.

We welcome your suggestions for Class of 1974 events and initiatives.  In fact, your Class of 1974 officers and class council members are meeting later this month to do 2016 planning during Cornell’s annual volunteer leadership conference in Philadelphia.  We are also partnering with other classes of the 70’s to host a reception over the conference weekend.  The reception is Friday evening, January 22, and the location is the Pyramid Club at 1735 Market Street.  The University will send an announcement about the reception shortly, so watch your in-box for details.

Speaking of bold plans, 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.

Cornell students are currently on winter break. Classes begin on January 27th.  To see what the campus looks like this winter, check out the live CornellCam here—not much snow on the ground right now in Ithaca.

Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2016.



Dale Lazar

President [Notable] Class of ‘74