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September 2014 Class Letter

Dear Classmates,

As you know, 2015 marks the 150th anniversary of Cornell’s charter. I want to tell you about the Sesquicentennial celebrations in general and what the Class of ‘73 is doing in particular.

Join the Class of ’73 at Sesquicentennial events

The online hub for all things Sesquicentennial is There you can learn the details of regional celebrations and the Charter Day Weekend festivities in Ithaca next spring.

Celebration in NYC, 9/13/2014

Celebration in NYC, 9/13/2014

Besides the regional events organized by the University, look for the 100+ regional Cornell Clubs worldwide to have their own Sesquicentennial events, including live-streaming the Charter Day activities.  One reason why people don’t attend Cornell events is because they think they won’t know anyone, so your class officers and council members will act as Class of ‘73 greeters at many events. For those events, local classmates will get an email from the Class of ‘73 greeter inviting them to the event. The email will have a link to the event’s “See Who’s Coming” page so they can see whom they may know (whether they’re classmates or not). At the event, the Class of ‘73 greeter will seek out and welcome classmates and introduce them to others. Our goal is to make you feel welcome at Cornell events, and encourage you to attend them as often as your schedule allows.

As regional events are announced, we will post them to the class Facebook page and include Class of ‘73 greeter information where there will be one. At the time of this writing, Eliot Greenwald will be the Class of ‘73 greeter at the Washington, DC event on November 14, 2014, and Jon Kaplan will do the honors at the San Francisco event on March 6, 2015. The Boston event on January 17, 2015 coincides with CALC, so there will be several officers and council members there to welcome you.

“There are places I remember…”

Who among us doesn’t have photos of our time on campus stashed away in that photo box?  The University Archives wants your favorite images to make a rich visual record of life at Cornell.   There are two ways to get the pictures to them:

  • If your pictures are digital, you can go to the Share Your Story section of the Sesquicentennial web site and upload them. Be sure to include your class year and identify the people and place of the picture.You can also upload stories of your time on campus. One classmate recalled that the day he got his acceptance letter, Time magazine’s cover showed the April 1969 takeover of the Straight. So he tried to buy every copy of the magazine in New York City he could find. Coming soon to the site: the ability to search for pictures by year.
  • Some regional clubs will have “scanning parties” where you can bring your old photos and have them scanned and uploaded to the Archives for you. Many clubs email their announcements to all alumni in the area, so watch for such an announcement from your local club. (The Cornell Club of New York will be having one on Friday, February 6, 2015. I’ll be working it, so stop by and say hello.)  At these parties you can also donate physical memorabilia to the Archives. Do your spouse or partner a favor and donate that old pledge paddle or stack of concert programs gathering dust in the closet!

Memorabilia isn’t all that Cornell collects. I recently donated a stack of Ithaca- and Boston-area restaurant menus from the ‘70s to the mid-‘80s to the Cornell Menu Collection (who knew?), and were they happy to get them! Now scholars of American gastronomy or novelists looking for period detail won’t have to guess what was served at Turback’s during the Nixon era.

“Give my regards to Susan…”  


Susan Murphy listening to students, as usual

On a non-Sesquicentennial note, our classmate Susan Murphy is retiring from her post as Cornell’s Vice President for Student and Academic Services after 20 years in that role and an additional 16 years in previous Cornell positions, including nine years as Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid. She will retire at the end of this academic year and spend the following year working with Alumni Affairs and Development. Your class officers and council hope that you will join us in honoring her by donating to the Class of 1973 Scholarship Fund.  Just click on this link and enter “Class of 1973 Scholarship Fund” in the box marked “Other designations or special instructions.” Alternatively, you can write in your donation to the fund on your Cornell Fund pledge card you recently got in the mail. After the end of the fiscal year on June 30, 2015, we will tell Susan the scholarship funds we have raised in her honor, the number of donors, and the number of first-time donors to the scholarship fund.

No one has served Cornell as long, prominently, and effectively as Susan. Her accomplishments include moving all first-year students to their new North Campus housing, leading the creation of the West Campus houses, and making student life better and safer through more comprehensive mental health practices and programs to end hazing and sexual assault.

She has been an active member of the Class of 1973 Council. She is such an inspiring speaker and advocate for Cornell that people who never made it to an 8:00 class get up to hear her speak at 7:30 at the annual Cornell Alumni Leadership Conference. In recent years at CALC, she’s taken a back seat in favor of showcasing students with outstanding leadership in areas as diverse as research, student government, and student services. After one such presentation I said to her, “Susan, those students make me feel like a slug!” She replied, “I look at it this way: People are impressed by these students, and will assume that I, as a Cornellian, am as good as they are. It raises the value of the brand!”

In our view, any classmate who so increases Cornell’s stature in the world is worthy of our recognition as a class. Given Susan’s long and intense interest in making Cornell accessible to all, in the broadest possible sense, we feel that making a special Class of 1973 Scholarship drive in her honor would be very meaningful to her. So we encourage you to donate to our scholarship fund, which has supported fifteen different students since it was created in 1988. Any amount you would care to donate to this worthy cause would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Feedback from the last class letter

Finally, a classmate was intrigued by the description of MOOCs in my last letter and wanted to get in touch with the appropriate person(s) at Cornell to suggest a course idea. I was able to put him in touch with the professor in charge of CornellX and then with the dean of the Faculty of Computing and Information Science so he could make his case. If there is anything I can do for you, feel free to contact me anytime at pcashman21 (at) And as always, if you have any Cornell- or class-related news or pictures, even if it’s just from getting together with a Cornell friend, post it to our class Facebook page.

Best regards,

Paul Cashman

President, Cornell Class of 1973