Dear classmates –
I started to write “The Class of 2020 has settled in on campus,” but then I wondered: which campus? To us, there is but one campus: the one far above Cayuga’s waters. But today, “campus” could just as well be Cornell Medicine or Cornell Tech in Manhattan, barely above the waters of the East River, or Cornell Medicine in Qatar on the Persian Gulf. Cornell is always
changing, as I saw in July when I was in Ithaca. The Ag Quad is dug up so workers can access the steam pipes to Martha Van, and will be entirely re-landscaped by next fall. Klarman Hall, between Goldwyn Smith and East Avenue, is the first new humanities building on the Arts Quad in over a century, and provides a beautiful new atrium space and venue for the Temple of Zeus. A new MBA Center is going up in Collegetown on the site of The Palms. And work is finishing up on Cornell Health (the former Gannett Clinic).
Lots to report in this class letter:
- Marty Sherman, our immediate past class president, gets well-deserved recognition as a recipient of the Frank H. T. Rhodes Exemplary Alumni Service Award.
- Our first-ever Presidential Debate Live Chat was a great success.
- Rachel Stein ’18, our previous Class of 1973 Scholarship recipient, reports on her spring semester in India.
- The Classes of ’71 – ’74 continued their recent tradition of joint events with tours of the US Botanical Garden and American Indian Museum in DC and the Queens Botanical Garden in New York City.
Marty Sherman receives the Frank H. T. Rhodes Award
At a dinner attended by about 200 Cornell alumni volunteers, deans, and administrators (including former president Rhodes himself) during Homecoming on September 23, Marty Sherman ’73, MPS ’75, was one of seven volunteers awarded the Frank H. T. Rhodes Exemplary Alumni Service Award. This is Cornell’s highest award for volunteer leadership. Established in 1994 to honor Cornell’s beloved ninth president, the Rhodes Award “honors alumni who have demonstrated extraordinary service to Cornell through long-term volunteer activities within the broad spectrum of Cornell’s various alumni organizations. Such service may be reflected in the leadership roles that the individual has assumed, or through the unique contributions made by the individual as a part of his or her service to Cornell. Consideration is given to the length and depth of the individual’s activities; however, gifts are not among the criteria used to select honorees. University trustees are not eligible for consideration until they are no longer active members of the board. A maximum of six awards may be presented annually.” (Note: One of this year’s awards was presented to a Cornell couple.)
Marty chose a particularly appropriate theme for her very moving acceptance speech. As a professor in the Sloan Program, she has to grade her students’ projects, and of course no one wants to get an F. But that is the grade she gives her Cornell volunteer experience. Find out why…
Marty’s Cornell volunteer resume is too long to list here. Suffice it to say she has served as an officer (invariably including being president) in every type of Cornell alumni association, from the Cornell Alumni Association, Cornell Association of Class Officers (CACO), and Cornell University Council, to regional clubs, school and program alumni organizations like the Cornell Hotel Society and the Sloan Program, and of course, the Class of ’73. For our class, she served five times as Reunion chair or co-chair (including for our first Reunion), class correspondent, and president.
Marty is an innovator in every organization she is part of. For our class, she was the inspiration and driving force behind the affinity networking program that brought us increased participation in our 35th and 40th Reunions, and which has been used by many classes since then. She initiated a program to find lost classmates, and started annual leadership retreats and strategic planning for the class. In the Sloan Alumni Association, she saw that the graduate students had no real chance to form an emotional bond with Cornell during their two years here, so she initiated Ezra’s Amazing Race as an intense but fun way to expose them to the history and lore of Cornell.
I think of Marty as one of my two “Cornell parents.” She challenged me in 2007 to exceed my 30th Reunion affinity networking results, and connected me with classmate Larry Taylor to develop that program. That challenge, and Marty’s support and encouragement through the years, led to my own career as a Cornell volunteer in the class, CACO, the Cornell University Council, and more. I am sure she will be serving Cornell in many ways for a long time to come. Congratulations and well done, Marty!
Presidential Debate “Live Chat” draws a spirited crowd
On the evening of September 26, the Class of ’73 held a first-ever Presidential Debate “Live Chat” for members of the classes of 1971 through 1974. Between 60 – 70 members of those classes gathered online to give their spirited comments while watching the debate. Dave Ross ’73, our classmate and a nationally known commentator on the CBS Radio Network, acted as moderator. Many members of the classes responded positively to the invitation and the event. My favorite comment, from Joan Trifilio ’71, was: “It was a lot of fun. I felt like my classmates were in my living room yelling at the TV with me.” Many hoped that we would do more live chats, including future debates. So we’re doing another one on October 19 for the foreign policy debate. Click here at 8:30 PM Eastern Time. No pre-registration is necessary. Just login as a guest and start typing.
This event was the brainchild of Jon Kaplan ’73, former Class of ’73 president and longtime class Cornell Fund representative (and with Marty Sherman, my other “Cornell parent”). It grew out of work Jon did earlier this year. He wanted to understand why classmates who were engaged with Cornell in other ways, such as by donating to the Cornell Fund and/or attending local Cornell Club events, did not pay class dues. He and our class treasurer, Danielle Trostorff, did a phone survey of some classmates. What emerged from it was that these involved classmates had developed strong affinities with other Cornell units over the years, and the class, as an affinity, was relatively weak compared to the intensity of these other relationships. However, there was a strong feeling among those surveyed that class-sponsored online forums on topics of interest would be a way to provide value to classmates, regardless of the strength of their attachment to the class. We formed a task force with class officers and council members to survey classmates as to their interests, and figure out how to execute this idea. One thought was to piggyback on existing events in some way, and that thought led Jon to contact Dave about doing something in connection with the presidential debates. With help from Lauren Morgenstern and the Alumni Affairs staff, we were quickly able to get the Chatroll software up and running on our web site, and the result was a fantastic, first-time-for-Cornell event.
News from our class scholarship recipients
As you may remember, Rachel Stein ’18, our scholarship recipient in 2015-16, spent the Spring 2016 semester in India. Her travel advice is, “monkeys are cute, but…” After spending the summer interning with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Sullivan County, NY, she is back in Ithaca. Read her story here.
Classes of 1970 – 74 visit botanical gardens
The Class of ’73 has long partnered with its “cohort” classes of the early ’70s for joint events. Two recent events were spurred by Nancy Roistacher, president of the Class of 1972. She and her husband Wayne Merkelson ’73 are longtime supporters of the Cornell Plantations, and together with the Plantations staff they organized joint class events this summer at the US Botanical
Garden and the Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC, and the Queens Botanical Garden in New York City. As one of our Midwest classmates lamented: “Sometimes it is very frustrating to live so far away!”
- November 26: Cornell men’s hockey takes on the UNH Wildcats at Madison Square Garden. Watch for news of pre-game festivities!
- February 3 -4, 2017: Cornell Alumni Leadership Conference in Baltimore. Watch for news of class dinner (all classmates are invited) on Friday evening.
I look forward to seeing you at a Cornell event soon.
Best regards —
Paul M. Cashman
President, Cornell Class of 1973