Cornell Class of 1959 donates $220,000 to renovate historic King Chapel, annual fund

MOUNT VERNON – As part of their 50th reunion gift, the Cornell College class of 1959 has donated over $220,000 in cash and pledges to the college for King Chapel renovations and the annual fund.

“This gift represents the class’s commitment not only to the ongoing budget of the college, but to King Chapel and its importance to our class,” said class gift chair and long-time college trustee Jerry Ringer.

“I was more than willing to lead this effort knowing that my class would come through,” added Ringer, a Mount Vernon native.

The bulk of the gift will help fund the planned renovation of the exterior of King Chapel, the 127-year-old centerpiece of Cornell’s historic campus. The renovation of the chapel will include the shoring up of the walls, replacement of the roof, repairs to the clock and clock tower, and the addition of an elevator. The remaining portion of the Class of 1959 reunion gift will go toward the annual fund to directly support the student experience.

“King Chapel is the very heart of our campus. It has served as a gathering place for students, faculty, and community members for over 125 years, and has played host to historic speeches ranging from Martin Luther King Jr. and Frank Lloyd Wright and memorable performances by the likes of the Chicago Symphony and others,” said Peter Wilch, vice president for alumni and college advancement. “The Class of 1959 gift will help to ensure that students for generations to come will have the same experiences, and we are grateful for their tremendous generosity during an important milestone in their lives.”

The Class of 1959 gift is part of Cornell College’s comprehensive campaign Extraordinary Opportunities: The Campaign for Cornell College which will continue through December 2009. The campaign will enhance the Cornell experience by increasing the college’s endowment, upgrading its facilities, and enhancing the academic program.

For more information about the campaign or making a gift, visit or contact Peter Wilch, Vice President for Alumni and College Advancement at 319-895-4315 or