Jerry Ringer ’59, 2009 Leadership and Service Award

Jerry Ringer, your generous nature and steady reliability have made you a highly effective leader on the Hilltop over most of your lifetime. You have never not known Cornell, having grown up in Mount Vernon the son of a Cornellian.

View the award presenation and acceptance speech

Jerry Ringer '59
Jerry Ringer ’59 and Cornell President Les Garner.

You graduated Phi Beta Kappa 50 years ago, and after medical school and a residency, established your ophthalmology practice in Bloomington, Ill., and immediately began service on the Cornell Alumni Association Board of Directors. Ten years later, in 1980, you were elected to Cornell’s Board of Trustees and served nine three-year terms. Your distinguished service includes chairing the board from 1999 to 2002.

You and your wife Carole, an honorary alumna, have helped finance virtually every major campaign and major campus project over those years. From chairing the 1990’s Program for Cornell campaign, to honoring your parents with the Ringer Recital Studio, to creating the Ringer Distinguished Professorship, your support and leadership is exemplary.

Throughout the years you have been a leader in Bloomington-Normal civic enterprises, your local Presbyterian church, and your state and local professional organizations. You are past president of the Kiwanis Club, president of the Illinois Shakespeare Festival Board, and president of Senior Professionals, which serves Illinois State University. Cornell, as well as your local community, is indeed fortunate to be the recipient of your generosity and leadership. For all you have done, we award you Cornell’s Leadership & Service Award. Thank you, Jerry.