Alumni honored at Homecoming
On a picturesque fall weekend, Cornell alumni gathered in October to celebrate Homecoming, and see five distinguished graduates of their alma mater recognized for their accomplishments.
Lois Hetland ’75 was honored with the Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award for her work at Harvard’s Project Zero on the way arts education influences understanding and knowledge. Hetland, who spoke several times in the week leading up to Homecoming as part of the Beta Omicron Distinguished Alumni Visitors program, is a second-generation Cornellian. Her mother and father met on the Hilltop and were married in King Chapel on their graduation day in 1942. In 1965, they returned to Mount Vernon, with her father, Mel Hetland ’42 taking a position as chair of Cornell’s education department. She and her four siblings all graduated from Cornell, she met her husband there, and, as she told the assembled crowd, their education at Cornell laid the foundation for their success in their various careers. Hetland spent nearly two decades as a teacher before earning her master’s and doctoral degrees from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education. She has also shared the results of her research in six books, over 70 papers and articles, and at many professional conferences.
Also honored at the convocation were three Leadership and Service Award-winners—Robert
Engel ’55, Lee Swanson ’60, and long-time class agent Robert Pierce ’75—and Young Alumni Achievement Award-winner Dr. Barron Bremner ’96. Engel, a long-time supporter of the college, served as a earned a Ph.D. in Education from the University of Iowa and served as special assistant to two presidents at UI. He has been heavily involved in church-related higher education, serving on national and state boards and in 2005 receiving the Francis Asbury Award, a lifetime achievement award
given for his contribution of United Methodist Higher Education. Swanson has spent more than
40 years working at the State Bank of Cross Plains in Wisconsin. He spent 15 years as president of the bank and is now chairman of the board. He was the inspiration behind the Beta Omicron Distinguished Alumni Visitors Program. Bremner, son of Cornell fixture Barron Bremner, is an orthopedic surgeon in Des Moines. During his residency at the Mayo Clinic, he was named Adult Reconstruction and Trauma Resident of the Year and won the Surgical Arthritis Foundation Award and the Orthopaedic Knowledge Award.
On Friday, three staff members from the Office of Alumni and College Advancement were named Honorary Alumni. Lora Baltes, Denise Hanna-Bennett, and Sheri Hotz have all worked for Cornell for 25 years. Interim President Jim Brown was also named an honorary alumnus.