Alumnus donates memorial for wife to Cornell College

MOUNT VERNON – A Cornell alumnus has donated $250,000 to the King Chapel renovation in honor of his late wife, Ruth “Gussie” Ohlsen Warden.

Charles and Ruth WardenCharles Warden and his wife both graduated from Cornell in 1941. Charles went on to a successful career in law and real estate.

The gift will fund the Ruth Ohlsen Warden Memorial Elevator in King Chapel.

“Cornell means a great deal to me. My wife and I were classmates, and I wanted something solid that would represent her and her memory. I wanted something physical and permanent. I couldn’t build a chapel, but I thought I’d do that,” said Warden.

Warden was a fighter pilot in WW II. He retired in 1980 from Western Federal Savings as a senior vice president, and served as a municipal judge, a lawyer, and director of the Federal Housing Administration for the state of Colorado. He received his law degree from the University of Iowa.

“We’re thankful for Charles’ generous donation,” said Vice President for Alumni and College Advancement Peter Wilch. “The improvements to historic King Chapel are a centerpiece of our campus renovations, and this gift will ensure accessibility for all to the many important events and speakers King Chapel hosts.”

Charles Warden’s 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