Spring 2011 Letters

Never better poised

To learn my alma mater successfully completed a $105.8 million Extraordinary Opportunities Campaign, the largest it’s ever undertaken, was one thing. To read in the most recent Cornell Report the depth and breadth of how the college benefitted in so many significant ways was truly a thrill.briefs-crown

King Chapel restoration? McLennan Center in Chicago? Paul K. Scott Alumni Center? Meyer Strength Training Facility? Commons expansion? Williams Endowed Visitors Series? Berry Center? Dormitory renovation? Professorships? Fellowships? Scholarships? Etc., etc

A lot of inspired, dedicated leadership—past and present—obviously went into this. Higher ed is a never-ending challenge, but I can never remember a time when Cornell was better poised for the future.

Mike Conklin ’69
Lake Forest, Ill.

Remembering the ‘Dream Team’

All I can say is that what Paul Scott accomplished with the 1947 Cornell College wrestling team was incredible and Arno Niemand tells the story wonderfully well in “The Dream Team of 1947.” Arno was a varsity wrestler at Cornell University and a 1956 graduate. Some time ago Arno discovered the Cornell College 1947 NCAA-AAU championship story and was intrigued. Arno spent several years researching and writing this fascinating story. It is an easy, entertaining read of only 134 pages.

Cornell College and my wrestling experiences changed my life. I entered Cornell in 1946 just three months after my 17th birthday. I knew I would never be much of an athlete and asked Coach Paul Scott if I could be the manager of the cross country team, as I felt that was my only hope for a varsity letter. I never got the hoped-for letter as a manager, but Coach Scott asked me to join the wrestling team. I told coach that I had never seen a wrestling match and he said, “So what. Neither had I before I came to Cornell.” I did as Scott requested and the rest of the story you will learn only if you read “Dream Team.”

Richard Small ’50
Tulsa, Okla.

P.S. I also thank Paul Scott for introducing me to my very special wife, Norma. And I did receive a varsity letter in 1949 after I won the Midwest Conference 165-pound championship.

Rest happily in Midwest Conference

When I was at my 50th class reunion at this year’s Homecoming, there was talk at the C-Club breakfast about Cornell rejoining the Midwest Conference. I was delighted to hear this and delighted again to read in the Cornell Report that we formally have approached the conference. I had never understood why we left the conference in the first place. When I asked at the college, there never was a good answer.

It is unfortunate that for the past several years, our student athletes competed against schools that were in most cases bigger in student population, and not as rigorous academically as Cornell. The result is unfair competition and losing records. Not a happy situation for those who participated.

I hope this time around we are reinstated and that we rest happily there. Some of my finest memories of my days at Cornell were competing against those other fine schools and developing relationships with some of the competitors who I would encounter later in life. I wish Cornell well in this endeavor and wait anxiously for more news on the subject.

Donald R. Utroska ’60
Lake Forest, Ill.


Likes portability of print

I just wanted to let you know that I really like the new format and the paper quality of the fall 2010 Cornell Report. I may be old fashioned, but I still like my magazines “in the flesh” or at least on paper, to be taken where I want to read them, and not glued to my computer’s display screen.

Henry Winokur ’74
West Bethesda, Md.


Redesign, content in sync

I finally found time to dive into the new Cornell Report. As usual, it’s an amazing package! With an innovative cover image, new binding, wonderful paper stock and easy-to-handle size, it’s a great redesign. But it’s what’s inside that counts. Even though I am not an alum, I found myself wanting to read everything. Great job all around!

Deb Wiley
Des Moines, Iowa

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New format welcoming

I just finished reading the beautiful new Cornell Report. What a lovely job you are doing to make this publication so attractive, informative and welcoming. Just to hold it with the smooth cover makes it something you want to read from cover to cover. And even though most of the names in it are not known to me it is fun to search for those I do know. It is also interesting to read about the great variety of things Cornellians are doing and have done. It is indeed a pleasure to receive this document each time it comes.

I especially enjoyed the pictures of King Chapel, for I was the chapel janitor for three years and spent long hours sweeping and dusting as well as ringing the bell every day to announce that Chapel was about to begin. Those photos brought back a lot of memories.

Don Struchen ’45
New York, N.Y.

Ginkgo memories

Charles Milhauser’s Cornelliana article connected my husband, William “Bill” Williams ’54, and I, both 80-year-olds, with memories of the years of our “being there.” It also reminded me of the poem I had written about that tree years after attending Cornell.

“Girl Beneath the Wishing Tree”
When I look back, she still sits there
beneath the Ginkgo tree
combing her hair. She doesn’t see me;
her eyes are fixed upon her mirror
and the full moon’s imagecornelliana-gingko
caught above her shoulder
like an ornament, waiting
for her true love’s face
to fill that sphere. I leave her
there upon the hill. Growing older,
I find less reason to call her down—
Besides, she wouldn’t hear.
Instead, with callused, wrinkled
fingers, I paint her picture
and show it to her children
who glance and turn away,
preferring me—they never knew her.

Beryle “Bea” Wood Williams ’54
Estes Park, Colo