Recruiting new Cornellians

Kanesha Lee Baynard ’94 and Tahlee Baynard ’97
Kanesha Lee Baynard ’94 and Tahlee Baynard ’97

Some alumni love their Cornell College education so much that they feel compelled to share it, not just by telling people about it, but by convincing high school students that Cornell might be the right choice for their college experience, as well.

So it has been with Kanesha Lee Baynard ’94, and her husband, Tahlee Baynard ’97. The pair met at Cornell, and have been involved with the college ever since, with Tahlee teaching a course at Cornell and Kanesha serving as a class agent and having served on the college’s alumni board. They show that dedication to their alma mater to those around them, Kanesha said, and when asked about Cornell, they aren’t shy.

Part of their success in finding students who go on to Cornell comes from the fact that both are in contact with young people. Kanesha is an educator, and Tahlee is research science manager at Lockheed Martin Space Programs, and does outreach to support science, technology, engineering, and math education.

Young people want to know why the couple chose Cornell, and why, of all places, they would have gone to college in Iowa. One thing they focus on, of course, is Cornell’s One Course At A Time curriculum, and also the success that they’ve had, which they attribute to Cornell. But the main thing they focus on when talking to prospective students, Kanesha said, is the experience that they had. That experience, which enabled their success, which introduced the couple in the first place, and which has sustained life-long connections, is a compelling story, and helps convince some students that Cornell is the place for them.

The other thing that helps convince students is the college’s admission office. Kanesha said she tries to encourage young people who might be interested in Cornell to visit the campus.

“I always want people to visit in October,” she said, because the campus is so beautiful then. But even if they can’t come to see the fall colors, a visit is important, she said, and the admission office does an excellent job personalizing visits and responding to requests. That responsiveness in turn helps convince students that Cornell is a good choice.

“The personal touch is important,” she said.