Letters Summer 2015

One of the best

Your spring 2015 issue is one of the very best I have read since I graduated from Cornell 61 years ago. I matriculated with the Class of 1951, but the Korean Conflict delayed my graduation until 1954. As a third-generation Cornellian, I was especially struck by the extensive coverage of first-gen alumni, a couple of whom I knew way back when. As a longtime, very active volunteer at our local hospital, I found the piece about Dimensions to be of special interest. Thank you for such an informative and entertaining publication each and every time.

John R. Wright ’54
Brattleboro, Vermont

First-gens are diverse too

Whether people know it or not, not everyone who lives in Iowa is white. And not every first-generation college student in Iowa is white (passing). But when articles and pictures appear on covers and in articles, such as in the recent Cornell Report, that portray first-generation college students as predominantly white, the message it sends to potential students of color is, you do not belong.

As an African American first-generation college student and alumnus of Cornell College, this is not the message that should be sent. My entire professional career since receiving my Ph.D. from the University of Iowa has been dedicated to trying to dismantle systemic messages just like this one. As I travel across the country speaking to middle school, high school, and college students of color, I hear over and over again the belief that they do not feel supported or welcomed. The fundamental belief that college is not for them is clear when even first-generation college students are portrayed as all white (passing). Where do they belong if not at Cornell College? You tell me? Because the cover and profiles in the current Cornell Report do not. I’m sure hoping y’all will consider doing a series on first-gen students and Moore visible diversity, particularly African American first-gen Cornell Rams, can be profiled.

Dr. Eddie Moore Jr. ’89
Brooklyn, New York

Editor’s note: It was an oversight not to reach out specifically to our many alumni of color for this feature. We’re addressing our oversight in two ways. First, we have added six amazing stories by first-generation alumni of color to the online spring 2015 Cornell Report. We are also going to work closely across the college’s departments to ensure that future stories do a better job representing the diversity of our alumni base and that they include alumni of color.

Enjoyed alumni stories

I very much enjoyed reading the autobiographical contributions (“First-gens rise up”) in the spring issue of the Cornell Report. I was reminded of the time when we raised the Deskin Fund, an endowment fund to celebrate the retirement of Professor William A. Deskin. When we called alumni (yes, we used telephones in those days), we found not only a willing participant but also, the best part, someone who was eager to tell us why coming to Cornell College and getting to know Bill Deskin had been a life-changing experience.

Addison Ault, Professor emeritus, chemistry
Mount Vernon, Iowa

Dean appreciates good content

Simply elegant in design, format, and content! You have once again given the alumni a comprehensive understanding of the amazing journey today’s Cornellians are fortunate to experience. Congratulations to you and the members of your staff!

Fond memories of my 12 years on the Hilltop persist as I recognize my 90th birthday next month. Somehow, my days at Cornell become more meaningful as the years slip by.

Stuart Good (dean of students 1957-1969)
Anacortes, Washington