Fall 2016: In Brief
Brackett House reopens as a B&B
After extensive renovations, Cornell’s Brackett House has reopened as a bed and breakfast. The house, located just across the street from the main campus, was built in 1877 by William Brackett, a builder who completed work on King Chapel after the original contractor went bankrupt.
Brackett House now features four suites, each of which is named for a woman who played a significant role in Cornell’s history: Bess Medary 1915, Clara Brackett Smith 1881, Elisabeth Smith Ford 1915, and Professor Harriette J. Cooke, who joined the faculty in 1857 and was the first woman in the United States to receive a promotion to full professorship with a salary equal to that of her male peers.
The renovations included exposing hardwood floors, updating the bathrooms, restoring woodwork, and completely refurnishing the home.
The house is available to the general public for private receptions, weddings, and other events. Catering is provided by Bon Appétit, which also manages Cornell’s award-winning dining facilities. The food is locally sourced, with seasonal ingredients.
For more information or to make reservations, visit bracketthousebnb.com.
WEB EXTRA: Get the full stories on Bess, Clara, Elisabeth, and Harriette at bracketthousebnb.com
Meet the new faculty
Six new faculty have joined the Cornell community.
With the phased retirements of kinesiology professors Ellen Whale and Steve DeVries, the college has hired Justus Hallam, who will specialize in exercise science, and Christina Johnson, who will focus on psycho and social aspects of exercise.
Steven Neese will begin teaching psychology as Carol Enns and Sue Astley enter phased retirement. He brings expertise in neuroscience.
The theatre department has hired Caroline Price, who will head up the acting program, and Artist in Residence Alvon Reed, who leads the new dance program. Their appointments come after the departure of Professor Jim VanValen and the retirement of Artist in Residence Jody Hovland.
Michele Petersen is visiting assistant professor of religion, following the retirement of Joseph Molleur. Petersen’s teaching interests include courses in Christian studies and comparative religion.
Van Etten-Lacey House gets its own ‘mini-me’
Folks strolling past the Van Etten-Lacey House often do a double take when they see the little lending library out front. It’s a pint-sized version of the real thing. The Van Etten-Lacey structure is one of at least five little free libraries in Mount Vernon.
Located less than a block east of campus, the Van Etten-Lacey House opened in fall 2012 as the home of the Center for the Literary Arts. Classes and literary functions are held there, and it also serves as the office for the Robert P. Dana Emerging Writer Fellow.
According to Professor Glenn Freeman, chair of the English & Creative Writing department, hosting a little free library was the brainchild of his colleague Rebecca Entel when she was directing the center. Local artist Andy Gemmell built it. When it was dedicated, people brought an eclectic mix of materials to put in the collection, which is available to passersby. Learn more about the little free library movement at littlefreelibrary.org/
New names, unified approach
Cornell’s professional development centers came together to create a one-stop shop for career and professional development activities—preparing students for life after Cornell. The newly formed Berry Career Institute will be the single resource for internships and job searches, career identification, resume and cover letter creation and review, mock interviews, and graduate school prep. The Institute also operates the signature Cornell Fellows program.
The McWethy Program for Economics, Business, and Public Policy; Dimensions Program for Health Professions; and Program for Law & Society will function as distinctive programs under the Berry Career Institute to provide additional resources for students seeking opportunities in those fields. The Berry Career Institute team is located in the Thomas Commons near the Orange Carpet.
The perfect email address
If there’s ever been a Cornellian with an appropriate email address, it’s baseball coach Seth Wing: firstname.lastname@example.org. There is no truth to the rumors that Cornell is recruiting a basketball coach named Rachel Ebound, a track coach named Sam Print, or a volleyball coach named Sarah Etter.
Summer means a different kind of grading
Last June when Cornell students headed home for their summer break, seven of their professors finished their final block class and plunged into a different kind of grading: advanced placement tests for high school students.
Professors Leon Tabak, Ross Sowell, David Yamanishi, Ann Cannon, Jim Freeman, Kara Beauchamp, and Suzette Astley are among the Cornell faculty members who have scored AP exams. Some also develop questions for the exams and lead workshops for high school teachers to learn how to teach AP courses.
Reading the exams and working with other high school teachers helps professors better understand incoming students.
“The work has given me greater knowledge of what is happening in high schools and in that way equipped me to better serve the students that those schools send to us,” Tabak said.
$650,000 grant for STEM students
The National Science Foundation awarded Cornell College almost $650,000 to support students with financial need who are entering a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) field of study.
The grant will provide students a scholarship of up to $10,000 per year for up to four years.
“This funding will provide access to Cornell’s excellent educational opportunities to those who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford it,” said Professor of Physics and Engineering Kara Beauchamp, who will coordinate the project. “The college will implement several initiatives intended to improve retention of students in STEM fields, including housing scholarship recipients together on one residence hall floor in their first year.”
Students will be paired with an alumni mentor, take part in career planning, and receive funding for travel to scientific meetings or industry visits.
Cornell will identify 14 first-year and transfer students to receive the grant money starting in the 2017-2018 academic year. Four additional transfer students will be added for the 2018-2019 academic year.
Gammas are serious about their getaways. A group of about 20 men who graduated in the 1990s has been doing getaways for 15 years. The group, all of whom were members of the Gamma Tau Pi fraternity, varies in size from year to year, according to co-organizer Jeff Lloyd ’99.
“We have a core of three or four who usually go, and then several others that might go every few years, or even just once. Normally, the group is about eight to 10 people,” he says.
They have gone to a new state every year, with the goal of getting to all 50.
“The trips have evolved from staying up and partying to trying to enjoy the culture a bit more,” Lloyd says. “We typically golf and then throw in something a little different: lobstering, shark fishing, sea kayaking, river kayaking, clay pigeon shooting, hiking, biking, fly fishing, zip lining, brewery tours, and so on. We really enjoy each other’s company while reliving the ‘glory days’.”
The group last met in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, during Labor Day weekend.
Starks donate $1 million
Jon Stark ’52 and his wife, Terry, have graciously donated $1 million to fund internships and other experiential learning opportunities for students through the Berry Career Institute.
During a recent trip back to the Hilltop, Jon Stark said a lot has changed about the campus, but his love for the school has not changed at all. They have supported Cornell through the years, and he was a member of the Board of Trustees from 1989-1997.
“I couldn’t see anything better that we could do,” Jon Stark said.
Their gift has created the Stark Endowed Fellowship through the Berry Career Institute, a one-stop shop for career and professional development activities.
“Employers expect students to have practical experience in today’s market, but sometimes pursuing those experiences isn’t a financially viable option,” said Jodi Schafer, senior director of the Berry Career Institute. “This is especially true for many exceptional internship opportunities, which are often times unpaid. The funding made available by Jon and Terry Stark eliminates that barrier and ensures a greater number of students are truly job-ready once they graduate.”
WEB EXTRA: See the Starks talking about their gift.
What’s your Rock story?
We’re collecting stories on the wanderings of The Rock for an upcoming issue. Did this 5,000-pound piece of Cornell history move when you were a student? Do you have a story to tell? Contact email@example.com