Krezek career ‘epitome of liberal arts education’

For some people, it’s about the destination. For others, it’s about the journey. You can put Michelle Krezek ’85 firmly in the latter camp.

“I feel like my professional career has been the epitome of a liberal arts education, given the fact that I have a degree in geology and a law degree, but haven’t really worked much in either field. In my career, I have had to be a good communicator, able to think on my feet, quickly assess a problem and define solutions, and execute on a plan,” she said. “Being able to be creative and flexible, take on new challenges, and influence others are all things that I learned at Cornell.”

KrezekKrezek’s journey has included myriad stops along the way in such disparate places as an urban and regional planning graduate program and a law school, from Boulder to Belgium.

She grew up in the Chicago area, but her parents are both from Des Moines.

“When I was growing up we drove through Mount Vernon going back and forth to visit my grandmother, so I was familiar with the beautiful campus. I ran track in high school where Ted Van Dorn ’73 was one of the track coaches. He encouraged me to stay involved in track in college and thought Cornell would be a good fit.”

Krezek says the deciding factor came when Cornell Athletic Director Barron Bremner, who attended the University of Iowa with her parents, joined them for a meal. “By dessert, I was sold! After spending a couple of hours with Barron, there was no way to say no!” she said.

After graduating with a double major in geology and environmental studies, Krezek entered the urban and regional planning graduate program at the University of Iowa. After working as a planner for the City of Dallas and Boulder County, Colorado, she started legal studies at Hamline University Law School in St. Paul, Minnesota.

With her law degree in hand, Krezek took a job with Level 3 Communications, a telecommunications company with fiber optic net-works around the U.S., Europe, and Asia. “Luckily for me, Level 3 moved its headquarters to Colorado, so we were able to move back to the Boulder area.” In 10 years she held a wide variety of positions, including working in Belgium. Eleven years ago she returned to Boulder County, where she has served as the deputy to the Board of County Commissioners.

In the years since she left Mount Vernon, she has kept up with her circle of Cornell friends.

“I still have an annual gathering with my Cornell crew. Luckily, we are usually able to squeeze in a few more visits each year. Once I moved to Colorado, I was happy to help Kathryn Falb Gutz ’57 with recruiting students from Colorado. More recently I have been on the Alumni Board, which is a great way to stay connected to the Hilltop and help continue the Cornell legacy.”

Krezek says she and her husband, John Wharton ’87, are entering a new phase of their lives now that their two boys, whom they adopted in 2007, are grown. And she says she’s prouder than ever of her Cornell connection.

“I love the student diversity on campus. It is great to come back to Cornell and see students from differ-ent backgrounds; and the commitment to first generation college students is wonderful. I am also pleased to see the improved facilities. I am happy that the improvements haven’t detracted from the beauty of the historic campus.”