Bellito ’72 accepts Leadership & Service Award

Michael Bellito, class of 1972, you came to Cornell College by the encouragement of your college counselor, Floyd Hillman, class of 1947. In turn, you have inspired another generation of Cornellians to consider what you call “The Great Cornell.”

After college you pursued additional education at the University of Illinois for a master of arts degree in speech. You used that degree to advance your Cornell experiences with speech, theatre, English, and secondary education to enhance the classroom environment. For the next 32 years, you taught English, speech, creative writing, and mass media while heading the individual events speech program at John Hersey High School Arlington Heights, Illinois. You also met and married your wife Joani.

You retired from Hersey and continued teaching at Harper Community College for eight years. Following a stroke, you retired from teaching formally in the classroom, but that did not stop you from educating others. Your humor and gift of storytelling resulted in the publication of four books: “Ten Again,” a look back at life as a 10-year-old; “First Time Around,” an eighth-grader falling in love for the first time; “Abner’s Story,” a tale about the Cubs winning the World Series in 2020; and “The Silent Journey,” a non-fiction narrative about overcoming a stroke.

Your Hersey students fondly remember you as someone who was not only an inspirational teacher but someone who cared about them, and a role model for life.

On behalf of the Alumni Association Board of Directors and the entire Cornell community, it is an honor to present you with the Leadership and Service Award.