Finding yourself at Cornell College

Mackenzie Crow 18 and his mother, Jamie Saxon, have been through a lot together.

“Please don’t tell them about the time when I was three,” Crow said with a laugh.

They like to joke around as they go through this next big step in Crow’s life–moving away from college. It starts with packing up his room in his residence hall.

“I did a good job,” Saxon said.

“You took the gummy off the posters in my room. I’m proud of you,” Crow said.

Mackenzie Crow '18 with President Jonathan Brand. They are on the stage shaking hands during graduation.
Mackenzie Crow ’18 with President Jonathan Brand

“I’m going to put that on my resume,” Saxon joked.

Joking aside, the two think back on Mackenzie’s time at Cornell and say since the very beginning, Crow knew Cornell was the place for him. He flew in by himself from New Jersey to visit the hilltop campus during the application process.

“I will never forget, he called me from the curbside after his interview meeting and before his shuttle to the airport,” Saxon said. “I asked, ‘How did it go?’ He said, ‘Mom, I love it here and I think they love me.’ That was music to my ears, and ever since it has been an extraordinary experience.”

Crow transferred to Cornell after spending two years at a community college. He quickly rekindled his passion for theatre, focusing on the technical side. Working with theatre, sociology, and psychology professors, he was able to create his own major. He studied how lighting and sound design enhances the audience’s emotional experiences during live performances such as concerts. Crow graduated with his B.S.S. in media and production entertainment.

“I went through directing, acting, producing, then eventually I ended up in lighting work,” Crow said. “It was a combination of something I have an eye for, and I also know there are reliable jobs out there. That’s how I made my way into concert lighting. I really like music, and I think concerts are a wonderful experience.”

Mackenzie also took advantage of three off-campus courses in New York, Italy, and Chicago. It was through those experiences and many others that his mother says he discovered a lot. 

Mackenzie Crow '18 standing near a body of water in Italy
Crow during a course in Italy

“He found a way to become himself,” Saxon said. “As a parent, that’s all you want to see. You want your child to be happy, and you want them to feel like they have a place to go, and you want them to feel accepted, loved, nourished, and challenged. Cornell did all of that, every single day.”

Crow and his mother say they spend a lot of time spreading the news about Cornell College and the block plan. They say everyone they talk to is interested to hear more about it.

“It’s as rewarding as any other college experience, it’s just in a more unique, streamlined kind of way,” Crow said. “It’s going to be your experience, and one that a lot of people will listen to you talk about at the Thanksgiving dinner table, as opposed to someone who went to any other college.”

Saxon looks at her son as he graduates saying his focus and confidence have gelled during his time at Cornell, and that he found friends and professors to connect with. When he came in he didn’t know his path, but he certainly has one now.

“I’m so proud of Mackenzie, and I’m so happy that we found this school,” Saxon said.

Crow received a job offer as a technical assistant one week after graduation–after his first interview. On June 4, he joined BML-Blackbird, in Secaucus, New Jersey, which provides lighting, video, audio, and staging services for live event production in New Jersey, New York City, and around the country.