Audeh ’85: Cornell provides solid basis for success

Aida Audeh ’85 credits her Cornell education with preparing her for graduate school in art history—even though she majored in philosophy and psychology.

Aida Audeh '85“Graduate school requires self-discipline, energy from within, and focus,” Audeh says. “I had a wonderful liberal arts education at Cornell College that is the foundation of my art history studies at the graduate level.  I count my success in higher education—particularly my M.A. and Ph.D. in art history—as my greatest achievements.”

After Cornell Audeh completed law school at the University of Iowa and worked in politics at the Iowa Statehouse for about four years. She became interested in art and subsequently earned her advanced degrees in art history at the University of Iowa, specializing in the 18th–19th centuries in Europe. 

Today she’s a professor of art history at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota.

“To become a professor, like the professors I met at Cornell College, is very gratifying,” she says. “The faculty at Cornell College set the bar very high for me as a professor myself, as they were so dedicated to student learning in a liberal arts setting.”

Audeh says it’s becoming more unusual to find private colleges that support traditional liberal arts, with strong programs in the fine arts and humanities. “Cornell maintains these traditions and provides a very solid liberal arts education that provides the basis for a successful future, no matter what your chosen profession,” she says.

Her favorite course at Cornell wasn’t in her majors or even in art. It was Professor of Music James Martin’s History of Rock and Roll, which opened her eyes to the possibilities of studying cultural developments from a historical perspective—something she does with her own students now in art history.

If you’re interested in Cornell, she’ll tell you that the block plan is a great way to delve into one subject at a time without distractions. She adds that Mount Vernon is a beautiful small town within close enough proximity to the diversity and cultural offerings of Iowa City and Cedar Rapids.

Ultimately, though, she’ll emphasize this: “Cornell is a gem. It’s a small college where faculty really do have the opportunity to work closely with students and mentor them, where the focus truly is in the liberal arts traditions.”