Will Widmer ’04 receives Young Alumni Achievement Award

Cornell is proud to acknowledge the outstanding accomplishments of Will Widmer ’04 by awarding him the Young Alumni Achievement Award. Following is his award citation, read during the Alumni Convocation at Homecoming 2019. (Come back soon for a video of the ceremony.)

Will Widmer '04
Will Widmer ’04

After graduation from Cornell with a bachelor’s degree in sociology, anthropology and a minor in music, you received a master of fine arts degree in documentary photography from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. 

Since then, you have been based in San Francisco, Chicago, London and most recently, New Orleans. You have been a regular contributor to The New York Times since 2010 and cover news and feature stories for the paper throughout the country with a focus in the deep South. Your work appears in publications including Mother Jones, National Geographic, The New Yorker, ProPublica, Smithsonian, TIME, and The Washington Post. 

Although you’ve won awards and your photographs have hung on museum and gallery walls, you say the most rewarding part of your work as a photographer continues to be its requirement to simply show up, ask questions, look deeply, and learn from the people you meet. 

Your focus is on the relationship between people and the environment, exploring themes of human ecology, environmental and social justice, and the changing landscape of the Gulf Coast region.

Although the fullness of your career lies ahead of you, it is with great pleasure and deep respect that Cornell awards you the 2019 Young Alumni Achievement Award.