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Campus Digest: In Brief


Tired of bragging about Cornell? Exhausted by listing the virtues of your alma mater? Why not let someone else do it for you? Or, rather, why not let the national college rankings do the talking?

It was a banner year for Cornell in the increasingly popular college ranking system. It started at the beginning of the summer, when a new survey from Forbes ranking 569 undergraduate colleges and universities placed Cornell College 71st nationally and first in the state of Iowa. What’s more, that high ranking earned it a spot as one of “30 Surprises.”

Cornell was also called one of the nation’s best institutions for undergraduate education, according to The Princeton Review in the 2009 edition of its annual book, The Best 368 Colleges. Only about 15 percent of America’s 2,500 four-year colleges and two Canadian colleges made the book

Want more? Cornell was also named to the “Colleges of Distinction” guide for 2008-2009. Colleges of Distinction selects schools “that exhibit the four distinctions that make a college truly great: engaged students, great teaching, vibrant communities, and successful outcomes.” Sounds about righ

Finally, the granddaddy of them all, The 2009 U.S. News & World Report Guide to America’s Best Colleges, ranks Cornell College in the top tier among 265 national liberal arts colleges and features it among “Schools to Watch” and “Great Schools, Great Prices.” Cornell ranked 88th among 248 liberal arts colleges and, even more telling, was listed ninth on “Schools to Watch,” a list of schools making “the most promising and innovative changes.”

Cover of Colleges of Distinction

Mercer hired as CFO

Karen Mercer has joined Cornell College as the vice president for business affairs, treasurer and chief financial officer. Mercer was vice president of administrative services for Graceland University and brings many years of experience in other senior finance roles. She attended Graceland College for three years and completed her bachelor’s degree in finance and an MBA at Texas Christian University. Mercer is a certified public account and a certified treasury professional.

Headshot of Mercer

Upcoming Alumni Events

Do you like good food? Nostalgia? Large maps of campus plans? Multimedia presentations? Have we got the events for you! Rub shoulders with current and former Cornellians at any of the events below. For more information visit, or call the alumni office toll free at 1-877-MVERNON (683-7666).

Feb. 5
Bonita Springs, Fla., Campaign Event
March 6-7
Division III Wrestling Championship @ Cedar Rapids, Iowa
March 7
Colorado Alumni Annual Ski Day @ Copper Mountain
March 14
St. Louis Campaign Event
April 25
Washington, D.C., Campaign Event
May 30
Denver Alumni Reception at the Colorado Rockies game
June 21
Madison, Wis. Area Picnic

What’s your major?

Bad pick up line? Sure, but also a common question for graduates. For fully one-third of the graduating class of 2008, there’s more than one answer to that particular query, as 33 percent earned at least two majors. Another quarter of those 240 graduates had at least one major and minor.

The top five majors, in order, were:
1) Economics and business
2) Psychology
3) English
4) Kinesiology/physical education
5) TIE: history, and biochemistry and molecular biology

But if you add together elementary, secondary, and music education majors, then all graduates earning an education major would bump out history and biochemistry, tied with kinesiology for fourth.

Among minors, the most popular were psychology, anthropology, music, philosophy, and Spanish.

Logo gets a facelift

Cornell College has added a crest to its established logotype. This new logo treatment provides visual shorthand and quick recognition of the institution.

The college logotype in use since 1987 has become linked to the college visually, yet the logotype alone did not provide a signature presence. For the past several years we have searched for an icon to combine with the logotype to generate a stronger visual appeal. Focus groups showed a dichotomy between alumni and prospective students’ reactions to using King Chapel as the icon.

Working with graphic designer Ian MacDonald ’07, a crest was developed with a strong collegiate feel. Using elements from Cornell’s official seal, the crest captures the history and tradition associated with Cornell, as well as our capacity for innovation. The elements of the seal used in the new logo are the founding year, the open book (symbolizing revealed knowledge or education), and the Latin verb educimus, meaning “we lead out” (i.e., into enlightenment). The tagline is One Course At A Time. The dashes have been removed in order to connote a more fluid, dynamic experience.

New logo

Cornell Library by night

During their recent visit to campus, the father/son team from FJ Gaylor Photography captured an interesting shot of Cole Library, illuminated well into the night as students study, read, and prepare for another day.

View a larger image as it appeared on the back cover of the Cornell Report.

Kutcher and Moore talk on OC

Celebrities on the OC

While Iowa gets most of its political loving during primary season, a few famous natives stopped by to share their views during the presidential campaign.

"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result,” said Ashton Kutcher, television and movie star and Iowa native, while joined by his equally famous wife Demi Moore, “and for the last eight years we’ve been doing the same thing expecting different results.”

Stumping on the Orange Carpet for Barack Obama, who unveiled his service initiative at Cornell in December 2007, Kutcher and Moore made light of their support for Obama, saying “he’ll tax people like us to help out people who really need it.”

Kutcher was certainly, well, animated, in his support for the Illinois Senator, while Moore delivered a slightly less forceful pitch for the next president. Brandon Routh (aka “Superman”) was also in Iowa on the same mission (though not at Cornell). Scarlett Johansson (Lost in Translation, The Prestige) also visited Cornell during primary season.

Kutcher and Moore talk on OC

All in the family

Most of us bear a slight resemblance to our relatives, but when Thomas Bowman, the great, great nephew of Cornell founder George Bryant Bowman, visited Cornell, we couldn’t help but notice the resemblance! Several generations later, and the Bowman good-looks are still intact! Maybe the California sun has something to do with it—Thomas lives in California currently, just as George did after leaving Cornell.

Headshot of George BowmanHeadshot of Thomas Bowman

Small world

Sometimes, even going to the furthest reaches of the world isn’t enough to leave Cornell behind.

Tom LaMotte ’56 found this out on a recent trip to Ireland. While searching for a secluded part of the Irish countryside, LaMotte found himself on one of the Aran Islands in Galway Bay with a population of only around 250. There, in a quiet restaurant called Teach an Tae (which we’re sure means something to the Irish), LaMotte struck up a conversation with the owner and his wife … Alissa Zimman Donoghue ’01!

Suffice to say, it was a surprise to both of them to find a fellow Cornellian so far from the Hilltop. They exchanged stories about Cornell and commemorated the occasion with a picture.

LaMotte and Donoghue


Cornell’s digital saturation is nearly complete. Now prospective students, alumni, and current students have a place to share photos, stay in contact, and keep tabs on what’s happening on campus. If you have a Facebook account, all you have to do is click here or search for “Cornell College” and choose “Become a Fan.” It’s that simple!

Cornell also has its own channel on YouTube where it has nearly 30 videos showcasing the campus, the academics, and the students. To find it, simply go to CornellCollege. You can subscribe to be alerted to new videos, or just watch them at your leisure!

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