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Campus Digest: In Brief

Students open gallery

The Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) chapter at Cornell has only been around for two years now, but it's already leaving a mark, both on campus and in the Mount Vernon community.

The team won four awards at the Chicago Regional SIFE Competition in April 2010, its first regional competition. The team received the Rookie of the Year and First Runner-Up awards. Karen Mercer, SIFE advisor and Cornell's vice president for business affairs, received the Sam M. Walton Free Enterprise Fellowship. And Kait Wiszt '10, president of the SIFE chapter, received the Service Leadership Award.

The gallery, called Gallery Off First, opened in October with works by the art faculty and their colleagues. But the plan is to expand that and offer a professional gallery space for student, faculty, and community artists to present their works to the world.

Student gallery

(Photo by Nicholas Richards '11)

King gets a new crown

King Chapel's roof is as strong as it ever was-and likely stronger. Workers spent five months tearing off old slate shingles, repairing supporters, and installing lighter composite shingles on the 1882 chapel. The work is the first phase of a $2.5 million renovation and restoration of the National Historic Register building. The next steps include repointing the masonry and installing an elevator.

Facebook logoWeb extra — see photos of the progress on the Cornell College Facebook page

King Chapel repairs

New look for Old Sem

The first floor of Old Sem got a makeover last summer. Residence Life and the Registrar's Office switched places, and walls came down to open up a central space for a number of student services. The new look was designed to give students easy access to make financial and registration transactions.

Old Sem renovations

(Photo by Jamie Kelly)

Tree in memory of alum's Cornell roots

Nearly 50 people came together on campus in October to honor the memory of Todd Stichnoth '83, who died in February.

The gathering around his memorial tree was the highlight of Homecoming for Stichnoth's friends and classmates, as well as for his family, who came in from the Quad Cities, wrote Terry Murphy '85. Stichnoth, who worked for 21 years at Runge Mortuary in the Quad Cities, was an AXE. About a dozen current AXEs attended the ceremony as well.

"The significance of the tree, gathering of friends, and exchanging of kind words meant the world for the Stichnoth family," Murphy said.


Click image to enlarge.

(Photo by Terry Murphy '85)

Soar above the Hilltop

Everyone knows that Cornell has a beautiful campus, but what makes it so? Art Professor Tony Plaut '78 talks about the Historic Register campus in an aerial tour video posted on the Cornell News Center.

Plaut explains that the way campus is laid out, the types of buildings, and the location of the college in Mount Vernon all contribute to a sense of balance, and that's what makes it so appealing.

In the three-minute video, using footage shot from a helicopter in May, Plaut talks about the features that make Cornell special.

"One is the simple fact that we're on a hill," he said. "The campus is not built in such a way that it tries to fight against the topography of the land. We haven't tried to build the campus to conform to a geometric grid. Instead, the campus has slowly grown up in a somewhat organic fashion, and this produces a lot of charm."

Web extra — see the video

Aerial photo

(Photo by Kirk Hayden)

Cornell asks to join Midwest Conference

After nearly 15 years competing in the Iowa Conference, Cornell is hoping to go back home, so to speak, to the Midwest Conference it helped found in 1921. The college has submitted a letter of inquiry to the Midwest Conference seeking to become its newest member.

"We already have longstanding academic relationships with the majority of schools in the Midwest Conference, so the ability to expand on those relationships and increase our visibility in areas where we have large and active groups of alumni provides a great opportunity for our program," said John Cochrane, athletic director for the college.

Cornell is a member of the Associated Colleges of the Midwest, which includes seven schools in the Midwest Conference. The Midwest Conference provides NCAA Division III intercollegiate championship competition for 10 liberal arts schools located in Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin. Member schools are Beloit, Carroll, Grinnell, Illinois College, Knox, Lake Forest, Lawrence, Monmouth, Ripon, and St. Norbert.

In addition to the academic links to the other schools, Cornell has large numbers of alumni in places where the Midwest Conference competes, and draws many prospective students from those areas as well.

If admitted, Cornell would become a member of the Midwest Conference during the 2012-13 school year. Whatever happens, Cornell has no plans to stop playing against Iowa schools, Cochrane said, including continuing its rivalry with Coe College, which started back in 1891.


Sports Center fire

The Meyer Strength Training Room re-opened in early November with all new equipment after an August fire caused considerable smoke damage to the lower level of the Small Multi-Sport Center. The building was closed to the public for more than two weeks, and the weights, wrestling mats, and track equipment all were replaced. The fire, which started in the strength training room, was accidental, and the flames themselves didn't cause much damage, but smoke filled the building. Nearly the entire lower level, including both locker rooms and the arena, had to be cleaned and repainted.

Fire damage

(Photo by Jamie Kelly)

Cornell's 'Silver Girls'

Lora Baltes, Sheri Hotz, and Denise Hanna-Bennett (from left) came to Cornell in 1985 and have never left. Each has worked for all or most of her 25 years in the Office of Alumni and College Advancement and was given honorary alumni status by the Alumni Board at Homecoming. The trio works on the same floor of the Paul K. Scott Alumni Center.

Silver Girls

(Photo by Jamie Kelly)

Volleyball coach breaks 200 wins

Not only did Jeff Meeker hit 200 wins near the beginning of the season, he also led the volleyball squad to its fourth consecutive appearance in the Iowa Conference Tournament and was named Iowa Conference Coach of the Year. His team finished 6-2 in league play, a school best, and 17–17 overall.

Meeker's record stands at 211–216 in 13 years as a head coach. His record at Cornell is 150–148.

The volleyball team lost in the semifinals of the Iowa Conference Tournament to Loras, but came within a couple of points of earning its first championship berth since 2005. This is the fourth time in the last five seasons the team has finished with a record of .500 or better.

Jeff Meeker

(Photo by Kerry Kahl)

Ped Mall piper

With King Chapel undergoing renovation, new students got an al fresco introduction to the college at the annual New Student Convocation. The college held the convocation in the quad bordered by the Norton Geology Center and South and College halls. In a short ceremony—it was August in Iowa, after all—Interim President Jim Brown and the college's new Dean, Joe Dieker, welcomed 384 new students to Cornell. At the start of the ceremony, the students marched from Allee Chapel along the Ped Mall to the quad, walking past two lines of faculty and staff and led by a bagpiper.

Web extra — hear the bagpiper