Graduates with distinction
Lois Hetland '75: "Schools don't sell any product—they sell a service. It's students who are a school's true legacy, not test scores. It's the people who walk out the door who are the product of quality education. When a test can show the intellectual and moral character of those people, maybe I'll care more about test scores."
At Homecoming Lois Hetland '75 was honored with the Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award for her work at Harvard's Project Zero on the way arts education influences understanding and knowledge. Hetland, who spoke several times in the week leading up to Homecoming as part of the Beta Omicron Distinguished Alumni Visitors program, is a second-generation Cornellian. Her parents met on the Hilltop and were married in King Chapel on their graduation day in 1942. In 1965, they returned to Mount Vernon, with her father, Mel Hetland '42 taking a position as chair of Cornell's education department. She and her four siblings all graduated from Cornell, she met her husband there, and, as she told the assembled crowd, their education at Cornell laid the foundation for success in their various careers. Hetland spent nearly two decades as a teacher before earning her master's and doctoral degrees from Harvard's Graduate School of Education.
Also honored were three Leadership and Service Award-winners—Robert Engel '55, Lee Swanson '60, and long-time class agent Robert Pierce '75—and Young Alumni Achievement Award-winner Dr. Barron Bremner '96.
Engel, a life trustee, earned a Ph.D. in education from the University of Iowa and served as special assistant to two presidents there. He has been heavily involved in church-related higher education, serving on national and state boards and in 2005 received the Francis Asbury Award, a lifetime achievement award given for his contribution of United Methodist Higher Education.
Swanson has spent more than 40 years working at the State Bank of Cross Plains in Wisconsin. He spent 15 years as president of the bank and is now chairman of the board. As a Cornell trustee, he was the inspiration behind the Beta Omicron Distinguished Alumni Visitors Program.
Bremner, son of Cornell fixture Barron Bremner, is an orthopedic surgeon in Des Moines. During his residency at the Mayo Clinic, he was named Adult Reconstruction and Trauma Resident of the Year and won the Surgical Arthritis Foundation Award and the Orthopaedic Knowledge Award.
Photos by Jamie Kelly