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Campus Digest: In Brief

David Gergen delivers Delt lecture

David Gergen, political analyst, author, and advisor to presidents from Richard Nixon to Bill Clinton, was the Delta Phi Rho lecturer on May 5. He gave a message of hope from the King Chapel stage, citing the ways members of the millennial generation—including many Cornell students, he said—are committed to service. View a clip from the speech

David Gergen

(Photo by Aaron Hall '10)

Book tells story of '47 wrestlers

After wrestling with the subject matter over the course of several revisions, Arno Neimand is finally ready to publish the story of the 1947 national championship Cornell wrestling team. Neimand, a graduate of Cornell University and a wrestler, said the book was going through a final fact-check and edit, and would be ready for publication by the end of June.

The book, which has the working title "Miracle on the Mat," tells how the wrestlers in 1947—when Cornell had 800 students—were able to take on much bigger schools and dominate the NCAA and AAU championships. "It's a great story," Neimand said.

Cornell Fellows places 150th student

As it begins its fifth year, the Cornell Fellows program is ready to place its 150th student in an eight-week-long intensive internship.

Developed in February 2005 through the vision of Cornell trustee Dean Riesen '79, students in the Cornell Fellows Program have a chance to meet professional role models and leaders in their future career fields. The program has placed students in internships in bioscience at Baylor College of Medicine, teaching English in Japan, in sports management with the Houston Astros, in geology in Australia, and in numerous other jobs. In addition, the program provides a stipend to help with living and travel expenses. Fellows keep blogs about their experience, so supporters and others can keep up with what they've learned.

Web extraRead Paul Worrell's blog about his fellowship teaching English in Japan.

Cornell Fellow Paul Worrell

Paul Worrell '10 was the Mansfield Foundation International Fellow in Elementary English Immersion Education.

Handke named Academic All-American

Cornell College senior center Chris Handke was named to the 2009-10 ESPN The Magazine Academic All- America Men's Basketball First Team, as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).

Handke is Cornell's first CoSIDA Academic All-American since Anna Doherty '05 (women's cross country/track and field) and Phil Bilderback '06 (football) were selected to the second team. He is the first Ram to garner First Team Academic All-America honors since Matt Weiss '99 (football). Cornell's last first-team selection in men's basketball was Jeff Fleming '87.

Handke, who carries a 3.91 grade point average, majored in biochemistry and molecular biology. He is a three-time academic all-Iowa Conference selection and two-time first team academic all-district winner. A 41st round draft pick by the Los Angeles Dodgers last June, Handke plans to pursue a career in professional baseball this spring.

Handke pitching

(Photo by Kerry Kahl)

Rams named to All-Iowa Conference team

Chris Handke and senior forward Matt Lewis, who guided the Rams to a school-best 36 wins over the past two seasons, were both named to the All-Iowa Conference Men's Basketball First Team.

Junior guard J. Ryan Lott was selected to the league's second team, giving the Rams three all-conference picks for the second consecutive season. Handke was recognized for the second year in a row, earning second team accolades in 2008-09.

First-year center Camille Marie-Lidd was named to the All-Iowa Conference Women's Basketball Second Team, as well. The 6-foot- 2 post was the only first-year selected to either of the league's first two teams.

All Conference Selections

Clockwise from top left: Chris Handke, Matt Lewis, J. Ryan Lott, Camille Marie-Lidd

Islamic scholar heard on campus

Amina Wadud, a professor and Islamic feminist scholar, spoke about the relationship between Islam and gender and what it means to be an Islamic feminist as the Small-Thomas lecturer in April.

One of the world's foremost Islamic feminist scholars, Wadud was appointed professor of religion and philosophy at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va., in 1992, and retired in 2008 as professor emerita of Islamic studies. Her book, "Qur'an and Women: Rereading the Sacred Text from a Woman's Perspective," was banned in the United Arab Emirates but is used in Malaysia as a standard text for activists and academics.

Web extra — See part of Amina Wadud's speech

Amina Wadud

Amina Wadud (Photo by Jamie Kelly)

Cornell's got talent

Despite the name, the participants in the annual Faculty/Staff "No-Talent" Show acquitted themselves pretty well, and raised money for the college's alternative spring break program. More than a dozen acts took to the stage— well, the Orange Carpet, actually—and wowed the crowds who gathered.

There was piano playing, singing, choreographed dance moves a la the hit television show "Glee" and even some sleight of hand. The money raised went to support the trips students took over spring break to Louisiana and Texas to help with disaster recovery and food distribution.

Web extra — Check out video highlights of the show

No Talent Show

A group of staff keeps it rollin' with their dance to "Proud Mary." (Photo by Jamie Kelly)

Tee off—with discs

Students, faculty and staff, and community members can now get some exercise—and some beautiful campus scenery—playing disc golf.

The sport is exactly what it sounds like—golf played with Frisbeestyle discs. The program, initiated and funded by Student Senate, also includes discs labeled with the Cornell College logo that anyone with a Cornell ID can check out from the Information Desk. Players toss their discs toward metal baskets, and the holes are of varying lengths and levels of difficulty.

The nine-hole course starts in front of The Commons, continues in front of King Chapel and Law Hall, then winds its way back past South Hall, toward Ink Pond and Tarr Hall. The course is popular, especially on warm spring days, when students have a chance to wander around campus in their free time, soaking up some rays and some of the beauty campus has to offer.

Disc Golf

(Photo by Jamie Kelly)

Professor brightens days with cookies

Not every professor takes cookies to class, but when physics Professor Derin Sherman was young, he didn't know that. His father was a professor and had his mother bake cookies for faculty meetings. So when he was 6 years old, he thought that was something everyone did.

"I thought, 'Professors bring cookies into work,'" he said.

And his students are grateful that he did.

In the mid '80s Sherman was a graduate student and teaching assistant. He took cookies to a review session, and from there, it just grew. The most popular, he said, are the peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies, but he makes others as well.

Now he brings cookies to the first day of each class, to committee meetings, and as a mid-winter treat. That actually came out of a tradition from his wife's family. Around Valentine's Day, her family gave out small gift baskets as a way of cheering people up. His in-laws live in New Hampshire, which has a climate similar to Iowa. It seemed like a good idea to him, and it helped lift people out of the doldrums caused by the long, cold, often dark winter.

And it's grown more and more, with new departments getting deliveries of the gift bags.

"It's a pleasant surprise, with the promise of spring attached," he said.

And cookies. Don't forget the cookies.

Web ExtraDerin Sherman's recipe for peanut butter chocolate chip cookies

Derin Sherman and cookies

Physics Professor Derin Sherman, whose cookies make committee meetings and the first day of classes sweeter. (Photo by Jamie Kelly)

Students cope with loss of precious, precious Internet

Earlier this year, campus was hit with a 24-hour Internet outage. For students, this was a blow not just to their studies, but to the way they usually spend their free time, as well. The Cornellian talked with a few students to see how they coped.

Sophomore Joe Harrity was supposed to be doing research for a class project. Without the Internet, he couldn't, so he and some friends held a mock vigil for their loss instead.

Sophomore Sarah Levy said she read a book. "I think that with the Internet being so accessible, I tend to spend a lot of time doing stupid things there, but without that as an option, I started reading a book for fun," she said.

Senior Lizz Kepsel also took advantage of the time to be productive. "I crocheted my blanket, got a lot of work done, and finally spent some time with my roommates!" she said.


Trivia: Merner and Pfeiffer

Pfeiffer (1930) and Merner (1936) residence halls were the gifts of Henry and Annie Merner Pfeiffer. Henry was the uncle of Pauline Pfeiffer, Ernest Hemmingway's second wife. In October 1975 some students agitating for coed residence halls organized the CCCP, seemingly the Cyrillic letters for the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, but actually standing for "Cornell College Cohabitation Patrol." At first the administration resisted, but when the 1978 fall term began, Merner was coed by floor and Pfeiffer by sections of the floor. (From Charles J. Milhauser's "Cornell College: 150 Years From A to Z.")

Pfeiffer and Merner Halls

See what's happening on campus

There are a lot of cool things happening here on the Hilltop, and we want to make sure that you can keep up with the events at your alma mater.

So we now have another way for you to see the videos we shoot. Visit and you'll see videos of speeches, classes and other events from around campus.


Junior Michael Walden (in light blue) and Professor Xara (in gray), a visiting professional from the Roots Capoeira Wellness Center in Des Moines, demonstrate Capoeria, which combines martial arts, music, and dance and originated in Brazil. Cornell's Capoeira Club provides instructional classes, brings professionals to campus, and participates in trips and events. (Photo by Andrew Decker '10)