Letters to the editor

Brand new era

Wonderful job on the Brand edition of the Cornell Report! The article introducing President Brand and his wife, Rachelle, helped all of us get acquainted with Cornell's next first couple. I had the good fortune to meet them at a Trustee event in February and was impressed with Jonathan's knowledge, sincerity, and ease of communicating with others. I have no doubt he will hit the ground running July 1. The article has helped everyone get ready for and look forward to a Brand New Era, indeed. Keep up the great work!

Sheryl Atkinson Stoll '70
Columbus, Ohio

Chapman piece is important contribution

The story of the involvement of Cass Chapman in the built environment of the campus and city has been told well by Dr. Peter Hoehnle '96. However, there is another story here that should be told. It is the story of a student determined to tell Cass Chapman's story and to give him a proper place in the history of the college and the city! Hoehnle's mission began with a research paper in a course in Midwest Rural and Urban Architecture taught for many years by Professor Lifson and myself. For almost two decades Hoehnle chased Chapman—every possible source was explored and every lead examined. Chapman finally had an admirer and champion! Some of us watched with amazement his breadth of research, the trips to see a rumored Chapman building, consultations with historians, poring over documents with little hope of finding any new source or information. There were many conversations and discoveries shared with his mentors who sent him on this chase!

After more than 15 years Hoehnle was satisfied he had enough information to share his years of research with all of us. His essay shows the results of patient research and excellent style that does justice to Chapman. The publication in the Cornell Report is an important contribution to our historical record and a tribute to a forgotten figure in shaping the city and campus environment that still honors and respects its past. Many thanks to both Dr. Hoehnle and the Report! Without both of you Chapman would still be virtually unknown. Amazing what some students will do with a Cornell course!

Richard (Rev) H. Thomas
Chaplain of the college and professor emeritus of history
Mount Vernon, Iowa

P.S. Thank you also for reporting the student initiated program related to the Old Sem takeover in 1968. There are still a few of us here who shared in that event and rather challenging years. The story of the most recent interest of students in that event is worth an article in itself. What is important now is to let those pioneers of the campus drive for equality in the 1960s and 1970s know their work was highly successful in creating a campus where diversity is prized. Some current students still want to learn from your courage and vision. Even though they do not know you, they respect your contribution and are still giving life to the same vision of genuine equality. It was important for some of us who were here at the Old Sem event to represent you at this testimony to your convictions. We did so humbly but with pride.

Chapman coverage appreciated

It was a joy to read the fine article about architect Cass Chapman in the recent Cornell Report. We have spent more than 30 years restoring our Chapman home (Pinky's Palace, 405 3rd St. SW) to its former grandeur.  We still have a ways to go but we are hoping our future retirements will find us putting some finishing touches on it. If any of your readers know of photos taken of the interior curved stairway, please send us a copy. Cass Chapman and Professor Hugh Boyd did a wonderful job on the house and our efforts are aimed at actually seeing the home that they visualized over a century ago.
Thank you for the article and the historic record.

Carol Hardesty Dillard '66
Mount Vernon, Iowa

Commons updates bring opportunity

I am extremely excited to hear about the plans for a renovated Commons coming to fruition. As chair of the student activities group PAAC, I spent most of my waking hours in The Commons helping to prepare, plan, and experience some of the best student programming on campus. Sitting just off the Orange Carpet it was obvious to me that The Commons was the heart of campus where the ebb and flow of the student body could be heard: Breakfast, heading to morning classes, class break, lunch, afternoon classes, and dinner all had their own sounds. By my senior year I could set my watch by the sound of the footsteps overhead.

I hope everyone remembers The Commons as a place of exciting and engaging student activities. Although The Commons served us well, we had to work around limitations of the building. With the planned updates, I'm excited to see what new opportunities will emerge for the future students of Cornell!

Ian Dees '06

Bill Taylor remembered

The brief mention in the last Report of a recent publication about Bill Taylor '61 and his leadership during the financial crisis of the early 1980s caught my eye. I Googled Bill Taylor FDIC and found the site www.kansascityfed.org with an online version of the book "Integrity, Fairness and Resolve: Lessons from Bill Taylor and the Last Financial Crisis." That publication may easily be read online. There were quotes from Cornellians Barron Bremner and Bob Bowman '62 as well as some good pictures of Bill and an overview of his Cornell experience. It provided a good remembrance of Bill Taylor, his strong ethics, remarkable foresight, and great success. I was very pleased that the Report made me aware of this interesting publication.

Ed Fordyce '63
Mount Vernon, Iowa


A photograph of the Paul K. Scott Alumni Center was incorrectly attributed in the spring 2011 issue. The photo was taken by Andrew Decker '10.

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