Cornell College Department
About Cornell Academics Admissions Alumni Athletics Offices Library
Home > Cornell Report > Fall2005


FALL 2 0 0 5

Garvin takes a seat in classroom

  Campus Digest  

Geology professor emeritus Paul Garvin ended a 36-year career at Cornell.

Geology professor emeritus Paul Garvin’s students could become his classmates in the fall, when Garvin intends to enroll in a French course, and then maybe a German course in the winter.

Garvin ended a 36-year career at Cornell, during which he was given the Distinguished Science Teaching Award by the Iowa Academy of Science (2001), wrote a book on his life’s work, Iowa’s Minerals: Their Occurrence, Origins, Industries, and Lore (1998), and taught hundreds of students who have built successful careers.

“It’s been a great experience. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed what I do, and what I’ve enjoyed most are the associations with students, the mentoring,” he said.

Garvin intends a busy retirement schedule, teaching a Cornell Chautauqua course, continuing his research at Iowa’s Linwood Mine, working with the Office of the State Archaeologist, and even maintaining his position at the bongos with Cornell’s steel drum band, Pandemonium. After his wife, Ellen, retires in June from Cornell’s alumni and college advancement office, they plan to take a mission trip for the Mormon church, hopefully to Latin America.

In his honor, the geology department has established an endowed fund, the Garvin Fund, to support student research in mineralogy and economic geology. To contribute, go to, or mail a donation to Alumni & College Advancement Office, 600 First St. West, Mount Vernon, IA 52314.




Cornell senior Ryan Taugher lived with nomadic Bedouins in the southern Jordan desert during part of his study-abroad experience. He helped care for his host family's camels.


Man of the world

Ryan Taugher’s study-abroad semester in Jordan through the School for International Training included serious learning: Arabic, Islam, gender studies, Arab culture and society, the impact of modernization and development, and the history of the region.

But he also had fun.

“I learned why you shouldn’t get water from the Dead Sea in your mouth, how to pick olives, what an Arab bachelor party is like, and how to ride and steer a camel like a pro,” said Taugher, a senior international relations major from Madison, Wis.

“I also learned about myself, and the role which I—and the United States—play in the world.”

At Cornell’s ninth annual Student Symposium in April, Taugher was one of a record 95 students giving 75 presentations on research findings. His independent study project examined the Jordan program that trains Iraqi police officers, managed by the United States and its partner nations. In interviews with U.S. and Iraqi officials, trainers, and Iraqi citizens, he learned the officers leave understanding tactical skills but lacking much knowledge of Iraqi law or human rights.



Relay for Life raises $32,000

About 350 people from the campus and Mount Vernon communities circled Cornell’s indoor track for 12 hours en route to raising $32,000 for the American Cancer Society. The Relay for Life tally was $10,000 over the goal and $15,000 over the 2004 take.

Leading Cornell’s efforts were co-coordinator Emily Bretl, a student from Orland Park, Ill., whose sister survived breast cancer, and chemistry professor emeritus Truman Jordan, who survived malignant melanoma but saw his longtime colleague, former Cornell religion professor David Weddle, lose a son to leukemia.

“We don’t do Relay for Life because I survived or because Dan Weddle died, but because both of us had this experience. All of those alive should work to try to make it possible for more to survive,” Jordan said. Money raised helps aid in research, education, advocacy, and patient services.




President Les Garner (left), Gilda Vinzulis Boyer ’84, and Barry Boyer ’84 contributed matching pledges that helped the Class of 2005 raise more than $25,000 in the Senior Challenge.

Senior challenge success

With a little help from their friends, the Class of 2005 raised over $25,000 from the Senior Challenge. The contributions, pledged over a five-year period, will support Cornell’s Annual Fund.

Seniors pledged $13,631 over five years. Gilda Vinzulis Boyer ’84 and Barry Boyer ’84 offered a dollar-for-dollar matching challenge grant, up to $10,000. Another incentive was President Les Garner’s pledge of $20.05 for each senior who contributed; his gift was $1,904 for the 95 seniors who pledged, a 41 percent giving rate. The total amount pledged, including the matching gifts, is $25,535.

“The Class of 2005 responded to the challenge and definitely set the bar high for future graduating classes,” said Kristi Webster Columbus ’96, Annual Fund director.



Name that grad

Seniors known as “Spacedog,” “Ducky,” and “That Girl” have crossed Cornell’s commencement stage in recent years, obligingly announced to the audience by Dennis Damon Moore, dean of the college for the past 18 commencement ceremonies. There’s usually a good story behind each nickname, as we learned from Michael “P-Money” Helgens ’05.

One of four Mikes in the student organization Chess & Games, he was assigned the nickname “Money” because he was the group’s treasurer. The “P” came later.

“Over my four years here the name became part of who I am,” he says, noting it was even a little prophetic. “I have also served as the Student Senate chair of the Appropriations Committee and was the student representative on the college’s budget committee.”

Reading graduates’ nicknames, if they request, is part of Cornell’s effort to make commencement all about the students, who can sit with friends rather than in alphabetical order. Even with Moore’s retirement, the nickname tradition will continue, says Brenda Tooley, Cornell’s new dean.


<< >>
Maintained by: Office of College Communications Last Update: July 15, 2008 8:39 am
600 First Street West, Mt. Vernon, Iowa, 52314 ©2004 Cornell College; All Rights Reserved