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Peace talk while war rages

  Campus Digest  

Sean Farren, a negotiator for peace and former executive minister in Northern Ireland, speaks to a Cornell politics class.

A day after the war with Iraq began, peace negotiator Sean Farren spoke of his efforts to end the conflicts in Northern Ireland, where thousands have died in three decades of violence brought on by religious, social, and political differences.

“Our challenge is to foster a more tolerant, respectful, reconciled, and ultimately integrated society living in peace and as much harmony as humanly possible, in whatever constitutional framework is decided upon—whether we live within the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom, as at present, or within a united Ireland as many would like,” Farren told about 400 people in King Chapel for the annual Small-Thomas Lecture.

Farren, a former government minister in Northern Ireland, was senior negotiator during the interparty talks that led to the Good Friday Agreement of 1998, which began the peace process; however, implementation of the process has been slow, he acknowledged.

Commencement traditions

This year marks the 30th anniversary of affinity seating at Cornell commencement exercises. Since 1973, seniors have signed up to sit with their friends rather than be seated alphabetically.

A student speaker was added to the ceremony that first year, and Steven Espe ’73 was chosen. Classics professor John Crossett began a tradition when he became the first faculty speaker in 1975.

Prior to 1962, baccalaureate was held on a Sunday and graduation the following Monday morning. In 1962, commencement was moved to Sunday and both were held on the same day. The separate baccalaureate service was terminated after commencement 1970 in favor of a combined baccalaureate-commencement service in 1971, ’72, and ’73. Baccalaureate was then dropped until 1977, when it was restored and held in the morning with commencement in the afternoon, as it has been ever since.

King Chapel amphitheater inaugurated

The spring music and arts festival known as WAGstock became the first event staged on Cornell’s new amphitheater west of King Chapel. The space, created as part of the Marie Fletcher Carter Pedestrian Mall, includes flowering trees and a large bed of daffodils. Megan McKamy ’03 (pictured) opened for recording artists Ellis and Margot Wagner at WAGstock, sponsored by the Womyn’s Action Group (WAG).

Too much of a good thing

The Health Center’s Month of Good Well was a resounding success, engaging more than 200 faculty, staff, and students in healthful activities that earned them points toward prizes. Participant Jackie Lockridge Wallace ’71, assistant director of institutional research, provided comic relief when the Health Center forwarded her e-mail to all who were participating:

“I just wanted to tell you how stressed out this is making me! Do you know how hard it is to get 8 hours of sleep a night when I also need to read, work on a hobby, meet with a friend, and walk? Also, if I drink all that milk (ick, hate it) and 8 glasses of water a day I couldn’t possibly sleep without 4 trips to the bathroom.

“You guys are just too sadistic!!!!

“I've been getting points for not drinking alcohol but that is going to end soon! I must drown this stress!

“I am just hoping to get enough points for the back-rubber so I can rub out these tight, stressed muscles.

“Have a great day! No more time to write, I must eat carrots.”

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