Holland Winfield boarded a bus in Austin, Texas, on a Saturday in April, destined for Mount Vernon, Iowa. He wanted to see the campus and decide whether to study and play football at Cornell. Along the way his luggage was lost and he waited for six hours at two stations, through two detours, and for a bus driver who was late. He was due to arrive in Cedar Rapids by noon Sunday, but at 3 p.m. that day he was deposited in Des Moines with instructions to catch the next bus at 4 a.m. He had no cash, no clothes, and nowhere to sleep.
Winfield then placed a call to the admissions office. I was in the worst mood and the people I got to talk to were incredible, he says. Football coach Steve Miller 65 contacted former football player John Gilliland 89 in Des Moines, asking him to pick up Winfield and meet admissions counselor/assistant football coach Tim Lovell 97 in Newton, en route on I-80. When Lovell arrived Gilliland had fed him dinner as well.
Despite the odyssey, Winfield will attend Cornell this fall. It was definitely the people who were the cornerstone in my decision to attend, he says. Gilliland was one of them.
Why else would an alum do something like that for just a visitor, Winfield asks, unless the school had brought him up right?