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Father's Wish For Daughters' Education Carries Through 5 Generations


Dee Ann Rexroat '82


Paul Nichols Smith ’20 and wife Samara G. Perrine Smith (who attended summer music school at Cornell and is the sister of Beahl T. Perrine of the Hall-Perrine Foundation, a major supporter of Cornell), with son, Jack, and daughter, Barbara Smith Greer ’50

Brian did not choose Cornell because of the family connection, he says, but rather for the One-Course-At-A-Time academic calendar and the friendliness he encountered during his campus visit.

All six members of this family attended Cornell (from left): Gladys Smith McNeilly ’15, Paul Smith ’20, John Newton Smith 1887, Rachel Nichols Smith 1882, Stuart Smith ’20, and Vera Smith Kempf ’09.

“Now that I’ve attended for two years, I’ve found that my experience has exceeded my expectations. Not only are the professors a joy to be in class with, but the classes are stimulating, challenging,” Brian says. “The friends I’ve met at Cornell have allowed me to see new avenues of living. I’m able to be in Mount Vernon, Iowa, and have friends from Seattle, Portland, Colorado, Minnesota, Chicago, and Philadelphia. At Cornell I’ve expanded into a 20-year-old who doesn’t recognize his 18-year-old former self. This experience is truly incredible.”

The experience is surely different from that of his great-great-grandmother in the 1880s. But the results of their liberal Cornell educations may be similar.

“I can see the huge influence Cornell College has had, not only on our immediate family and the many cousins who have attended, but also on the education and culture it has given to so many, especially Iowans,” continues Ruth McNeilly Buck, one of the non-Cornell graduates in the family. “Just think what it did for those early pioneers who thirsted for education and culture!”

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