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Mom graduates summa cum laude

  Campus Digest  

Tami Garvin ’04 shows her diploma to her daughter, Abby Frerichs.

Among the proud parents at commencement was Tami Garvin ’04, who graduated summa cum laude, with honors, with a BA in English as her two children, Scott Frerichs, 12, and Abby Frerichs, 10, looked on.

Three years ago Garvin resumed a college career that had started traditionally enough. After high school graduation in 1982, she enrolled at the University of Iowa, but stayed only a semester before moving to California. She worked for an orthopedics company, becoming national sales coordinator, and then product manager by age 23. At 25 she married a high school classmate and returned to Iowa. After 12 years, they divorced.

Encouraged to apply to Cornell three years ago by her Realtor, Roger Stigers ’65, Garvin discovered the OneCourse-At-A-Time schedule perfect for a parent with two schoolchildren, who were in class the same hours she was. OCAAT is normally a challenge for non-traditional students—those over age 25, which is less than 2 percent of Cornell’s enrollment—who have young children or jobs to juggle.

Like many recent grads, Garvin is job hunting. One professor suggested she pursue graduate school, but Garvin quips, “my kids would run away” if forced to share her with more studies.

“I may go, but then I’ll probably be 60,” she jokes.

Her mother, who recently retired as director of volunteers at a California hospital, had graduated summa cum laude from the University of Northern Iowa when Garvin was in junior high school.

“Tami will be good for the world, wherever she goes and whatever she does,” says her adviser, English professor Rich Martin.

Kudos for video

Cornell’s sesquicentennial video, produced by Matt Miller ’94, has collected a bevy of awards:

• 2003 Telly Award finalist, bronze award winner. More than 10,000 entries annually come from all 50 states and five continents for this highly respected competition.
• 2003 Communicator Award, Crystal Award of Excellence in two categories: art direction/creativity and education institutions/college. There were 2,867 entries from 48 states and 11 other countries.
• CASE (Council for Advancement and Support of Education) District 6 gold award for the script, silver award for the video.
• 2004 Summit Creative Award, bronze, public relations/corporate image category.
• 2004 Clarion Award, honorable mention in the national competition sponsored by the Association for Women in Communications.

Charles Milhauser listens as student Jessica LaSusa, portraying Clara Brackett, tells her story during the historical tour of campus at homecoming in October. Milhauser received a state honor for his work on the tour.

Historian Milhauser honored

The State Historical Society of Iowa has honored Cornell historian Charles Milhauser for his popular campus tours.

Milhauser received a Certificate of Recognition in the annual Loren Horton Community History Award competition. The Horton award recognizes the best project that increases awareness and participation in Iowa history on a local level. The certificate recognizes an outstanding project related to an education activity.

Milhauser, of Tequesta, Fla., is Cornell classics professor and registrar emeritus, and author of Cornell College: 150 Years from A to Z. Since 1980 he has led 365 campus tours. During the sesquicentennial homecoming last October, the tours incorporated seven Cornell students and Peter Hoehnle ’96 reenacting legendary characters from Cornell’s past. Milhauser wrote the original historic tour script as well as the reenactment scripts. Several hundred alumni attended each of four tours, led by Milhauser and Dee Ann Rexroat ’82, chair of Cornell’s sesquicentennial committee. Response was so positive that Cornell plans to offer the reenactments again this year at homecoming.

Murder mystery yields jazz opera

The story of a Cornell alum who died under mysterious circumstances in a Ford plant has become a jazz opera. “Forgotten: The Murder at the Ford Rouge Plant,” about the Rev. Lewis Bradford, Class of 1908, premiered in May in Detroit.

Bradford was a minister who worked with the poor during the Great Depression. He followed his calling to the massive Ford plant in Dearborn, Mich., organizing workers and trying to interest Henry Ford in developing better relationships between workers and management. Ford rejected his overtures and in 1937 Bradford died as the result of an “industrial accident” at the plant.

Washington, D.C.-area jazz pianist and activist Steve Jones, a distant relative of Bradford, wrote the opera after looking into his family tragedy. Bradford’s autopsy was found after a two-month search at the Wayne County, Mich., Medical Examiner’s office, and revealed that his injuries were not consistent with a fall and probably should have been labeled a homicide.

“That discovery propelled me to tell Lewis Bradford’s story so that his efforts for a better world would never be forgotten,” Jones said. “This is a pivotal time in union organizing and this guy is right in the middle of it.”

Lewis and his wife, Ella Baker Bradford, graduated from Cornell College in June 1908 and were married the next day by Ella’s brother, Earle Baker, Class of 1908. Earle was a Cornell trustee from 1928 to 1958 and was vice president of Cornell from 1948 to 1957. His daughter, Beth Baker Mast ’37, helped provide Jones with family history.

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