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SUMMER 2 0 0 4

Sesquicentennial closes

  Campus Digest  

Cornell artifacts, archival photos, and winners from the Rams All Around homecoming art project were exhibited at The History Center in Cedar Rapids to wrap up the sesquicentennial.

The sesquicentennial celebration closed with the publication of the first scholarly history of the college, and a May-July exhibit of college artifacts and archival images at The History Center in Cedar Rapids.

Emeriti history professors William Heywood and Richard Thomas co-authored Cornell College: A Sesquicentennial History. Following his retirement in 1987, Heywood began compiling Cornell’s history, working intermittently for eight years. Due to health setbacks, he was unable to complete the history, so Thomas stepped in. Author of the nomination that earned Cornell recognition on the National Register of Historic Places, Thomas devoted an additional two years in research to finish the scholarly history.

The two-volume set— Heywood’s Volume 1 covers 1853-1967, Thomas’ Volume 2 1967-2003—is the most comprehensive history of the college.

Around town

Mount Vernon voters approved in the spring an $8.9 million bond issue to build a new high school on land purchased from Cornell in 2001 just west of the current high school. Plans call for the construction of a 92,000square-foot high school. The current 72,000-square-foot high school will be revamped to accommodate grades five through eight.

Chameleon’s Pub and Grub in downtown Mount Vernon was named the 2003 Restaurant of the Year by the Linn County Pork Producers. Chameleon’s is known for its daily pork tenderloin sandwich and Saturday night allyou-can-eat barbecue baby back ribs.

The Lincoln Café was featured in the May issue of O, The Oprah Magazine, which credits chef-owner Matt Steigerwald with “shifting the plates (tectonic and otherwise) of physics professors and soybean farmers alike.” Steigerwald came to Mount Vernon four years ago with his partner, English professor Michelle Mouton.

Cornell Report receives national award

The sesquicentennial issue of the Cornell Report received a 2004 gold Magnum Opus Award in the info graphics category for the foldout time line of Cornell’s 150year history. Magnum Opus Awards are sponsored in conjunction with the Missouri School of Journalism. Robyn Hepker, of Benson & Hepker Design in Iowa City, has designed the Cornell Report since 1995.

Capitol day

The Iowa Legislature honored Cornell’s sesquicentennial in March, inviting President Les Garner to Des Moines to address the House and Senate, Chaplain Catherine Quehl-Engel ’89 to lead the daily prayers in both chambers, and the Cornell Concert Choir to perform in the Statehouse rotunda. (See featured photo page.)

Resolutions were read citing Cornell’s contributions and milestones in 150 years. Garner promised the college is looking “eagerly toward serving at least another 150 years.”

Japanese alums donate trees

The Japan Alumni Association donated six Kwanzan cherry trees that were planted in the spring west of Ink Pond, honoring Cornell’s sesquicentennial and the late Norman (Naonori) Yamaoka ’28, association founder. The trees symbolize the warmth and fellowship Japanese alumni feel for Cornell.

Times endorsement

The New York Times, in its Friday travel feature “36 Hours,” visited Iowa City in the July 9 issue and advised an evening road trip to the “pretty town of Mount Vernon” and dinner at the Lincoln Café. The article said: “After dinner, stroll up the hill to Cornell College, where students take just one course at a time for three and a half weeks. And yes, the founder was a distant cousin of the founder of Cornell University. (Cornell the college, begun in 1853, is a dozen years older than Cornell the university.)”

President Les Garner addresses Iowa legislators after the reading of a resolution honoring Cornell’s sesquicentennial.

‘Organized Chaos’ from Pandemonium

Pandemonium, Cornell’s popular steel drum band that debuted in 1997, has released its second CD, “Organized Chaos,” featuring 14 tracks arranged by music professor and director Martin Hearne, including his original “Ubeque Samba.”

Other songs include Carlos Santana’s “Flor D’Luna,” Lennon and McCartney’s “Blackbird,” Stevie Wonder’s “Don’t You Worry ’Bout a Thing,” and Roy Orbison’s “Pretty Woman.”

Among the band’s current members are Tjett Gerdom ’01, Jennifer Kohl ’02, and geology professor Paul Garvin, on the bongos.

“Organized Chaos” and “Six Layers of Shrimp,” the debut CD released in 1998, are available through the Cornell Bookstore (319-895-4378 or or from Hearne (

Summer off the Hilltop

Summer is no day at the beach for many Cornell students. Check out how several spent their time away from campus.

Phil Bilderback, biochemistry and molecular biology major from Port Orchard, Wash., participated in a cell biology program at the University of Massachusetts medical school, conducting research on the p53 tumor suppressor gene.

Whitney Rose Volker, studio art major from DeForest, Wis., worked at a day camp at the Navy base in Seoul, South Korea.

Kent Lehr, biochemistry and molecular biology and economics and business major from West Des Moines, Iowa, did research in the ophthalmology department at Harvard University, working under a professor studying the tarsal strap, a structure that is part of the lower eyelid.

Alissa Kulas, psychology major from Manitowoc, Wis., lived in a hostel in Tanzania, where she worked at a preschool and volunteered at an orphanage through the Africa Development Consortium.

Phil Bilderback

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