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Sesquicentennial Homecoming

  Campus Digest  

Peter Hoehnle '96 portrays longtime Cornell president William Fletcher King at a stop along the homecoming campus tour.

Alumni and guests enjoy a night of dancing to a live band at the homecoming gala.

Mike Conklin '69, Alumni Association board president, leads the program following the homecoming gala dinner.

Author and campus historian Charles Milhauser (in purple) leads a campus tour during homecoming.

Sophomore Alex Wade portrays Frank Armstrong, the first African-American to graduate from Cornell, in 1900, on the homecoming tour.

Trustee Jerry Ringer '59 speaks about his parents, for whom the new Armstrong Hall recital studio is named.

The Kimmel Theatre stage is set for the fall production of Noises Off at the homecoming dedication of Cornell's fine arts facilities.

More than 1,000 Cornell alumni-a record number-returned to the Hilltop for Cornell's sesquicentennial homecoming, embracing the theme "It's Everyone's Reunion." Sunshine and rare mid-October temperatures in the 80s greeted visitors who enjoyed a packed lineup of events.

The gala

More than 650 alumni and friends of the college attended the Greater Cornell Club Gala in Cedar Rapids. The evening featured an all-alumni banquet dinner, screening of the sesquicentennial video produced by Matt Miller '94, and a drop of confetti and purple and white balloons before the dance floor filled with guests.

Campus tours

Author and historian Charles Milhauser (Cornell College: 150 Years From A to Z) and sesquicentennial committee chair Dee Ann Rexroat '82 led several hundred visitors on campus tours where bits of Cornell's history were shared by key figures from Cornell's past-including Cornell founder George Bowman, longtime president William Fletcher King, artist and benefactor Blanche Swingley Armstrong, and professors Toppy Tull and Harriette Jay Cooke, all portrayed by actors in period costumes.

Fine arts facilities dedications

Two facilities for the fine arts were dedicated, marking the completion of a $16.3 million revitalization of Cornell's fine arts program.

Kimmel Theatre is the new 265-seat, state-of-the-art venue for stage productions and lectures. The theater's primary funding was a $1.2 million gift from the Richard P. Kimmel and Laurine Kimmel Charitable Foundation Inc., in honor of Richard Kimmel '19. He studied psychology and economics and business, was a member of the Miltonian Literary Society and the debate team, lettered in tennis, and performed in Disraeli in 1916. The Kimmels were longtime Nebraska apple orchard growers.

Armstrong Hall, built in 1938, reopened last fall after renovations to modernize it for music and theater. Changes created the Plumb-Fleming Studio Theatre, a black box theater providing intimate and versatile space for student-written and student-directed plays, and the Ringer Recital Studio for theater performance classes as well as rehearsal and small-ensemble performances.

The estate of Ronald Fleming '32 and Winifred Plumb Fleming '33 provided $1 million for the arts campaign. Ronald earned a degree in music and was bandmaster for many eastern Iowa schools. Winifred earned a degree in English, participated in orchestra and the dramatic arts, and wrote for the The Husk. She became a teacher of English and dramatics.

The recital studio is named in memory of Frances and J. Burnett Ringer '27, parents of Jerry Ringer '59, a three-term member and past chair of the board of trustees. He and his wife, Carole, an honorary alumna, are longtime Cornell supporters.

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