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WINTER 2 0 0 5

Students rally voters

  Campus Digest  


Valerie Koch and Jeff Bessmer

Cornell students Valerie Koch of Glen Ridge, N.J., and Jeff Bessmer of Clarksburg, Md., check in voters at Cole Library, which served as a satellite voting location in October.

Cole Library served as a satellite voting location in October when 506 area voters—the majority of which were Cornell students—cast early ballots in the national election, thanks to the efforts of junior Holly Davis, a third-generation Cornellian.

A state law allows residents to petition their county auditors to establish a voting site anywhere that is handicapped accessible and provides privacy for secret balloting. Davis led the drive to collect the required 100 signatures of registered voters.

“It’s not aimed at Democrats or Republicans. It’s just about getting people out to vote. I think that’s much more important than any candidate,” said Davis, of Lincoln, Neb. She is the granddaughter of Campbell McConnell ’50 and niece of Curt McConnell ’81.

Third-generation Cornellian and first-year student Valerie Koch is the Iowa coordinator for Rock the Vote, a national nonpartisan voter registration effort that targets young adults, which brought its bus tour to campus in October. She first volunteered with Rock the Vote in her home state of New Jersey.

“My senior year in high school I was surrounded by many apathetic seniors. I was not old enough to vote in the school board election, and I was upset that others were eligible but had decided not to vote,” she says.

Leading up to the national election, she corresponded with schools across Iowa and traveled to Iowa City to help the high schools set up voter registration tables.

Among Koch’s numerous Cornell connections are her father, John M. Koch ’77; grandparents, life trustee John S. Koch ’50 and Charlotte Cummings Koch ’50; and great-grandfather, Walton Koch, a Cornell physical education instructor and coach (1941–51).




Alumni by the numbers

Number of alumni in the college database: 12,687
Top 10 last names in database:
Number of alumni living in Mount Vernon: 141
Number of alumni living in Iowa: 2,616
State outside Iowa where most alumni live: Illinois
City outside Iowa with that claim to fame: Chicago
Number of alumni who work in education: 1,804
Number who work in financial services (includes accountants, analysts, bankers, brokers, investment/mortgage counselors, etc.): 705
Number who work as physicians: 277
Number who work as attorneys/judges: 694
Number who are CEO/company presidents: 196
Number who are actors: 6
Number who work in the Peace Corps/VISTA: 7
Number who work for the college: 14
Number who have graduate degrees: 4,001
Number who are zookeepers: 2



Yosuke Miyasaka, Jin-Won Song, and Yiyan Liu
Cornell’s international students include (from left) Yosuke Miyasaka from Japan, Jin-Won Song from Korea, and Yiyan Liu from China.

Global campus

International students enrolled at Cornell at the start of the academic year hail from around the globe:
Nepal (6 students)
Korea (6)
Bulgaria (3)
Ghana (3)
Ethiopia (2)
Japan (2)
Northern Ireland (2)
Zimbabwe (1)
Tanzania (1)
Mexico (1)
India (1)
Russia (1)
China (1)
Pakistan (1)
Canada (1)



Memorable melody

As a high school senior, Helen Munger Oakland ’28 had an unforgettable experience during an overnight visit with a Cornell friend. On that warm May evening, a group of college men arrived outside the window to serenade the roomful of Bowman Hall women. The words of the final song remain as clear to Oakland as they were 80 years ago:

Oh Hel, oh Hel, oh Helen Baby Mine,
Your feat, your feat, your features are divine.
I swear, I swear, I swear I will be true,
Oh dam, oh dam, oh damsel I love you!

She enrolled at Cornell’s music conservatory that fall and went on to receive an advanced degree from Eastman School of Music and marry Lloyd Oakland ’30, successor to Horace Alden Miller in the music department. She now lives in a Cedar Rapids retirement community.

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