Dear ’61 Classmates:

What a great 45th Reunion we had, thanks to the presence of so many of our class!  We had 264 attendees from as far away as the Philippines (Larry and Rose Bortles).

We were honored to have both Interim-President Hunter Rawlings and incoming President David Skorton, along with their charming wives, as our guests at our Thursday evening reception and buffet dinner.  After mingling and speaking with many of us informally, both men spoke to the assembled group in the Sage Hall Atrium about their hopes and expectations for Cornell.  Classmate and Chairman of the Board of Trustees. Peter Meinig, introduced Dr. Skorton; Reunion Co-Chair Peter Greenberg introduced Dr. Rawlings; and Co-Chair Sue Lewis emceed the evening.

Our class headquarters in the North Campus Townhouses worked well, despite the chilly and damp weather.  Each day many classmates used the gathering space for extended conversations with old and new friends.  Friday evening we were treated to a slide-show by Ian Wetherly, who entertainingly narrated his collection of photos from our four years on campus.  Cries of “There’s [so-and-so]” rang out, as most in the room participated in trying to identify places and faces on the screen. The room was decorated with memorabilia, geraniums (red), and new sculptures by Charlie Hecht.  Popcorn, soda, fruit, cheese & wine were evidently greatly enjoyed, and the student clerks kept the room ready and welcoming.  Breakfasts in the outdoor tent were a chilly challenge, but everyone managed to squeeze indoors, and it worked out. The ice cream social with scarves and hats was a sight to behold. Good sports all!

Many classmates spent Friday reacquainting themselves with the campus and using the campus maps to identify new buildings.  The Olin Lecture that afternoon which many of us attended featured Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl Wu Dunn ’81, speaking about China, oil, and the tragic situation in Darfur.  (By our 50th Reunion, university events will be held in the completely re-built Bailey Hall, rather than in Bartels Hall where we sat on bleachers or folding chairs.)  Friday evening our dinner was an extravaganza at the Statler Ballroom, with some folks cutting up on the dance floor to Johnny Russo’s band.

Saturday morning we enjoyed hearing Dr. Glenn Altschuler’s reminiscences and opinions in his guest lecture, “All Shook Up? Cornell in the Not-So-Nifty Fifties.” From there we walked or rode to Bartels Hall for the State of the University Address by Hunter Rawlings, who was warmly greeted and resoundingly applauded at this, his final address as Interim President.

Following a picnic lunch in a tent next to the Johnson Art Museum and our class photo, some classmates descended on the campus store for gifts and extra sweatshirts for themselves. At the Tower Club and Giving Society Reception at Statler that afternoon, we could take a tour of the kitchen and watch the hors d’oeuvres being prepared.  Our class reception and dinner were at the Alice Cook House, the first of several planned west campus dorms with a resident professor and special programs.

Sunday morning it was warm enough for our final breakfast and class meeting in the tent, with closing entertainment by Cayuga’s Waiters. New reunion chairs were announced for our 50th:  Pauline Degenfelder, Carol Franklin, Neil Goldberger, Gary Hellinger and Doug Uhler.  If you want to help with the planning, you can reach them through our class website:

It was great to see all of you, and we thank everyone who participated with the Class of 1961 this past year, whether you attended reunion, paid your class dues, made a gift, or did all three.  We send a special thanks too, to all those who helped us with the reunion planning and whose efforts made it a fun and successful event.

See you at the 50th! 

Ginny Clark, Sue Lewis, Peter Greenberg, and Jon Greenleaf