Skip to content


Letters to the Editor.


Remembering Valerie

“Justice Denied” (September/October) told the story of the long-ago murder of Valerie Percy ’66, a crime that remains unsolved. Shortly after we went to press, we received this letter from Sharon Percy Rockefeller, Valerie’s twin sister.

As my family and I prepare to gather in mid-September to mark the 50th anniversary of my sister Valerie’s tragic passing, I am both humbled and truly honored that your magazine has chosen to mark this anniversary as well.

Val was my identical twin sister, admittedly older by two minutes. Even as a young child she was always responsible and motherly to me and to our younger siblings. She was loving, sensitive, wise, and mature beyond her years. Val was self-effacing with a gentle nature, always generous and caring for others.

We separated for college–she went east to Cornell and I went west to Stanford. Val loved each and every minute of her time at Cornell. She majored in French literature, lived in Paris for one year, and spoke flawless French. Each year, through a scholarship program that I established in Val’s honor, women receiving grant aid and planning to study in Paris are eligible to apply for these funds. Numerous recipients have written to me over the years to share their experience, with many noting that this study abroad opportunity would not have been possible without those scholarship funds. We know that Val would be so pleased that we have chosen to honor her memory in this way, as it serves as a powerful yet poignant reminder of how much Cornell meant to her and the role it played in her young life.

Val continues to live vividly in the hearts and minds of so many people, especially her sorority sisters who continue to keep in touch with me. I take great comfort in knowing how Val impacted their lives and how they, too, continue to mourn her passing.

On September 18, 1966, Val’s life was tragically cut short. Suddenly taken from her devastated family and friends, she lives on in our hearts and our memories. When our family gathers to mark her passing, foremost in our thinking is the opportunity to honor and celebrate an outstanding young woman and my beloved sister. 

I would like to extend my utmost thanks to Cornell Alumni Magazine for remembering and honoring Valerie Jeanne Percy.

Sharon Percy Rockefeller
Washington, DC

Show Stopper

A fascinating article on a remarkable person (“Murder, She Writes,” September/October 2016). Erika Green Swafford ’94 joins former Hotelies and student athletes Ed Marinaro ’72, BS ’73, and Ricky Jay ’71 as individuals who’ve made their mark in show biz.

C. David Burak ’67, MFA ’80
Venice, CA

I love reading about Cornellians in the news. Swafford’s story interests me for many reasons, but in particular for how she successfully managed a career transition. I believe there is a lot of pressure to stay the course on the career you initially picked and appreciate Swafford’s shift from hospitality to Hollywood. I enjoy watching “HTGAWM” andappreciate that there’s a Cornell woman on the screenwriting and production team. 

Kimm Maugeri ’01
Bayside, NY


Liquid Gold, September/October 2016

Cider Explosion

“Liquid Gold” in the September/October 2016 issue reminded me of an experience during my freshman year in 1950 when I was living at 201 Oak Avenue in Collegetown. When apple cider became available, my roommate returned with several gallons and proceeded to add yeast, raisins, and what else I don’t remember to one of them. He lightly capped the jug and hid it under clothes in our makeshift closet formed by a curtain in a corner of the room. One morning, there was a sudden, loud boom, followed by a very strong odor of alcohol. We immediately opened both corner windows and frantically fanned the room in a panic that the landlady, whose living room was adjacent to our room, would soon be knocking on our door to terminate our leases. But that didn’t happen, and my roommate was in full glory for the rest of the year.

Allen Hale ’54
Seattle, WA

SPEAK UP! CAM encourages letters and comments from readers on the magazine’s content. They may be edited for length, clarity, and civility. We are not able to publish and respond to all correspondence received. Send to:

Cornell Alumni Magazine
401 East State Street, Suite 301
Ithaca, NY 14850