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Body of Alumnus Found in Gorge
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Thursday, 09 October 2008

Authorities have identified Jakub Janecka ’98 as the deceased man found in a shallow pool of Cascadilla Creek gorge, directly below the College Avenue Bridge.

The body of the thirty-three-year-old from Lake Ariel, Pennsylvania, was removed from the gorge at about 2 p.m. on Wednesday, October 8. The bridge links central campus to Collegetown. A caller to the Tompkins County 911 Center had reported that a man had jumped from the bridge.

The incident is an “apparent suicide,” said Tommy Bruce, vice president for university communications. Foul play is not suspected, Ithaca Police said Wednesday, and the investigation is ongoing.

“We’re always saddened by a tragic loss of life, regardless of the circumstances,” said Deputy Chief Kathy Zoner of the Cornell University Police Department. “Our hearts go out to the friends and family of this individual.”

Read more in the Ithaca Journal.

Ivy Rivalry Goes Virtual Print E-mail
Tuesday, 30 September 2008

The battle has begun. More than 3,875 Ivy League players are two weeks into an online fight to control the virtual Northeast (see map at left). They’re playing GoCrossCampus, similar to the board game Risk, started in 2007 by friends from Yale and Columbia.

Cornell (represented by the red territories) is currently in sixth place, with commander Joey Zwicker ’10 leading the Big Red troops. They’re holding areas in Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. Princeton is in the lead, controlling swaths of Long Island, Pennsylvania, and, of course, New Jersey.

Last fall, Cornell came in second while Princeton celebrated victory. A New York Times slide show reveals how the game unfolded.

$35 Million Gift to Keep Top Profs Print E-mail
Friday, 26 September 2008

Cornell has received a $35 million gift to retain talented professors who are being lured away by other universities. Andrew Tisch ’71 (left), a University trustee, and his wife, Ann, have funded the Tisch University Professorships to provide mid-career professors with incentives to stay at Cornell.

These incentives include competitive salaries, graduate research funding, travel and conference expenses, sabbaticals, and other support. The endowment will also fund recruitment of new faculty. Cornell expects about one-third of its faculty to retire in the next ten years or so.

Faculty recruitment and retention represents almost half of Cornell’s $4 billion capital campaign, or $1.885 billion.

Tisch is a leading executive of Loews Corp., which has interests in oil, gas, financial services, watches, real estate, and hotels. The Tisch family had owned the Loews movie chain until 1985.

Read an interview with the Tischs and more coverage in the Cornell Chronicle.

CU Grads Win Genius Awards Print E-mail
Tuesday, 23 September 2008

A lighting designer and a structural engineer have each won a 2008 MacArthur Fellowship. Known as the “genius grant,” the fellowship comes with a “no strings attached” award of $500,000.

John Ochsendorf ’96 is a structural engineer and architectural historian who restores cathedrals and other structures of the distant past and identifies ancient technologies for use in contemporary constructions. His early studies investigated the construction of handwoven, fiber suspension bridges that spanned the deep ravines and connected the territories of the Inca Empire. At age thirty-four, he is an associate professor of architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Jennifer Tipton ’58 is regarded as one of the most versatile lighting designers working today, whose distinctive designs have redefined the relationship between lighting and performance. Best known for her work in dance, she has also designed lighting for dramas and operas of all scales. She recently said that lighting “creates a landscape for dancers to exist in”—but if it is done right, lighting is invisible to most people most of the time.

Pride and Prejudice and Publishing Print E-mail
Tuesday, 16 September 2008

In the academic world, it’s publish or perish. But many believe academic journals are biased about what articles they publish.

An economist writing for the Cornell Higher Education Research Institute at the ILR School has proposed a new system for detecting cronyism, according to Inside Higher Ed.

Andrew Oswald’s paper compares how editors rank an article—by looking at how high an article is placed in the journal’s table of contents—with how often the article is subsequently cited in the field.

He tested whether a U. of Chicago Press journal favored Chicago authors. It didn’t—and seemed to hold hometown authors to a higher standard.

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