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One for the Record Books

Reunion 2015 draws historic crowds to campus— including two alumni who celebrated Cornell’s first-ever ’76th’.


Total alumni in attendance: 5,062 (a record)

Total including family/guests: 6,930 (another record)

Foreign countries represented: 38, from as far as China, Ethiopia, and New Zealand

Most senior alumni: Clarence “Padge” Padgham ’40 (on the left in the photo at right) and Edward Richman ’40, BS ’47 (on the right), represented the Class of ’40 at its 75th Reunion. Plus, two members of the Class of ’39—Dawn Rochow Seymour ’39 and James White ’39, PhD ’44 (below right), who pledged at their own 75th last year that they’ll return annually as long as they’re able—marked their 76th, a first for Cornell.

Reunion attendance records set: 65th (the Class of ’50, with sixty-one classmates return ing); 60th (the Class of ’55, with 147); 30th (the Class of ’85, with 332); and 5th (the Class of ’10, with 821).

Reunion campaign gift total: $166.6 million from 6,659 donors State of the U: In his final State of the University address, outgoing President David Skorton bid alumni a fond farewell—and noted that he and his wife, Professor Robin Davisson, attended their first Reunion (in 2006) before he even took office. “We were sure we had come to a very special place,” he said, “and that turned out to be a huge understatement.”

Olin Lecture: Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Junot Díaz, MFA ’95, discussed his life and work in a talk that was styled as a conversation between him and Skorton. “The years we were here were an extraordinary time,” said Díaz, speaking about efforts he and other Latino students made to foster ethnic diversity on campus. “It felt like we were the first generation to put everything on the line.”

Class forum highlight: Members of the classes of ’45 and ’05 compared notes about their experiences as freshmen on the Hill during historic events that sent America to war: the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.