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From the publisher

Tommy Bruce

Tommy Bruce

Frank H.T. Rhodes, Cornell's urbane and energetic president from 1977 to 1995, will be turning 86 this year but shows no sign of slowing down. The latest gift from this greatly talented man is a fascinating book, "Earth, A Tenant's Manual," in which Rhodes, a distinguished geologist, provides an exhaustively researched tour and sustainability guide to the planet we share. The message this book imparts is about as profound as it gets: If we want to extend humanity's lease on the planet, we need to take better care of the place.

I begin with Rhodes because to me he exemplifies the very best in the academic: a hugely erudite and witty speaker, a man who shows great courtesy and understanding to students, faculty and staff, a mentor nonpareil and a researcher who has never left the yearning for knowledge behind.

That's the theme of our cover story in this issue: Cornell exceptionalism as embodied in the careers of our faculty. For some of our luminaries, from Nobel laureate Barbara McClintock to novelist Vladimir Nabokov, the term "legend" clearly applies. But when you survey our current faculty, the depth and scale of research and teaching gives promise of producing many other "legends."

This issue also looks at other distinguished faculty members who have carried Cornell's name far and wide. Our history piece profiles endowed chairs, and how over the years holders – from Yervant Terzian to Per Pinstrup-Andersen to Mary Beth Norton – have so well embellished the legacy of the donors. And our People feature looks at a legendary academic of the food world, the late "Barbecue Bob" Baker, the professor of poultry science who transformed the way Americans eat chicken.

I end with a salute to one of the greatest of Cornell legends, our eighth president, Dale Corson, who died March 31 at age 97. In our obituary in this issue, we honor the memory of a man who was a commanding presence on the campus he loved so well.

Thomas W. Bruce

Vice President, University Communications

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