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Susan Murphy speaks at Doug Calby memorial service

Susan H. Murphy '73, Ph.D. '94, Cornell vice president for student and academic services, speaks at the remembrance gathering honoring Doug Calby '81. Photo: David Burbank/University Photography.

Alumnus remembered for guiding Cornell students through career choices

Doug Calby speaks to a Cornell student in 2009

Doug Calby '81, pictured here in 2009, speaks with a Cornell student about career possibilities. Photo: University Photography file photo.

Doug Calby '81, a stalwart volunteer for Cornell Career Services, met individually with approximately 800 job-seeking (or soon to be job-seeking) students between 2008 and 2013. Quietly, expertly, he guided hundreds on how to improve their résumés, how to prepare for interviews and he made suggestions on what career paths to consider.

Calby spent the entirety of his professional career with Accenture, a multinational management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company. He retired in 2009 as managing director of the corporation's Technologies America.

When Calby died at age 53 last July, Rebecca Sparrow, director of Career Services, and her colleagues and many students mourned with the Calby family. This April, Cornell held a remembrance gathering with Calby's widow, Karen; daughter, Liz; sister, Ann Calby Miller; and mother, Diana, in attendance, as well as staff and current students.

Vice President for Student and Academic Services Susan H. Murphy '73, Ph.D. '94, and Sparrow both honored Calby at the service for his extraordinary spirit of generosity and care for students.

Rebecca Sparrow speaks at Doug Calby memorial service

Rebecca Sparrow, director of Cornell Career Services, speaks at the memorial service. Photo: David Burbank/University Photography.

Excerpts of Sparrow's remarks:

It is important to me that Doug's family and friends know how much Doug meant to Cornell Career Services. … Before long, Doug had agreed to serve as the next chair of the Trustee Council Committee on Career Services, the second chair with whom I worked after assuming my role as CCS director. He wanted to direct his annual gifts to CCS, and we talked at length about how he could have an impact that way.

We initially set up a travel grant program with his annual donations, and that has made it possible for more than 50 students to enjoy the Extern Program -- students who would otherwise not have been able to participate due to financial constraints. This is an important career-exploration activity (shadowing alumni and other friends of Cornell in the workplace) that he wanted to be sure is available to all students …

Doug really did exemplify the perfect alumnus supporter. My colleague in the alumni volunteer program often talks about how alumni give their time, talent or treasure to Cornell. Doug gave it all.

Not only did he serve as our executive in residence over the last several years, he also arranged for several of his Cornell friends to offer programs and workshops for our students as career specialists-in-residence. Not only did he direct his time to support our work in Career Services, he also donated to CCS generously and advocated for our work. Not only had he served as chair of the Trustee Council Committee on Career Services, he also had agreed to lead the career advisory council I'm establishing. In my many years at Cornell I have not worked with another such dedicated and selfless alum. We were so very fortunate to have him "on our side."

In honor of Doug's work with us, I am establishing the Calby Fellows Program. We will enlist individuals from a variety of career fields who will serve in some capacity in what I'm rebranding as a career-specialists-in-residence program. I will use Doug's gift monies to support this broadened program. We anticipate that some participants will not be able to fund their own trips to Ithaca, as Doug did, but we don't want this to limit their involvement in the program.

Diana Calby, Ann Calby and Susan Murphy at Doug Calby memorial service

Diana Calby '54 (Doug Calby's mother) chats with her daugher Ann, left, and Susan Murphy, following the memorial service. Photo: David Burbank/University Photography.

Afterward, the family was presented with two framed prints -- one containing quotes from students who had been mentored or advised by Calby, and the other summarizing his involvement with Cornell, including his and his wife's many gifts to the university, supporting a range of programs, from engineering labs to athletics to the Career Center. Then, Murphy threw open the windows in the Willard Straight Hall reception room and all listened to the alma mater and "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" playing on the chimes.

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