Worldwide celebration of Cornell's Sesquicentennial: Are you in?
Throughout the 2014-15 academic year, Cornell University plans to party like it's 1865 with Sesquicentennial festivities and attractions online, on campus and around the world. The aim: to entice as many Cornellians as possible to celebrate the 150th in ways that feel most meaningful to them.
True to Cornell's DNA, one way to get in on the celebration will be … to study.
Glenn Altschuler, Ph.D. '76, dean of the School of Continuing Education, the Litwin Professor of American Studies and chair of the Sesquicentennial Steering Committee, and Isaac Kramnick, the Richard Schwartz Professor of Government and a member of the Sesquicentennial Steering Committee, have co-authored the upcoming book, "Cornell: A History, 1940-2015," published by Cornell University Press, which will be available in September. The two will share insights from the book as the Reunion 2014 Olin Lecturers and will also teach a Cornell Adult University course this summer and a four-credit course this fall.
Festivities, from the Big Apple to Big Ben
Cornell will also bring an official Sesquicentennial celebration to Ithaca and eight other cities around the world, open to all Cornellians: first up, the official launch Sept. 13 at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City, with two shows -- a matinee and an evening event. A month later, the Ithaca campus kickoff in October will feature the first-ever combined Homecoming weekend and Trustee-Council Annual Meeting. Highlights will include a fireworks and laser show at Schoellkopf Stadium; the Big Red football game against Lehigh University; and the dedication of the Sesquicentennial Grove, a commemorative site designed by Marion Weiss and Michael Manfredi, M.Arch. '80, located close to the crest of Libe Slope -- in line with the statues of A.D. White and Ezra Cornell.
Charter Day on campus
At a glance: Sesquicentennial events
New York City: September 13, 2014
Ithaca (Homecoming): Oct. 17-18, 2014
Washington, D.C.: Nov. 14, 2014
Hong Kong: Dec. 15, 2014
Boston: Jan. 17, 2015
West Palm Beach: Feb. 14, 2015
San Francisco: March 6, 2015
Los Angeles: March 8, 2015
Ithaca: April 24-27, 2015, Charter Day Weekend
London: May 14, 2015
The climax of the celebration year will be on Charter Day weekend. "Cornell 150: A Festival of Ideas and Imagination," a campus-based event, will open with a tribute to the Ithaca community on Friday and close on Monday with a re-enactment of the granting of Cornell's charter. In between, the weekend will be dedicated to events highlighting the best of Cornell. These include talks and presentations by faculty and alumni, covering a wide range of topics -- the revolution in the humanities, global poverty reduction, securing and sustaining our future. The weekend also will feature literary readings, musical performances and faculty and student showcases.
In addition, for the first time in the university's history, Cornell's living presidents (David Skorton, Hunter Rawlings, Frank H.T. Rhodes and Jeffrey Lehman '77) will share the stage to discuss the future of higher education.
Local Charter Days
Cornellians not making the trip to Ithaca for Charter Day can still take part. Cornell clubs in the U.S. and around the world will partner with the Office of Alumni Affairs to invite their local Cornellians to simultaneous Charter Day weekend celebrations -- a bit like Zinck's Night meets New Year's Eve. Key campus events will be livestreamed for a simultaneous experience -- time zones permitting -- and recorded for viewing on CornellCast, and social media conversations will connect Cornellians to the action and to one another wherever they are.
Scan it and share it
The diverse tapestry of Cornellians' experiences is one of the university's greatest assets -- and collecting and celebrating those stories will be central to the university's events and online activity. The Sesquicentennial website will be a place to share and explore histories, timelines and media, and also add personal stories -- in the form of videos, photos, memories and more.
In collaboration with the Cornell Association of Class Officers (CACO), alumni will be encouraged to hold "scanning parties" for pictures and memorabilia. The stories collected during the year will become a lasting document of the 150th anniversary year and the Cornellians who contributed to it.
"Whether it means wearing Cornell sweatshirts to work, posting their memories and photographs, or volunteering in their communities, we hope everyone will stand up and be counted as a proud Cornellian this year," says Jim Mazza '88, associate vice president for alumni affairs. "And we hope, too, that thousands of Cornellians will get into the Sesquicentennial spirit by attending an event, because they are going to be very special gatherings."