Skip to main content

Charter Day Weekend

Charter Day Weekend "Big Red Birthday Bash" celebration in Barton Hall.

Charter Day Weekend 'exceeded everyone's expectations'

David Skorton, Elizabeth Garrett and Robert Harrison lead the alma mater following Charter Day ceremonies

From left, Cornell President David Skorton, President-elect Elizabeth Garrett and Robert Harrison '76, chairman of the Cornell Board of Trustees, lead the Cornell Chorus, Glee Club and guests in the singing of the alma mater at the conclusion of Charter Day ceremonies April 27 in Barton Hall. See larger image

student innovators' displays and demonstrations in Duffield Hall

Student innovators' displays and demonstrations in Duffield Hall during Charter Day Weekend. See larger image

Following months of regional celebrations around the world, Cornell marked its sesquicentennial with an extended four-day weekend of events and activities April 24-27 in Ithaca (along with dozens of global events). Charter Day Weekend commemorated the 150th anniversary of the signing of the university's charter and recognized Cornell's ongoing impact on higher education and in New York state and around the world.

The weekend's events on and around campus – which included a plaque unveiling in downtown Ithaca, a Big Red Birthday Bash in Barton Hall, an academic festival of presentations, exhibits and discussions, and the Charter Day ceremony itself – were pulled off "beautifully," said Nancy Meinig '62, who with her husband, Peter Meinig '61, is co-chair of Cornell's sesquicentennial celebration.

"There was something for everybody," Nancy Meinig said, noting that the celebrations followed five years of plans, preparations and dedication by many, all led by the "guiding force" of Professor Glenn Altschuler, who chaired the Sesquicentennial Steering Committee.

Nancy Meinig said she saw a lot of new alumni faces during the weekend and was gratified to see so many students involved. "They were not only at the Friday night kickoff event, which was absolutely spectacular in every way, but they were in the lectures, and they were at the panels, and they were participating, all weekend long," she said.

"I thought Friday night was spectactular, a barn-burner,"

Bill Nye presents

Bill Nye '77 (along with Steve Squyres '78, Ph.D. '81) presented 'Cornell and the Joy of Discovery: Any Person, Any Planet' in Bailey Hall to kick off Charter Day Weekend. See larger image

Hadas Kress Gazit presentation on robotics

Hadas Kress Gazit, assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, speaks at Charter Day Weekend "Robotics: Today's Intertwining of Engineering and Computer Science" event. See larger image

said Peter Meinig, chairman emeritus of the Cornell Board of Trustees. "The attendance of students and people from the Ithaca community, the way they participated in the Bill Nye and Steve Squyres presentation and then went to the party in Barton Hall, was extraordinary.

"Seeing Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick ['09] and President David Skorton on stage just exemplified the solid relations that exist between the Ithaca community and Cornell University," he said.

The capstone event, the Charter Day ceremony in Barton Hall on Monday attended by nearly 4,000 people, "was wonderful, with a focus on our past history and a nod to our bright future," Nancy Meinig said.

"The weekend, and participation, exceeded everyone's expectations," said Peter Meinig.

Altschuler, Ph.D. '76, who also is dean of the School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions and university historian (with Professor Isaac Kramnick), said: "We hope those who attended the presentations came away with a better understanding and appreciation of this magnificent university."

See full Cornell Chronicle coverage at Watch the sesquicentennial video, "Glorious to View," at

– Joe Wilensky

Back to top