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An interconnected BIG RED chain

Here were our rules: Pick almost anyone at Cornell – a student, member of the faculty or staff, or an alumnus – and ask for his or her favorite things about Cornell. Select one or more of their answers to see where the chain leads.

En Ting Lee

En Ting Lee '17. See larger image

We started with En Ting Lee '17.

"My favorite thing about Cornell is how beautiful and open it is," she says. "Coming from a small city-state in the tropics [Singapore], I found it incredible how much space there was here. Coming a very, very close second, though, is the Cornell Forensics Society."

Lee is secretary of the Cornell Forensics Society, the world's No. 1 ranked speech and debate team.

Cornell Forensics Society

En Ting Lee also named the Cornell Forensics Society as a favorite Cornell thing. Image: provided. See larger image

Lee says that despite CFS's top ranking and winning record, it also "taught me how to lose with grace, and that losing in a good round against outstanding opponents is oftentimes much more fulfilling than winning in an average round with average opponents. CFS has allowed me to exchange ideas with some of the most intelligent, yet down-to-earth people I have ever met. … CFS also encourages a strong sense of community, because we spend so much time traveling and living together – at least five or six weekends every semester!"

Sam Nelson

ILR School lecturer Sam Nelson. See larger image

ILR School lecturer Sam Nelson., who leads the Cornell Forensics Society, names theater professor David Feldshuh as one of his favorite people at Cornell, because of Feldshuh's willingness to share his expertise with others.

"He's always helping people – he is always figuring out ways to be a mentor, to make suggestions, to listen," Nelson says.

David Feldshuh

Theater professor David Feldshuh. See larger image

When Nelson arrived as a new faculty member about seven years ago, Feldshuh sought him out – Feldshuh was going to be teaching a class called Acting in Public (a course using acting techniques to teach public speaking), and Nelson was teaching courses on argumentation and debate.

Feldshuh "wanted my advice," Nelson recalls. "I gave it to him, and then I quickly realized that he was a person I could learn a lot from, and that it should be the other way around – the advice probably should be coming from him toward me."

The two have become friends, and Feldshuh has spoken several times to Nelson's classes; this fall, Nelson guest lectured in one of Feldshuh's classes.

"It's these informal networks of people who have similar interests that are one of the wonderful advantages, unexpected benefits, of working at Cornell," Nelson says. "The theater building is physically far away from ILR, but it's not far in that we all have the same goals: We're both teaching people to communicate better."

Mike Schafer

Men's hockey coach Mike Schafer '86. Image: Cornell University Athletics. See larger image

Feldshuh names Mike Schafer '86. The Jay R. Bloom Head Coach of Men's Hockey, as one of his favorite Cornell people. Feldshuh first met Schafer in 1987, when he decided to enroll in a phys ed hockey class taught by (then assistant coach) Schafer.

"Mike's enthusiasm as a teacher matched his enthusiasm as a coach," Feldshuh remembers. "The experience of that class made me continue to enroll in phys ed hockey for more than 25 years! I believe I have the dubious distinction of being the oldest living faculty member in a phys ed hockey class. I can even recall the thrill of having Mike skate with the class once or twice over the years. Whenever I'm recruiting for Cornell and the subject of hockey comes up and Mike's in the room, I make sure to kid him by noting that I owe all my hockey skill (which is minimal) to Mike being my first teacher."

Anita Mbogoni

Big Red Pep Band conductor Anita Mbogoni '15. See larger image

Schafer names the Big Red Pep Band, which plays at his games, as one of his favorite Cornell things.

"The spirit and enthusiasm of Cornell comes out in the pep band," he says. "When I have heard them at Lynah Rink, [first] as a player, then as an alum and now as a coach, it brings back great memories of not only competing on the Hill – they embody the enthusiasm for Cornell University."

CU Winds

Mbogoni names Cornell University Winds as one of her favorite Cornell things. See larger image

Big Red Pep Band conductor Anita Mbogoni '15 names Cornell University Winds (of which she also is a member) as one of her favorites: "CU Winds is my favorite Cornell thing, because it is both a superb performing group and a close-knit social organization," she says. "We perform a wide variety of repertoire that caters to all musical tastes and always strive for excellence.

"Ensemble members frequently spend time together outside our biweekly rehearsals, and I think that this sense of camaraderie helps us to make better music together."

James Spinazzola and Ariana Kim

James Spinazzola, interim director of CU Winds and a postdoctoral associate in music, with his wife, Ariana Kim, assistant professor of music. Image: Erica Lyn. See larger image

James Spinazzola, interim director of CU Winds and a postdoctoral associate in music, names working with the students in CU Winds and performing at Ithaca's Carriage House Café as two of his favorite things, and names Ariana Kim, assistant professor of music (and his wife), as his favorite Cornell person.

view from upper floors of Johnson Museum of Art

Kim said the view from the upper floors of the Johnson Museum of Art is one of her favorite Cornell things. See larger image

Kim names the breathtaking views from the upper floors of the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art as one of her favorite things about Cornell.

"Finding art in unexpected places happens all the time on the Cornell campus, where teaching with original objects – of all types and from all disciplines – has flourished since Cornell's founding," says Stephanie Wiles, the Richard J. Schwartz Director of the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art.

Carriage House Caf

Spinazzola names the Carriage House Caf in Ithaca as one of his favorite things. Image: provided. See larger image

One of Wiles' favorite Cornell things is when she learned that a 1942 Works Project Administration mural, "Abstraction," by Ilya Bolotowsky, along with two other murals, were on the site of the future Cornell Tech campus on Roosevelt Island in New York City.

The Johnson Museum is helping to remove and restore these murals, originally painted for Goldwater Hospital, which is being demolished for the future campus. The murals will be reinstalled at the Cornell Tech campus, "embracing an engagement between past and present," Wiles says.

The Bolotowsky mural is planned for reinstallation in the campus's first academic building, designed by Thom Mayne of Morphosis and scheduled to open in 2017.

"It makes perfect sense that this [new Cornell campus] will be launched with a terrific work of art," Wiles says.

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