Reunion '04 features Cornell alumnus and NASA astronaut Ed Lu, the State of the University address and a host of alumni activities

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ITHACA, N.Y. -- As many as 6,000 Cornellians and their families -- including more than 700 children, a record -- will be on campus, Thursday, June 10, through Sunday, June 13, for Cornell University's Reunion 2004. Some 4,000 returning alumni will be catching up with former classmates, reclaiming old memories and creating new ones during the long weekend.

The earliest alumni class planning special events this year will be the Class of 1929, with three returning alumni holding their 75th reunion. But, the oldest returning alum attending Reunion 2004 will be 102-year-old Helen "Happy" Reichert, from the Class of 1925.

This year's featured Reunion Weekend events include the annual Olin Lecture, to be given by NASA astronaut Edward (Ed) Tsang Lu '84, a veteran of three space missions and 206 days in space, whose topic will be "Rocket Ships, Asteroids, Dinosaurs and Immortality"; and the first State of the University Address delivered to alumni by Cornell President Jeffrey S. Lehman '77. Also of note will be groundbreaking ceremonies for the new construction and expansion of the university's Africana Studies and Research Center.

The Olin Lecture, established by the Spencer T. and Ann W. Olin Foundation in 1986, will be Friday at 3 p.m. in Newman Arena of Bartels Hall, and it is open to the public. The State of the University Address will be Saturday at 10:30 a.m., also in Bartels Hall, and all registered alumni and their guests will be welcome. The Africana Center groundbreaking will be Saturday, from 2 to 3 p.m., at the 310 N. Triphammer Road center. The public is invited to attend.

As usual, a great variety of traditional reunion activities for alumni and their families have been planned for the four-day weekend, including university, college and class tours and gatherings, as well as symposiums and lectures, concerts, picnics, banquets, dancing and sporting events.

Among special 2004 Reunion activities for returning alumni:

o Saturday: The 10th annual Reunion Weekend book signing -- featuring noted alumni and faculty authors -- will be held in the Campus Store on Ho Plaza, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

o Saturday: Alumni will place a plaque at the site of two Norway spruce trees planted by former U.S. president and New York governor Teddy Roosevelt in 1899. The dedication ceremony is at 4:30 p.m. at Delta Kappa Epsilon, 13 South Ave.

o Saturday: "The Big Red Planet," an up close and personal look at the Mars Rover mission, will be presented by members of the university's Department of Astronomy, who have played an integral part in the NASA mission.

o Saturday: "The (Un)Making of the President 2004," a discussion of the 2004 presidential election, will feature two Cornell faculty experts: Theodore Lowi, the J.L. Senior Professor of American Institutions, and Joel Silbey, the President White Professor of History Emeritus.

o Saturday: Members of the Reunion classes of '74 and '79 will discuss The Trial , by Franz Kafka, the text to be read by all incoming freshmen for Cornell's 2004 New Student Reading Project. The classes will be led by Walter Cohen, Cornell vice provost and professor of comparative literature. Also on Saturday, members of the Class of '64 will meet to discuss Sophocles' Antigone , the text for the 2003 New Student Reading Project. Jeffrey Rusten, Cornell professor of classics, will lead that discussion.