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Meinigs to co-chair Cornell's sesquicentennial

Nancy and Peter Meinig
David O. Brown/Johnson Museum of Art
Nancy and Peter Meinig

Cornell Board of Trustees Chairman Peter Meinig '61 and wife Nancy '62 together will lead the university's efforts to celebrate its 150th anniversary, in 2015, Cornell President David Skorton announced Oct. 3.

"Nancy and Pete bring a deep knowledge of Cornell gained through their lifetime of service to the university. We are honored that they will share their perspective at this historic moment," Skorton said.

As co-chairs of the sesquicentennial, the Meinigs will work with Vice President for University Relations Glenn Altschuler, whom Skorton has appointed to chair a Sesquicentennial Committee that will plan major events leading up to 2015.

"We are thrilled to help celebrate the history, achievements and people of Cornell. Looking back at the university's heritage makes me proud to help pave the way for the next 150 years," said Nancy Meinig.

"This is an important milestone in the life of our alma mater, and we look forward to commemorating it with the exhilaration that it deserves," added Peter Meinig, who has chaired the board since 2002.

The Meinigs have already offered recommendations for involving young alumni in the sesquicentennial, said Altschuler. "[The Meinigs] will be helpful not only because they've had so much experience with other organizations -- for- and nonprofit -- but also in bringing to bear a lifetime of participation with this great university," he said.

The Meinigs have a long history of volunteering for Cornell, from co-chairing the Parents Fund and the National Tower Club to their sponsorship of the Meinig Family Cornell National Scholars. In 2007 they gave $25 million to support innovative Cornell research in the life sciences.

Nancy Meinig's activities have included serving as vice president of the Class of 1962 and as vice chair of the class's 40th Reunion campaign's major gifts committee. Outside of Cornell, she has served two terms as board chair of the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, Okla., and is a board member of several state and regional organizations, including the Mid-America Arts Alliance Advisory Board, Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence, University of Tulsa, and Tulsa Performing Arts Center. She is the recipient of Oklahoma's Annual Governor's Award, recognizing longtime leadership and significant contributions to the arts.

Peter Meinig is chairman of HM International LLC, a privately owned diversified manufacturing and management company. He serves on the executive board of the Indian Nations Council of the Boy Scouts of America and is a trustee at the University of Tulsa. In 2005 he was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame. At Cornell, his many roles have included membership on the university's Major Gifts Committee since 1995.

Altschuler will guide the Sesquicentennial Committee, which will plan a gala in New York City for fall 2014, and a celebration in Ithaca April 24-27, 2015, to coincide with the date on which the New York State Legislature approved Cornell's charter. These events will serve as the backbone for others that Cornell's colleges and units will plan.

The committee's members are:

  • Altschuler, the Thomas and Dorothy Litwin Professor of American Studies and dean of the School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions;
  • Rosemary Avery, chair of the Department of Policy Analysis and Management;
  • Tommy Bruce, vice president for university communications;
  • Joseph Burns, professor of astronomy and the Irving Porter Church Professor of Engineering;
  • David Feldshuh, professor of theater, film and dance;
  • Isaac Kramnick, the Richard J. Schwartz Professor of Government; and
  • Charles Phlegar, vice president for alumni affairs and development.

Subcommittees of faculty, students, staff and alumni will plan events focusing on Cornell's contributions in the social sciences, humanities, arts and sciences. A sesquicentennial working group has been meeting for the past year, Altschuler said. "We started early because we want to be as open as we can to suggestions from Cornellians anywhere and everywhere."

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Claudia Wheatley