A year ago we arrived at the Statler around midnight, preparing to tour Cornell’s campus the following day with our daughter, Alicia, who planned to apply to the ILR School. Bright and early the next morning I exited the hotel, greeted by the chilled air as I began my usual morning run. However, this run was far from usual. It evolved into a self-guided tour of this magnificent campus and offered a first-time look at everything Cornell had to offer.
As the chimes played from the clock tower, I watched swarms of students walking to class wearing their headphones, backpacks and proud Cornell colors. I’ll never forget my feeling of pride and excitement knowing that maybe, just maybe, the following September that could be Alicia wearing her Big Red sweatshirt as she walked to her morning class.
After falling behind a group of hockey players also out for a morning run, I passed building upon building – one more impressive than the next – determined to read each sign and learn all the university had to offer. I was in awe at the breadth of educational opportunities available. But that awe suddenly turned into anger as I reflected on my own past, regretting that I waited until the start of my college years to apply myself and therefore deprived myself of a college education that would have made me proud. If only I could turn back the clock and learn from my mistakes. Instantly the anger was replaced by tears of happiness knowing that Alicia’s hard work might soon be rewarded with her acceptance into this incredible place. Simply awesome.
If only I could be Rodney Dangerfield in “Back to School” on this Cornell campus, life would be perfect.
With the advent of smartphones, texting and Instagram, I knew that if Alicia had the fortune of being accepted to Cornell I’d be able to return to college vicariously through her over the next four years.
Next, my run took me alongside the agricultural school’s incredible farmland, and I recall feeling like a kid at EPCOT; then I ran onto the campus track alongside various athletes for my final mile. Returning to our room, I woke my wife, Roberta, and opened the blinds. As we looked out the window, I boasted about my run and how I didn’t recall my feet ever hitting the ground. After the formal tour later that morning, we experienced Collegetown Bagels. While sitting there, I closed my eyes and imagined Alicia at the table next to us sipping coffee, smiling as she chatted with her classmates. I asked Alicia to promise me that if she got into Cornell to text me a picture of her sitting at that very table the first time she returns to CTB.
I remember Roberta and I holding hands tightly as Alicia screamed to us from her bedroom of her acceptance and before we knew it, August arrived and our car was packed with Bed, Bath & Beyond’s entire inventory as we drove north to drop Alicia off at her dormitory. We arrived on campus greeted by so many smiling volunteers at every corner as we navigated our way along with other freshman families to registration where we circled the field house, learning even more about the never-ending organizations, clubs, activities and facilities Cornell has to offer. Of course we made our obligatory visit to the campus bookstore and eventually back to North Campus to even more smiling faces of welcoming upperclassmen as they tirelessly helped unload cars and helped us move Alicia into her dorm. We were incredibly impressed with the day’s organization and appreciated the countless hours of preparation undertaken by Cornell’s staff, administration, faculty and students in making this transition day truly seamless.
Thank you all. Clearly, this level of attention to detail, effort and success bespeaks Cornell and comforts us as parents knowing that Alicia will now be provided with the very best of tools necessary for her academic and social success.
Needless to say, during Orientation Alicia texted me a picture of her sitting at that very table in CTB, sipping an iced coffee with a smile on her face that will remain with me for all of my morning runs for the rest of my life.
Go Big Red …
Robert Glick is the father of Alicia Glick, ILR '17.