Cornell dedicated a permanent memorial to the 21 alumni who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, at a ceremony in Anabel Taylor Hall Oct. 28.
Family members, friends and administrators attended the private ceremony in Anabel Taylor Chapel, held before the memorial was unveiled in the Anabel Taylor rotunda on a wall near Cornell’s WWII memorial.
Acknowledging and honoring the alumni and their families, the dedication ceremony also included the announcement of the September 11 Memorial Scholarship established for undergraduate students. Michael Golden ’20, a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences from Holbrook, New York, is the first recipient. Golden’s father and uncles were among first responders on Sept. 11 as members of the New York Police Department.
The 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and United Flight 93 over central Pennsylvania claimed the lives of nearly 3,000 people. Nineteen of the 21 Cornellians who perished worked in the World Trade Center; two were aboard Flight 93.
Interim President Hunter Rawlings, Cornell’s president in 2001, welcomed family members in attendance, saying, “I hope that today’s ceremony provides some solace as we remember your loved ones.”
“Most of us can remember exactly where we were on that beautiful September day in 2001 when news of the attacks reached us,” Rawlings said. “I remember that very acutely – because that day, I remember walking across the Arts Quad, having heard none of this, and having students running toward me, very distraught.”
Members of the campus community mobilized to give blood or find other ways to help, he said. “Many faculty members canceled their classes that day or abandoned their syllabuses to discuss the situation with their students, and thousands of us gathered on the Arts Quad that evening.”
“That was a most memorable occasion, something I certainly will never forget,” he continued. “The sense that all of Cornell had come together on the Arts Quad in order to console those who were there.”
Rawlings shared details about a few of the alumni being remembered, including Joshua Aron ’94. “He was honest, warm, kind and, according to his sister [Dana Weiner ’92, who was in attendance], ‘what we hope our friends will be,’” he said; Edward Felt, M.S. ’83, a fourth-generation Cornellian who was on Flight 93; and Eamon McEneaney ’77, “one of the finest players in college lacrosse,” a member of Cornell’s Sports Hall of Fame and the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame, who had “helped save 65 colleagues by leading them down a smoke-filled stairway during an earlier bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993.”
McEneaney’s widow, Bonnie McEneaney, M.P.S. ’78, spoke as the representative of the families.
“Fifteen years and 47 days ago, the unthinkable happened … the worst act of mass violence ever to take place on our soil,” she said. “The impact was far-reaching. For those who knew victims, and those who didn’t – everyone was impacted.”
Citing “those who went on to help and search for victims,” and the efforts to honor the dead in the weeks, months and years that followed, she said: “This was, and is, resilience at its strongest. … Love is the strongest force in the universe. It binds us together in tragedy.”
“I know there are other family members here,” she said. “I know what you’ve gone through. May we all stand together. … This [memorial] is testimony that they will always be remembered.”
The names, schools and class years of the alumni were read at the ceremony by Susan Murphy ’73, Ph.D. ’94, vice president emerita for student and academic services. Also giving brief remarks were Rev. Kenneth I. Clarke Sr., director of Cornell United Religious Work, and James Mazza ’88, associate vice president of alumni affairs.
The September 11 Memorial Committee was co-chaired by Murphy and William Huling ’68, MBA ’74, former associate dean of alumni affairs and development for the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management. Allison Blais ’00, COO of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, helped to locate and contact family members in advance of the ceremony, and provided photos and biographies for a commemorative program.
Cornell alumni lost on Sept. 11, 2001
Joshua T. Aron ’94, College of Human Ecology
Janice M. Ashley ’98, College of Arts and Sciences
Albert Balewa Blackman Jr. ’96, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Joni V. Cesta ’85, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Swede J. Chevalier ’98, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Christopher Ciafardini, MBA ’99, Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management
Edward P. Felt, M.S. ’83, College of Engineering
Arlene J. Fried ’74, College of Human Ecology
Fredric N. Gabler ’93, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Kristin White Gould ’57, College of Arts and Sciences
Donald G. Havlish Jr. ’70, College of Engineering
Juan M. Lafuente, Ph.D. ’77, College of Engineering
Stuart Soo-Jin Lee ’93, College of Engineering
Sean P. Lynch ’87, School of Industrial and Labor Relations
Eamon J. McEneaney ’77, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Virginia A. Ormiston, M.Eng. ’82, College of Engineering
Kaleen E. Pezzuti ’95, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Elvin Romero ’88, College of Human Ecology
Michael A. Tanner ’79, College of Human Ecology
Jennifer L. Tzemis ’96, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
M. Blake Wallens ’92, College of Arts and Sciences