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Cornell Perspectives: A parent's pride endures

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Joe Schwartz
Robert and Alicia Glick
Robert and Alicia Glick

In an Oct. 8, 2013, column in the Cornell Chronicle, Robert Glick described the arrival on campus of his daughter, Alicia Glick ’17. Below, he looks back on his family’s Cornell experience.

This parent’s Cornell journey began four years ago with an early morning campus run. On Friday morning May 26, I ran from Collegetown toward campus passing CTB with fond memories of how we always ended our visits with a meal there.

As I arrive on campus, I see the new Gates building and recall its absence from my 2013 run. Its construction brings to mind of all of Alicia’s accomplishments over the past four years, whether it be her near-perfect GPA, her service to Cornell Hillel, joining the Phi Gamma Nu business fraternity or rushing Sigma Delta Tau.

As I passed the “Harry Potter” (Uris) library, I recall the picture she texted me during her freshmen year as she studied with her laptop by a corner window. The caption read, “My Favorite Library.” As I passed Friends Hall, memories flowed back of meeting her new friends (the Super 7) freshman year at Ithaca’s Apple Harvest Festival and seeing endless pictures of them swimming, trudging through the snow, taking wine tours, attending Slope Day.

As I passed Schoellkopf Field, I noticed the empty white chairs aligned in front of the stage in preparation for Commencement and Convocation. I entered the field, compelled to run a lap and soak it all in. This weekend our daughter will sit here as her mother and I, grandparents, aunts and cousin will watch her proudly graduate from this incredible university.

I came upon the Vet College and saw several students entering the building in white lab coats, which reminds me how a Cornell education provides each graduate with such an eclectic array of courses that afford each with endless opportunities to achieve their professional dreams and passions. Alicia will start this fall at Ernst & Young in their Human Capital consulting group, and we couldn’t be prouder.

Alicia Glick at ILR
Alicia Glick at the ILR School as she was dropped off to start her senior year in August 2016.

As my left hamstring reminded me of the aging process, I returned to the track where I had run four laps during her freshman orientation. I was determined to complete another set in honor of the Class of 2017. As I did, I noticed several hurdles, aligned in their lanes, each bearing the Cornell insignia. Those hurdles screamed out to me metaphorically that these magnificent buildings house so many highly accomplished professors; that this campus is where so many out-of-classroom activities, organizations and experiences provide graduates with the tools to overcome life’s hurdles and obstacles.

Saturday morning we joined other pride-filled ILR families in Newman Arena to watch our loved ones float across the stage, smiling ear to ear as they received their diplomas. The inspiration continued an hour later as graduates and families from around the world gathered to listen to Vice President Biden’s convocation address.

Sunday morning my chills returned as we watched Alicia enter the Schoellkopf Stadium’s corner gates behind the ILR banner, parading on to the field with her classmates. As we left Commencement, I passed endless signs that assist in directing people, drivers in golf carts shuttling those in need, workers handing out thousands of water bottles. I marveled at the effort behind this celebratory weekend. I am so appreciative of all of the tireless work and preparation it takes to organize an event like this. I am thankful to all at Cornell and the Ithaca community who made the weekend such a great success.

As my wife and I walked to our car amid a sea of graduates – while reading the artistry atop their caps and gazing at the beauty of the cords around their necks – I was struck by how much my pride as a parent has endured and blossomed over the past four years. I got in our car not knowing if I would ever return, but comforted by the fact that our hearts will always remain fondly with Cornell.

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